Hinch's Moves Backfire as LA Sweeps D-backs
Edwin Jackson (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Posted May 13, 2010


Arizona Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch made two questionable decisions in the seventh inning Wednesday night to facilitate the first ever Dodgers sweep of the D-backs at Chase Field. He intentionally walked Andre Ethier to get to one of the best clutch hitters of all time and allowed starter Edwin Jackson to throw 121 pitches for fear of turning the game over to a struggling bullpen.

The Diamondbacks have attacked both sides of Los Angeles' Andre Ethier-Manny Ramirez combination this season, and neither has worked out well.

Ramirez hit a bases-loaded, two-out double to drive in three runs in the seventh inning Wednesday, turning the Dodgers' 3-2 lead into a 6-2 cushion after D-backs manager A.J. Hinch intentionally walked Ethier to load the bases.

Some of the math was on Hinch's side: Ramirez was 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in his career against D-backs right-hander Edwin Jackson, the fifth strikeout coming in the fourth inning ... seven pitches after Ethier hit a two-run homer.  On the other hand, Manny Ramirez is one of the best hitters in MLB history and now has a .333 batting average in 232 career at-bats with the bases loaded to go along with a .707 slugging average.

"It's a difficult call," Hinch said. "The way it turned out, obviously it's a bad call. Two of the hottest hitters in the league, with all the money on the table. As it turned out, it was the toughest one to deal with as a team, and the toughest one for me to internalize. It's going to be one to remember."

The D-backs chose to face Ethier in a similar situation on April 15 in Dodger Stadium, when he batted with one out and runners on second and third base with one out in the 10th inning. Ethier hit a walk-off single off right-hander Blaine Boyer with Ramirez standing in the on-deck circle.

"I remember how it went in L.A. when Ethier was up. There's proof positive that they both are very capable of hurting you. I don't really live in should'ves and could'ves and would'ves," Hinch said.

"More appropriately, I remember (Ethier's) at-bats tonight. The only time we didn't hit his barrel was the intentional walk. I made the decision to go with it. For two pitches, it was a really good decision. One fastball right down the middle at 96 miles an hour turned into one I can think about on the off day until we get to Atlanta."

As for the decision to stay with starter Edwin Jackson, that can partly be forgiven because the Diamondbacks bullpen came into the game with an ERA over 7.00.  However, the same could be said for Jackson.  At least a bullpen arm would have been fresh.

"Edwin had worked so hard to get in that position and I trusted him and I thought it was his at-bat to get," Hinch said.

DODGERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep in which it outscored Arizona 27-9. 1B Adam LaRoche drove in all three of the D-backs' runs with a two-run double in the fourth inning and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. RHP Edwin Jackson gave up six runs in 6 2/3 innings. His record dropped to 1-5 as his ERA rose to 7.43.

SNAKE BYTES

--2B Kelly Johnson struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Wednesday, and he was 2-for-17 on the Diamondbacks' six-game homestand. Combined with a travel day Thursday, Johnson will be given the longest break he has had all season -- the first time he has gone consecutive days without starting at least once. He is hitting .269 with 10 doubles, 10 homers and 21 RBI while starting 32 of the D-backs' 35 games.

--LF Conor Jackson had his second two-hit game of the season and also reached base on a walk in his return to the leadoff spot, as 2B Kelly Johnson was out of the starting lineup. Jackson had two solid singles, and he scored a run in the eighth inning after leading off with a liner to center field.

--RHP Kris Benson (shoulder) threw 36 pitches off the mound in the bullpen in mid-afternoon, and he is tentatively scheduled to throw another bullpen Saturday before pitching in a simulated game or in extended spring training when the D-backs return home May 19. "Everything felt good," Benson said. When Benson returns to the rotation, RHP Cesar Valdez could move to the bullpen for good, even though his stuff profiles better as a starter. Valdez will be skipped this time through the rotation because of Thursday's travel day to Atlanta.

--RHP Carlos Rosa was promoted from Class AAA Reno, where he had made three scoreless appearances after being acquired from the Royals organization in a May 1 trade. The 25-year-old was 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in the minors this season and was 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA in nine games during brief stops with the Royals in 2008-09. "I'm so happy to be here. You play baseball for these opportunities," the right-hander said. Rosa, whose fastball reaches the mid-90 mph range, held right-handed hitters to a .229 batting average this season.

--RHP Daniel Stange, who had a 13.50 ERA, was optioned to Class AAA Reno to make room for Rosa. He allowed runs in three of his four big-league outings.

--RHP Aaron Heilman and RHP Chad Qualls combined for 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief Wednesday, the bullpen's best outing since RHP Juan Gutierrez and Qualls also went 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory in Houston on May 4.

DIAMOND STAT: 1804 - the number of RBI for Manny Ramirez after Wednesday's game.  He is eight behind Frank Robinson, who ranks 18th in MLB history

QUOTABLE: "I think it's the first time that's happened in the two years he's been here.  You get the guy's juices flowing and gets him dialed in and he got the job done."  -- Dodgers OF Andre Ethier, on being intentionally walked to load the bases for Manny Ramirez.


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