The Diamondbacks have put a heavyweight beating on the Padres. In the first 2 games of the series, Arizona has scored 13 runs total in the first inning between both contests. This comes in stark contrast to the first series in San Diego in which the team managed to only score 2 runs in the final 18 innings of that road trip. Slight offensive regression at home has been followed by regression the other direction on the road. Zack Godley (1-0, 1.93 ERA) will battle against Clayton Richard (2-5 4.86 ERA) before the team heads back to Phoenix for a 3 game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Diamondbacks 9, Padres 1
[D’backs.com] First-inning outburst lifts D-backs over Padres - While the Diamondbacks opened the game with 5 runs in the first inning alone, the Padres only managed 2 hits off of starting pitcher Robbie Ray. Ray was nothing short of dominant going 7 2⁄3 innings and allowing 0 earned runs for his longest start of the season. He had allowed 20 earned runs over his previous 33 innings pitched. The flamethrowing southpaw retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced this time around.
[Arizona Sports] Robbie Ray, hot bats blast Padres as D-backs get series win - This is exactly the type of offensive performance the team needs while A.J. Pollock is expected to miss the next few series. Five Diamondbacks starters finished the game with multiple hits. Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Yasmany Tomas, and Chris Herrmann each finished with 2 RBI while David Peralta led the team with 4 hits. The Padres’ bullpen has been worn severely thin as their starting pitchers have only managed 3.2 innings the past 2 games.
[ESPN] Ray, Diamondbacks beat Padres 9-1 for 5th straight win - The team has now won 5 games in a row and sits just 1 game behind the Colorado Rockies for the best record in the Senior Circuit. As stated above, the team’s next series will be against the White Sox who are currently 19-22 before facing another early season surprise Milwaukee Brewers team.
"Coming out of there with a five-run lead, you know your defense is feeling good behind you," Ray said. "You come after guys and you're attacking. I was just trying to attack the zone and get early outs."
[AZ Central] GM Mike Hazen keeping tabs as Diamondbacks prep for MLB draft - The impact of the new regime’s selections for the first time in Arizona will not immediately be evident, but it will not be the first time Hazen’s staff has gone through the process. Jim and Michael have done a tremendous job showcasing a few of the players the team could select at #7 overall. Hazen & Co. also have the #44, #68, and #82 picks to restock a farm system that lacks significant impact talent at the moment. I am excited to see if the same magic that happened in Boston can be recreated here in the desert.
“I’m a question-asker and that’s about it,” Hazen said. “I think if you haven’t seen a lot of players, it’s hard to see a player and say, ‘This is the guy.’ I don’t think I can do that. But it’s good to be able to ask questions. Even though Deric is going to be making the pick, ultimately I’m accountable for that, too. Being able to at least ask questions about why we would want to take this type of player, having seen them, I think it adds a little context. You read all the reports and you watch video, but I think getting to go watch them play it helps me to be able to at least put a little bit more of the picture together.”
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks hit a home run with 'summer pass' ticket deal - Interesting. Where did I see this suggested before?
What can the team do to increase a) attendance and b) enthusiasm at Chase?
Keegan: They could start selling general admission “ticket vouchers”. Basically select how many games you want to attend be it 10, 15, 20 etc. It can be any game and they simply deduct from your voucher when you attend. It’s kind of pointless at this point to pay full price for a ticket when the stadium is hardly half full.
You can thank me later, Derrick Hall. I will not pretend that this is exactly what I suggested, but it is pretty damn close. Call it a pilot program if you will. The “Ballpark Summer Pass” will be unveiled today, and for the price of $50 fans can attend any home game in the months of June and July. After some serious advanced metrics accounting, that equates to $2 per game for 25 contests in those months. It has been pointed out on this site that the stadium could sit dormant all season and Ken Kendrick would still turn a profit. A simple thank you to the Pit would suffice. Seats will be assigned through the MLB Ballpark App two hours in advance to each game and will be in the nose bleeds. It would be a shame if there was open seating in the lower level...
[ESPN] Diamondbacks activate Chris Iannetta after hit in face by pitch - Just in time to seek his revenge against the Pirates. Do not be surprised to see a an index finger or two pointed at a Pirate’s batter. I doubt Iannetta would take it that far, but it will be interesting to watch him behind the plate in that series. Silvino Bracho heads back to Reno to free up space for the catcher.
[Fangraphs] The Players on Choking Up - Hardly any surprise, to me at least, as to which Arizona player made an appearance in this piece. Paul Goldschmidt, Hunter Pence, Joey Votto, and Rajai Davis discuss “choking up” on the bat and what it can do to their ability to make contact. For those who are not familiar with the term, watch where Goldy’s hands are on the bat at the beginning of his AB, and where he places them on a 2 strike count. By placing his bottom hand on the knob to begin the AB, he is putting more weight at the end of the bat which allows for more power. When he needs to be defensive and protect the plate in a 2 strike count, his hands move up the bat closer to the barrel allowing for more control. The trade off in power, though, is not as severe for elite hitters such as Goldschmidt and Votto.
“You only have to go into the first row, you don’t have to go 20 rows deep,” points out Goldschmidt. “I still hit two-strike homers and extra-base hits. If you hit it on the barrel, it’s going to go regardless, and just to have the little bit extra bat control is more beneficial. I think you can be a little shorter and quicker to the ball which allows you to wait a little longer to start your swing with two strikes so that you can recognize the offspeed.”
Around the League
[Fox Sports] Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda hospitalized - The article states that Lasorda has been admitted to the intensive care unit for an undisclosed illness, but the 89 year old does have a history of heart problems. He has been with the Dodgers organization for 68 years.
[ESPN] Under Armour to make MLB uniforms in 2019, a year early - Could yet another Diamondbacks uniform change be on the horizon as well? A change in jersey manufacture does not entail a change in design, but some NFL teams took advantage of the opportunity when Nike began producing uniforms for that league. Please do not give us space invader teal as the predominant color.
[CBS Sports] Progress reports and grades for all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark - I personally would have gone with an A- for Arizona. The blown saves early in the season from Rodney were not exactly thrilling nor were the close losses to the Pirates. It has not been perfect and there will always be room for improvement. Nonetheless, the start of this season has been impressive.