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Snake Bytes 4/9: Death, taxes, and middle inning onslaughts

We all saw this coming, right?

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Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

What an exciting first week for baseball in the desert. Through the first 6 games of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks lead the majors in runs (45), hits (69), doubles (16), RBI (32), AVG (.322), OBP (.383), SLG (.523), and OPS (.906). There are some doubts that this level of production can be sustained throughout a 162 game season and rightfully so. For the time being, just sit back and enjoy the ride. Torey Lovullo has praised the amount of participation among players in the dugout in his post game press conferences. For instance, on his day off Saturday night AJ Pollock was seen timing Trevor Bauer’s delivery to the plate with a stopwatch. The guys are playing together as a unit, and one cannot help but feel like they have a fighting chance to win each night at the ballpark. This team deserves your attention currently. It is a complete turnaround from the start of the 2016 season. Today’s matinee game features two pitchers who were roughed up in their first starts in RHP Corey Kluber (0-0, 7.50 ERA) vs LHP Patrick Corbin (0-1, 4.50 ERA).

Team News

[Arizona Sports] Sedona Red Recap: Greinke dominant as D-backs pound Indians - Zack Greinke had the longest outing for a Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher thus far at 6 23 innings. As noted in the post game recap, home plate umpire Angel Hernandez was not doing Greinke any favors, and he faced quite a few 3-2 counts. Zack maintained a calm composure, and put his offense in position to win the game. Perhaps the pitchers in the starting rotation can feed off of that energy and compete among themselves.

[ESPN] Diamondbacks rally again, erupt late to crush Indians - For once, it is actually advisable to tune in or show up to the games during the middle innings. The Diamondbacks have scored 11 runs in the 5th inning and 13 runs in the sixth inning through the first 6 contests.

"Just the discussions that are happening in between innings and the amount of information that's being shared is really impressive," manager Torey Lovullo said. "I like our chances when we're seeing a guy for the second or third time (through the lineup). It's been our track record for the first six games, and I feel like these guys are competing on a pretty impressive level night after night."

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt feeling “normal” - I think we would all much rather see Paul Goldschmidt lead this team to a 90+ win season back into October baseball as opposed to being dealt during a mid-season fire sale. The first 6 games have demonstrated to me that he was well aware of what changes he needed to make in order to be successful again this season. #ThisIsMyUnsurprisedFace. Will this finally be the season that the MVP award cannot be withheld from Pauly G due to postseason bias?

[AZ Central] D-Backs' Yasmany Tomas trying to stay patient at the plate - Those who have paid close attention to Yasmany Tomas’ at bats this season can attest to his improved approach at the plate, albeit during a small sample size. Tomas only saw 23 pitches during his first two games in which he went 0-8 at the plate. In 12 at bats since then, he has 7 hits including 2 doubles and a triple with a more patient approach.

[] After first win, Greinke eager to face Kershaw - Somewhat hard to believe these two did not square off last season. Why this is not a Friday Night Baseball nationally televised contest is beyond me considering how well the Snakes are playing to begin the season. However, I am quite content with sneaking up on the division from the depths of the unknown. Two former Diamondbacks, and current Colorado Rockies, Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra, took Clayton Kershaw back-to-back for the first time in his successful career last night at Coors Field. Greinke will not be Kershaw’s biggest battle next week when he faces an Arizona offense that is currently steamrolling opposing pitchers.

[Arizona Sports] By the numbers: A look into the Diamondbacks’ blistering offensive start - A more in depth look at the team’s offensive start shows that current production may prove to be difficult to sustain. Before last night’s contest, the team led the league in BABIP (.393) and had the 5th lowest pitches per plate appearance (3.73). The lineup has also faced the second lowest 2-0 and 3-0 counts behind only the Texas Rangers. A little bit of extra luck seems to be at play here, and the same analysis above for Tomas applies to the rest of the lineup. Those numbers should balance as the sample size grows.

Other News

[ABC] Not so sticky: MLB says no violation in Molina stuck ball - Hat tip to Instagram for leading me to this one. I could not believe it when I saw it. MLB Rule 3.01 prohibits players from intentionally discoloring or damaging balls with foreign substances, and the penalty is an ejection and 10-game suspension, but simply having sandpaper, an emery board or some sticky agent on a player's uniform or in his possession is only a violation for the pitcher.

[] Ohtani hints at move to MLB in 2017 - Could Shohei Ohtani be Babe Ruth reincarnated? He hit .322 with 22 home runs for a 1.004 OPS in 382 plate appearances over 104 games in the Nippon Professional Baseball League last season. However, he did not just get it done at the plate as he also had a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts over 140 innings. Ohtani reportedly can hit 100 mph on the radar gun. Would it be reasonable to expect that the 22 year old could maintain that sort of production in the MLB, or would he burn out playing that much during a 162 game season? Unfortunately, fans were not given the opportunity to witness his talent during the World Baseball Classic due to an ankle injury.

[Bleacher Report] Creating MLB’s most dominant division-by-division superteams - This appeared to be an interesting exercise especially since the All Star Game is essentially meaningless as it no longer decides home field advantage during the World Series. Paul Goldschmidt and AJ Pollock make the NL West All Star Team. I would not be opposed to watching a week long single elimination tournament between divisional all star teams. What changes would you make to the rosters?

[Arizona Sports] ASU baseball leads MLB with players on Opening Week rosters - My alma mater has sent the most players to the MLB since 1959. It should only be a matter of time before longtime Sun Devil’s coach (1995-2009), and current Milwaukee Brewer’s Bench Coach, Pat Murphy takes over as skipper for a big league club. The caliber of names that have gone through the program is mind numbing. #ForksUp

[ESPN] Mariners to offer toasted grasshoppers at Safeco concession - Uhhhhh... what? Okay, I never want to hear a critic’s negative opinion of concession offerings at Chase Field again. Ever. It is bad enough when you have to sit next to someone who eats rather obnoxiously. Imagine turning to that person and seeing insect intestines splash down his or her jersey. Keep that in the Pacific Northwest. ISH95 care to comment?