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Hall: Too soon to speculate on changes

Team president/CEO says organization is focused on how to turn things around

PHOENIX -- A 4-14 start to the season has led to public speculation about the job status of D-backs general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, and that makes team president/CEO Derrick Hall cringe.

"I don't even want to be talking about this right now," Hall said Thursday, an off-day for the team.

Hall said the talk within the organization is focused on how to turn the season around before it spirals out of control.

"This is not the time to focus on the job status of either one of them," Hall said. "This is the time when everyone needs to get together, figure this out and get through that."

The D-backs opened the regular season March 22-23 in Sydney, Australia, by dropping a pair of games to the Dodgers and followed it up by losing three of four to the Giants at home when the season reopened and dropping two of three to the Rockies in Colorado.

It appeared that maybe their fortunes had turned after they won two of three games against the Giants in San Francisco to pull their record to 4-8, but an 0-6 homestand had the talk radio airwaves buzzing.

"Two of the worst things we can do is act on emotion and act too soon, or act too late," Hall said.

And judging by Hall's next comment, it's clear that Thursday was too soon.

"After 18 games now is not the time to point fingers," Hall said. "The healthier thing to do is to focus on how to get this thing figured out."

The main source of the problem has been the starting rotation, which has a 7.63 ERA. That is the worst mark in the Majors, more than two full runs higher than the 29th-ranked Twins.

The starters' inability to pitch deep into games -- they're averaging just over five innings a start -- has made setting bullpen roles a virtual impossibility for Gibson.

Even a decent outing by Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday was not sufficient to snap Arizona's losing streak.

"Mac threw good enough to win the game," Gibson said. "We played poorly. We continue to play poorly. We made mistakes. We ran into an out, we made a couple of errors, we're not able to contain guys running the bases and we're unable to throw the ball to first base. So as hard as they keep fighting, when you shoot yourself in the foot, it's tough."

Whether the D-backs should have been looked at as a contender before the season began is open for debate, but no objective prognosticator could have foreseen this poor of a start.

Players in the clubhouse were as perplexed as management when it came to how to stop the slide.

"I don't know what we're in need of besides playing better baseball, maybe an exorcism or something," McCarthy said. "But we've crossed over into that bad side."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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