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Diamondbacks - One Week with New Manager Kirk Gibson | July
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The Arizona Diamondbacks have now played for one week with their new manager, Kirk Gibson, and have complied a 2-6 record.  It is still difficult to evaluate Gibson's managerial tendencies, since there have not been many close games during the past week.  The two wins have both been blowouts, 12-5 over the Dodgers and 10-4 over the Marlins, so Gibson's handling of the bullpen in save situations is still unknown.  But there are a few things we have learned in the first week:
  • Leadoff Hitter Chris Young - After batting in the 6th or 7th slot under A.J. Hinch, Young has batted leadoff in six of the past eight games.  Although Young has been one of the team's best players in 2010, his .326 OBP is second lowest among the regulars, only above Gerardo Parra's .319.  Young does lead the team in Stolen Bases with 16, but most teams have been opting for on-base skills in the leadoff spot rather than just speed.
  • Stephen Drew - With Young batting in the leadoff slot, Drew has usually been dropped to the #7 slot in the order.
  • Starting Pitching - Gibson has used the same five starting pitchers as Hinch - Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Rodrigo Lopez, and Barry Enright. Given the problems that the bullpen has had, Gibson has shown that he's willing to ride his starters; Dan Haren has thrown 121 and 118 pitches in his two starts under Gibson. Kennedy had given up 5 ER in 5 IP against the Cubs, but was sent out to start the 6th inning (where he allowed two more runs).
  • Multiple Innings for Relievers - Gibson has allowed his relief pitchers to throw a second inning if they have had a fairly easy first inning. Aaron Heilman threw both the 8th and 9th inning against the Marlins yesterday, with the team down 3-2. That means that Heilman may not be available for Saturday's game. Sam Demel threw the 8th and 9th in the win on Thursday, even though the team had a 10-4 lead. Juan Gutierrez threw the 7th and 8th against the Cubs on Wednesday with the D'backs behind 5-3.
  • Gerardo Parra - Gibson has said that he will let Parra will see most of the playing time in LF. Parra's defense has been very good, and Gibson says Parra will even get opportunities against situational lefties late in the game. "That's how I was brought along," Gibson said of his own playing career's beginnings. "The other day [Wednesday] when I left him in [against Cubs lefty James Russell], he was looking in the dugout [for reassurance] -- I've been there -- and I said, 'Hey, go get 'em, man.'"
  • Closer - Gibson has not had a Save Opportunity yet, and has also not yet named his closer. "If I told you," he said with a smile to a group of reporters Tuesday, "You guys would hold me to it." Gibson has mentioned that he a lot of confidence in former closer Chad Qualls, but that was before Qualls gave up 3 ER on Wednesday. At this point, Gibson could go to any of Qualls, Heilman, Gutierrez, Demel or Vazquez when a save situation arises. Any pitcher who puts together two or three good outings could easily move into the closer's role.