Chris Owings needs to play every day. Period. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Question: Which team is turning a potential Rookie of the Year into a late game replacement?
Answer: The Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chris Owings did not start the last two games of the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did get into both of them as a pinch-hitter. However, I find it a little discomforting that Owings, who is having a fine season, has been seeing the bench a little more lately. Once Cliff Pennington was placed on the disabled list and the D’backs recalled Didi Gregorius, you probably figured that this was coming. Throw Jordan Pacheco into the mix (even though he can play in the outfield as well), and you can see the infield has become awfully crowded.
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Owings did not start Saturday night even though the Dodgers pitched Dan Haren. Why is this significant? Owings has nine hits in 11career at-bats against the former D’back. Although Gregorius had two hits of his own, there is no logical basis for sitting Owings out that game. It is decisions like these that make fans call for the firing of Kirk Gibson. Here you have Owings, who had hits in his previous three games and getting ready to face a guy he hits extremely well and then Gibby benches him? Then he gets benched the following day? To the best of our knowledge, there were no injury concerns. The D’backs have played 14 games in the month of June. Owings has started only eight of them, this after starting 23 of the team’s 28 games in May. I understand the need to keep him fresh because he will play a lot more games at this level than at every level prior to this season. However, even when Pennington returns from the DL and Didi (perhaps) gets sent to Triple A, I am afraid Owings will see less time with the addition of Pacheco. After all, Gibby loves versatility.
The mistake was bringing up Gregorius in the first place. The team would have been better served by bringing up Nick Ahmed and letting him be the late inning defensive replacement for Owings. Given Didi’s solid production thus far, how do you justify sending him back down? It’s just another question for the Gibby and KT regime that may be running out of time.