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SnakeBytes, 8/19: Washington walks off edition

The sixth one-run game in the past six days did not go Arizona's way, as ex-Diamondback Adam LaRoche homered to give the Nationals their third straight walk-off.

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

[ArizonaSports] Nationals get third straight walk-off win, beat D-backs in extras - On Monday against the Washington Nationals, Nuno was solid again, turning in a seven-inning performance in which he allowed just five hits, two walks and two earned runs as his season ERA dipped to 3.72. But relief pitchers Brad Ziegler and Will Harris combined to allow more runs than Nuno, with the former surrendering two in the eighth inning for his eighth blown save of the season. And the latter, meanwhile, allowed a walk-off home run to Adam LaRoche in the 11th inning. It was Harris' first day with the D-backs since June.

[AZ Central] Nationals beat D-Backs with walkoff homer in 11th inning - Harris retired the first two batters of the 11th, and with Ian Desmond on deck, he said he was pitching LaRoche carefully. He wound up falling behind 3-1, but instead of giving LaRoche a fastball, he went to a curveball. Harris said the pitch was where he wanted it — down in the strike zone — but LaRoche lined it out to right field. "When you pitch a guy not to beat you, you're going to throw off-speed pitches in fastball counts," he said. "That's kind of what I did. And he got me."

[] D-backs hang tough, but fall to Nats in DC - "I guess maybe in the back of his head, he thought he might be getting an offspeed pitch, that I'd be pitching around him with a righty on deck," Harris said. "I made the pitch I wanted to make and he hit it out. There's nothing else really to do about it. ."

[AP] Walk-off hands D-backs 3rd straight loss - LaRoche's game-ending shot came after the first three Diamondbacks reached base against winning pitcher Craig Stammen in the top of the 11th, but Arizona failed to score. Stammen struck out 23-year-old Jake Lamb and 24-year-old Didi Gregorius [but[ Gibson was quick to point out the duo's successes Monday night, as they combined to drive in three runs, two on a Gregorius homer. "You've got to give them credit. They both contributed," he said. "They're younger, and it's kind of an excitable moment and they'll get better the more times they go through it."

Team News

[AZ Central] Tony La Russa says D-Backs' plans to be revealed soon - In a 20-minute talk with reporters during Monday night's game, he continued to be evasive when discussing the possibility of change. All he would do is confirm the obvious: A decision will be coming sooner than later. "The season is a month and 10 days from being over," he said. "So it won't be long until you have to trot out your plan officially."

[] Tony La Russa to be 'heavily involved' with D-backs - Derrick Hall made it clear when La Russa was hired that he would be the one making the ultimate call on whether to retain general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson. La Russa was asked when he planned on making the final determination on the pair. "I don't think the timing for each of those has to coincide," La Russa said. "I just think that at this point, we're at Aug. 18, I've been around three months, I've observed a lot, talked to and met with a lot of people in the organization. I have a much better idea."

[AZ Central] Anderson has room to improve, Montero says - "He's still learning, and he's still got to find a way to work ahead in the count," Montero said. "He's been behind in the count too much and been getting away with it." "That's exactly true," Anderson said. "You just make it so much harder when you get behind in the count. Sometimes I'm able to battle through it, and sometimes I'm not."

[] Collmenter assures Gibson he's healthy - "I talked to Colly today and he just felt sluggish," Gibson said. "It was one of those days. It happens from time to time. If it's something that continues to go on, then you have to dig deeper into it." The main thing Gibson wanted to ascertain was whether Collmenter was feeling any physical discomfort. "He assures me he feels fine," Gibson said. "His shoulder isn't sore, his elbow is not sore. It's something he has to be honest with us about. At this point, he says he's fine."

And, elsewhere...

[CBC News] How the defensive shift and big data are changing baseball - The defensive shift strategy really took off in 2010, with 2,400 shifts in Major League games. By 2012, the number of shifts had nearly doubled to 4,500. Last year, the total jumped to 8,100. Teams have already surpassed that this season, with predictions they’ll hit 13,000 shifts by the end of the World Series. Still, while big data may be taking over the game, economics could ultimately undo the big shift... In other words, teams will compensate for the big defensive shift by doing things such as scouting players who are unpredictable.

[Wired] Baseball Bat With an Axe Handle Brings More Power, Fewer Injuries - The Axe Bat is more than a Frankenstein-style meshing of an axe handle and a baseball bat barrel. The key lies in the bat’s final few inches near the handle. That’s where the design gracefully curves from the standard round shape to a asymmetrical oval before tapering to an angled knob at the end. The results, as reported in a recent study (PDF) by UCLA engineering professor Dr. Vijay Gupta, show that the Axe Bat is more comfortable, delivers more power and speed, and reduces injuries when compared with traditional bats.

[The Scoop] How to Antagonize Every MLB Fan Base with a Single Sentence - Of course, not that there's any way to antagonize Diamondbacks fans with just a few wor... OH WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT IT'S LIKE NOBODY ELSE EVER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL EVER HIT A BA... [deadhorse.gif] Sorry, got distracted there for a second. :) I'm fairly sure we can think of a number of other ways to antagonize other NL West fanbases. That would be what the comments are for...