Gibson says pitching needs to improve

Gibson says pitching needs to improve

Gibson says pitching needs to improve
PHOENIX -- When D-backs manager Kirk Gibson talks about the importance of defensive positioning and having his pitchers in sync with their fielders, it can be a little hard for some to understand fully.

On Sunday, Gibson used an example from the previous night's game to illustrate his point.

In the decisive seventh inning, Freddy Sanchez broke the game open with a grounder through the hole at short off Sam Demel. The ball was not hit hard -- and a few feet either way it would not have been a problem -- so the assumption was that it was a good pitch that had a bad result.

"He gave up a ground ball. But the reality of it is, he missed his spot," Gibson said. "It was a sinker -- supposed to be down and away -- and it ran right over the middle, inner third. It's important that he hit that spot because of the way we are defending that hitter. We've not done a good job at that. For me, I have to make sure they understand what we're trying to accomplish. I can't assume that."

In other words, the D-backs were not playing Sanchez to pull because they were planning on pitching him away -- so when the pitch was inside instead, Sanchez was able to pull the ball for a hit.

Gibson made it clear he was not singling Demel out and that he did not mean his explanation to be "derogatory towards Sam." He was simply pointing out what has been a staff-wide problem.

"Our pitching has to improve," Gibson said. "We haven't made pitches. The pitching side we're well below average, and that's where our success lies."