In the first inning, it appeared that the Diamondbacks were going to push through yet another 1st inning onslaught against former D’back Chase Anderson until... Paul Goldschmidt stepped to the plate with 2 runners on and no outs to strike out on 3 straight pitches. It was downhill from there as Anderson carried a no hitter into the eighth. Meanwhile, two particularly difficult innings for Zack Greinke put the victory further from reach. Patrick Corbin (4-4, 4.40 ERA) seeks a series win against Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.20 ERA) in today’s 11:10 AM series finale start.
Brewers 6, Diamondbacks
[D’backs.com] Greinke off form as D-backs can't find offense - Chase Anderson’s previous career high for single game strikeouts was 10 when he pitched for Arizona. By the time this game was over, he would set a new mark at 11 while coming tantalizingly close to only the 2nd no hitter in Milwaukee Brewers history. Former Brewers Zack Greinke did not fare as well. He may have made it to the 4th inning without giving up an earned run, but even the Milwaukee outs up until that point were hit with authority to the warning track. Arizona outfielders had their fair share of work. The hard hit % against him this season (37.4%) is near his single season career high in 2007 (38.4%). Those numbers are not updated after yesterday’s results.
[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks’ winning streak ends at five games after loss to Milwaukee - Arizona seemed to have a fighting chance to get back into the game after Nick Ahmed broke up the no hitter in the bottom of the eighth. Perhaps Friday’s heroics skewed that glimmer of hope, as Jeff Mathis promptly grounded into a double play. Wrong catcher at the right time. The Diamondbacks scored a run and had runners on first and second with no outs in the 9th, but Jake Lamb reached on a fielder’s choice and Yasmany Tomas grounded into yet another double play to end the game. A whopping 3 hits, 4 walks, and 4 men left on base for Arizona after the game ended.
“It seems to me like the whole team played terrible today, including myself,” Greinke said. “I mean, (Anderson) almost threw a no-hitter and then we gave up six or seven runs, whatever it ended up being. It was a pretty bad game.”
[D’backs.com] Goldschmidt shows expert skills on basepaths - Paul Goldschmidt is definitely not the fastest player in the league, but he rarely makes a mistake on the basepath. A 30-30 season from him would be truly remarkable and is entirely possible. Chris Young is the only Diamondbacks player that has come close to that figure narrowly missing in 2007 and again in 2010.
"It's just trying to see a situation where I think my chances are pretty good. I've been able to be successful in those times I've been thrown," Goldschmidt said. "It's important to get to that next base no matter how you can do it."
[ESPN] Who are baseball's best defensive infielders? - Scott Spratt either truly believes Goldy is the 10th best defensive infielder in the league, or he used him as click bait to get more readers from Arizona to become Insider subscribers. Nick Ahmed also makes the list at #3. Paul has a 93.2% “scoop rate” since 2015 which sounds like a really good topic to bring up in a Coldstone Creamery interview. Also, Ahmed has a difficult time hitting a baseball if you have not heard by now.
[AZ Central] Focus on pitch-framing paying off for Diamondbacks' Chris Iannetta - It was the buzz word of the offseason after the team decided to non-tender Wellington Castillo, and the conversation continues a third of the way into the season. Fans were confused after Hazen followed the Jeff Mathis signing by adding Chris Iannetta who ranked second to last in the majors last season in pitch framing. A renewed focus on the skill has paid dividends for pitches down in the zone, allowing the pitching staff to avoid a hitter’s wheelhouse.
“I pay attention to it a lot,” Iannetta said. “I’ve been really staying on top of it. It’s been a big focus to make sure the strikes are being called strikes.” Iannetta posted good framing numbers in 2015 before falling off last year, which he attributed to a problem with how he held his glove before receiving a pitch. “I’d start at the bottom of the zone and then as the pitch was in the air I’d kind of relax and raise it up,” he said, demonstrating. “I’d be here (down in the zone) and I’d raise up to relax and then go back down to catch it a little bit. I wouldn’t (bring the ball down with me), but just the illusion of me going down made it look like it was lower than it actually was.”
Around the League
[Fangraphs] MLB’s Pace and Time of Game Are Moving in the Wrong Direction - Weird. There appears to be a typo in that title. The Tampa Bay Rays have been the worst offenders. My own non-scientific opinion is that they need to delay concession stand closing for as long as possible otherwise they will go flat broke. The Diamondbacks games are on average 9 minutes faster than last season. I found it interesting that relievers take longer than starting pitchers given the high octane mentality they typically enter the game with. The games could last 4 hours for all I care.
[ESPN] Every team needs a Judge's Chambers section, and here are some suggestions - No thanks. Something tells me a 24k Goldy Lounge would result in Ken Kendrick falsely accusing our best player of being enigma and promptly tear down the gimmick a few seasons later. History never repeats itself, right? Does anyone know what the team ever did with that Uptown sign?
[USA Today] Stadium deaths: Are Major League Baseball facilities safe enough? - Most readers here on the Pit will remember the fan who was saved from his near death experience during the 2011 Home Run Derby at Chase Field. I put this on fan responsibility more than stadium engineers. I like to throw down beers with the best of them at the ballpark, but I would never put my life in danger for a $5 baseball. The way that some fans hurl themselves at a ball even at a Spring Training workout blows my mind.
“One can always increase safety measures,” said Adelman, the event safety expert based in Arizona. “You always can. It’s literally true. Ultimately, you can bubble-wrap everyone and make them sit in their living rooms not doing anything. That’s the safest thing of all.”
[Sports Illustrated] Forget velocity, the curveball's resurgence is changing modern pitching - I will never forget the first time I threw a curveball to my brother at the park. I had never attempted the pitch before instead relying on the traditional 4-seam 2-seam fastball combo paired with a wild slider. We studied a YouTube video on the pitch briefly before heading out for our daily routine. When it came out of my hand, it started at about average head height and felt like an awful pitch. By the time it reached my brother, it snapped down to the bottom of the zone out of nowhere. We both stood there grinning ear to ear and laughed as we could not believe our eyes. I also will never forget the first time it was thrown against me as a hitter against Prescott High School. Again, it appeared that the pitch was coming straight for my head, and before I knew it I had stepped out of the box only to look at strike three. For me, my hand had to be at the bottom of the baseball at my release point for the pitch to have successful break. If I was anywhere in front or on top of the baseball, the movement was flat. There is a picture in the article of Clayton Kershaw’s curveball grip. It was similar to how I chose to grip the pitch, only on the opposite seam for the obvious reason that I was a right hander.
Kershaw spins his curveball at a similar rate to his fastball (2,326 rpm). Though they spin in opposite directions, because he throws both with a true overhand delivery, creating pole-to-pole rotation, the pitches first look exactly alike to a hitter: a gray circle. The four-seamer holds its plane while the Kershaw curve can drop nine inches.
Think back to the Inside the ‘Zona article that Michael cited in the preseason regarding pitch tunneling. If two different pitches look the same coming out of the hand but have differing break after the hitter’s decision point to swing, it tips the scale in favor of the pitcher.