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Snake Bytes, 4/6: Win ugly

You'd be hard pushed to say the Diamondbacks have played well this series. But they are guaranteed at least a split of this opening four-game series.

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[Reuters] Walker wobbles but leads D-backs over Giants - The 24-year-old right-hander and the D-backs fell behind 4-1 midway through the fifth inning, which Walker attributed to the nerves involved in making his first start since being acquired in the offseason from the Seattle Mariners. Started off a little rough," he said. "I was kind of amped up, but the last three innings were really good." Said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo: "When his back was against the wall, he made pitches and kept us in the game. He threw some quality pitches all night. He gave us a chance to win, which is what we want from our starters."

[Arizona Sports] Bats prop up Taijuan Walker's debut as D-backs rally past Giants - Walker’s stat line was far from elite, but he was able to pitch out of jams and, as manager Torey Lovullo pointed out afterward, give them a chance to win. "When his back was against the wall," Lovullo explained, "he came out, made pitches, kept us in the game and allowed us to start to maneuver in the seventh in the bullpen, which was a great effort on his part." Walker gave the D-backs six innings — a big deal after the bullpen had to eat up five innings on Tuesday. And he struck out seven.With the win, Arizona is now 2-1.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks’ offense carrying the load early - The Diamondbacks had four more hits with men in scoring position on Wednesday night, making them 9 for 26 (.346) in those situations so far this season. They have scored 18 runs in three games and own a team slash line of .296/.345/.472. Pollock already has provided several reminders of just how badly he was missed last season, going 7 for 14 with two doubles, a home run and a stolen base. They not only came through in big situations on Wednesday – Jeremy Hazelbaker’s pinch-hit, go-ahead double in the sixth might have been the biggest such hit – they put pressure on the Giants at nearly every opportunity.

[] D-backs' bench talk leads to offense, win - There was constant conversation on the bench about Moore's release point, the angle of his pitches, how to approach him, what was working and what wasn't. "I'm really impressed with the amount of talk between guys about what they want to do, the amount of support they're offering to one another," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I just think one person can be a catalyst and just gets that ball rolling. I think that's what really good offensive teams do -- they never feel like they're out of any game. They just keep pushing and plowing."

Team news

[Arizona Sports] Torey Lovullo: Bullpen roles will largely be defined by pitchers' performance - "I think what we’re going to do is a little bit of the matchup game and put these guys in the best situation to be successful," Lovullo said. "If we have a left-right-left situation, we’re obviously going to lean towards a lefty, but we want to make sure these guys are in the right situation and comfortable with their roles. They know that they’re going to be in the back end of this game as opposed to the front end of the game, and right now, Archie Bradley is going to be our ‘length’ because he’s stretched out, so he’s going to be the guy who’s first out if something happens."

[AZ Central] David Peralta OK with giving up starts to Chris Owings - One of the Diamondbacks’ most inspirational players who often wears his emotions on his sleeves, Peralta said the occasional days off won’t affect his passion and energy. "No, I’m going to be the same guy," he said. "I have to go out there and do my handshakes in the dugout with everybody, trying to get them excited before the game like I always do. It doesn’t matter. Like I said, it’s about team. I’ve got to do something somehow, even if it’s just shouting for my guys."

[Sportsnaut] Top Diamondbacks prospect Anthony Banda remains humble on the way to the top - "If you take care of your business, the people around you tend to respect you and like you more," he laughs. "They see someone that sets an example not only for themselves, but for kids as well. I like to keep my head down and keep working, I hope it feeds off on other guys. We are all here with one goal and that is to be the best player in the big leagues."

[FOX Sports] Home field not an advantage in Giants-Diamondbacks series - The Giants were 15-4 in Phoenix the past two seasons while the Diamondbacks were 13-6 in San Francisco. Nobody seems to have an explanation. The games tend to play out differently, with lower-scoring affairs at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. Bruce Bochy admits he runs his team "a little bit differently" depending on where the teams are playing. "(In Arizona) you’re probably going to give up more runs, but you’re going to score more runs." He might not play the infield in as much in Phoenix because, "You’re going to keep scoring runs. You have confidence in your offense that we’re going to score."

[Fresno Bee] Rawhide open with pair of Diamondbacks' top prospects "Sergio [Alcantara] is an amazing shortstop. Defensively he can pick it with the best of them. He’s got one of the best arms I’ve ever seen in a shortstop, and he’s learning to hit right now, which is really special," said manager Shelley Duncan, a seven-year major league veteran who was part of a World Series championship team with the 2009 New York Yankees. "The pitchers are lucky to have him on the team. I’m lucky to have him on our team, and he’s going to make us better every single day. He’s a fun player to watch."

[Inside the 'Zona] Archie the Destroyer - It’s way too early to call Bradley a relief ace or make comparisons to Andrew Miller or Wade Davis (you know who you are). He’s going to need to keep this up for a prolonged period of time to give those ideas much merit. But as Mike Ferrin discussed in a late spring radio broadcast, the move to the bullpen might just be the thing that Bradley needed to get on track. The mentality was certainly different, and different in a good way. The stuff has ticked up as predicted and the total package looked pretty damn impressive last night out of the bullpen.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Where have all the MLB superstars gone? - Between November and February, that firm surveyed more than 6,000 American sports fans, age 12 and older. If you don't count Tim Tebow (please don't) or Bo Jackson, guess the only three baseball players who showed up among America's 50 favorite pro athletes? There was Derek Jeter, at No. 13. He hasn't played a game in 2½ years. Next came Babe Ruth, at No. 30. He's the only name on the list -- in any sport -- who hasn't appeared in a game for more than eight decades. And finally, you get to Pete Rose, at No. 50. The Hit King last played in the big leagues 31 years ago -- and he has been suspended from his sport for the last 28.

[Yahoo] Minor League Baseball is expecting its best year ever — thanks to dead teams - MiLB reissues merchandise of about 15 defunct teams every year—quietly. The series is called the Hometown Collection, but the league has not heavily marketed the gear in the past. This year, MiLB is pushing the apparel harder, and bringing back an especially pun-filled, lovable group of team names: Capital City Bombers, Casper Ghosts, Denver Bears, Madison Hatters, Madison Muskies, Queens Kings, and Wichita Wranglers so far this year, and more are coming. As a result, MiLB expects its highest merchandise revenue ever.

[ESPN] How to enjoy baseball - A few years ago, I led a giant fantasy league in which only relief pitchers could be drafted. It required me to learn hundreds of these guys' names and skills. It made me so happy. But such a fantasy league is not necessary to enjoying the rewards of relief pitching. Just learn the guys. Learn their names. Learn their dimensions. Learn what they throw. Learn their failures; they're almost all of them "failures," low-round picks or washed-out starters who have found some degree of fame, wealth and usefulness in the bullpen, baseball's loser's bracket.