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Snake Bytes 5/14: Walk the Plank

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there who pass on the tradition of baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Bias alert: The Diamondbacks found a way to foil yet another Taijuan Walker start last night. He faced off against an inferior pitcher, Trevor Williams, and still managed to walk away with a loss as a result of poor defense and lack of run support. The 1:10 PM Mother’s Day start features Robbie Ray (2-3, 4.14 ERA) taking the mound against Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.23 ERA).

Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 3

[D’backs.com] D-backs slowed despite Ahmed's 2-HR night - If you did not pay attention to the game last night or check the box score, and I told you that Nick Ahmed outperformed Paul Goldschmidt on a night where Goldy had a home run, you would probably tell me to find a new hobby. Ahmed did his best Goldschmidt impression last night and hit not one but two home runs both to a different side of the field. To be fair, they were not the towering massive shots we have grown accustomed to seeing from our All Star at first base. The FSAZ broadcast discussed that Nick Ahmed has been playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder because he is not in the every day lineup. I rather enjoy seeing him play angry and having to earn his keep.

[Arizona Sports] Sedona Red Recap: Ahmed’s power surge not enough as D-backs fall to Pirates - I am not going to buy into the narrative that Taijuan Walker had another poor start. He has had terrible luck over his past few starts. Brandon Drury cost Walker yet another run with his glove. Taijuan had another liner rocket off of his leg. He may have not had his best stuff last night, but he put the team in a position to win which is all one can ask for. His FIP currently stands at 3.37 and his xFIP is at 3.86. The team went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and failed to support their pitching staff.

[ESPN] Williams has strong start, Pirates snap 6-game skid - The team did make it interesting in the late innings after solo shots from Goldschmidt in the 8th and Ahmed in the 9th. Wilhelmsen, Chafin, and Delgado pitched 3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen striking out 4 and only giving up 1 hit. According to ESPN, Goldy’s homer in the 8th was the fastest pitch he had ever hit for a home run in his career at 99.8 mph.

Team News

[ESPN] Chris Iannetta has fractured teeth, broken nose after pitch to face - It is a relief that Chris Iannetta is in good spirits after the incident although the damage is about as bad as one would expect. Concussion tests did come back negative. Torey Lovullo stated that Iannetta offered to play in last night’s game but was held out for obvious reasons. It has not been decided if the team will place him on the 10 day DL.

[Fangraphs] Pay Attention to the Diamondbacks - Yeah, pay attention or else we will not throw a 93 mph fastball at your face. I have to say at first I agreed with Lovullo’s strategy of giving the starters extra rest, but as the season marches forward it has almost seemed to be a bit excessive. In particular, I feel that A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, and Chris Owings are sitting entirely too much while Daniel Descalso is getting more playing time than he probably deserves. Before the season even began, the biggest concern surrounding this team is that nearly everything would have to go right for them to have a glimmer of hope to reach the postseason. The piece points out that is nearly the case with the exception of the bottom half of the lineup and the bench players.

The team’s rotation features the highest WAR in baseball, and it isn’t close. The gap (1.1 wins) between the D-backs and the second-place Dodgers is the same as the gap between the Dodgers and the 17th-ranked Mets.

[Fangraphs] Zack Greinke Is Back - A complimentary article to the piece above. Jeff Mathis deserves a significant amount of credit for Greinke’s success, but that should not detract from what Greinke has accomplished himself. Greinke has only thrown 39% of his pitches in the strike zone according to Fangraphs. Hitters are swinging at his pitches out of the zone more often while taking the small percentage that are in the zone. That is dominance without overpowering velocity. Mark Reynolds commented after the game in Colorado that Greinke is hittable when he makes mistakes, but he just is not making many of them.

[Arizona Sports] Brandon Drury continues to rake at Chase Field this season - Brandon Drury and nearly everyone else in the lineup that is. This is what is most frustrating about this young man. One moment he can demonstrate tremendous promise for the future of the team, and the next he leaves me wondering if he even deserves to be on the field. I have arguably been his biggest fan since he made it to the show. I want to see him do well, but I need to see more consistency from him.

[D’backs.com] Tomas, mom share beautiful experience - We should not forget that the men on the field in uniform playing what we call a game are human as well. I would be willing to wager that Tomas would give up most of his salary just to have his family here in the United States with him. Not only does he have to play with the burden of lofty expectations, he also has to tune out the feeling of missing his family back home. That is not an easy task when you have fractions of a second to decide whether to swing or not.

Around the League

[ESPN Insider] Scouting takeaways: Whose performances will stick? - Robbie Ray’s biggest weakness in his career up to this season was his inability to put hitters away. The easiest way to solve that problem is to add a pitch to his repertoire and perfect it. As if he needed any more assistance with his ability to strike a batter out, his new pitch has increased his whiff rate. The dude does not even hit his first year of arbitration until next season, so hopefully the addition will add to his value over the coming seasons.

[LA Times] Three up, three down: Greinke is picking up steam, while K-Rod is losing it - Greinke’s slider has been flat out dominant this season. Admittedly, fans in Arizona, myself included, made too big of a deal about his diminished velocity. While it is true that some pitchers will fall off of a cliff with decreased speed on their pitches, Greinke appears to have embraced the changes required to find success at his age. The turning point for me was watching how successful he was with his slider in Colorado. Perhaps this season we will witness the NL West arms race between Greinke and Kershaw that we all anticipated.

[Fox Sports] MLB’s 5 most surprising teams, ranked by their chances to contend - This is what I love about Major League Baseball and sport in general. The Arizona Diamondbacks were supposed to be the bottom feeders of the league. The war is not over yet, but they have proved that narrative incorrect this far. While I do find tremendous value in projections, we should never forget that the game is played between the lines for a reason. I welcome the idea of a slugfest between Arizona, Colorado, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee come season end. Have fun looking up at the rest of us, San Francisco.

[Bleacher Report] Joe Maddon, Jon Lester Rip MLB's Slide Rule After Ian Happ Double-Play Call - In one camp, you have the argument that the rule needs to be in place to protect the players. On the other side of this issue, players bemoan the fact that the game is fundamentally being changed from how it was played historically, and subjective opinion is dictating the outcome of the games. I strongly disliked the “neighborhood” rule growing up and was happy when that was done away with. Coming close only counts in... well yeah you know. The slide rule is an entirely different issue.

“I don’t even know what the rule is,” Dustin Pedroia told NESN in a postgame interview. He continued: “I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a f—— rule. Let’s be honest. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork. That’s it.”

[Jon] Lester also expressed his displeasure with the rule, according to PatrickMooney of CSN Chicago: "These guys have turned double plays their entire lives. They know how to get the hell out of the way. ... We're out there playing with a bunch of pansies right now. I'm over this damn slide rule."

Poll

Should the slide rule be eliminated?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Yes, let the boys play ball
    (18 votes)
  • 28%
    No, we need to prevent injuries
    (7 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now