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Snake Bytes 9/17: It’s Happening

Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt shouldered the team in a 2-0 victory inching closer to a playoff berth.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 0

[D’] Greinke brilliant, Goldy homers to beat Giants - Who in their right mind would have guessed prior to the 2017 season that the San Fransisco Giants would have a worse record than the 2016 Diamondbacks? Zack Greinke was a better pitcher than Madison Bumgarner last night, and that is essentially what the game came down to. Greinke pitched 8 full innings giving up only 2 hits, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. Bumgarner’s only blemish was a first pitch two run blast he surrendered to Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the 1st. Greinke’s career ERA in AT&T Park is now a stellar 1.37.

"[Greinke] does it every time," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's a very nice feeling when you're putting him out there [that] he's going to give you everything he has, he's going to have a terrific game plan and he's going to execute."

[Arizona Sports] Zack Greinke throws eight scoreless innings, D-backs beat Giants - The Arizona offense had a tough time getting much across outside of the Goldy homer. Peralta and Greinke each ran into outs in the 2nd inning. The Diamondbacks left 5 runners on base in total. Greinke and Brandon Drury were the only players with multiple hits in the game.

Diamondbacks News

[USA Today] Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez: Powerful bromance blooms in desert for Diamondbacks - *Insert Step Brothers gif, “Did we just become best friends?! Yep!” J.D. Martinez has provided the protection in the lineup that Goldy has been lacking for much of his career. Jake Lamb, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, and Yasmany Tomas have been there in spurts, but none of them are the caliber of hitter that J.D. Martinez is. Martinez can nearly rival Paul Goldschmidt with his preparation. Martinez prefers to take notes in writing after an at bat, while fans can physically see the gears turning in Goldy’s head during an at bat. Each slugger has a unique approach that works.

“They’re always talking about the process,’’ manager Torey Lovullo says. “I’ll walk in and I’ll see J.D. writing notes down what he did in his book. I’d love to see what’s in there.’’ Goldschmidt doesn’t keep a book, or bring notecards to the bench, instead choosing to tuck everything away upstairs. “Sometimes I wonder how he can have so much information in his brain,’’ Martinez says. “I’m worried about the pitcher tonight, and he’s talking about the long-inning man in the bullpen, and his move to second base. “I don’t know how he does it, but I love it.’’

[Baseball America] Improved Approach Pays Off For Marcus Wilson - 21 year old prospect Marcus Wilson took an improved step forward in his first full season in the outfield for Class A Kane County. In 26 games for Kane County in 2016 he hit .253/.357/.384. This year in 103 games his line improved to .295/.383/.446. He still has quite some time until he makes the majors being drafted out of high school in the competitive balance round of 2014, but progress is key for a player in his stage of development.

“I was pleased with my year," Wilson said. “I'm never satisfied, but I was pleased. I felt like I could do a little bit more. I didn't give up at-bats like I used to. I just made the most out of every opportunity, being more aggressive in my counts."

[Arizona Sports] The 5: Impactful midseason trades in Valley sports history - The acquisition of J.D. Martinez in the middle of the season is rivaled only by a similarly timed trade for Curt Schilling in the 2000 season. It cannot really be argued right now who was the better acquisition over time because it is uncertain that Martinez will remain in Arizona beyond 2017. However, the argument around the season when the trade happened is not as clear. Martinez has made just as much of an impact immediately following the trade as Schilling who went 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA (130 ERA+) with Arizona in 2000.

[] Greinke bolsters Cy Young bid - Remember when Zack Greinke was never going to live up to his record setting contract after a disappointing 2016 season? Those were not such fun times. Greinke has remained healthy all season and pitched like the ace Dave Stewart and Ken Kendrick had hoped they signed allowing him to remain in the Cy Young conversation with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. Both Kershaw and Scherzer have missed time this season, but have continued to provide significant value to their teams when they do pitch. Kershaw paces the league easily in park adjusted ERA at 198 with Robbie Ray following behind at 174 and Greinke at 166. Greinke leads the Senior Circuit in both fWAR (5.5) and bWAR (6.9). If Greinke is able to win the award, he will join Randy Johnson as the only Arizona pitchers to win the award in both leagues.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Archie Bradley stays true to himself amid rising fame - Archie Bradley is quickly putting up one of the best seasons out of the bullpen for a non-closer in recent memory. It will be interesting to see if Bradley has an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot during Spring Training next season, but for now he will be locking down the 8th inning before passing the baton to Fernando Rodney.

“I could go into a game tonight and throw a pitch tonight and never pitch in the big leagues again,” Bradley said. “ … If that happens or if it doesn’t happen, regardless if I continue my success the rest of my career or I end up being terrible, I don’t care. At the end of the day, when I step back and look at what I did, I just want to say I did everything I possibly could to be as good as I possibly could.”

Around the League

[Sporting News] Indians clinch AL Central title; Astros clinch share of AL West - The Houston Astros paced the American League for most of the season, and it took a historic 22 game run by the Cleveland Indians for there to be an actual battle for the best record in that league. Cleveland locked up another AL Central title, while the Astros have at least secured a share of the AL West title which they will surely win. Let the record show that the Diamondbacks swept Cleveland at the beginning of the season and split the home and home series with the Astros after the All Star Break.

"Someone had to win 20-plus games in a row to even be relevant with us, so that tells you what kind of season we’re having," manager A.J. Hinch said.

[ESPN] Why hasn't MLB fixed its September roster expansion rules? - Too long. Did not read. It appears the simple solution to speed up the pace of play is to have an ace showdown like Greinke v. Bumgarner with the only runs allowed in the game being a 2 run shot surrendered on the first pitch to Paul Goldschmidt. The complaining about September roster expansion has been exceptionally loud this season. Surely a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers has a competitive advantage during this time of year with their considerable organization depth. They have the luxury to be able to rotate players out keeping their key role players fresh for October. However, this does not exclude teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks from finding success in the stretch run. I would put my money on the dominant Arizona pitching staff against a plethora of September call ups on most occasions.

[Empire Writes Back] Yankees and Red Sox’s Punishments Handed Down by MLB - Throw together a string of natural catastrophes and two professional sports teams bickering like school children and Rob Manfred will find a way to slap both the Yankees and the Red Sox on the wrist. There really is no other rivalry quite as dramatic as the Yankees and the Red Sox. Both teams were fined an undisclosed amount for the use of technology to steal the opposing team’s signs. Fines will be donated to hurricane relief efforts. Someone better check those Dodger beach balls for hidden cameras.

[Sports Illustrated] Do September Streaks Correlate to Playoff Success or Failure? Don't Fall for Recency Bias - I was actually attempting to gather this same data for a similar piece prior to September before stopping in sheer frustration realizing how completely random the results were. The Diamondbacks were in the middle of their 13 game win streak while the Dodgers were stuck in their own collapse, so I was looking for some sort of confirmation bias that Arizona would decimate Los Angeles in the National League Division Series. What truly matters is that nothing during the season matters once October play begins. Every pitch, every inning, every game in the postseason is high leverage stress. The Dodgers are not guaranteed to face the Indians or Astros just because they were the best teams for most of the season. The Diamondbacks have a starting rotation that can compete with the best teams in October, and a lineup that is capable of putting an opponent in a hole quickly.

[Fangraphs] Breaking Down Where the Wins Have Come From - One does not have to be a “stats freak” to understand or get excited about the information presented in this Fangraphs piece. The Diamondbacks are a well balanced team from the top 5 stars on the roster down to the role players. It also goes without saying that nearly the entire team has played much better this season in contrast to last. They are just on the fringe of the top tier of teams in the league, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited about their play this season.