Complain all you want, but that was quite an exciting game up to the end. Even in the loss, you could see the pure enjoyment on Torey Lovullo’s face being a participant in such a great game. Andrew McCutchen demonstrated that his name deserves respect as he carried his team to victory like many times before. Six times before to be exact. I will tip my hat to that any day of the week. Fans today should be in for a true pitcher’s duel as the red hot Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45 ERA) takes on the equally impressive Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83 ERA) for the 4:05 PM start.
Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 3
[D’backs.com] D-backs fall on walk-off after Iannetta's jack - I can tell you which two Diamondbacks I want up in the in the 9th with the game on the line. With two outs already in the inning, Daniel Descalso singled on a line drive to center in exactly the situation he was signed for this offseason. Chris Iannetta came in as a pinch hitter next, and you just had the feeling that something special was going to happen for him again. After all, he was facing the team that could have ended his season early. For the second time on this road trip, he sent a ball to Souvenir City to tie the game in the top of the 9th. Enter Archie Bradley in the bottom half of the frame, and it appears the Diamondbacks have a great shot to send this game to extras. The fading face of the Pirate’s franchise, Andrew McCutchen, was his first assignment. It only took 3 pitches for Cutch to demonstrate why he was the man that saved a franchise from mediocrity.
"It's part of the game that makes it so great. You experience such a high, and then five minutes later the game is over and you come crawling back up here." -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo
[Arizona Sports] D-backs lose as Pirates’ walk-off follows Chris Iannetta’s clutch home run - How impressive has Randall Delgado been as a spot starter this past week? In his last 9 2⁄3 innings pitched in place of Taijuan Walker, he has given up 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 8 hits, and has struck out 11 batters. What more could you ask from a mop up bullpen pitcher? Trevor Williams was equally impressive only allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run through 6 innings.
"I saw the ball leave the bat and I knew right away it was gone," Bradley said. "I'm more frustrated for my team. [Iannetta] had a big homer like that, and then to come in and lose the ballgame for us. But we've got a good group, we're going to bounce back."
[ESPN] McCutchen's homer give Pirates 4-3 walkoff win over Arizona - Not a great day for the health of Pirates players. Gregory Polanco had to be carted off the field in the 6th inning with a sprained ankle. For some reason unknown to me, backup catcher Chris Stewart thought it would be a fantastic idea to leg out a triple. Too bad his knee had other plans. All Diamondbacks finished the game with teeth intact despite 2 being hit by a pitch. Progress Pirates. Real progress.
[Arizona Sports] D-backs starter Taijuan Walker progressing, will throw simulation game Tuesday - The hope is that Tai will be able to pitch Sunday in Miami if his blister does not give him any further problems. Not that it means anything, but Miami is a humid environment which should aid his hand. Arizona would still need a starter for Saturday’s game, so Delgado may be tabbed one more time for the spot start.
[Venom Strikes] Jake Lamb is raking his team to victory in May - My favorite stat makes an appearance. Jake Lamb’s hard hit % against left handed pitchers in 2017 (44%) is significantly higher than last season (28%). That increase is a result of significant drop in soft contact while only a modest decrease in medium contact. He has been putting in more time with hitting coach Dave Magadan utilizing a high velocity pitching machine. In order for Arizona to remain in the hunt in September, Jake Lamb will have to maintain strong performance after the All Star Break unlike 2016, and continue to improve his ability to make contact against left handed pitchers.
[AZ Central] Mike Hazen can’t envision dealing big-name players if Diamondbacks are in the hunt - Someone go check shoewizard’s pulse. Mike Hazen’s comments are not entirely surprising to me. The timing of the trade deadline just before the difficult calendar month of August is enough to make one nervous. Perhaps Hazen decides to stay put making only minor moves as he did this offseason. He does not appear to be nearly as impulsive as Kevin Towers or Dave Stewart. The best move might be to remain idle should the team be in contention midseason. Efficient draft strategy while marching forward with the current big league roster can be a recipe for success as well. If A.J. Pollock continues to struggle to remain on the field, it may be unnecessary to bid for his services once he hits free agency.
“I don’t think it slows anything down,” Hazen said. “We’re still marching forward on the draft. We’re still marching forward on July 2 (international) signings. We’re still going to be adding talent to the organization for the long-term. We’re still working on developing the crop of guys we have underneath at the minor league level right now. And we have a lot of good, young big leaguers who are making a lot of positive strides here and learning how to win.
[AZ Central] Curveball a key to Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray's recent success - The bender makes back to back appearances in Snake Bytes. Why should Robbie Ray be any different than the rest of the league in finding success by adding the curve? The key to his success in utilizing the pitch is to have it appear the same as his fastball coming out of his hand with similar rotational speed in the opposite direction. The natural break of the pitch after the hitter’s decision point will make it difficult to face him.
“It keeps guys honest,” Ray said. “They always have to respect the fastball, but when I have that curveball and the slider working that day, it just makes my fastball that much better. They not only have to respect the fastball, they have to respect the other pitches, too. The curveball, there’s such a difference in velocity there that it kind of keeps them off balance.”
Around the League
[ESPN] Power Rankings: Is the NL West baseball's best division? - If the season ended today, 3 NL West teams would be in the playoffs not to mention being near the top of the league in wins. The Dodgers have played more sustainable baseball than Arizona and Colorado and will be difficult to fend off for the division title. ESPN moves the D’backs up to #6 as does the Bleacher Report, and Fanrag Sports. Sports Illustrated slots them ahead of the Rockies at #5.
[CBS Sports] Watch: Bryce Harper plunking sparks crazy baseball brawl between Nats and Giants - Bad things happen when a country boy makes fun of a bro’s hair. Buster Posey stood idle as Bryce Harper charged his pitcher on the mound. I cannot say I blame him as I would not risk injury for a poor performing team either. A few of the Giants players must have felt like Metallica was performing the 7th inning stretch colliding with each other in a mosh pit on the mound. Hunter Strickland had to be carried off of the field by 3 of his own teammates, and even pushed Hunter Pence in the face. Harper has me confident that I can throw a batting helmet significantly better than him. Madison Bumgarner took his sweet time firing up his dirtbike as his teammates hurled themselves over the dugout railing.
[Fox Sports] Mike Trout has a ligament tear in thumb, placed on 10-day DL - A significant disappointment for the best position player in the game over the last few years. Mike Trout tore the ligament in his thumb on a head first slide into second base. This will be the first time in his career that he has been placed on the disabled list. He has finished in the top two in the AL MVP in all of his 5 full MLB seasons.
[Sporting News] Minor league player hurls baseball at opponent during benches-clearing brawl - Can we not just get along? Single A minor league games cannot be so important to necessitate stepping on another player’s leg with cleats on or hurling a baseball at an opponent at point blank range. The Detroit Tigers may need to make an example of their two minor leaguers Eduardo Jimenez and Daniel Pinero.