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2011 NLDS: Kirk Gibson Does His Best Grady Little Impersonation

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 28:  Manager Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on September 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 7-5. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Scott SewellCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2011

Kirk Gibson apparently wasn’t watching Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. 

The Brewers were leading 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning when Ryan Braun reached across the plate to slap a double into right field.

That hit would bring up Prince Fielder—he of the 38 home runs and 120 RBI— to face Ian Kennedy with a runner in scoring position, two outs, and first base open.

Gibson had several options. He could’ve intentionally walked Fielder, ordered Kennedy to pitch around Fielder, taken Kennedy out of the game or pitched to the potential NL MVP.

Gibson left Kennedy into pitch to him and it cost his team Game 1.

Fielder hit a two run home run on the second pitch of the at bat and the Brewers took a 4-0 lead.

Ryan Roberts would homer in the top of the eighth, but it felt like a footnote. The game had been decided. The Brewers would go onto win 4-1. 

Grady Little will forever be remembered for making a similar mistake in 2003 when the Red Sox and Yankees were tied at three games a piece in the ALCS.

Little left Pedro Martinez in to pitch in the eighth inning when he was obviously laboring and stuck in a tough situation. Jorge Posada would single to tie the game and the Yankees would ultimately win the game.

Gibson made the same mistake, allowing his young pitcher to stay in the game one batter too long.

It will be interesting to see if the young Diamondbacks team is able to rally together and pick up their manager in Game 2 when Milwaukee sends ace starter Zack Greinke to the mound for his first ever postseason start.

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