ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

If D-backs are to win, bullpen will be the reason

Jun 22, 2011, 9:55 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm

As Diamondbacks fans know all too well, a bad bullpen can derail a season before it really even begins.

Conversely, a good bullpen can not only help a team win games, but carry a squad through a season.

That fact is not lost on D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who joined Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash as a guest Wednesday.

“When our bullpen was solid we went on that big string of wins,” the manager said. “It hasn’t been so good lately like it was earlier and we’ve had a mixed bag.

“We understand that, we’re trying to get better, we know who we have on our team.”

Gibson said the plan is to try and get everyone who is currently on the roster — including the struggling Aaron Heilman — to a point where they are pitching well and pitching with confidence.

“Aaron Heilman’s a guy who has done it five straight years, a guy I believe in, and if I don’t believe in him he’s certainly not going to believe in himself,” he said.

Say what you will about Gibson, but he sure seems to have a good read on his team’s mentality and what individual players need in order to get going. Whether it’s giving Justin Upton a pep talk or Kelly Johnson a day off, their confidence never seems to be far from the manager’s mind.

So, while fans may be worried or wondering why he keeps going with certain players, they must remember the manager knows he’ll need every available arm to be firing on all cylinders if this team is to make a late-season run.

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If D-backs are to win, bullpen will be the reason