The Arizona Diamondbacks have now won 5 of the last 6 games and maintain a 5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for a wild card spot. No ground gained as Milwaukee, Colorado, Miami, and St. Louis all pulled off victories last night. Patrick Corbin (11-11, 4.09 ERA) will attempt to finish a strong turnaround for the month of August against Chris Stratton (2-2, 3.98 ERA).
Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1
[D’backs.com] Homers by 'Pollo,' 'Flaco' back 'Tai-Weezy' - Madison Bumgarner will likely never throw another high fastball to A.J. Pollock if he does not have to. Side by side replay with tonight’s home run showed that Bumgarner made the same mistake to Pollock on Opening Day and faced a similar fate. Just Dingers Martinez demonstrated why the Diamondbacks pushed to acquire him at the trade deadline as he continued his dominance against left handers taking Bumgarner to Souvenir City in the 4th inning. Arizona was able to pull off another 1 run victory against a difficult pitching opponent.
"Bumgarner is just a tough pitcher," Pollock said. "You're just trying to get something you can handle out over the plate. With two strikes, he tried to sneak one by me and I was able to get the barrel on it, and I'm glad it got out of the park."
[Arizona Sports] Walker outduels Giants’ Bumgarner in D-backs win - The Diamondbacks were able to provide Taijuan Walker with his first victory on the mound since June 21st. Walker finished his start after 6 1⁄3 innings pitched allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run, and 3 strikeouts. His lone mistake was a fastball that caught too much of the plate when Jarrett Parker hammered the pitch to left center field in the 4th. The victory was Arizona’s 4th win by 1 run in the previous 6 contests.
[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Ketel Marte leaves game with left hamstring tightness - The good news is that Nick Ahmed is on track to return from the disabled list shortly. The bad news is that Ketel Marte might be heading to it further thinning an already depleted middle infield. This would leave Daniel Descalso and Adam Rosales as the only options at shortstop for the time being. No word yet on how severe Marte’s injury is who has already produced 0.6 fWAR in 44 games this season.
[Inside the ‘Zona] The Fickle Nature of Bullpens - Advanced metrics aside it does not take much to see that the Diamondbacks bullpen took a bit of a step back as a whole in August. In fairness, this was an aspect of the team considered to be a weak point prior to the beginning of the season that largely outperformed expectations in the first half. If the Diamondbacks are able to continue winning and put distance among the other teams in the wild card chase, the active roster expansion will give Torey Lovullo the opportunity to see which relievers currently in the minor leagues can contribute to the parent club’s aspirations. Lovullo also will not need to carry 5 starters should the Diamondbacks advance past the 1 game play in, and will have a difficult time deciding which pitchers will start outside of Zack Greinke. Patrick Corbin has been lights out for the past month, and Robbie Ray appears to have put his injury behind him.
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury again getting regular starts at second base - I was in the camp that felt that the team (Lovullo) has given up a bit on Brandon Drury as he saw his playing time dwindled. Arizona will need Drury’s best on the field and at the plate to be successful in September. He provides length at the bottom of the lineup when he is performing to his best capability. If Ketel Marte is down for an extended period of time, it is logical that Brandon should find himself in the regular starting lineup.
“He’s done an exceptional job with his at-bats and with his pregame work defensively,” Lovullo said. “He’s been playing really, really good baseball. Those were our expectations going in. I think there was a little bit of a lapse there before the All-Star break and right after the All-Star break. I know those moments happen. I just felt like there were other guys who could step in while he gave himself a breather and got back to a neutral corner and got on his feet again. He’s done a good job. He deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done to turn things around.”
Around the League
[Fangraphs] No, Millennials Aren’t Killing Baseball - If you are able to acquire tickets for free or less than face value, please feel free to share your methods in the comments below. The reality is that a substantial amount of fans continue to purchase tickets through the team website, and costs have escalated substantially over recent seasons. Tickets for the bleachers when I first entered the workforce were roughly $8-$12 depending on the series. Tickets for that same section since that time were roughly $36 apiece as recently as the previous series against the Dodgers at Chase. Most individuals in my peer group simply do not have the financial means to attend games frequently. This is not me suggesting that the majority of the attendance problems at Chase can be attributed to affordability to a specific age group of fans. In fact, many people of all ages may find it difficult to afford attending a game in person on a consistent basis due to financial constraints. However, it is my opinion that the affordable Summer Pass was successful in putting rear-ends in the seats because it provided access to a fan base that did not have substantial dollars to allocate towards entertainment. Consider that when families have to factor in purchasing tickets for children as well. Back on point, if the league wants to appeal to Millennials at least make it affordable for them to attend.
A study by advocacy group Young Invincibles published earlier this year reveals that Millennials “are significantly less financially secure than [their] Baby Boomer parents,” both earning and saving less than Boomers at the same age. That’s consistent with other research on the subject.
[ESPN Insider] Best hitters by lineup slot: Is Votto better than Harper? - Going strictly off the player list in here my lineup would be: Charlie Blackmon, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez, Carlos Santana, Keon Broxton, Wellington Castillo, and Madison Bumgarner. Who cares if 2 current and 1 former Diamondback make the list? Does it matter if #7 is a black hole? Can I put bar stools as my middle infielders?
[CBS Sports] Phillies' Rhys Hoskins makes history with 10th home run to start his career - Peter O’Brien who? About the only thing that Phillies fans have going for them is watching Rhys Hoskins hit home runs at an alarming pace. Giancarlo Stanton needs someone to keep pace with next season. May as well be a man in his own division.
[FiveThirtyEight] Baseball Is Overrun By Adam Dunns - 25 home runs? Check. 70 walks? Check. 150 strikeouts? Likely a check. I hardly see the problem with both Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt being on pace to reach those figures. Goldy and Adam Dunn are not nearly the same player for obvious reasons. Do not put that evil on us.
[Beyond The Box Score] Major League Baseball and the pursuit of mediocrity - I find myself caught in the middle of the expanded playoffs argument. On one hand, expanded playoffs are giving Arizona fans a reason to discuss baseball in September. The other side of me is reminded that the Diamondbacks are 20(!) games behind the Dodgers for the National League West lead. It is true that if the season ended today the Diamondbacks would still find themselves in the postseason even without the second wild card. That is about the point where Jim interjects and reminds us all that the clock resets in October and play from that point forward is what matters. A valid argument, but do the expanded playoffs give fans of mediocre teams a delusional sense of hope? Does a sub .500 team deserve the chance to compete in the postseason? The Tampa Bay Rays, at 64-67, are only 3 games out of the second wild card spot in the American League, and there is still 5 teams ahead of them fighting for that position. Putting the conversation into perspective and one can easily see that the discussion around the Diamondbacks would be substantially different if their only chance was by chasing down the Dodgers. That is a world I am happy I do not have to live in.