With a lineup near full strength (you’re welcome), the Diamondbacks proved to be too much for the Atlanta Braves for the first game in the series. Arizona fans were witness to the depth and talent of the team when nearly everything breaks in the Diamondbacks’ favor. The new father Taijuan Walker (6-4, 3.61 ERA) gets the call against Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 3.87 ERA) for the second game.
Diamondbacks 10, Braves 2
[D’backs.com] Zack dominates for 12th win, J.D. goes deep - Whether it was nerves or rust, J.D. Martinez scuffled a bit in his first few plate appearances of the evening. He struck out with the bases loaded in the 4th to end the inning. However, Martinez put all doubts behind him smashing a 3 run blast to dead center for his first hit as a Diamondback. David Peralta and A.J. Pollock set the table at the top of the lineup collectively going 5 for 9 with 5 RBI and Pollock collecting 3 XBH. A multi-hit night for both Daniel Descalso and Jeff Mathis kept the line moving at the bottom of the order. This is a lineup that is nearly unstoppable when firing on all cylinders.
"What can you say?" Lovullo said of his offense. "It was just one guy after another."
[Arizona Sports] Martinez, Greinke push D-backs to win over Braves - Zack Greinke was provided with more than a sufficient amount of offense to lead the Diamondbacks to a win. He provided the first run of the game with a double in the second in addition to the 2 successful sacrifice bunts he laid down later in the game. He finished the game with 8 innings pitched on 6 strikeouts his only blemish being a 2 run home run surrendered to Sean Rodriguez and a near solo shot to Freddie Freeman.
"Pretty well-scripted day for us and it was all set up by Zack Greinke's outing," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Just a really, really nice effort. I think he probably made one, two mistakes and one of them was hit for a two-run home run, but other than that he was in command from start to finish. He gave us a chance to get our feet on the ground offensively."
[ESPN] Martinez, Pollock, Greinke power Diamondbacks past Braves - Not such a hot night for the Braves who had a collective 6 wild pitches, the most by one team in a game since Phil Niekro accomplished the feat himself in 1979 according to D’backs.com. R.A. Dickey failed to make it past the 4th inning.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks have faith in Chris Herrmann - See: discussion over Twitter. Makes me question my decision to seize my account back from the Russians. Herrmann continues to get playing time because Jeff Mathis and Chris Iannetta can hardly combine to play an entire season, and because he can play a marginally competent outfield. That is not me advocating for the amount of playing time he has had this season, but he fills multiple roles and is cost effective. The outfield depth was stretched severely thin before the acquisition of J.D. Martinez with A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list. Still question Lovullo’s decision to start Descalso at 2B over Brandon Drury against Dickey? He is 8 for 13 over his career against the knuckleballer. That dominance continued last night.
“You just try to have a little fun with it,” Descalso said in trying to explain his success against Dickey. “Treat it like a whiffle ball game in the backyard. Let your eyes try to tell you when to hit and try to identify that early and if he does hang one to you don’t miss it.”
[Venom Strikes] Signing of David Carpenter provides bullpen depth - The bullpen is one of the only areas where Hazen can make any significant improvement before the deadline. David Carpenter has been pitching in the independent league for the Bridgeport Bluefish this season. It remains to be seen if a significant acquisition will be made before July 31st. Arizona has been one of the many teams rumored to be interested in reliever A.J. Ramos.
[Fanrag] Diamondbacks poke fun at The Freeze with Braves in town - It appears that The Freeze has been enjoying the variety of concession items available at Chase Field before last night’s Legends Race.
Around the League
[ESPN] Power Rankings: Pre-deadline deals start shaking things up - The acquisition of J.D. Martinez has proved to fans, the team, and critics alike that the Diamondbacks will fight tooth and nail for a playoff spot. ESPN holds Arizona at #5. Bleacher Report moves them up 3 spots to #7. Fanrag drops the team to #4. USA Today bumps the Diamondbacks down to #5.
[Sports Illustrated] Red Sox to Call Up Touted 20-Year-Old 3B Rafael Devers - The Red Sox seemingly endless stream of prospects continues, but this time the nation was forced to promote one of the highest rated sooner than they would have liked. They made the decision to trade Travis Shaw in the offseason anticipating that Pablo Sandoval would return to form. That plan failed miserably bringing the team to the current crossroads. Rafael Devers signed with the Sox as a 16 year old out of the Dominican Republic, and John Farrell will attempt to limit his struggles as much as possible. How long before Mike Hazen turns the Diamondbacks into the Red Sox West with high impact international signings?
[CBS Sports] Back injury will reportedly sideline Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw for 4-6 weeks - It is unlikely that the injury to Clayton Kershaw will make much of an impact to the NL West race with the Dodgers’ sizable lead, but it may enable the Diamondbacks to steal a game or two later in the season. Of course, this is assuming that the Dodgers do not acquire an impact rental arm before the deadline. Projections abound inside this piece, and the Dodgers figure to lose less than 1 win with Kershaw on the DL.
[MLB.com] Top 100 Prospects: A melting pot of mashers - It is well documented that the prior front office regime had a complete lack of understanding in how the international free agency system worked which was one of my biggest gripes with that staff. That and the fact that the analytics department database likely consisted of how to diagnose an illness for a domestic animal. Mike Hazen and his staff hit the ground running as soon as the current international free agency period opened. I am most excited to see how that plays out years down the road. My hope is that he is able to rapidly rebuild the weak farm system through wise international acquisitions. Pavin Smith is the only Diamondback to make the list at #75.
If you detect an international flavor at the top as well, you're not wrong. The top 8 on this midseason Top 100 were all international signees: five from the Dominican Republic, two from Venezuela and one from Cuba. The first U.S.-born draftees are at Nos. 9 and 10, with Brendan Rodgers and Kyle Tucker not only representing Florida high school bats, but also being top five picks from the 2015 Draft. Again going back to 1990, nothing close to that has happened. Back in 1997, BA ranked Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero in the top two spots, the only time two international prospects have sat in those positions before this re-rank.