One way to solve the solution is rotate to players.
That’s the approach taken by Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale, and he continues to juggle key personnel in and out of the line-up. This is particulatly true with four quality outfielders Hale has on his playing roster.
For Sunday’s game with the Cubs at home, Hale chose to sit Mark Trumbo, considered his every-day right-fielder, and inserted Ender Inciarte in right. With outfielders Trumbo, Inciarte, A. J. Pollock and David Peralta all producing at a high level, Hale seems like the ring master in this game of musical chairs.
“Reasons for putting certain players in there depends on factors like match-ups and physical conditions,” Hale said before Sunday’s game with Chicago in Chase Field. “In the case of Mark, this is a day game after a night game and it’s a good opportunity to rest him. Overall, I try and mix it around.”
Despite who Hale chooses, the players continue to respond on a high level.
Coming into Sunday’s game, a few numbers bear out Hale’s approach.
Against righties, Inciarte is hitting .319 (21-for-67) in his last 19 games, and hit safely in 14 of his last 15 home games. Pollock’s torrid bat carried the recent four-game sweep in Miami, and the native of Marlborough, Conn. is hitting .550 (11-for-20) in his last five games.
For his part, Trumbo has hit safely in six of his last seven games, while Peralta is hitting .378 (14-for-37) in his last 11 home games.
In addition to actual production, Hale said construction of the major league schedule also represents another factor in the determination of his line-up.
“We came off a tough trip to Philadelphia and Miami and the schedule continues to be rough,” Hale said. “Look, it’s baseball, and all teams goes through this. We’ll figure it out.”
Within the perspective of the 162 game schedule, Hale indicated the season is a grind and marathon, and preparation is based on the fact the season is not a sprint. An occasional day off, like Hale gave Paul Goldschmidt last Thursday against the Marlins, is one way the manager addresses the routine.
“Just go out and play every day,” Hale pointed out. “Because of the length of the schedule, it’s not crucial that you play every day.”
Prior to Sunday’s game, only Goldschmidt and Inciarte appeared in all 42 games, and Pollock has played in 41 of the first 42 games.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Diamondbacks were two games under .500 and putting up surprising numbers.
At that point, Arizona topped the majors in with 89, two-out RBIs and third in this area with a .280 average.
That represents a substantial edge of over the Royals (83), the Yankees and Jays ( each at 81), and the Giants (80).
Also, the Diamondbacks lead the majors in with two-out batting average. Their mark of .296 is better than the Royals (.292), the Giants (.289), the Red Sox (.266), and the Rockies (.264).
Offensively, the Diamondbacks were second in the National League in runs scored, and their 200 runs, prior to Sunday’s game, was the most the team has scored in their first 42 games in five years.
Among National League rookies, Yasmany Tomas led all first-year players with a .333 average (before Sunday’s game), was second with 11 mufti-hit games, third in on-base percentage, and fourth with a .417 slugging percentage.