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Snake Bytes 7/29: Devastating

We have seen this image far too often in recent seasons.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It was quite difficult to focus on the outcome of last night’s game let alone play on the field as concern for Robbie Ray’s health took center stage after he took a 108 mph liner to the back of the head. It was a scene that Arizona fans are far too familiar with in recent seasons. On behalf of the AZ Snake Pit, we all wish him an effective recovery in the months ahead. Staff ace Zack Greinke (12-4, 2.92 ERA) faces Mike Leake (7-8, 3.20 ERA) in the 3rd game of this 4 game series.

Cardinals 1, Diamondbacks 0

[D’] D-backs' bats quiet, Ray hit by liner in loss - The primary focus should be on Robbie Ray’s long term health. These freak accidents can be life threatening. When former Diamondback Evan Marshall was hit with a comebacker in 2015, there was fear that the swelling would have taken his life. There was nothing that Ray could have done to avoid this injury as there was no time for him to react. He was carted off of the field and taken to a local hospital where CT scan results showed no major damage, and he was later released back to the stadium. In no way am I a qualified doctor, but the recoveries of Marshall and fellow teammates Archie Bradley and Chris Iannetta prove that it is possible for Robbie to recover effectively. The concern is the potential long term effects to his physical well being.

"It's scary," said Cardinals first baseman Luke Voit, who hit the line drive. "Role reversal, that could happen to me when I'm being pitched to. I just hope he can continue pitching for the rest of the year. It's a scary situation. I don't wish that on anyone."

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks fall to Cardinals, Ray exits game after being struck on head - T.J. Mcfarland was thrust into an extremely difficult situation coming in to relieve Robbie Ray and put the entire game on his shoulders. In 3 23 innings of relief, he only allowed 3 hits on no walks and allowed 1 unearned run. His strong performance saved Torey Lovullo from having to reach deep into the bullpen. Much the same can be said for both Rubby De La Rosa and Andrew Chafin. However, the Arizona offense once again failed to pull through in a low scoring game. The team collectively went 1-8 with RISP and left 7 runners on base. The biggest blow was when the Diamondbacks had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs to begin the 8th, and the triumvirate of A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, and Paul Goldschmidt failed to drive in the tying and go ahead runs.

Diamondbacks News

[D’] Ray OK after being struck in head by liner - Moments like this put it in perspective that at the end of the day this is just a game and the player’s livelihood is what is most important.

"It made me sick to my stomach," [Archie] Bradley said. "Heart started beating fast, stomach started hurting. Especially when you're that close with a guy, baseball really goes out the window. Robbie's got a family, wife and a kid watching the game at home, and that's where my head was. You forget about the game. You forget about everything else.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks might not be done buying - Scratch A.J. Ramos off of the list. While Alex Avila would be a nice addition, that move is also unlikely after the acquisition of John Ryan Murphy. The Diamondbacks might possibly look towards a rental starting pitcher for the right cost depending on the prognosis of Robbie Ray.

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury confident his playing time won’t be reduced for long - Some fail to realize how young Brandon Drury is and need to put it into perspective that he is developing as an everyday major league player. He can be one of the best hitters on the team when he is at his peak. It would be unfair to put an excessive amount of criticism on him when the majority of the lineup has struggled since late June. Torey Lovullo is making the proper move by limiting his playing time and having him focus on development rather than on field production. A late season surge by Drury will go a long way in helping the team’s playoff aspirations. The amount of pressure he places on himself is ironic considering the player that was traded to acquire him.

“I’ve been battling lately, but that’s part of the game,” Drury said. “I’ve always been a streaky hitter. I have my ups and my downs. Everybody does. But I think I’ve been a little bit more up and a little bit more down than most people. I’ve been grinding for a while now and I feel a hot streak coming soon.”

[Inside the ‘Zona] Which Relievers Should the D-backs Target? - Again, cross A.J. Ramos off the list with details on him down below. Jeff is always in for a good laugh and jokingly mentions Addison Reed. You were kidding right, Jeff? Brad Ziegler might be worth a shot in exchange for minor league filler, but he is now on the disabled list with a back issue. Despite his struggles this season, he was always successful in Arizona. The options in the minors are completely unproven at the major league level. Joe Smith from Toronto could possibly come cheap enough to add some depth on the back end.

Around the League

[Fangraphs] Evaluating NL Team Quality Using Batted Ball Data - A follow up to the American League piece Jay presented earlier this week. Arizona batters are above the Senior Circuit levels for AVG and SLG on balls in play, and the defense ranks near the tops in the league by this metric. It comes as little surprise that most of the turnaround for the team’s overall performance has come from the pitching staff.

When you think about it, the turnaround in Arizona might be the biggest story in all of baseball this season. On balls in play, they fared best on offense, as they’ve hit their flies, liners and grounders all a bit harder than NL average levels. Getting to average on the pitching side is a bigger story, however, as the D’backs as a group were horrific contact managers in 2016. This time around, they’re yielding more grounders, and have held fly ball authority within the league average range.

[CBS Sports] David Price's forearm issue is back and he hit the DL on Friday - David Price’s injury woes continue as he returns to the disabled list with what has to appear as a precursor to possible Tommy John Surgery. He can elect to go the route that Rubby De La Rosa chose and rehab instead, but extended rest to begin the season did Price no favors. The Red Sox find themselves in the midst of divisional race between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, so it remains to be seen if they will make a corresponding deadline move.

[ESPN] MLB says that regular-season games will be played in Asia and in England in 2019 and 2020 - I sincerely hope that some of our members in England have a chance to watch the Diamondbacks in his/her home country. The new collective bargaining agreement calls for players to make an extra $60,000 for a trip to the UK or Asia, and $15,000 for series played in Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the Dominican Republic. International series are important not only to expand the influence of the game globally, but also give participating teams an opportunity to earn fans abroad and scout potential prospects.

[Huffington Post] Major League Baseball Has A Cocaine Problem - The piece makes valid points and is flawed at the same time. I am wary of accusations that are made under the veil of anonymity. Give someone the platform to pop off at the mouth with no repercussions, and you will hear some pretty egregious claims. This author asked four anonymous players for their own estimate on cocaine and marijuana usage in the majors and unsurprisingly the results varied from 5 to 25 percent for cocaine, and 25 percent to 75 percent for marijuana. My opinion is that a more accurate article would have touched on the failures of the league to address drugs of abuse as opposed to performance enhancing drugs. My assumption is that the usage of drugs of abuse in the MLB is not much different than it is in society as a whole. However, after the toxicology report of Jose Fernandez was released and witnessing Josh Hamilton’s struggles, it is evident that the league needs to step up in addressing the issue of drugs of abuse.

While many in the public might assume that baseball tests for recreational drugs, that is not generally the case. MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement bans so-called “drugs of abuse” like marijuana, cocaine, opiates and ecstasy, but does not test for them without “reasonable cause.”

[MLB Trade Rumors] Someone Left the Hot Stove Burning - Where do I begin? Some surprising moves made by teams last night that are on the outside fringe of the playoff picture. The Orioles have reportedly made a move to acquire Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies. The details are still being finalized at the time of this writing with cash considerations, international bonus money, prospects, and major league pieces alike changing hands. Hyun Soo Kim is reportedly included on the deal from Baltimore’s end. The Mets have swung a trade to acquire A.J. Ramos crossing off a reliever that the Diamondbacks were rumored to be interested in. This allows the Mets to move free agent to be Addison Reed to a contender should they choose. Finally, the Phillies have also sent Howie Kendrick and cash to the Nationals in exchange for international signing money and minor league pitcher McKenzie Mills who ranked as the Nationals’ 18th best prospect according to It will be interesting to see the moves Philadelphia will make on the international market with the extra flexibility.

[Fansided] Toronto Blue Jays go ballistic in yet another dispute with umpire - The umpiring this week in multiple games has been questionable at best, but the actions the past two days in Toronto has been borderline unprofessional. My Twitter rant this week began when future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre was ejected by Gerry Davis for deciding to move the on deck circle. Uh, Paul Goldschmidt never stands in the on deck circle, dude. Have a snickers, blue. Issues in Toronto continued on Thursday night when Marcus Stroman took exception to Will Little’s strike zone. Tempers flared and Stroman made his displeasure known multiple times throughout the game. It all came to a head in the 5th inning when Little escalated the confrontation throwing out not only Stroman but battery mate Russell Martin as well. His actions were highly unnecessary and could have changed the outcome of the game for the Blue Jays. But wait there is more! Our dear friend Angel Hernandez, who does absolutely nothing to deserve a poor performance review, was not to be outdone by his colleagues. In fairness, he called an apparent ball appropriately, but it was his decision to show up J.A. Happ that threw Toronto into the fire again. Happ believed the pitch was a strike and headed to the dugout thinking the inning was over. Hernandez felt that it was appropriate to take of his mask and stare down the starting pitcher and share a few words. The look on Russell Martin’s face in the exchange says it all.