Big League Stew - MLB

Gibson gets his mojo back, pushes right buttons in Game 4 winWidely believed to be his league's manager of the year after leading the Arizona Diamondbacks from worst to first in the NL West, Kirk Gibson left us second-guessing that belief with several questionable decisions in Game 1 of the NLDS, which they lost to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Another rough afternoon in Game 2 brought Arizona home down 2-0 in the series and on the brink of elimination.

They avoided going three-and-out behind a historic performance from rookie Paul Goldschmidt(notes) in Game 3, and in the process they afforded their manager another chance to redeem himself from earlier mistakes. Much like his D-backs have done all season on the field, Gibson seized the opportunity, rallying to manage a nearly perfect Game 4.

The biggest decision Gibson made came with two outs in the third inning, getting results that essentially decided the outcome right on the spot. (Generally those decisions come in the seventh inning and later.) He elected to lift starting pitcher Joe Saunders(notes) for pinch-hitter Colin Cowgill with runners on second and third.

The reasoning: "We had a chance to score runs," Gibson said. "I didn't like the way Joe was throwing."

The result: Cowgill delivered a two-run single that pushed Arizona's advantage to 7-3.

Given the relentless nature of the Milwaukee Brewers offense, Gibson realized he couldn't be satisfied with a two-run lead. His instincts proved to be right as Milwaukee chipped away, but could not overcome Cowgill's damaging hit in Arizona's 10-6 win.

Gibson gets his mojo back, pushes right buttons in Game 4 win

In addition to that gutsy call, Gibson made a subtle switch-a-roo on his lineup card, flipping Ryan Roberts(notes) and Chris Young in the sixth and seventh spots.

The reasoning: "All I can say is, you guys know [that] I think things out," Gibson said. "I research. I get opinions. I've played [different] lineups all year, and there were a lot of things that, I guess, startled people throughout the year."

The result: The switch immediately paid dividends when Roberts delivered a two-out grand slam in the first inning. Young would go on to have a big game himself, cracking a pair of home runs, so whatever Gibson was trying to accomplish there worked out very well.

Gibson's most important decision might prove to be not pushing his ace, Ian Kennedy(notes), to pitch on three days' rest in Game 4.

The reasoning: Aside from believing in Saunders, Gibson says, "I guess I don't subscribe to, 'Let's blow them out for this one, and we'll figure out the next one.'"

The result: It worked in Game 4. Now he can count on a fresh Kennedy to match up with Yovani Gallardo(notes) in the decisive Game 5 at Miller Park on Friday.

Follow Mark on Twitter — @Townie813 — and engage the Stew on Facebook

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
Video: Anderson Silva shows his moves on stage with Justin Bieber
NFL rookie fined $20K for hit; hit player tells him to appeal
Michael Oher tweets he's unaware of who this Steve Jobs fellow was
Video: Tim Tebow gives pep talk to 'Biggest Loser' competitors

Related Articles

Big League Stew

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog