D-Backs players stand up for manager Kirk Gibson, GM Kevin Towers

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Following Tuesday’s loss to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks fell to 5-18, worst in baseball. They had lost 10 of their previous 11 games and had the worst run differential in baseball, by far, at -62.

They are now on a three-game winning streak, but still have a .663 OPS which ranks in the bottom-third of the National League. Their 6.49 rotation ERA is by far the worst, and the 21 errors they’ve committed ties for the third-worst in the league.

Knowing that, it’s not surprising that the D-Backs players stood up for manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers as they faced increased scrutiny with the awful start. Via Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona:

“The kind of start we got off to, I don’t know if you can explain it other than we have just played horribly,”  veteran third baseman Eric Chavez said. “It’s completely on the players. We take full responsibility for our lack of production on the field. We have to get it done in here, in this clubhouse.”

[…]

“I think sometimes there is too much blame that goes in other directions. You have to look at the players, because they are the ones who are playing,” Chavez said. “The numbers don’t lie. Whatever categories we are falling into has nothing to do with ‘Gibby’ or anybody. If somebody wants to pass that on” and blame someone else, “there is going to be some issues with that, because you have to look at yourself as a player.”

Chavez wasn’t the only one to speak up. Catcher Miguel Montero said that blame shouldn’t be cast on Gibson and Towers because “they don’t play the game for us”. Second baseman Aaron Hill said he and his teammates shouldn’t be pressing as much. Although their players came to their defense, Towers’ and Gibson’s seats should continue to be hot for the duration of the season. Non-player personnel are always the first to go when a team doesn’t live up to expectations.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.