Hale stands by key decision to stay with Miller

Hale stands by key decision to stay with Miller

PHOENIX -- These are the decisions that make managers bleary-eyed, Chip Hale said on Wednesday night after the D-backs dropped a 4-2 decision to the Yankees at Chase Field.

"All those decisions that go into a game when you lose is the reason why you lose sleep," Hale said, taking off his cap and running his hand over his head. "That's why I'm losing my hair and getting really gray."

Hale had a chance to pull right-handed starter Shelby Miller for left-hander Andrew Chafin in the sixth inning with lefty-swinging Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner coming up, two out and a runner on second, the Yanks leading, 2-1.

Hale made a rare trip to the mound in lieu of pitching coach Mike Butcher when he wasn't intent on replacing that pitcher in the game.

"[Hale] came out and told me it was my last hitter," said Miller, now 1-5 with a 6.64 ERA in his first nine starts for the D-backs. "I threw a fastball away and he hit it through the six-hole."

Ellsbury's single against the shift -- his third hit of the evening -- plated what proved to be the winning run as the Yankees salvaged the final game of the three-game series.

What made matters quizzical is that Miller allowed 10 hits and two walks, including a first-inning, two-run homer by Gardner. At 101 pitches, he was clearly on the ropes.

What made it even more quizzical is that Gardner is a .167 hitter this year against lefties and grounded out when Hale finally brought in Chafin. Ellsbury is hitting .295 vs. southpaws this season and .235 against righties. But coming into that at-bat, Ellsbury was 5-for-5 against Miller with three RBIs. Now he's 6-for-6 with four RBIs.

"I went out to talk to [Miller] to make sure he knew that was his last hitter," Hale said. "I was going to bring Chaf for Gardner. Ellsbury's numbers against left-handed pitchers are really good. Granted he's hit Shelby pretty well. We had a plan how to pitch him and he just got the ball up a little bit.

Hale on 4-2 loss to the Yankees

"It was so supposed to be down and away. If we got behind in the count, we could've walked him. The first pitch was perfect, but the next pitch was up and he put it in the hole."

Hale said part of the reason he made the move was to try to instill some confidence in the veteran pitcher who was supposed to be the support system behind Zack Greinke in the No. 2 hole when he was obtained this past December in a trade with the Braves. The deal cost the D-backs three good young players.

"I think that's a part of it," Hale said. "He's one of our horses. He's our No. 2 guy. For me, he earned it. It was his game at this point. So you go with him. Like I said, we had a clear plan to get him out. It's just he didn't execute.

"But I'd do it again. He's our guy."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.