08/08/2002 10:49 pm ET
D-Backs ready to turn the page
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Luis Gonzalez knew there would be days like this.
And games like this.
And series like this.
Ah, those dreaded baseball ofers, when at the plate the baseball seems pea-sized and hard-hit balls are right at-em, and after you go 0-for-17 -- which Gonzo has -- you wonder why, when only recently he was as sizzling as the Arizona sun.
The left-fielder, to his credit, is not in a mental funk as the Diamondbacks prepare for a three-game set with the Florida Marlins starting Friday night at Bank One Ballpark.
On the contrary, Gonzalez is upbeat and optimistic, if a little disappointed after watching Arizona lose two of three games from Atlanta, including Thursday's 4-1 defeat.
Rampages and slumps are as much a part of baseball as seventh-inning stretches, and he's already had his share of downs and ups this season.
"Good pitching sometimes beats good hitting," said Gonzalez, whose average has fallen from .306 to .299 in the past week. "I felt like I got pitched pretty tough in this series. They were pitching me away, and when I was looking out there they came in on me, so it's not that I felt bad up there. I have to give them some credit.
"Obviously I wanted to swing the bat good, because when I'm not we don't score that many runs," said Gonzalez, who has still played superbly in left field during his mini dry spell. "I want to produce, but we ran into some good pitching."
Braves starter Tom Glavine pitched about as well as he ever has against the Diamondbacks, limiting them to only four hits over eight-plus innings. He hasn't won 15 games this season with bad pitches.
"Glavine pitched a solid game today, getting a lot of ground ball outs," said Gonzalez. "He had us chasing, rolling over on pitches. That's just the way he pitches. He was throwing a two-seamer down and away and we didn't get very good swings on him."
Personally, Gonzo knows offense is cyclical. Sometimes you're at the top, then you're at the bottom, with hitting never a flat-plane competition. At the end of April, he was hitting .247. A month later, he was at .303 and has hovered near the .300 mark ever since.
Now he has sort of bottomed out again. But expect him to bust out against Florida.
Doing anything differently, Gonzo? Manager Bob Brenly noted the cleanup hitter seems to be "waiting for perfect pitches and takes a lot of strikes -- he seems to be searching a little bit."
"Nope," he replied. "They pitched me tough, that's the way I look at it. They pitched me tough the whole series. I had quite a few strikeouts in this series (five) and I just took too many pitches. Usually I'm more aggressive, and I've been guessing a little bit. But they're good pitchers. I tip my cap, move on, and look for the Marlins to move in."
As for D-Backs' pitcher Brian Anderson, he's getting weary of trying to "move on" in the face of not only adversity but monotony. The left-hander (5-8) has pitched well at times all season but has little to show for it except low-run-support losses and a plethora of no decisions.
Anderson had won three straight games, but then hurled three no-decision outings until Thursday when he gave up four runs against Atlanta over 6 1/3 innings, including two homers in the third frame.
Anderson always seems on the cusp, on the verge, at the lip, ready for a turnaround game that will stop his inconsistent streak. Not this time.
It was, ironically, the Braves' "other guys" who did him in Thursday, with Julio Franco and Mark De Rosa smacking homers. Big-timers Chipper and Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield merely played bit parts.
"It was one of those games where you throw (98) pitches and you miss location on three pitches and it costs you three runs," said Anderson. "The way Tommy was throwing the ball today, that was way too much. That's it, end of story."
Batista the poet: Pitcher Miguel Batista launched the sale of his poetry book, Sentimientos en Blanco y Negro following Thursday's game at Bank One Ballpark. Books are available for the first time in the U.S. since being published in the Dominican Republic in August, 2000. Batista is the first Latin American pro baseball player to publish a book on poetry. Proceeds from the $18 book will benefit Arizona Diamondbacks Charities and the Miguel Batista Foundation, which provides needy children in his hometown of Santo Domingo with transportation and resources.
Rich Draper covers the Diamondbacks for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.