The Arizona Diamondbacks responded well to their new skipper.
Coming off an impressive win in Kirk Gibson’s managerial debut, the Diamondbacks look to build on their highest-scoring game in six weeks Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will likely again be without Manny Ramirez(notes).
Arizona (32-48) fired GM Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch on Thursday with the team last in the NL West, 15 games back of division-leading San Diego. The two were replaced by former big league pitcher Jerry Dipoto and Gibson, the former slugger whose iconic homer in the 1988 World Series helped the Dodgers win the title.
Gibson, Arizona’s bench coach since 2007, made one lineup change in his first game as manager, moving Chris Young into the leadoff spot for the first time this season.
It proved to be a good decision.
Young had three hits - including a homer and a double - drove in five runs and scored three times in Friday’s 12-5 victory. It was Arizona’s highest-scoring game since a 13-1 win over San Francisco on May 19.
“I felt like it was my first major league game again,” Gibson said. “It was a great feeling. I don’t know how many people get to enjoy that feeling. It’s like euphoric.”
Gibson probably also feels pretty well, considering he doesn’t have to worry about facing Ramirez, who has been out since straining his hamstring Tuesday against San Francisco.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Ramirez would likely be out the rest of this series and the team will have to decide whether to continue playing a man down or put him on the disabled list next week. The 12-time All-Star is batting .322 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 59 games.
Los Angeles dropped to 13-16 without Ramirez in the lineup Friday, and fell 3 1/2 games back of the Padres.
Kershaw was in line for the win Sunday against the Yankees, until Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton(notes) blew a four-run ninth-inning lead. The Yankees went on to win 8-6 in 10 innings after Kershaw allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, and didn’t walk anyone for the first time in his career. Los Angeles has lost Kershaw’s last two starts after going 7-1 in his previous eight.
The left-hander earned the win in his only start of the season against the Diamondbacks on April 13, allowing two runs, three hits and five walks while striking out seven in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-5 victory.
Lopez has posted a 2.57 ERA in winning his last two starts after going 0-4 with a 5.85 ERA in his previous six. In Tampa Bay on Sunday, the right-hander allowed one run, two hits and five walks in six innings of a 2-1 victory. The nine-year veteran hasn’t won three consecutive starts since May 25-June 4, 2006, with Baltimore.
It’s been considerably longer since his last win over the Dodgers, which came on June 7, 2002, a span of seven starts. In three starts against Los Angeles this year, Lopez is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.