The Dodgers return to Chase Field for the second time in August to close out this month. 31 games remain on the schedule for the Arizona Diamondbacks who currently maintain a 5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for a playoff berth. The next 3 weeks will be crucial in determining the team’s playoff chances as they face both the Rockies and Dodgers for 2 series apiece. Zack Godley (5-7, 3.15 ERA) will begin the series against Rich Hill (9-5, 3.32 ERA) who is coming off a pleasing extra inning spoiler of his no hitter. Yours truly will be roaming the stadium supporting my alma mater on ASU night.
[D’backs.com] Donations pour in from across MLB for victims - You can contribute indirectly to raising funds for Hurricane Harvey victims by purchasing 50/50 raffle tickets during this series against the Dodgers. The Arizona Diamondbacks will donate funds raised to relief efforts, and we have seen in the past how popular the 50/50 can become when the funds are contributing to a tragic event. Working with victims of Hurricane Harvey in my profession outside of writing for the Pit I will say that these families will need all the support they can get in the many months ahead.
[D’backs.com] Varsho makes Pipeline Team of the Week - In 5 games last week, Daulton Varsho put up a slash line of .500/.500/1.250, scored 7 runs, hit 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, and drove in 7 runs for the Hillsboro Hops. He currently leads the Northwest League with a .913 OPS. But can he pitch frame tho?
[Arizona Sports] D-backs SS Nick Ahmed fractures wrist in rehab game - I am not going to run the research on this, but I would venture to say that the Diamondbacks have quite possibly the worst luck with HBP hand injuries over the recent seasons. Unless the Diamondbacks acquire a middle infielder before August 31st, the team will have to roll with Ketel Marte, Brandon Drury, Daniel Descalso, and Adam Rosales. Chris Owings could possibly return before the regular season ends.
[Arizona Sports] Patrick Corbin was lights-out in crucial August stretch - Full disclosure, when the month of August began I had already written Patrick Corbin off of the 2018 Diamondbacks starting rotation. I have not deleted the Tweets to prove it. Outside of his brutal Wrigley Field start to begin the month, this has been the best Corbin has looked for a prolonged stretch since his return from Tommy John Surgery. The reason for his recent stretch of success? Corbin attributes it to the development of a hybrid slider.
“It’s the same grip as my slider, just another pitch — backdoor slider there, curveball, whatever you want to call it,” he told Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station last week. “To keep the hitters off the balance, it’s something a little bit slower to go along with my changeup and my slider.”
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks eager to experience a September that matters - The Diamondbacks are a few wins shy of breaking most Pit staffers preseason predictions, and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011. Paul Goldschmidt, then a rookie, and David Hernandez are the only remaining players from that roster. Every game from this point forward will be put under a microscope. Reactions will be over the top. Emotions will be high. It is the first time in awhile that September baseball even matters in the Valley.
“It was probably the best time I’ve had playing professional baseball,” [David Hernandez] said. “It was just enjoying the ride. I’ve learned over the years that you don’t take those for granted because you just never know when you’re going to get back. My last four or five Augusts and Septembers weren’t very fun. It’s, ‘When is the last game of the year, time to go home’ kind of deal.”
Around the League
[ESPN] Power Rankings: National League contenders jostle for a shot at L.A. - The Cubs break even against the Reds and the Phillies. The Diamondbacks beat up on the lowly Mets and Giants. The Cubs have a worse record than the Diamondbacks. ESPN cannot see past the Mississippi River, and keeps the Diamondbacks at #8 below the Chicago Cubs at #6. Sports Illustrated drops Arizona to #7 from #5 on the basis of grim park adjusted factors in the month of August. Regression, friends. Regression. Fanrag bumps the Diamondbacks up 1 spot to #6. Bleacher Report moves the team back into the top 5.
[The Washington Post] Amid Giancarlo Stanton’s home run tear, baseball again grapples with significance of 61 - What is the true home run record to you? On MLB The Show with adjusted sliders, it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300. If Giancarlo truly wants to win over hearts and eliminate all doubt, he needs to maintain consistent performance next season and surpass 73.
[CBS Sports] How strength of schedule will affect MLB playoff races down the stretch - The Diamondbacks and the Rockies have the most difficult strength of schedule remaining out of the wild card contenders, but that mostly results from facing each other and the Dodgers. The Marlins or the Brewers could find themselves knocking on the doorstep again if either the Diamondbacks or Rockies run the table in their series against one another.
[FiveThirtyEight] How The Dodgers Are Using Baseball’s New DL Rules To Get An Edge - This is an issue that Rob Manfred has openly expressed concern with earlier in the season. The Dodgers are the most obvious abusers of the 10-day DL, and not just because they are most relevant to us being in our own division. Placing a starting pitcher on the 10-day DL enables a team to skip only one start for said pitcher and bring in a fresh arm. Of course, this is only an effective strategy if a team has the starting pitching depth that the Dodgers enjoy.