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No matter what happened, pulling Saunders was smart

When Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson decided to pull starting pitcher Joe Saunders in the third inning on Wednesday, he made a smart decision.

“Joe Saunders is not needed as much as runs were. Great job, Kirk Gibson,” said Doug Franz, co-host of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Show.

When Gibson made the decision to let Collin Cowgill pinch-hit for Saunders in the third, he had no way of knowing what Cowgill would do at the plate but had a few reasons to believe that Saunders wasn’t getting it done: he couldn’t get the lead-off hitters out, the Brewers kept coming and didn’t show that he had what it took to take down Milwaukee, Franz said.

Gibson had to live in the moment and do his best with the information he had available and, given what he had, opted for runs in favor of pitching and that was a great decision, no matter what Cowgill did at the plate, Franz said.

“Saunders didn’t make it three innings, his manager made the right decision to win that game — to pull him to give the D-backs a better run-scoring chance in that inning,” said Franz.

When the D-backs take on the Brewers in the deciding Game 5 on Friday, D-backs fans can bet that Gibson will be at his sharpest and demonstrated Wednesday that he is not afraid to pull a starter if an opportunity shows itself.

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