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SnakeBytes 7/19: Baseball is Back!

With the All-Star Break done and over with, the D-Backs return to action tonight against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Many questions still linger with the this club even though they remain in first place and it will be interesting to see what Kevin Towers and Co. have planned for this team at the trade deadline.

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No one told Miguel Montero that there was an All-Star Break. Here he is taking a walk on Thursday.
No one told Miguel Montero that there was an All-Star Break. Here he is taking a walk on Thursday.


The closer's job is probably the toughest job there is on a 25-man roster. There is no safety net. There is nobody there to back them up. We don't have to walk in their shoes, but I guarantee they are taking it very tough. We understand how hard and difficult it is.

Gibby and myself and the coaching staff's job is not to hang our heads and continue to get rope-a-doped. It's how do we fix it? What other things can we do? Try to get guys in the right spots to be successful.

Those are type of conversations we are having right now. You'll probably have a better idea of what our plan is when we open up against the Giants on Friday.

- Kevin Towers

It is always better to have an idea, when the (bullpen) phone rings, it is probably this guy. If you never know, you are stretching in the fifth inning, sixth inning, seventh inning. It is hard to be ready for that amount of time. It can be mentally tiring. When things are going well, we are have our defined roles and it makes that process a lot easier.

- Brad Ziegler

Diamondbacks Daily

D-backs need to share the load to stay atop NL West |
The Diamondbacks had breakout performances before the All-Star break, and they had breakdowns. They played through an uncommon number injuries. With unanticipated All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin providing the impetus, the D-backs moved into first place in the NL West on May 19 and have held a least a share of the division lead for 57 consecutive days as the race resumes in San Francisco on Friday.

D-backs visit Giants looking to start second half strong |
The Diamondbacks and Giants do not often meet in such position, with the D-backs atop the NL West and the defending World Series champions near the bottom. As the second half begins, the D-backs will be looking to build on a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West while the Giants will be trying to find a way out of a 6 1/2-game hole dug by a 10-22 record since the last time the two teams met.

Getting bullpen right is D-backs' first priority |
D-backs relievers have a 3.23 ERA, which ranks 10th in the majors and is almost exactly what their ERA was in 2012 -- but a lot of that is thanks to Ziegler and long man Josh Collmenter. One of the main troubles has been keeping the ball in the park. Diamondbacks relievers have given up 32 home runs, third in the National League. Among back-end relievers, only Padres closer Huston Street (10) has given up more home runs than Bell and Hernandez, who have given up eight apiece. One of the factors in using Ziegler to close last weekend, Gibson said, was that he has given up only two homers.

2013 Diamondbacks mid-season top 10 prospects |
With the mid-season just wrapping up, Jack Magruder examines the Diamondbacks' top 10 minor-league prospects. MLB power rankings |
14. Diamondbacks 50-45 -1 The Diamondbacks had the chance to take a commanding lead in the NL West but haven’t played well in the weeks prior to the All-Star break. The Dodgers are right on Arizona’s heels at just 2.5 games back in the division.

Ian Kennedy looking for a fresh start; workout notes; & other stuff | Insiders
He says that his current stretch — he has a 5.42 ERA through 18 starts — has been just as difficult, but he tried something during the break to try to get a new start. Kennedy, who has sported a red beard for most of the past three seasons, is now clean-shaven. "I’ve thought about doing it before," Kennedy said, who had the beard for nearly 27 months. "The All-Star break is a good time to do it. Allison (his wife) and I were talking about it. Just trying to get a fresh start."

Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin revel in first All-Star Game |
A ninth-inning double by Paul Goldschmidt on Tuesday proved to be the highlight of the night for the D-backs first baseman and lefty Patrick Corbin, making their debut in the Midsummer Classic.

D-backs not content with first-half success |
Despite leading the National League West heading into the All-Star break, the D-backs know that they can -- and must -- perform more consistently in the second half to earn a playoff spot.

Arizona Diamondbacks' all-time Top 5 in-season trades |
In their short history, the D-backs have been buyers several times at the Trade Deadline and two of those deals paid immediate dividends while a third set the stage for the franchise's greatest accomplishment: the 2001 World Series.

Today in Baseball

This Week In GIFs: Embarrassment is exercise |
This week's theme: athletic figures embarrassing themselves or others. Vote, and help us determine the greatest animated GIF of the week.

2013 Trade Value: #15-#11 | FanGraphs Baseball
Fangraphs has done their annual Trade Value lists and while none of the D-backs have shown up 50 through 11, I have a hunch we may see gold in the upcoming future.

4 NL Fans Killed In Brutal All-Star Game Riots | The Onion
In the deadliest clash to date in the bitter and fierce rivalry, four National League fans were reportedly killed Tuesday when vicious riots erupted at Citi Field following the 2013 MLB All-Star game. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed that the clashes flared soon after the final out.

Manny Ramirez Impresses Triple-A Teammates With Knowledge Of Shapes | The Onion
In a remarkable demonstration of expertise, Round Rock Express designated hitter Manny Ramirez reportedly wowed his triple-A teammates Friday with his expansive knowledge of basic geometric shapes.

Minor League Ball Top 75 Prospects: Mid-Season Update | Minor League Ball
As with any prospect list, John Sickels trys to find a balance between long-term upside, short-term potential, physical tools, and current skills. Mixing hitters and pitchers on the same list is also philosophically problematic, but everyone does it so I'll jump off the cliff too.