Quotes of the Day
“I’m just hoping Thatcher and Stites benefit our club, and hopefully this player we name later that we pick up in the draft ends up being an every-day regular. I hope Ian has a very successful career there with the Padres.”
“Our bullpen obviously had trouble. We’re seeing some of the residual effect of all those extra-inning games. Those guys are pitching their hearts out.”
“I was excited. I had a good time out there. It was good to see the fans out there. After that first pitch, I settled in and it was good from there.”
Ian Kennedy's much-hyped return was short lived. The Diamondbacks chased their former teammate after just 4.1 innings, striking for 6 runs. David Holmberg, making his major league debut, didn't fare much better, giving up 3 runs in 3.2 innings. The story here, however, was not the starters. The fatigued Diamondbacks bullpen gave up a combined 6 runs, sending the Snakes to their 20th extra inning game of the year. Aaron Hill ultimately provided the game winner – an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th.
Not the sexiest of Diamondbacks' pitching prospects to be sure, but if his frame is any indication, David Holmberg could be a reliable back-of-the-rotation workhorse in the near future. This article casts Arizona's young arms as an embarrassment of young pitching riches, but anyone watching the Diamondbacks closely is probably ready to cash out.
Returning to Chase Field was tough for Ian Kennedy, who posted the best seasons of career with the Diamondbacks. Facing off against his old teammates may have played a role in his shaky outing. “That stuff goes through your mind, and you don’t make your pitch,” Kennedy said. “You don’t focus on making your pitch. There’s things like that. I imagine if you talked to some of them, they only had to face me a couple times a game. I had to face every single hitter I see. It’s difficult.” Regardless of what dugout he sits in, Kennedy is focused on one thing, improving his pitching. “I want to get better,” he said. “I don’t like struggling.”
Nick Piecoro shrewdly points out that the Diamondbacks, should they miss the playoffs, will head into the off season in a similar state as last year – hoping that some of their core players' down years were statistical outliers that will correct themselves next year. It's a tricky situation to be in. Sure, Miguel Montero is likely to have a better season next year, but can you count on Pat Corbin and Paul Goldschmidt to maintain their Cy Young and MVP form? Last off season KT said he was going to stand pat. Weeks later, Justin Upton was gone. Will we see similar changes this year?
Around the League
The resurgent Alfonso Soriano knocked the 400th homer of his career. Though I could never be confused with a Yankees fan, it's nice to see Soriano back in New York.
Rob Neyer has some insightful analysis regarding the often uncivil world of baseball punditry. Referring to baseball writers who attack those who would dare oppose their view, Neyer calls for a bit of humility:
"When you're uncivil and arrogant, it becomes particularly important to revisit your mistakes, apologize for your misdeeds, acknowledge your imperfection. Doing these things is a sign of strength, not weakness. Incivility and arrogance appeals to stupid people, but everyone else will lose respect for you, and the only way to regain their respect is to show some humility and vulnerability, admit you were wrong and try to learn something from the experience."
Jim Crane, the owner of the Houston Astros, rebuts the claim that the lowly Astros have the highest operating income of any major league team.
Hunter Pence hit the longest home run of the season. I would say that even a broken clock is right twice a day, but Pence's swing is an affront to broken clocks.