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Snake Bytes, 7/14: And, they’re off!

The season gets under way again, after what seems like an eternity since the last time we saw the D-backs in action. But it’s only five days...

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88th MLB All-Star Game Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Team news

[] D-backs aim to improve strong lineup via trade - Things figure to intensify as it becomes more clear which teams are buyers and which are sellers. There's little question in which category the D-backs fall. "This is a strong club," Hazen said. "I do think it has some depth to it. We don't feel the need to go out there and do anything, but we're going to take every opportunity to improve it. I think that's our responsibility." The team's most pressing need looks to be a power right-handed outfield bat. Especially with Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list, the lineup has proven to be vulnerable against left-handed pitchers.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks facing key questions as postseason pursuit resumes - As with any great season, the Diamondbacks’ roster is filled with surprise performers. Infielder/outfielder Chris Owings has 12 home runs, twice his previous career high. Zack Godley has a 2.58 ERA. Randall Delgado and T.J. McFarland have combined to throw 88 1/3 innings with a 2.85 ERA. But whether the Diamondbacks can maintain their blistering pace depends not just on those sorts of performances, but on the breakout performances that, while less surprising, are just as crucial. Can Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker continue to perform like front-line starters? Can Jake Lamb avoid the second-half slump that befell him last year? Can Archie Bradley maintain his electric stuff and continue to dominate? Time will tell.

[Arizona Sports] The 5: Defining moments of the D-backs' season so far - A 53-36 start to the season has the Arizona Diamondbacks second in a competitive NL West and with the third best record in the majors. Despite it marking the best start to this point in franchise history, it hasn’t come without some lows. But the D-backs responding to those lows with even more highs has been the theme, and it’s been more than contributions from four All-Stars that have got them to this point. Five moments stand out not only for the exciting moments they were in a vacuum but what they say about the team at the midway point of 2017.

[AZ Central] Skeptics light a fire under Archie Bradley - “I pay attention to baseball,” Bradley said. “I don’t read every article and stuff. But just seeing, not that we need bulletin-board material, but hearing people already saying the Dodgers have stuff locked up and we’re fighting for a wild card, and knowing what we did this first half and the way we surprised people outside this clubhouse – and maybe even surprised people in this clubhouse – I think with what we did, we’re all ready to get going.”

[ABC15] 'It's a passion project': Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta owns award-winning winery - When he was a rookie, Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta and his teammates would often go out to enjoy steak dinners that included premium bottles of wine. The experience awoke a passion for wine within Iannetta, and it led to the creation of JACK Winery, a business he and former Los Angeles Angels teammate Vernon Wells founded five years ago. "When you start having some finer wines, some nicer wines, your pallet kind of changes and you appreciate it," said Iannetta. "I don’t like to drink just to drink; I truly enjoy the evolution in the glass and the different nuances of the wine. For me, it’s more of an adventure every time I take a sip or have a glass a wine, so I’ve become a little bit of a wine snob."

And, elsewhere...

[The Big Lead] The Cubs Gave Up Far Too Much For Jose Quintana - I get it, the Cubs are deep on the position player side of things and needed pitching. But in back-to-back years they’ve surrendered two of the top five prospects in baseball and haven’t gotten adequate value. It’s not like they wound up with a Max Scherzer, Chris Sale or Zack Greinke-type guy, or a long-term solution at closer. They got Quintana — who will likely become their third starter — and three months of Chapman. That’s not much for such a high price. If you’re going to trade your best prospects, you better get something that creates a dramatic improvement in the long run.

[Sports on Earth] Top 10 players by bWAR who could be traded. - With the All-Star Game behind us and the non-waiver Trade Deadline two weeks from Monday, the swapping season is upon us, as evidenced by the Cubs' acquisition of Jose Quintana. So, here are the 10 players believed to be on the trading block who were the most valuable in the first half according to Baseball-Reference's wins above replacement.

[SI] Play ball (again)! Home run chases, pennant races, trading aces, new World Series faces - The idea of a ball hitting the roof was thought to be impossible. Until Monday, nobody did hit the roof—not in a game, not in batting practice. Then Judge showed up and hit the roof with a Home Run Derby blast. The Marlins estimated that it cleared one girder and smacked against another at a height off the ground of about 170 feet in deep left-centerfield. Think about that: about 17 stories high after traveling about 300 feet... The moral of the story is this: You can bring together the brainpower of the world’s smartest building engineers, combine it with every bit of local atmospheric data, add to it the computational power of NASA, and you still can’t Judge-proof a ballpark.

[FanGraphs] Blisters and the New Ball - Off the record, I received all sorts of confirmation that the balls are a mess, that blisters are a problem, and there’s absolutely a link. That doesn’t help, though, because it’s anecdotal and unsourced. But one off-the-record pitcher said something interesting and direct that provides a link between a possible change in the baseball and the ever-increasing use of breaking pitches. “Maybe it’s the lower seams, but it’s more likely that it’s the stuff that everyone has to do to get a better grip that’s made the blister problem worse,” that pitcher said.