Gibson reflects on challenging road trip

Photo by Jordan Megenhardt

By Greg Dillard

Ten games. Three cities. Two of baseball’s best pitching staffs.

The D-backs returned to the friendly confines of Chase Field on Friday night after a grueling East Coast road trip.

Arizona hit the road for three-game sets in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington. After stunning Roy Halladay and the Phillies for a 3-2 win in the series opener, the D-backs fell victim to a six-game losing streak.

The Arizona bats were silenced as the team was outscored 30-7 during the slide.

Things started to turn around for the D-backs on Tuesday when Ian Kennedy’s gem and Sean Burroughs’ 2-run homer helped Arizona to a 2-0 win over Washington.

One night later, it was Daniel Hudson who shined on the mound. The right-hander tossed 8 2/3 strong innings to claim his 13th win of the season and a 4-2 Arizona win.

The series finale saw Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt launch home runs, while the offense exploded for three runs in the eighth and ninth innings. The D-backs held on for an impressive 8-1 victory to clinch the series.

The first-place D-backs are now home for a six-game home stand against the Padres and Rockies. Heading into Friday’s game, they held a three-game lead in the National League West.

Although his team faced plenty of challenges on the road trip, manager Kirk Gibson was pleased with how it finished.

“Overall I thought we played decent,” Gibson said. “I think we’re getting better and better. Most importantly we could’ve cracked. We were one and six, finished with three wins and the atmosphere was really good when we were losing. We stayed together, stayed on task and didn’t panic. That’s one of the reasons I changed it up. I think we’re a better team because of it.”

Gibson was also impressed with how the D-backs handled the departure of Kelly Johnson and the acquisitions of John McDonald and Aaron Hill.

“We made the trade and Johnny Mac and Aaron have come in here,” Gibson said. “This team, they absorb things very well. They brought them right in and made them feel comfortable. They just want to win.

“It’s tough when you lose friends in the game. There is an old saying ‘you should just be happy it’s not you that gets moved.’ We’ve all had a lot of friends that have been traded throughout our careers. There’s a part of it that stinks, but you have to move on. You need to understand how these people are going to fit it and how they’re going to help you win ballgames. That’s what we’re here for. We’re still going to be friends with Kelly Johnson if we see him. I know it’s tough. I understand it, but it’s baseball. We move on. We wish him the best. Now we want Johnny Mac and Aaron Hill to be very, very productive for us.”

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