Someone make the bleeding stop. Five of the team’s losses this month were by 1 run, so we could have just as easily been discussing an 8-2 month. Starting pitching is not to blame for the recent skid. The starting rotation has pitched to a collective 2.82 ERA and 3.11 FIP in July. Those figures do not include Patrick Corbin’s respectable performance last night. Kinder words cannot be spoken of the bullpen and offense as of late. The bullpen has a 5.16 ERA and 4.38 FIP excluding last night’s implosion. The offense has stumbled to a 66 wRC+ and a .660 OPS on the heels of a .268 BABIP. Something has to give. Zack Godley (3-3, 2.58 ERA) looks to continue his spectacular season as he takes the mound against Jaime Garcia (2-7, 4.55 ERA).
Braves 8, Diamondbacks 5
[Dbacks.com] D-backs run out of gas, drop 4th straight - Patrick Corbin went 5 innings giving up 6 hits and 2 earned runs on 6 strikeouts. Unfortunately, he was removed from the game for a pinch hitter after only 77 pitches. With the offense struggling as of late and the Diamondbacks down 2-1, Lovullo opted to insert Daniel Descalso who singled to right field allowing Chris Herrmann to score. Paul Goldschmidt followed with another single scoring Descalso leaving the team up 3-2. It appeared the Lovullo’s move had paid off. Over the first half of the season, the bullpen was quite capable of maintaining that lead. However, Randall Delgado joined those who have struggled as of late and allowed 4 earned runs in 2⁄3 innings of work. Yeah, it has been like that.
"We're building the innings," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We just haven't hit a ball in the gap or hit a big three-run home run and that's been the things that we've been doing all year long. We're just in a little bit of a rut with men in scoring position."
[Arizona Sports] D-backs fall to Braves, lose four straight games for first time in 2017 - But wait there is more! Lane Adams cleared the bases for Atlanta against Delgado to allow three runners to score and put them ahead of Arizona. Adams was only batting .218 in 28 at bats before his 3 run double. Who ticked off the baseball gods?
[Dbacks.com] D-backs surprised, not worried, about slide - It is likely that this team, successful in the first half, might not acknowledge or even realize the recent struggles in the same manor as the fans do. This team got to its current standing by taking each game one at a time and focusing on the task at hand. Rather than panic and cry that the end is near, the team can find comfort in knowing that coming up in key moments in the past months could have changed recent narrative.
"I think this whole stretch we've been one or two hits away from really changing our fate," [Chris] Iannetta said. "And a lot of times we've been hitting the ball hard right at someone. We get in a big situation with runners on and we hit a line drive and someone makes a great play. It's good to be in that situation where we aren't getting blown out and one or two pitches are changing our fate, but it's also tough when it doesn't go your way."
[CBS Sports] MLB Trade Rumor Buy or Sell: D-Backs have interest in Tigers' J.D. Martinez - Inside the ‘Zona recently discussed what a deal for J.D. Martinez could potentially cost the Diamondbacks. As it goes, it appears that the Diamondbacks should be less concerned with the NL West lead and turn their attention towards the first wild card spot. That puts Mike Hazen in a difficult position as he has to decide whether he deals from an already thin farm system and further mortgages the future. The most concerning aspect with that route is that the recent performance from the team is what was widely expected at the beginning of the season, and that any trade may provide only a marginal increase in value. Surely, Martinez would be a significant improvement in left field over the current crop.
[Venom Strikes] Arizona Diamondbacks: Second half off to a poor start - Alternatively, the top performers from the first half could regain their stride and eliminate the need to surrender a significant ransom for a mere 2 month rental. Having a healthy A.J. Pollock for the second half should ease the burden on Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, David Peralta, and Chris Owings. The remaining July schedule provides the team an opportunity to get back on track.
Around the League
[Sports Illustrated] Play ball (again)! Home run chases, pennant races, trading aces, new World Series faces - After the ridiculously impressive showing at the Derby, it seems probable that Aaron Judge will shatter McGwire’s rookie home run record. The Miami Marlins need to be sold, so that fans of that city may finally enjoy the game of baseball. Adrian Beltre should join the elite 3,000 hit club some time withing the next month. An MVP award for Goldschmidt and a playoff berth for the Diamondbacks surely go hand in hand.
[ESPN] Why each 50-win team will, and won't, stay hot in the second half - This is my calling to the baseball gods. Please do not ruin this season for us. Our hearts can hardly take it. To provide us with the best start in franchise history, only to see it come crashing down would be truly devastating. It seems inevitable that the team should be able to rebound behind the strong starting rotation with even marginal improvement at the plate.
[Newsday] Rob Manfred trying to make baseball more attractive to next generation of fans - I find the title of this piece to be silly. It seems to suggest that a man nearing his 60’s knows what changes millennials want to see in the game of baseball to keep it exciting. Not one MLB official has approached me and asked my opinion on what changes could be made to make the game better. I am certain that if one were to poll my peer group, a vast majority would agree our opinion has not been solicited. And if it was? I would respectfully request that certain aspects of the game remain unchanged. No runner on second to leadoff the inning beginning in extras. No immediate intentional walk. Expand the league. Add one more team to each league, change the format to four divisions of four teams, and eliminate the one game wildcard play in.