The Arizona Diamondbacks are declaring war against the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West. Both teams have pride on the line as they hold the top two records in the Senior Circuit, yet neither have a starting position player in the All Star Game. The series opener features a battle of southpaws in Patrick Corbin (6-7, 4.76 ERA) versus Clayton Kershaw (12-2, 2.32 ERA).
[MLB.com] Jared Miller Makes Prospect Team of the Week - Diamondbacks #10 prospect Jared Miller had a difficult start to his 2017 season after a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Miller has regained form over his last 12 appearances pitching in 15 2⁄3 innings allowing 1 earned run, 17 strikeouts, and 4 walks. For the month of June, he had a 0.66 ERA and .163 BAA.
[MLB.com] The D-backs coordinated their outfits perfectly for a festive 'Beach Trip' to Los Angeles - Winning is fun! The team appears to enjoy being around each other allowing to reduce stress over the long 162 game season. The 3 game series in Los Angeles will be no walk on the beach, but at least the Diamondbacks look the part.
[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks option Ildemaro Vargas to Triple-A - Somewhere I hear Jim Ross screaming, “It’s A.J. Pollock with a steel chair!” Of course, no corresponding move has been announced at the time of this draft. The team has performed well in his absence going 31-13.
[AZ Central] Fernando Rodney is poised to start a new streak - We should probably handle the Fernando Rodney experience with some perspective. A 40 year old closer became the 4th reliever in history to face 28 batters or more in a single month without allowing a hit. Blown saves will happen. They happen to the best closers in the game, but if Rodney pitches how he did in June the Diamondbacks have a strong chance to win every time his number is called to the mound.
“We’ve got to remember the ninth inning is a very difficult inning to walk through and he’s been perfect for a month. So, this was a small hiccup for him. It wasn’t a situation where he walked off the mound with us having to score a run. He got two of their best hitters on their team to end the inning and got us into the dugout with a tie game. So I’m going to focus on that; it wasn’t perfect up to that point, I know. But those moments happen, what he did was, he rebounded and gave us a chance to win the game.” - Torey Lovullo
[AZ Central] MLB power rankings: Diamondbacks keeping up with other top teams - The collective power rankings have the team pegged essentially where they rank both offensively and on the mound. A strong series in Los Angeles should place the team above the Dodgers. ESPN believes that LA is “in a league of their own” moving the Diamondbacks down to #4. Whatever. Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Fansided, NBC Sports, and Sports Illustrated all rank the team at #3.
[Fanrag] D-backs Archie Bradley’s numbers are All-Star worthy - As Michael has already pointed out, there is a sliver of a chance that Bradley gets the call as a replacement. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch the first game of this series meaning the Dodgers would have to skip his start on July 9th against the Royals, or he would pitch the Midsummer Classic on short rest. Regardless, the point is that Archie Bradley has had a tremendous first half and deserves to be playing in Miami.
Around the League
[Bleacher Report] Umpire Angel Hernandez Sues Rob Manfred, MLB for Racial Discrimination - According to law360.com, the lawsuit claims that Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has had a personal vendetta against Hernandez since his Yankees managerial days. Hernandez feels that his performance reviews have become progressively worse since Torre took office in 2011 focusing on perspective and subjective criteria rather than objective metrics. I will not contest the validity of Angel Hernandez’s claims. If he feels that he is being discriminated against, something must be taking place to make him feel that way, and for that his lawsuit is justified. I have advocated in the past that the MLB should continue to increase diversity among employees and in the game. There are valid points made in the lawsuit that cite the fact that of the 23 umpires promoted to crew chief since 2000 all of them have been white. Inclusion is how we progress forward as a society. However, that will not stop me from suggesting that perhaps Angel Hernandez has been so absolutely terrible at his job this year because of his struggles with the league. If a person is willing to go the the extent to sue his or her employer, it can be reasonably assumed that person is willing to cut all ties with said employer despite the outcome. Is it reasonable to expect that the lawsuit has been weighing so heavily on Hernandez that it has begun to affect his performance on the job? Let the record show that one of the worst called Diamondbacks games this season came with Angel behind the plate. That can be objectively measured.
In an ESPN poll of 100 active MLB players in 2010, the players ranked Hernandez as the third-worst umpire in the league, behind C.B. Bucknor and Joe West.
[CBS Sports] Jansen blames Dodgers fans for Seager, Turner not being starters - Dear Paul Goldschmidt, thank you for understanding the confines of the region in which you play and not taking out your frustrations on the fans. We thank your humility and are happy that you will be present even if you are not starting.
[Sports Illustrated] Sandy Alderson admits Tim Tebow signing was partly for marketing - And we thought that Dave Stewart guy made some questionable decisions. On second thought, maybe the move was genius in accomplishing exactly what Alderson was looking for. Not like the Mets have much else going for them right now anyways.
[Sports On Earth] Breaking Down the Final Vote Races - Look at the all that salt over the Jake Lamb selection! Lamb may not deserve the call over some he was chosen above, but that does not mean that he does not belong in Miami. Cry me a river because he should have been an All Star last season. My final votes go to Elvis Andrus and Anthony Rendon.
Blame the players' ballot for making a bad situation worse here. The fans got the third-base starter right, selecting Colorado's Nolan Arenado, but the players put in Jake Lamb as the backup despite the fact that all three of the third basemen on this list have been more valuable this season and are more accomplished in their Major League careers, as well.