Chip Hale is coming into his first season as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks with an old school mindset.
He made that very clear when talking about retaliating after one of his players is hit, and the manager is taking a similar classic stance when it comes to trusting his gut in pressure situations.
Hale was a guest Tuesday with Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, and when given a hypothetical situation where he could choose a better statistical matchup or the option from his gut, Hale favored his internal feeling.
“The gut. There’s no doubt,” said Hale. “We’ve had situations before where you’re looking at the book. You’re looking at the matchups. You’re looking at maybe a number they give you on that type of pitcher versus this type of hitter and it looks like we should go with this guy, but you remember, he just doesn’t feel good.”
Hale will have high expectations in pinch-hitting situations with Arizona after the D-Backs had success in this area in 2014. Arizona ranked second in the National League in 2014 with a .247 batting average for their pinch hitters.
Hale may have the experience to maintain Arizona’s pinch hitting success after serving as the bench coach for the Oakland Athletics for the last two seasons. Hale said he witnessed many situations where he quickly assessed that players just were not ready to be the last-second replacement.
“We’ve had guys before where we’ve said, ‘You’re going to go hit for so-and-so, be ready to go,’ and the guy can’t find his helmet,” said Hale. “Right then and there you’re saying, ‘This guy just isn’t ready to go.’ He’s nervous.”
Knowledge of the players and an ability to determine their readiness does not come overnight, and Hale said he hopes to have this information down before the next season starts.
“You look in his eyes, and hopefully by the time spring training is, I can look in each guys’ eyes and know how they’re doing.”