The Arizona Diamondbacks are the biggest disappointment in baseball, and it does not have to be this way.
The shame is this team is talented, they have more talent on the field than the opposition on most nights. Not Toronto…San Francisco? With the Giants health and pitching issues I could make the argument the DBacks should have won the home series, and certainly not gotten swept on the road. The DBacks are certainly better than SD, how about Philly? Colorado? Are the Reds better than the DBacks? They nearly swept the DBacks in Cincinnati.
If you just look through box scores and watch highlights you would say this team is losing and lifeless because of all the injuries. You would ask how can we expect them to win without Pollock? How can the DBacks win games without Greinke? My personal favorite you ask? “Shelby Miller Sucks!”. Yes this team is better with those guys, and it would be nice if Miller were just serviceable, but there is no excuse that explains this club being 17 games under .500!
Chip Hale is a good man, he is a fabulous baseball man, he is respected by his team, and from what I understand, Hale is a good teacher of the game. BUT, there is a disconnect when it comes to pitching.
Monday Night in Milwaukee we saw the debut of Braden Shipley, the DBacks 15th pick of the 1st round in 2013. Shipley pitched well through 5, even with two HR’s, three earned and five hits allowed, the team was in the game, trailing 3-2. It was an outing to feel good about, it was an outing he could build on, Braden Shipley could have taken the ball in five days knowing he had earned it!
Instead, Chip Hale sent Shipley out for the sixth, when Shipley allowed two of the first three men to reach, breaking the 100 pitch mark, Hale left Shipley in to give up a 3 run homer. Now instead of feeling good about himself, I can only imagine Shipley is wondering if he is good enough to pitch at the big league level. Shipley must be wondering if he can keep the ball in the park, and if the other 24 guys believe in him?
In short, Chip Hale let Braden Shipley down last night!
As a staff, the Diamondbacks are near the bottom in every category. Team ERA (4.80 27/30), opponent on base percentage (.344 29/30) … you get the point, the DBacks can’t get people out. As a staff command in the strike zone is bad, mechanics are a consistent issue, walks, pitching with the lead, especially the half inning after the DBacks take the lead, they tend to come out and give up that lead.
Pitch selection and execution are daily issues, yet Chip Hale chuckled when I asked if he called pitches after Shelby Miller did not pitch around Giants Catcher Trevor Brown with the pitcher on deck (Cueto not Bumgarner). Brown would double in the winning run, after that game Hale said Miller was aware Cueto was on deck and was pitching around him, Miller said he made a good pitch to Brown, which of course he had not. If Hale had called for an intentional walk, or went out to talk the situation over, maybe Miller does not have yet another melt down. Hale’s preference is to allow the pitcher and catcher to work through pitch selection and game situations, which has repeatedly cost the DBacks wins this season.
Hale hired Mike Butcher because he was excited to see what Butcher could do with a young staff, yet there has been no development. This staff suffers from poor command, poor pitch selection, which leads to high pitch counts and eroding levels of confidence. To say the least, pitching is the problem, not injuries.
Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart are not blameless, there certainly have been mistakes made upstairs, but there is plenty of talent on the roster and in the system to compete day in and day out. It comes down to a simple fact, Chip Hale is not the right guy to lead a younger group of players trying to find their way.
Hale is too much of a players manager, when what this club needs is a task master who controls every aspect of the game. This club is desperate for a Manager who does not leave room for interpretation, who has incredibly high expectations, and when those expectations are not met jobs are on the line!
The DBacks need a manager who can sense that Braden Shipley was gassed at 100 pitches, with Dominic Leone ready in the pen, would go get your prized rookie because he needs to feel good about himself.
Unfortunately for the DBacks, that is not who Chip Hale is. Fortunately for the DBacks, that’s exactly who Phil Nevin is.
You can hear Tim Montemayor on “The Monty Show” Monday-Friday at 10AM on NBC Sports Radio 1060. Find Tim on Twitter: @TheMontyShow