[AZ Central] Zack Godley’s curveball a vanishing act vs. Giants - What do you get when you combine a budding star pitcher in Zack Godley and a seemingly blind home plate umpire Kerwin Danley? Two handfuls of foolish looking Giants hitters. Zack Godley threw an even 100 pitches in 7 innings of 4 hit baseball, also striking out 9 batters in the process. The Giants found it nearly impossible to lay off of his curveball for which he recorded a career high 20 swinging strikes. Giants’ starter Derek Holland was equally as impressive lasting 6 innings with 8 strikeouts after allowing the Diamondbacks’ only 2 runs ot score in the first inning.
“I kept telling myself, ‘What’s going on here? Why do they keep swinging at that curveball?’ ” said Blanco, who spent last season with the Diamondbacks before signing back with the San Francisco Giants this year. “I saw it tonight and I can say it’s one of the best curveballs I’ve ever seen, for sure.”
[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Zack Godley dominates with curveball in win over Giants - The Arizona offense was able to strike in the first inning again after a single from Ketel Marte who was later driven in with a 106 mph liner into triple’s alley from Paul Goldschmidt. A.J. Pollock followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Diamondbacks and early 2-0 lead. That would prove to be all the Diamondbacks would need to hang on for their eighth win of the season. Sound defense and pitching coupled with scarce runs is an enjoyable form of baseball proving to be a formula of success for Arizona in the early part of the season.
“He did everything we needed him to do on a night where we might have been a little short in the bullpen and gave us 21 outs,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “The big double plays, making pitches when his back was against the wall and not giving in and throwing quality pitches all night long, that’s what he did.”
[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Souza takes at-bats, wants to return for next homestand - When Steven Souza Jr. went down with a pectoral injury before the regular season, the belief was that he would be on the disabled list until at least May. Souza has been progressing better than initially anticipated, but he will be shut down for a few days after experiencing soreness following seven at bats in an extended spring training game on Monday. Torey Lovullo did not sound concerned and said that this was part of the teams’ plan in bringing the outfielder back.
[D’backs.com] Lovullo sorry for profanity that upset Molina - Both Lovullo and Yadier Molina had much different tones following Sunday’s heated exchange. The Arizona skipper expressed regret over his word choice directed towards the all star catcher, but Molina made it abundantly clear that he would not tolerate someone directing the selected profanity towards him without fighting back. The league has yet to announce any sort of discipline towards either offender.
“I know he was frustrated by what I said and I can’t blame him. I probably was giving him more a compliment in saying that he is very good, and I didn’t necessarily follow through and execute the right way with my words to tell him that’s what I was thinking.” - Torey Lovullo
[Fangraphs] Sunday Notes: Zack Godley’s Hook Looks Like a Heater - Remember when I told you two days ago that you were not going to be able to get me to stop geeking out about this? I was not kidding. All 9 of Godley’s strikeouts on Monday came on the heels of his utterly dominant curveball. One Giants fan yelled out to Evan Longoria during the game, “Just stop swinging at it!” Easier said then done, kid. Hitters have a difficult time laying off of Godley’s best pitch because it looks nearly identical to his fastball coming out of his hand.
“I can attest to that from trying to hit him,” Alex Avila told me at the outset of spring training. “His fastball and breaking ball look identical out of his hand. That’s why he gets so many swings and misses off his curveball, even though it’s nowhere near the plate. One at bat in particular stands out. Last year, when I got traded to Chicago, our first series was against these guys. Zack was pitching and I swung at a curveball that damn near hit the grass.”
Around the League
[CBS Sports] MLB Power Rankings - After a strong start to the season, the Diamondbacks are looking like a playoff hopeful team again. Critics are beginning to take notice as well. CBS sports moves the Diamondbacks up 9 spots to #3. USA today bumps Arizona up 6 notches to #3 as well. ESPN has the Diamondbacks ranked the lowest out of the polls coming in at #6. Bleacher Report slides the team 4 spots to #4.
[Sporting News] Max Scherzer steals first career base while tossing shutout - Watching the Diamondbacks pitching staff last season and the beginning of this year has helped to distract me from how well our old friend Max Scherzer has been performing. The two time defending National League Cy Young winner threw a two hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves allowing no walks on 10 strikeouts. He also stole the first base of his career in the 7th inning of the same contest.
[The Sports Post] MLB Game Times Down Nearly 6 Minutes - Was last Monday against the Dodgers just a dream, or a delusion? Apparently a handful of 13+ inning games around the league were not enough to swing the curve in the wrong direction. We have seen two dominant pitching performances from Patrick Corbin and Zack Godley this past week resulting in game times under 3 hours. If the league wants to increase the pace of play, they only need to find a way to prevent the baseball from leaving the yard at an alarming rate.
[The Athletic] Twenty years later, Mark McGwire says he could have hit 70 home runs even without PEDs - My brother and I grew up watching Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa slug it out on WGN in the late 90’s as kids. It was our nightly television routine sandwiched between WCW Nitro and WWF Raw. Much to my disappointment when I became older, it was revealed that clash of titans was fueled by performance enhancing drugs. The battles between McGwire and Sosa that is. A question that has not been asked often enough is if guys such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, McGwire, and Sosa could have achieved the success they did without the aid of performance enhancing drugs. McGwire seems to believe so.
“But I know,” he went on. “Deep down inside, I know me as a hitter. And I know what I did in that box. And I know how strong my mind is. And I know what kind of hitter I became. And yes. Yes. Definitely.”