6/30/2013 1:44 P.M. ET
Hernandez looks to iron out breaking ball
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Despite a mid-90s fastball, success for D-backs reliever David Hernandez usually comes down to his breaking ball.
If he's getting it over for a strike, opposing hitters are in trouble.
If he's not, well, then it's a different story.
"It's just been an inconsistent pitch from pitch to pitch," Hernandez said. "I've got to find a way to be more consistent with it."
Saturday against the Braves, Hernandez could not control the curve. He hit the first two batters he faced with it and it didn't take long for the Atlanta hitters to realize they could sit on his fastball and he allowed four runs in one-third of an inning.
So even if the pitches he made to Jason Heyward and Justin Upton in the outing were not bad ones, they were expected fastballs that led to hits and runs.
"Even the pitches to Heyward and Upton were pretty good pitches," Hernandez said. "But when you can't throw a curveball over and all you have to look for is a fastball, that makes it pretty easy to narrow it down."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said the issue might also be with Hernandez's mechanics.
"We came in and looked at the film and it looked like he was throwing across his body, looked like he was too closed," Gibson said. "I don't think his breaking ball has had as much depth or movement as its had this whole year."
Gibson also noted that Hernandez has been much better at home (2.12 ERA) than on the road (6.87).
When asked if there was anything to that, Gibson said, "If it continues, there is."
Sipp's friends, family leave big impression in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- It was just one game out of what will be 162 games for the D-backs this year and just one of the dozens and dozens of appearances that reliever Tony Sipp figures to make in 2013.
But it's an appearance he'll likely remember forever.
Sipp worked just one third of an inning Friday night and allowed one hit.
Just a routine outing, except he was doing it front of just about everybody who means anything to him.
More than 100 people made the 5 1/2-hour journey from Sipp's hometown of Moss Point, Miss., to watch him, many renting a chartered bus for the trip. Sipp left 73 tickets, which he had to borrow from teammates since the game was sold out, and that did not even cover everyone who came or wanted to come.
"It seemed like everyone that I've ever known in life was here," Sipp said.
Sipp's grandmother is a diehard Braves fan and he wasn't sure what she would be wearing, but he was pleased to see her wearing D-backs gear for the night.
"I think it helps having them there and having their support," Sipp said. "You want to do well in front of them, but obviously you can't do well all the time, so you just try to go out and do what you've always done. Just go out there with your best stuff and don't try to overcomplicate things just because they're there. Once it's all said and done and you take a breath after your last pitch, that's a good feeling."
Saturday was a different story as Sipp was unable to have the same success allowing three runs and only recording one out.
That, though, won't take anything away from the memory of Friday night, when he acknowledged his cheering section as he walked off the mound.
"I tipped my cap to them and they went crazy up there," he said. "That was one of my better experiences on the diamond, a moment I wouldn't trade for the world."
Goldschmidt, Parra prove to be iron men for D-backs
ATLANTA -- Kirk Gibson decided to give catcher Miguel Montero a day off Sunday, but the D-backs manager could not bring himself to take outfielder Gerardo Parra or first baseman Paul Goldschmidt out of the lineup.
Montero had caught 21 straight games, but with a few team off-days mixed into that stretch, Gibson felt comfortable with that schedule.
Parra had played in 79 of the team's 80 games heading into Sunday's contest with the Braves. Other than that one game, the 26-year-old has not started in two others, but still managed to get in those games at some point.
"He's a guy that's not going to give into it, he'll fight through it," Gibson said. "Not saying I don't want to give him a day off and I won't give him a day off. I considered it and I wanted to do it today, but I just couldn't."
Part of the reason for playing him, Gibson said, was the fact that the outfield at Turner Field is large and he feels Parra is so dominant defensively that he can't afford to take his glove and arm out of the lineup.
Gibson might not have a choice given that Parra entered Sunday 1-for-20 over his last five games.
Recently Gibson called Parra into his office and the two talked with Gibson reminding him not to get too frustrated by his struggles.
"He's had tough pitches and he's gotten out on his front foot a little bit," Gibson said. "I'm sure he's tired, but with one swing, he can have a huge impact there too."
Goldschmidt has also appeared in 79 of the team's 80 games with his only complete game off coming in the second game of a doubleheader against the Rangers May 27. He did play in Game 1 that day.
The only other game that Goldschmidt didn't start was May 12, but he came on in the later innings of that one.
"How am I going to take Goldy out of there?" Gibson said. "He takes care of himself as good as you could ask. For sure, I wouldn't take him out of there today, not saying I won't have to or I won't need to. I don't ever want to push anybody too far. Sometimes you push quite far, but there is a limit for everybody."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.