Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/13/12
PHOENIX A glass-half-full guy might conclude that the Diamondbacks are in an OK place right now because they are conforming to their 2011 pace. Manager Kirk Gibson is not willing to go that far, even if the D-backs' 15-20 record resembles their 15-22 start last season. But that is about where the similarity ends, he said. "We are not playing good baseball," Gibson said after the D-backs' 7-3 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. "We were playing good baseball last year. We had lost five one-run games in a row" to bottom out at 15-22."We are not doing that right now. We need to right that part first, as a team. We all know it's not going be easy. "It's official." Joe Saunders gave up six runs in his second consecutive start and the offense struggled off a soft-tossing left-hander Barry Zito, who spent the day in the 70mph-80mph range and made his off-speed assortment work. Jason Kubel had three hits and two RBIs, but the D-backs had only five hits and did not get any after Kublel's RBI-double drove in A.J. Pollock to get the D-backs within 3-2 in the fourth inning. The D-backs lost the final two games of the San Francisco series, the first they had lost to the Giants in the last five. It concluded a 1-5 homestand, the second straight losing homestand, the first coming after Chris Young and Daniel Hudson were placed on the disabled list within a day of each other in mid-April. "It was a tough week. It was a tough homestand. Got our butts kicked. Didn't have very good execution again. Anywhere," Gibson said. Gibson is a patient competitor, and he understands as well as anyone the ebb and flow of a game that is played every day. Streaks come. Streaks go. But like the players, Gibson is frustrated about the particulars of the first five weeks the D-backs are among the poorest teams in the majors in hitting with runners in scoring position, and they continue to lead the majors in strikeouts (287) after striking out nine more times Sunday. Unlike the players, Gibson and the front office are in a position to do something about it, and Gibson indicated before the game that the leash is getting shorter. "I would just tell you, if our team gets the point where we can't compete, we need to make adjustments within our personnel. That's just the way it goes," Gibson said. "Sparky (Anderson) used to say you really don't know anything about your team until the first 40 games. Well, we're there. So we kind of know. So, yeah, it is time to make adjustments. It is time to make some adjustments if we have to." Asked if it seemed too soon to make personnel moves, Gibson said, "I don't know that." The D-backs are 8-16 since Young and Hudson went down, and Young still leads the team with five home runs. Jason Kubel is the only regular hitting over.300, and Miguel Montero is the only one above .260. Ryan Roberts is not having the hot start that won him a job last season, but he is not alone. Production is down most places. Fair or not, some of the onus has fallen on Justin Upton, who has only three home runs and nine RBIs in his first 111 at-bats. He is 2 for 26 with runners in scoring position, and he failed twice in that situation Sunday, taking a curve ball for strike three with runners on first and third to end the second inning and grounding out with a runner on second in the fourth. It seems obvious that the jammed thumb he suffered April 8 remains a persistent, nagging problem, but he continues to remain in the lineup and Gibson continues to bat him third. His splits are a concern to Gibson right now. Upton is hitting .300 against left-handers and .198 against righties, although two of his homers have come against righties. He has five stolen bases on the road, none at home. "You look at the numbers and you just wonder against right-handers, what's going on with that? Something tells us he's not maybe picking the ball up as good from the right side," Gibson said. Upton, who had his second 20-20 season and made his second All-Star game in three years in 2011, is as frustrated as anyone. "I'm not seeing the ball off anybody right now. Righties, lefties. I don't know if the dude was throwing out of his foot. It wouldn't matter. I've slumped before and I'm in a slump right now. I'm not getting it done," Upton said.
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