If your name isn't in the starting lineup, don't take it personally.
That is Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin's word of advice for certain
position players as he continues to tweak his lineup during the final
week of the regular season in Arizona's attempt to clinch the National
League West title.
On Tuesday, he sat Conor Jackson for a second consecutive game and
had Tony Clark starting at first base in Pittsburgh. He also sat rookie
Justin Upton and went with Jeff Salazar in right field.
"Each and every day means that much more," Melvin said, "and if
there's a little bit of, we think, a small percentage leaning the other
way, then I might be apt to do it."
Clark went 2-for-4 in Arizona's 6-5 loss to the Pirates, and Jackson
came off the bench to hit a game-tying, pinch single in the eighth.
Clark is hitting .348 in September, Jackson .306.
Jackson said he's okay with the decision, and he appreciates the way
Melvin talks to players in advance before announcing lineup decisions.
"He's a players' manager," Jackson said of Melvin. "He's letting you
know what the situation is. I'd rather be in the loop than out. Me and
'T' are both swinging the bats hot right now."
PIRATES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5: The Diamondbacks rallied from a 5-1
deficit, but the Pirates rallied late themselves to beat Arizona on Tuesday
night at PNC Park.
The Diamondbacks' magic number for a playoff spot remains four.
The Pirates scored twice in the first inning against starter Doug Davis, then added three off Tony Pena in the seventh. Arizona rallied
with four hits and four runs in eighth to tie the score at 5, getting RBI
hits from Chris Snyder, Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew.
Josh Phelps won it for the Pirates with an RBI single in the eighth
off Brandon Lyon.
--LHP Doug Davis failed to win for the fourth start in a row. He has
posted a 7.27 ERA since his last victory, Sept. 4 against San Diego.
--RHP Livan Hernandez gets the start Wednesday in Pittsburgh. He is
3-3 with a 5.10 ERA against the Pirates. Hernandez has 19 "quality
starts" out of his 32 starts this season.
--Manager Bob Melvin said the Diamondbacks would be grateful to
reach the playoffs. "However you get in is great, but I think the goal is
to win the division," he said. "That's a goal I think for every team.
Coming out of spring training, win your division."
--RHP Micah Owings, who is hitting .291 with four home runs in 55
at-bats, on being a top contender for a Silver Slugger award: "If
something like that happens one day, sure, I'll be grateful and consider it an
honor. But right now I'm just trying to focus on what I can do to help
my team out."
--Alberto Callaspo's sore hamstring hasn't recovered as quickly
as the team had hoped, so manager Bob Melvin has continued to rely on
Augie Ojeda as his regular starting second baseman in light of the
season-ending thumb surgery to 2B Orlando Hudson.
"Augie's like an electric blanket," Melvin said. "You feel very
secure about having him out there. You know he's going to give you a
competitive at-bat, he understands how to hit down in the lineup...
Defensively, he's extremely solid and he's just a nice compliment to the team."
--3B Mark Reynolds hit .522 with three home runs, nine RBIs and
seven runs scored during the Diamondbacks' recently-completed six-game
homestand against the Giants and Dodgers.
"When you talk about guys locked in, he's at a pretty good place
right now," manager Bob Melvin said.
--Reynolds on picking up his batting average during the
final six weeks after struggling mightily, especially with excessive
strikeouts: "It (stinks) that it took this far into the season to adjust. But
at least it's happening as it gets closer to the playoffs."
--Class AA Mobile hitting coach Dave Hansen was promoted by the
Diamondbacks to be their minor league hitting coordinator.
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