Gibson looking for good offensive balance

Gibson looking for good offensive balance

Gibson looking for good offensive balance
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With sluggers Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche no longer in the lineup, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to have to find ways to score runs other than with the long ball.

While Melvin Mora -- who is likely to replace Reynolds at third -- and whoever winds up winning the battle at first base between Juan Miranda, Brandon Allen and Russell Branyan will not hit the 57 homers that Reynolds and LaRoche combined for last year, they also won't strike out 383 times.

"That's where, if we're going to make more contact, we'll try to put more guys in motion. And there are some other things I'll do as we get into the season that we haven't done in the past, ways to pick up runs," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

The way the D-backs scored the winning run against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon is the type of thing that Gibson hopes to see at crucial times during the regular season.

With the game tied, Willie Bloomquist got the rally started with a one-out single to left off Ryan Tucker.

That brought Ryan Roberts to the plate, and reliever Ryan Tucker jumped ahead of him, 0-1. Gibson then signaled for a hit-and-run. Bloomquist took off and Roberts swung through a pitch outside and in the dirt.

While Roberts knew that the pitch would be a tough one for the catcher to backhand and throw the runner out, he wasn't about to take it.

"You've got to swing at it," he said. "If it's a hit-and-run and he throws a pitch like that, there's really not a whole lot you can do. You swing just to let them know you got the sign, and for a little protection. If they put it on, you've got to swing -- unless it hits you."

That put Roberts in an 0-2 hole. But Gibson said he took that risk because he knew that the way Roberts has been swinging the bat this spring, he could handle it.

"Not a big deal Ryno, you're a good player," Gibson said of his message to Roberts.

When told of Gibson's comments, Roberts beamed.

"That makes me feel good," he said.

Roberts took a fastball for ball one, then fouled off another fastball and a slider before taking a high fastball to run the count to 2-2.

Tucker then threw a fastball outside that Roberts lined to center to score Bloomquist and give the D-backs a 3-2 win.

"I loved it," Gibson said. "Good team ball, right there."

The D-backs ranked eighth in the National League in runs scored with 713 in 2010, and they gave up the second most in the league at 836.

Gibson was asked if he thinks they can score as many runs in 2011 without Reynolds and LaRoche.

"I have no idea," Gibson said. "I hope to score more. I hope we give up less and score more, but time will tell. I'm not a computer, I can't punch that out of my head. San Diego was last in runs, and they were in first place until the last day -- and I'll take that. Again, because they pitch and defend.

"The runs thing, I know people look at the elements of the game -- and you've got to do this, you've got to do that. All and all, when you mix the bowl all up, it's either a good salad or it isn't. We're looking for a good mix. I'm not looking at it like we have to do this or this, I think it's a combination of things for us to be what we want to be."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.