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Snake Bytes, 4/20: Smokin’ Aces

After trading zeroes through seven innings, Zack Greinke was outdueled in Petco, in the team’s first shutout loss.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images


[] Zack Greinke yields one run in loss to Padres (Major League Baseball) - The Padres did not reach second base until Aybar touched it after his homer and until the three hits in the eighth, Greinke had allowed just four baserunners, one of which reached on an error. "Zack did exactly what he was supposed to do," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He gave us eight great innings. He was on the attack. I think he had a four-pitch mix that was in and out of the zone. There was a good rhythm to this game." Just not a good end result.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke makes fatal mistake in pitchers' duel - Greinke, whose fastball velocity had been trending up since the start of the season, saw it dip back down to its spring training levels. He cracked 90 mph only a handful of times and averaged 88.8 mph. But the outing was proof of how effective he can be even with a below-average fastball; he had nearly perfect location the entire night, with the exception of the pitch to Aybar. After giving up five runs in five innings against the Dodgers on Friday, Greinke finished with an eight-inning complete game, allowing just five hits and one walk. “The command was really good, probably the best command I’ve had,” Grienke said. “That was a good thing.”

[Arizona Sports] Breaking down Erick Aybar's at-bat vs. Zack Greinke in D-backs' loss - Greinke’s seven-pitch battle with Padres shortstop Erick Aybar — yes, that man who closed out the 11-2 D-backs win a day prior as a pitcher — ended with a solo home run in the eighth inning that sealed the San Diego win. “Definitely could’ve made a better pitch right there,” Greinke told FOX Sports Arizona after the game. “(I was) trying to throw, like, a borderline strike. I’d be happier with a ball than an inch or two over the plate. Just a not very good pitch.”

[@FoxSportsAZ] Zack Greinke's 1 bad pitch: 'You make a mistake it's gonna get hit.'

Team news

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitchers on an early roll - Their starting pitchers entered Wednesday with a 3.28 ERA, a hair better than the St. Louis Cardinals for the best mark in the league. Compare that to last season, when the rotation’s ERA of 5.38 was the second-worst in the National League through 15 games. “I think we’re a very talented group,” Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin said. “I think we have five really good pitchers who every day are going to go out there and keep us in games. Everybody is feeling good. The ball is coming out well. And guys are, I think, pitching deeper into games and keeping us in ballgames.”

[Arizona Sports] D-backs assistant GM Porter gives pitching credit for impressive start - “They’ve done a good job getting relatively deep into games, especially early in the season,” he said. “I think we haven’t had many of those really short outings, and I do think that’s really good for a bullpen... He also made sure to credit the bullpen for their role in finishing games. “The bullpen’s been great,” he said. “Archie’s obviously emerged and exciting. J.J. Hoover’s been really good. De La Rosa’s been really good. Rodney’s five-for-five in save opportunities.”

[AZ Central] Mr. 3,000: Greg Schulte reaches magical milestone with Diamondbacks - The way Greg Schulte remembers it, his tiny hometown of Silvis, Ill., was so small, it wasn’t big enough for a kid to get into any kind of trouble. But it had everything a young boy could want. “Early on, I dreamt of being Stan Musial or one of the Cardinals,” Schulte said, “but my fascination was listening to Cardinals baseball. I’d listen from the dugout interview pregame show, through the game and through the postgame show just to hear highlights from a game I just listened to for three hours. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to broadcast St. Louis Cardinals baseball. I wanted to be the next Harry Caray or the next Jack Buck.”

[] Greg Schulte calls 3,000th D-backs game - After missing one game during the team's inaugural season to attend his son's high school graduation ceremony, Schulte would go another seven seasons before missing another one. In recent years, he has cut down his schedule a bit, but not by much. Tom Candiotti, who is Schulte's current radio partner, marvels at his passion after all these years. "I think we almost take Greg for granted, because he's just always there," Candiotti said. "He loves being around the game, he loves being around the people in the game, he loves doing the interviews with the players. He just loves it, so it's a perfect job for him."

[Arizona Sports] Away from baseball, hunting gives Diamondbacks’ Bradley adrenaline rush - Bradley and [Evan] Marzilli have now gone on a hunting trip together twice. He will ask third baseman Jake Lamb to go on his next hunting trip, he said. It would be a natural fit as Bradley and Lamb are going on their third year as roommates during the season. The only problem is that Lamb has never hunted before and knows nothing about it. He will eventually go, he said, but joked that Bradley may need to bribe him first. ”I just don’t see anything fun in sitting in the cold looking to shoot something,” he said. “I didn’t grow up like that, but I’m willing to try it.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks hanging tough despite big issues - Nearly 10 percent of the season is in the books. The Diamondbacks have a winning record, a fighting spirit and two budding problems. They have an ace who no longer looks the part, a quirky sort who is threatening to become the next pariah in Arizona. And at the back end of the bullpen, they have a closer who could bring unnecessary drama to a team hoping to end up on the playoff periphery. One comes with an easy solution. The other could cripple the franchise, tapping into the deep well of negative energy in the Valley.

[Beyond the Box Score] Archie Bradley could become a Diamondbacks relief ace - Bradley may have a chance to become one of the league’s best relievers, if things work out in his favor. It’s hard to know whether he will become the next Andrew Miller, or even the next Chris Devenski, but it is easy to see the comparisons between all three as former starters. But, if the Diamondbacks use him correctly, Bradley could be an asset that very few teams have out of their bullpen: a “long-man” that can pitch in high leverage situations. And, that is what makes this transition so exciting for both Bradley and Arizona.

[@FoxSportsAZ] Diamondbacks reliever J.J. Hoover got a pig from his wife. In return, she got a shotgun.

And, elsewhere...

(MyAJC) Baseball’s data revolution is elevating defensive dynamos - There’s a newfound appreciation for players who do their best work with their gloves, not their bats.“We’re looking at it in terms of one of our core players, and what he means to us,” said Chaim Bloom, the Rays’ senior vice president for baseball operations. “But we do see around the league, more and more, teams are taking note of a variety of skills, and trying to evaluate all the things players bring to the table as accurately as they can.” He added: “And defense is certainly one of those things.”

[Yahoo!] It's time for a progressive, smart PED plan in baseball - The line between so-called PEDs and other drugs isn’t thin. It just doesn’t exist. The only reason PEDs are considered cheating is because federal drug policies stigmatized certain substances, and those now come with a scarlet S. Never mind that most players who take drugs today do so in order to deal with the rigors of a full season – of the grind, the travel, the responsibility to maintain playing shape in an environment that grows less conducive to it as the demands to do more increase.

[Royals Review] Should baseball adopt ties? - Ties in sports are as American as baguettes and socialized medicine. Yet three of the five major American/Canadian sports use some form of ties to avoid excessive regular-season overtime, and for good reason. But what if baseball decided to adopt ties? I decided to investigate further as a thought experiment. Full disclosure: as a long-time hockey and soccer fan, I’m quite comfortable with ties, but I didn’t know what I’d find when I started exploring the possible implications of introducing ties to baseball.