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Snake Bytes, 5/25: Brooms R Us

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Recaps

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks keep rolling, now 10 games above .500 - “It was a nice win, a nice team win,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think everybody from top to bottom, basically, contributed.” That’s how it’s gone for much of this season, Lovullo’s first as a major-league manager. On Wednesday, he was forced to wriggle his way through a game a little unconventionally. Randall Delgado, making a spot start, pitched four innings and was charged with only one earned run in his first starting appearance in nearly two years. Five other relievers chipped in to finish things off, and the Diamondbacks leaned on a six-run fifth inning to sink the Sox.

[MLB.com] D-backs' bullpen day strategy pays off - Randall Delgado got the start -- his first since 2015, when he made one spot start -- and he gave the D-backs the four innings they hoped for while allowing just two runs (one earned). "I think I did pretty well," Delgado said. "I was trying to concentrate and do my stuff trying to help the team with everything. The team played awesome again." Said D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb, "For Randy to give us what he did at the beginning of the game, just everyone, really, coming in doing their job. They got in a few sticky situations, but got out of it and Rodney comes in and does his thing."

[Arizona Sports] D-backs complete sweep of White Sox in bullpen game - Dropped to seventh in the lineup with a lefty on the mound, Lamb homered for the second time in the series and sixth time in his last eight games overall. It was a 91-mph fastball that Lamb clubbed over the left-field fence in the fifth inning for his 13th of the season. The two-run shot handed the D-backs their first lead, 4-2. Of course, the D-backs were not done in that fifth inning. Four more runs scored on RBI by Ahmed, Owings and Drury. Ahmed plated a pair with a single up the middle. Coupled with his earlier double, Ahmed recorded his sixth multi-hit effort of the season and first since May 13.

[AP] D-backs complete sweep, move 10 games over .500 - Lovullo plans to keep playing Lamb against left-handers. The only difference is he is dropped from cleanup to seventh in the batting order. “Jake is going to continue to grow and learn every area of the game, so when he does something like he did today it doesn’t surprise me,” Lovullo said. “I know he’s working hard to have those moments.” Lamb has hit home runs in two straight games and five of his last seven. He knows he has work to do against left-handers. “I obviously know what’s going on,” he said. “At the same time, I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself. I’m just happy where I’m at mentally. I’m in a good spot. The results will come with more ABs and me continuing to work at it.”

Team news

[AZ Central] Time for Diamondbacks to prove their worth – on the road - When Lovullo was asked about the home-road splits earlier this year, he shrugged them off, saying the sample size was too small. But the Diamondbacks have played 48 games and when the question was asked again of Lovullo on Wednesday, he responded differently. “It probably is enough of a sample size but I know there’s enough time built in for it to change,” Lovullo said. “If it’s the end of August or September and it’s the same thing, we’re going to have to figure out how to manage playing on the road a little differently. I just know we have a tremendous comfort level in scoring runs and playing here. I think these guys are going to figure out how to do that (on the road).”

[MLB.com] D-backs begin crucial road trip - "I know that our road record isn't perfect," first-year manager Torey Lovullo said after the three-game sweep Wednesday. "But I think they've got to resist doing anything differently than they've done all season. I think that the worm will turn on the road. We have a long, extended road trip. Let's play how we've been playing, and see how that lands us when we get back on June 5." Their road play, obviously, has been in stark contrast to their play at home. Take note, that three of their eight road wins came in San Diego against a Padres team that has a .340 winning percentage, Major League Baseball's worst.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks rolling with current relievers on road trip - Torey Lovullo said the club won't call up a fresh arm before the start of the 11-game road trip that starts Thursday at Milwaukee. Closer Fernando Rodney, J.J. Hoover and Jorge De La Rosa all have pitched two straight days and Randall Delgado, who got the spot start in place of Taijuan Walker, will obviously be down a couple of days. But Lovullo said the Diamondbacks "will be OK" with a short-handed bullpen. "We were talking about that but I think we'll be in good shape," Lovullo said. "We're going to ask guys to go back-to-back and maybe ask them to do things they haven't done very often but we should be in good shape."

[Arizona Sports] Zack Greinke's hot start is among one of the best in D-backs history - With his hot start, Greinke has put himself in great company with elite starting pitchers that have donned a D-back uniform. From Randy Johnson, who won four Cy Young awards in Arizona, or his fellow ace, Curt Schilling, to Brandon Webb (another Cy Young winner) and Ian Kennedy, the Diamondbacks have had some excellent pitchers throughout the years. Although Greinke’s stats pale in comparison to what Johnson did at times (but really, whose wouldn’t), Greinke has done all he could to justify not only his contract, but the title of “ace.”

[Beyond the Box Score] Which NL West surprise will last? - Both the Diamondbacks and the Rockies are dominating the National League right now, but only one team appear to be set for a true postseason run down the stretch, and that is Arizona. The Rockies have too many offensive concerns and a run differential that is, at the moment, too low to suggest that they’re ready to make a run. The Diamondbacks are not only playing well beyond their projections, but they are backing it up with the runs scored and the runs allowed. It’s been a fun start for both these teams, but despite what FanGraphs says, the Diamondbacks could very well be the team that sneaks into the National League playoff picture come October.

[FanGraphs] It’s Time to Talk About the Diamondbacks - This team is probably still a few arms short, but if Hazen and his staff can find a couple decent swing-types to give decent spot-starts and help the bullpen’s depth as the summer wears on, the Diamondbacks might just be for real. And while we certainly gave Stewart and LaRussa our fair share of grief over their belief in this core, they’ve got some reason to feel somewhat justified. The Shelby Miller trade will always be a massive disaster, but this Diamondbacks team is starting to look more like stars-and-decent-guys than stars-and-scrubs, and in 2017, that may very well be enough to get to October.

[MLB.com] D-backs' A.J. Pollock won't go on road trip - "He is not going to be with us on this road trip," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. "Now if he joins us, that will be determined by the medical team. I don't know that answer. I think what we'll do is get feedback from A.J. and feel out what his comfort level is when he's ready, what he wants to do and let the medical team determine what the best solution is. And [we'll] give all that information to the front office and let them decide what the best plan is. The last I heard, he was not coming on this trip at all, but in this game, things happen."

And, elsewhere...

[CBSSports] Homer Simpson will be 'inducted' into Baseball Hall of Fame this Saturday - Cooperstown is opening its doors to America's favorite cartoon family Saturday as part of a larger celebration of the show, specifically the "Homer at the Bat" episode that featured numerous Hall of Famers in all their animated glory. Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith were among the players who appeared in that episode, and both will partake in a roundtable alongside various members of the show's creative and production teams.

[SI] Forget velocity, the curveball's resurgence is changing modern pitching - No pitch has ended more aspiring careers than the curve. As former Kentucky congressman Ben Chandler once said on behalf of the great diaspora who know the feeling too well, “I was planning to be a baseball player until I ran into something called a curveball.” No pitch causes major league hitters to freeze more often. No pitch has inspired more legends, myths, fear, grips, nicknames, and ooohs and aaahs. It is a wonder of physics, geometry and art, a beautiful, looping arc through space made possible by the interplay between gravity and the Magnus force—a result of the flow of air around the spinning sphere—that often leaves us, and the hitter, paralyzed in wonderment.

[ESPN] For Jered Weaver, end coming not with a bang but with a whimper - [An epitaph for Weaver, written alongside the nine Arizona batters he faced] It is an open question whether he will be allowed to pitch in the majors again -- for the Padres or for anybody else. If he doesn't, it would be a bleak ending for one of the era's great pitching careers: nine batters and 39 pitches, a dog's breakfast of bad-luck hits and no-doubt homers, of well-located pitches spoiled and mistakes punished; a career ending on its very worst start. One question hung above it all: What sends a pitcher as accomplished as Weaver back out to fail?