Relationships are tough.
They're especially tough when they're coming to an end.
So what's the best way to tell Ryan Roberts of the Arizona Diamondbacks that we, the fan base, need to start seeing other third baseman?
We've tried to hang on. We occasionally get reminders of the glory days of the relationship -- like last Friday night when Roberts jacked a three-run walk-off homer against the Oakland A's.
But mostly, we just spend a lot of time thinking about what happened to the Ryan Roberts of 2011 -- how he used to routinely deliver clutch hits and make tough plays at the hot corner that helped the Diamondbacks win games. The walk-off only served as a painful reminder of happier, more consistently productive times.
Wednesday was the last straw. Wade Miley was slinging an absolute gem against the Texas Rangers -- one of the most potent lineups in baseball. The rookie had allowed two hits and was facing Texas nine-hole hitter Craig Gentry with a runner on second base and two outs in the 8th inning.
Gentry hit a sharp one-hopper to Roberts at third. Despite the hop being at belt-level, Roberts was unable to make the play. The ball bounced off his glove and into left field, allowing Mike Napoli to score from second base. Despite Miley's mastery of the Rangers lineup, Texas won the game 1-0.
The play was scored a hit, but this is a play a starting third baseman needs to make -- especially in a scoreless tie in the 8th inning. Ok, we would have settled for him just knocking the ball down and keeping it in the infield, which would have held Napoli at third base.
Incidentally, after the run scored and Miley was lifted in favor of reliever David Hernandez, Roberts made a tough play on a sharply hit ball off of Ian Kinsler's bat to end the inning. Too little, too late.
Look at Roberts' numbers -- they're down across the board. Batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, fielding percentage.
Roberts' transgressions haven't been egregious. Hell, they haven't really even been transgressions. He's just simply not the player he was a year ago, and we deserve better.
Ryan, we've had a good run and some great times. We'll remember them fondly. But this relationship just isn't progressing like it should and it's time to move on.
And we don't hate you -- don't even think that. In fact, if you want to still be our backup utility guy or go grab a beer sometime, we think that would be great.
So sorry it didn't work out.