Hinch reflects on D-backs' tough loss
Arizona's inability to pad early lead sticks with manager
LOS ANGELES -- A.J. Hinch admits to replaying parts of Tuesday night's game over and over in his head while trying to fall asleep.
The part that bothers him the most, though, is not what you might expect.
Sure, he would have liked the eighth inning to go differently, but it was the middle innings of the 6-5 loss that really stuck in the D-backs manager's craw.
"You play the game over and over," Hinch said. "Second [guess] and third and fourth and you can count the numbers of what ifs. It's funny because everybody will think of the game at the end. I went right to the middle part of the game, where [Dodgers starter Randy] Wolf threw 26 pitches in three innings. That's what you replay."
Hinch thought his hitters did not grind out at-bats in those innings, and the inability to tack on runs proved costly when the Dodgers overcame a 5-1 deficit with five runs in the eighth.
One thing Hinch seemed confident in was his decisions in the eighth, first to bring in Tony Pena to start the inning and second bringing in left-hander Daniel Schlereth with two outs and the bases loaded.
Pena got two outs but gave up a pair of singles and two walks to force in a run, and Schlereth gave up a three-run double to the first batter he faced in the left-handed-hitting James Loney.
Still, Hinch thought Pena was his best option to start the inning despite having thrown 28 pitches in an erratic ninth the night before. For one, Pena told Hinch before the game that he felt good and could pitch, and second, Juan Gutierrez was not an option having thrown 1 2/3 innings the night before.
When it came to Schlereth, Hinch dismissed bringing in fellow lefty Clay Zavada because he had pitched in two straight games and three of four. And as for closer Chad Qualls, Hinch was not going to try to use him for four outs after he had missed four straight games with forearm stiffness.
"The failures in this game lead to these questions and rightfully so, and had it worked out, Schlereth would have taken huge leaps forward in confidence and stability of 'I'm here and can do this,'" Hinch said. "He was two feet away from Chris Young catching that ball, albeit right on the warning track. It would have done wonders for him. But it didn't work and thus leads to the frustrating thoughts and questions."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.