After a 5-5 road trip through St. Louis, Chicago, and San Francisco, the Diamondbacks will encounter their most difficult return home all season. The homestand begins with a series against the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The last time the two teams faced each other in L.A. the Diamondbacks lost each game in the series by 1 run. Zack Godley (5-4, 2.86 ERA) gets the call for the first game in the series against Kenta Maeda (10-4, 3.79 ERA).
[D’backs.com] Ray improving, ready to throw bullpen session - A step towards return for Robbie Ray who has been nothing short of impressive this season before taking a comebacker to his head. Torey Lovullo said that it is unlikely that he will pitch in the series against the Dodgers.
"What the plan is beyond tomorrow, I don't exactly know," Lovullo said before Sunday's series finale vs. the Giants. "We want to get him through the first bullpen and then come up with a game plan."
[Inside the ‘Zona] Lineout: an Early Look at Anthony Banda - Brief analysis on Anthony Banda after his first two starts in the Majors. Perhaps I should curb my optimism for the young southpaw until there is a larger sample size to evaluate him. Who am I kidding? I am a fan first, and this is about “What have you done for me lately?” Looking at you Patrick Corbin. Early results on his four seam fastball, changeup, and curveball show that he is throwing with higher than average velocity on the three pitches. That comes with the tradeoff of less than average movement.
[Arizona Sports] The D-backs since the All-Star break: By the numbers - Jake Lamb has been reunited with his second half slump for the month of July at least. His hard contact % for the month dropped to 24% as he stumbled to a 96 wRC+ on the heels of a .178 BABIP. Jake Barrett has been a welcomed addition to the back end of the bullpen since his return and will hopefully form a three headed monster with David Hernandez and Archie Bradley. He has struck out 12 batters over 11 innings without allowing a run since the All Star Break. The team has found new ways to lose games in which Taijuan Walker starts. They are winless in such games despite him having the lowest ERA among the starting rotation since the Midsummer Classic.
[Associated Press] D-backs 50/50 raffle now open to all Arizona fans - Common sense move to raise funds for the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Past reports have spoken to the strength of the TV audience for Diamondbacks games, so it will be interesting to see how much participation there is among viewers at home.
[Fox Sports Arizona] Former MVP, manager of year and D-backs coach Don Baylor dies at 68 - Don Baylor was a member of Kirk Gibson’s 2011 legendary coaching staff in the skipper’s first full season at the helm for Arizona. I remember the excitement and respect I had for the addition of Baylor to that staff, similar to my feelings this spring for the addition of Ron Gardenhire. Baylor was a tremendous mentor to, then young players at the time, Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Paul Goldschmidt. The Snake Pit extends our deepest condolences to his friends and family.
“Don’s commitment to the game and its future also inspired him to play an instrumental role in helping the MLBPA establish itself as a bona fide union,” players’ union executive director Tony Clark said.
Around the League
[ESPN] Bullpen Power Rankings: Ranking relief crews for the stretch run - The Diamondbacks will have a competent bullpen should they be so fortunate to find themselves in the National League Division Series. That is assuming that Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, David Hernandez, and Jake Barrett remain healthy and Fernando Rodney does not have a complete meltdown. Patrick Corbin should be moved to the bullpen as well when the playoffs begin, and Rubby De La Rosa can be thrown into the mix too.
[Sports Illustrated] Mike Trout Becomes Second Youngest Among Active Players to Reach 1,000 Hits - A third of the way to 3,000, Mike Trout earned his 1,000th hit on his 26th birthday. Miguel Cabrera is the only active player to have accomplished the feat at a younger age, and only 6 players in the last 50 years have reached the milestone faster.
[CBS Sports] MLB Top 50 player rankings - Paul Goldschmidt unsurprisingly makes the list at #9. Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray join him at #14 and #24 respectively. Not quite sure how Zack Godley misses the Top 50, perhaps being excluded because he is not among “qualified” starters due to number of innings pitched?
[FiveThirtyEight] Baseball Is Finally Realizing That The Save Is Dumb - The save is as arbitrary of a stat as a pitcher’s W-L record. A successful bullpen is one that utilizes pitchers in a role to maximize that player’s success. Interestingly enough, Archie Bradley has been as valuable as Fernando Rodney by FiveThirtyEight’s gWAR metric which places emphasis on a relief pitcher’s ability to enter a game and lay a goose egg. Has Torey Lovullo been utilizing Bradley in a role that maximizes his success?