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Snake Bytes 5/9: Sweet Home (Arizona)

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Where it does not hail in May

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks return to Phoenix after an underwhelming road trip to begin a 9 game homestand against the Tigers, Pirates, and Mets. None of those teams currently have a record above .500 or a positive run differential, so the Diamondbacks need to put themselves back on proper footing. The Mets’ pitching staff has allowed the 3rd most runs in the majors at the time of writing and have serious questions to answer in their rotation. Detroit has allowed the 2nd most runs in the American League. The Pirates’ issue is that a chunk of their players are either suspended or injured resulting in the 3rd lowest scoring offense in the Senior Circuit. Former Tiger Robbie Ray (2-2, 3.47 ERA) starts the homestand against Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21 ERA) who has begun to return to form in his previous two starts.

Team News

[D’backs.com] Ray looks to continue solid start vs. Tigers - Robbie Ray is currently in the Top 4 in the NL in strikeouts at the time of writing, but do not tell his offense that. Arizona has only managed to score 2 runs combined in each of his previous outings both of which he and the bullpen put the team in position to win. His last start against Washington is a summary of some of the existing problems with the Diamondbacks. Poor defense and an inability to score runs on the road spoiling an otherwise more than acceptable performance by the pitching staff. The Tigers offense is currently 12th in the league in strikeouts, so perhaps he will put the team in a position to win again. Diamondbacks hitters will have their work cut out for them as Justin Verlander has only allowed 2 earned runs, 9 hits, and 6 walks in his last 14 innings pitched.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks attended workout for starting RHP Doug Fister - Also reported by Jim yesterday, this may be a case of the Diamondbacks carrying out due diligence more than anything. It has been reported that Doug Fister desires a major league starting gig, and some of the other teams that were present at his workout have a greater need and might be able to provide that to him. I would not be opposed to adding him to see if our rotation’s current success can rub off on him.

[Venom Strikes] Arizona Diamondbacks: A Jekyll and Hyde hitting personality - Do you ever get the feeling that the team is trolling us? The offense (and defense) fell flat on its face these past 6 games and essentially gave up a few wins. Offensive performance at Chase has been unsustainably high while the opposite can be said on the road.

In Chase Field, the Diamondbacks put up frightening numbers. At home, they lead the National League in hitting with a .301 average and place sixth overall in the league in team batting average. As productive as this team is in the desert, the opposite can said for the offense away from Chase Field. In road games this season, the Diamondbacks are dead last in the National League with a team batting average of .205.

[Inside the ‘Zona] D-backs Pitchers Keeping Home Runs In-Check - Yet another reason to be optimistic about the Arizona pitching staff. The Diamondbacks pitching staff home run rate has remained fairly consistent while home runs surrendered has been on the rise league wide. The key is that when an Arizona pitcher gives up a #dinger that he does so without any other runners on base.

Elsewhere

[ESPN] Power Rankings - I had to shave the title of this one because I refuse to include anything that has to do with the evil empire. ESPN drops the team two spots down to #9 and rightfully so allowing both the Dodgers and Rockies to leapfrog Arizona. Fox Sports drops them one spot to #11. FanRag keeps them put at #10. Sports Illustrated adjusts their slot to #10. Bleacher Report pegs the team at #11.

[CBS Sports] Mat Latos was sent down; a reminder of how fleeting MLB success can be - Mat Latos, Brandon Webb, Jason Schmidt, Tim Lincecum, and Johan Santana are just a select few of the names that could be lumped into this piece. We can sit here and armchair fantasy GM as much as we want, but the reality is that sustained success in the majors is not easy. That is why the Hall of Fame exists, and why teams like Arizona should think twice before dishing out a massive multi-year contract to a single player.

[MLB.com] All of the oddities (and strikeouts) from the Yankees-Cubs marathon game - Okay so I lied about trimming titles to exclude the Spankees. Sue me. I was not kidding when I said that beer vendors should have to start serving again once a game reaches a certain point in extra innings. If I’m going to sit around for a full 18 innings, which I completely would, I deserve more beer. The Cubs and Yankees set the record for most combined strikeouts in a game. Joe West participated in his 2nd 18 inning game at Wrigley in over 30 years. Starlin Castro saw his once league leading batting average fall off of a cliff after going 0-8. Aroldis Chapman got it all started when he did his best Fernando Rodney impersonation. I feel no remorse for fans of both teams.

[LA Times] First of their countrymen to play in MLB - It was somewhat astonishing to me to see how many countries made the list and how far back some of them date. Australia had the first international player in the league with Joe Quinn in 1884 with Lithuania’s Dovydas Neverauskas becoming the most recent newcomer this season. I did not fact check this list so do not @ me.

Ed Porray, who played for Buffalo of the Federal League in 1914, is the only person with this designation on his birth certificate: “Born at sea, on ship on the Atlantic Ocean.” As such, he is the only major leaguer to not have a country as his place of birth.