[D’backs.com] D-backs' home field a big advantage vs. Rox - Here is a little nugget that I was not aware of and not in an immediate rush to verify. Over the past 5 seasons, the Colorado Rockies have only won 18 out of 48 contests against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. It is no secret that the Diamondbacks have performed much better at home than on the road this season. The Diamondbacks went 52-29 at Chase Field, the 2nd best home record in the league, winning 2 out of every 3 games played there. The Rockies road record was 41-40, so this 1 game coin flip could be weighted in Arizona’s favor. I sure will not feel comfortable until the 27th out is made with the lead intact. Paging Just Dingers Martinez.
[D’backs.com] D-backs laud Lovullo's communication, trust - Torey Lovullo’s first season as an MLB manager has been wildly successful. He was tasked with leading an under-performing 2016 team with more questions than answers. There were times when his inexperience as a manager showed having to ask umpires for clarification, but he was able to secure the support of his players and coaching staff. Make no mistake about it that nobody is more deserving of NL Manager of the Year, and not just because of his team’s remarkable record at the end of the season.
"Establishing a culture of togetherness and family and unity was the most important thing to me," Lovullo said. "I wasn't afraid to talk about the word love. You know, baseball and sports, you just -- we're very macho people, and we feel that, but we're afraid to talk about it. So you've heard me say the word love. I think that the guys use the word love, and I think that we've developed a really special bond. So that was the first thing that I set out to do through my own actions and my own relationships, and I think that the guys caught on. I'm proud of that, and I'm honored by that."
[Arizona Sports] D-backs encourage fans to arrive early for Wild Card game festivities - I will be at Alice Cooperstown at 1:00 PM per my pregame ritual. Others will be downtown ahead of the 5:08 PM start time, and I encourage you to be down there early in support as well. I am not a fan of large crowds like most people, but this is an event you do not want to miss. It could be another 6 years or longer before we can experience another playoff game. Ticket prices have begun to drop significantly on the secondary market for those who have not purchased yet. The Diamondbacks will be giving away a rally towel to the first 45,000 fans. No need for 45,000 blinking cell phone lights. Gates will open at 3:00 PM with pregame festivities opening an hour and a half later.
[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Martinez named NL Player of the Month for September - Forget about being one of the best midseason acquisitions in recent memory, J.D. Martinez had one of the best September performances by a position player in a long time. That performance earned him the National League Player of the Month, the same month that saw him win Player of the Week 2 times. Given a full season of health, and the chance to play in 1 league, he likely would be leading the MVP discussion. He tied a record that had stood since 1949 with 16 home runs in September, a performance worth a hefty free agent contract this winter.
[AZ Central] 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks: A complete game's worth of key moments - It is significantly more enjoyable reflecting on a season full of success as opposed to one inundated with failure. Nearly everything that had to go right in 2017 did and then some. Surely there were hiccups along the way, but this year’s team found a way to persevere through adversity. Difficult to narrow down my favorite moment of the season between the Opening Day walk off that I watched in person, or J.D. Martinez 4 home run game in Chavez Ravine. What was your favorite moment of the 2017 season?
[Venom Strikes] 5 keys to winning the Wild Card game - Wednesday’s contest will feature 2 high powered offenses even if both teams only perform much better at home. Zack Greinke will make his most important start to date in his Diamondbacks career. For the next 2 weeks, either the Diamondbacks or Rockies will be tasked with postseason play against familiar division opponents with the victor moving on to play the Dodgers in the NLDS. My key to success for this game is to get to Jon Gray early and get into the Rockies bullpen quickly. I like Arizona’s chances with Greinke pitching downhill with a lead, but a large gap would do my nerves a favor. One out at a time.
[The Denver Post] Rockies know Diamondbacks present formidable one-game challenge - The Diamondbacks have a more favorable run differential than the Rockies over the course of the regular season, a fact that held true in competition between the two teams as Arizona outscored Colorado 101-69 in 19 contests in 2017. However, this time only 1 run is needed to decide this 1 game series. There will be no opportunity to correct course after a rough start.
“That is a very good team, one of the best in baseball,” Arenado said. “It’s going to be a big test for us, but I think we’re ready.” As manager Bud Black said: “There are no secrets between these two teams. We’ve played each other 19 times. We know them, and they know us.”
[Phoenix New Times] How One Person Feeds 48,519 Baseball Fans at Chase Field in Phoenix - Meet the man responsible for your diabetic seizure at Chase Field, Stephen Tilder, executive chef since 2015. Rumor has it he springs out of bed in the middle of the night to jot down his nightmarish concoctions. Tilder claims he can predict food sales for the entire stadium within $100. Now you have a name and a face to the demented monster behind caloric monsters at Chase Field.
Around the League
[Forbes] MLB Season Attendance Dips Below 73 Million For First Time Since 2000 - Attendance results for the 2017 season have not been audited, but if the current figures were to stand 2017 would be the lowest total paid attendance since 2000. The National League had a higher attendance than the American League, as it has each year since 2000 as well. The Houston Astros did lose an entire home series because of Hurricane Harvey, and had to play that series in Tropicana Field which attributed to some of the decline. Regardless, even if that series was played in Houston this still would have been a down year for Major League Baseball.
[Yahoo Sports] John Coppolella's resignation just the start of the Atlanta Braves' problems - Braves General Manager John Coppolella has been forced to resign amidst an investigation by MLB for violation of various rules including those regarding international spending. The violations are believed to be more egregious than those committed by the Red Sox in 2015-2016. The Red Sox would sign less talented players to larger bonuses than would be expected, and funneled that extra money to more sought after players to circumvent individual spending limits. It is alleged that the Braves paid for the living expenses of 17 year old shortstop Kevin Maitan while he lived in an apartment with a fellow Braves prospect. Coppolella is also alleged to have contacted the agent of an impending free agent while that player was still under contract with another team prior to the free agent signing period. The Arizona Diamondbacks agree to the punishment terms resulting in the Atlanta Braves surrendering Ender Inciarte back to Arizona. The allegations continue to mount as I write this as it has been reported this is just the tip of the iceberg.
[ESPN Insider] Ranking MLB postseason rotations: Are the Dodgers or Nationals No. 1? - The top 8 teams by ERA+ in the league will be playing in October (CLE, ARI, LAD, BOS, NYY, WSN, CHC, COL). The Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins are the only 2 teams to not be among the top 10 in park adjusted ERA yet still make the postseason. Your Arizona Diamondbacks rank 2nd on that list just behind the Cleveland Indians, making them an extremely dangerous team should they make it past Wednesday’s play in. At 119 Patrick Corbin has the worst ERA+ among Arizona’s starting pitchers. League average ERA+ is 100. Please excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.
[The Oregonian] Average MLB game time reaches new record high at 3 hours, 5 minutes in 2017 - Yesterday, Jay blamed the increase in average game time on the designated hitter. Today, I will blame the game time increase on the implementation of the “Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200” immediate 4 pitch intentional walk. Because logic. I hardly noticed the increase in average time of game. Maybe that was because of how delightful it was to watch the 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks.