I don’t mean to be a downer today. That is not my intention, not after the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-4 for their first victory of the 2014 season. I saw something in last night’s game that I hope does not become a pattern for this season. As tempting as it is to say Didi Gregorius would have made those two catches the last two nights that Chris Owings muffed, that is not my #1 concern. What I fear most is what happened when Mark Trumbo came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. The following quote is from my 3/19 post titled “Why I Dig Mark Trumbo”. It sure is strange quoting myself:
The one thing he CAN NOT do is leave guys at third with less than two outs.
I realize the situation last night is slightly different from the quote. However, the premise is the same. Paul Goldschmidt was on second with one out. The Giants walked Miguel Montero to get Trumbo, setting up with runners on first and second. Trumbo proceeded to hit into an inning-ending double play in a one run ball game. Expect every single opposing manager to make maneuvers like this until Trumbo can hurt them in a big way. I know the knock on him is his high strikeout totals and low on-base percentage. However, it is WHEN he fans or can’t move runners along that has the potential to hurt the D’backs. Striking out leading off the second inning in theory is no different than with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning but it hurts a lot worse in the latter situation. Suppose during a game later in the season, Trumbo homers in the second and fifth innings but strikes out with runners on second and third with one out in the eighth in a one run game the Snakes lose. Which at-bat will you remember more?
In order for the D’backs to contend for something special, Mark Trumbo will have to succeed in situations like the one he faced last night. This is not to throw cold water over the nice start he has had with his new team. I just want people to remember this post the next time and every time Trumbo comes up in a big spot late in the game. It may be the single most important factor in the success or failure of the Diamondbacks.