I’m rather struck by the notion of Kirk Gibson as the Diamondbacks new manager. I know he’s been a bench coach and a hitting coach for a long time — both with the Tigers and the Dbacks, but I’ve never really considered him to be a future manager.
No reason for this, really. I guess I just still picture him as a player and not a coach, mostly because (a) he was one of the biggest personalities on the team I followed as a little kid; and (b) I don’t see a lot of Dbacks games so I haven’t seen him just sort of hanging out in the dugout thinking like coaches and managers do.
In my mind he’s still that fiery player of the 1980s, rounding first with his helmet flying off, snapping at Dodgers teammates for putting shoe polish in his cap and stuff like that. Still: it’s exactly that kind of fire and intensity that so many people like to see in a manager. Or at least in a managerial candidate (the fire often wears thin after Mr. Intensity takes the job).
Gibson has never managed on any level, which was one of A.J. Hinch’s biggest handicaps when he took the job. I have this feeling, however, that no one is going to give Gibson crap for that. He might just take their damn head off if they do.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.