[Dbacks.com] Four D’backs Ready for All Star Game - For the third time in franchise history and the first time in 15 years, the Diamondbacks are sending 4 players to the All Star Game. Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Jake Lamb, and Paul Goldschmidt were all nominated via the players ballot. The fact that Paul Goldschmidt has company with him in Miami speaks to the truly special first half the team has had as a whole. While none of the four will start in the game, their presence at the Midsummer Classic should give fans in Arizona a reason to watch.
"When your team is playing well, it's not just because of one person. It's a group of guys," said Goldschmidt, an All-Star for the fifth straight year. "As good a first half as we had, I think it is a good reflection having four All-Stars here. A huge reason we've had the success is because of the other guys here."
[Arizona Sports] The first half of the D-backs’ 2017 season: By the numbers - Plenty to be optimistic about after the first half. The Diamondbacks rank among the top teams in a staggering number of categories. Goldy is third in the majors in runs scored, while him and Lamb are tied for 5th among MLB RBI leaders at 67. The pitching staff ranks 4th in strikeouts with 831, and Robbie Ray (2.97) and Zack Greinke (2.86) are among 9 qualified starting pitchers with an ERA under 3. The team is 16 wins away from their 2016 total, and their 33 wins at home equal the total from last season. The Snake Pit staff concludes “Anything else is gravy.”
[Fanrag] All-Star break comes at perfect time for Diamondbacks - Arizona has not played awful in July, but more like a team that deserves a few days off. The Diamondbacks have scored the 5th most runs in the National League, but have scored the 3rd fewest in July. Only the Giants and Padres have a worse OPS this month. However, if the team would have scored 2 more runs each game on July 4th, 5th, 6th, and 9th we would be staring at only 1 loss for the month. It is important to keep the long 162 game season in perspective.
“In my experience, I feel like as a team we’re gonna go through up and downs, but we have to maintain the same mindset,” Blanco, a nine-year veteran with two World Series rings, said. “When there are good moments, enjoy the good moments. When there are bad moments, you can enjoy the bad moments, too. We’ve lost (eight of our last 11) and we’re still battling every single game and trying to win [the] series. We’re definitely grinding.”
[USA Today] How the extreme heat in Arizona actually contributed to a Diamondbacks loss - Right from the start it was obvious that David Peralta was not at fault for losing his footing twice on a fly ball in the 6th inning on Sunday against the Reds. The field looks awful right now, and the grounds crew typically struggles to keep up at this time of year due to the extreme heat in the Valley, Maybe we should be the first Major League team to play in the sand?
[ESPN] Power Rankings - Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate. Just a minor bump in the road, but ESPN drops Arizona down to #5. Bleacher Report is even more dramatic in dropping them 6 spots down to #9. Ouch. Fanrag keeps the team at #3.
Around the League
[CBS Sports] Aaron Judge shows America his true star power - Watch the Home Run Derby broadcast in Spanish, and you will not regret it. As I opined in this week’s round table, the new rules format implemented a few seasons ago has made the Derby exciting to watch. Cody Bellinger knocked Charlie Blackmon off at the buzzer. Gary Sanchez proved to be too much for reigning champion Giancarlo Stanton to handle in the first round. Justin Bour was old school and did a tremendous job firing up his home crowd belting #dingerz without batting gloves. Although Bour deserved to win for his first round antics alone, he was no match for the eventual champion Aaron Judge who demonstrated tremendous power to all fields. The thunderous home runs last night drew equal response from the gods as lightning cracked just outside the outfield windows. The Home Run Derby has come a long way in the past decade.
[Sporting News] Marlins suing former season ticket holder for property - We could have it worse I suppose. Jeffrey Loria makes Frank McCourt look like a saint. Loria has successfully sued former season ticket holder Kenneth Sack to seize a $725,000 building for failing to renew his season tickets thus breaching his 4 year contract. Sack and his lawyers have appealed the civil suit, and Loria is now moving forward with foreclosure proceedings on the structure. Sack is not the first fan to be sued by Loria. When the new Marlins Park was opened in 2012, fans who purchased season tickets agreed to a 4 year contract. In return for renewing for at least those 4 years, fans were promised premier parking, private entrance to the park, and food service upon entering the stadium. Disgruntled fans argue that the Marlins never honored those terms, and thus the team breached the contract not the season ticket holders. The fact that Loria has a legal team dedicated to discovering the assets held by fans and suing them for refusing to watch a poor product on the field is deplorable. Major League Baseball would be wise prevent owners like Jeffrey Loria from getting their hands on a team as best as they possibly can.
[Bleacher Report] MLB Celebrity Softball Game 2017: Home Runs Fly as the NL Beats AL 28-22 - Watching Rickey Henderson take Jenny Finch yard on the first pitch and strutting his stuff around the bases was about all I needed to see from the celebrity game. He is as electrifying in meaningless softball games as he was during his playing days.
[Fangraphs] Projected Second-Half Schedule Strengths - Look, the Diamondbacks have made projections look silly all season long, so take these remaining strength of schedule projections with a grain of salt. The chart does not tell me anything I have not already anticipated if you have paid attention to my comments every time someone throws a temper tantrum about Lovullo’s “B” lineups. The baseball gods want to make it as difficult as possible on the Diamondbacks. Fangraphs projects the Dodgers to have the easiest remaining schedule in the National League while the Diamondbacks have the most difficult. However, against all odds it is just as possible for this team this season to continue its magical run as the push for the postseason progresses. The narrative coming from the clubhouse all season has been about the team focusing on one game at a time. That strategy has built them a sizeable first half lead. It is certainly a better position than the World Series champion Cubs find themselves at this point as they place blame on anyone with a face.