While one game does not make a season, the Arizona Diamondbacks got their season off in a winning way by demonstrating a style of play that is more in keeping with their hard-nosed manager Kirk Gibson. With the departure of Justin Upton, the team will rely less on power and more on finesse than at any time in recent years.
The fundamentals of solid pitching led by Ian Kennedy and the defense are the cornerstones for the Diamondbacks’ hopes, and they hope that an attack that features an aggressive approach on the bases along with taking advantage of the other teams’ mistakes will be enough to counteract the loss of power in their lineup.
For one game at least, this formula worked as an extremely aggressive approach saw numerous balls hit sharply into gaps and through the holes in the infield.
For a team that was 17 -40 in games in which they did not homer, the ability to scratch out runs and take advantage of situations is going to be a new approach, but early indications are that by channeling the tenacity and intensity that made Gibson such a solid player, the Diamondbacks will find a way to contend when many have written them off.
It remains to be seen whether the pesky and tenacious approach will play out over the long season, but the little ball formula seems to be the approach that the team is embracing as they wait for younger players to develop and hopefully provide more power to batting order.