The plan is for everyone to meet at the Rose & Crown before the game, for distribution of tickets [okay, there might be some drinking and eating going on too...] People seem to be assembling from about 5pm on, and most should be there between 5-5:30pm. Look for the loud group. That will probably be us. The photo above, might also clue people in. If you see anyone who looks like that, it’ll be us. :)
And with that out of the way... No game last night, so the D-backs remained undefeated. However, the Rockies beat the Dodgers (hang on... I was assured that Clayton Kershaw was their savior?), so LA’s division lead drops to 10 games with 22 to play. The Cardinals also lost in San Diego, meaning Arizona’s magic number for post-season play dropped to 13, while that for home-field advantage stayed at 16.
[Arizona Sports] CEO Hall: Winning streak fueled by roster depth, pitching - “It’s really been depth that Mike Hazen and Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter have created,” Hall said in an interview with Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “The fact that you have so many, unfortunately, hand injuries with C.O. and Ahmed — yet you have the depth in a [Ketel] Marte to just step up. It’s been nice... It’s really been starting pitchers just handing the baton off and it’s that momentum that we talked about, how contagious it can be where they challenge each other night after night. And then the bullpen does its job as well.”
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks starters setting the tone during historic streak - Walker believes improvements with his slider and curveball have allowed his fastball to be even more effective. He also says experience has been a big factor in his success; he thinks it helped him get through Wednesday night without his best stuff. “I just think it comes from maturity,” Walker said. “I could have let some things get to me easily, especially a team like that. This year, I’ve been able to slow things down, lock in for one pitch at a time.”
[MLB.com] Fans ask about Paul Goldschmidt's injury - I would be surprised if Goldschmidt is not back in the lineup Friday against the Padres. According to everything we've been told his MRI did not show any structural damage or any cause for concern. There was some inflammation, and he was given a cortisone shot to treat that. While I know we've become accustomed to Goldschmidt playing just about 162 games a season, I really did not expect him to play in either of the games in Los Angeles. The discomfort that he felt after the shot is standard according to players I've talked to who have gotten those shots.
[SI] Whose Win Streak Is More Impressive, Indians or Diamondbacks? - There's no team in baseball hotter than the Cleveland Indians. Or is there no team in baseball hotter than the Arizona Diamondbacks? Both can be true, thanks to the double-digit win streaks each has piled up over the last two weeks of the season and going into Thursday night. Each team is on fire, and each team is very good. But whose winning streak is more impressive? Let's break it down using some high-level math.
[AZ Central] Diamondbacks, Iannetta trying to prevent signs being stolen - In recent weeks, the number of trips to the mound by Diamondbacks catchers seems to have increased exponentially, with conversations taking place sometimes between every pitch or every other pitch, depending on the situation. Catcher Chris Iannetta says this is less a matter of trying to agree on pitch selection but rather an attempt to avoid having signs stolen. “A lot of times, we’ll go out there and give no sign,” Iannetta said. “It’s not a matter of getting on the same page, but we’ll be out there scripting three pitches in advance of what we’re going to do and not even give a sign.”
[Inside the 'Zona] With Playoffs Looming, Ray and Kershaw Won’t Disappoint - This is a fun debate with a pretty simple answer: Clayton Kershaw is very good when he faces everyone, including the Diamondbacks, while Robbie Ray has been very good this year and especially good against the Dodgers. Do either provide their team a more favorable edge if Los Angeles and Arizona face off this fall?
[MLB.com] D-backs' Duplantier is Pitcher of the Year | - Splitting his season between Class A Kane County and Class A Advanced Visalia, Duplantier ranked first among qualified Minor League hurlers with a 1.39 ERA, the Minors' second-best mark for a full-season starting pitcher in the past 32 years, behind only Justin Verlander's 2005 campaign (1.29 ERA). He also finished third with a .192 batting average against and 12th with a 0.98 WHIP, all while racking up 165 strikeouts and averaging 10.9 strikeouts-per-nine in 136 innings across the two levels.
[FanGraphs] D-backs Prospect Daulton Varsho Is a Name to Know - He’s currently hanging his hat in the Pacific Northwest. Selected in the second round of this year’s draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Varsho is beginning his career with the short-season Hillsboro (Oregon) Hops. The environs have been to his liking. With the Northwest League playoffs set to begin, Varsho’s left-handed stroke has produced a .311/.368/.534 slash line.
[MLB.com] Indians win 15th straight, sweeping White Sox - The Cleveland Indians set a franchise record with their 15th straight victory via an 11-2 win over the White Sox on Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. The historic win also dropped the Indians' magic number to 12 for clinching the American League Central over the second-place Twins. The last two AL teams to win 15 in a row were the 2002 A's, who won 20 straight, and the 2001 Mariners.
[USA Today] MLB must fix September baseball problem: Uneven rosters, bad games - It is the most asinine rule in all of sports. It’s ruining the fairness of baseball’s playoff races, turning fans and viewing audiences away from the game, and leaving Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred stuck watching four-hour contests. MLB's archaic September call-up rule, where in the final month of the season, teams can expand their rosters from 25 to 40 players, turns baseball's most critical stretch into an inequitable slog.
[ReviewTrackers] Ranking MLB Stadiums by Fan Sentiment - The research is based on ReviewTrackers' study of 130,000 baseball stadium reviews. Chase Field ended up ranked 15th, scoring better than average for the facilty and family rankings, about average for food and drink, and below average for fan experience. I’m not sure where it came in, among stadia which are decrepit death-traps on their last legs.