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Snake Bytes, 4/20: Owings gets smoked

A scary moment in the outfield was overcome, as the D-backs fought back to take their sixth consecutive series.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports


[Arizona Sports] Marte, Pollock homer to lift D-backs to a sixth straight series victory - What the D-backs could not do the night before, they succeeded in their first opportunity on Thursday: Driving in a runner from third base with less than two outs. In the third inning, Mathis hit a leadoff double, Greinke bunted him up 90-feet and then Peralta singled to left field, thus tying the game at 1. Peralta grounded a first-pitch curveball past the shortstop. Before his go-ahead home run to leadoff the sixth inning, Pollock had struck out five times in his last six at-bats, including the first two times facing Blach. Pollock ripped a 0-1 fastball clocked at 89.8 mph over the fence in left field to put the D-backs ahead 2-1. Seven of his nine hits now at Chase Field this season have gone for extra bases.

[AP] Greinke, D-backs beat Giants to win 6th straight series - “Yesterday was a tough night, I’m not going to lie,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Probably a little frustrated because we thought we let that game get away from us. But for us to bounce back the way we did and hold down a pretty good team defensively and cash in when we needed to to win this series speaks volumes about our toughness.” Greinke (2-1) gave up a solo homer to Brandon Belt but not much else, allowing just three hits to win his second consecutive start.

[MLB] Vintage Greinke fuels yet another series win - Things haven’t exactly gone the D-backs’ way either, especially when it comes to injuries. “I just think we have a good team,” said Greinke, who allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings. “There’s not really any holes. I wouldn’t say we have the best pitching staff or the best offense, but we have no weakness. I feel like our starters are good, relievers are good, defense is good, offense is good and baserunning is good. Makes for a good team.”

[AZ Central] Defense sparkles again as Diamondbacks take series against Giants - Owings’ catch was the sort the Diamondbacks have grown accustomed to seeing in the season’s first few weeks. Not that the club’s defensive prowess is a surprise. The front office made decisions geared toward run-prevention; making Owings the primary right fielder when Steven Souza Jr. went down with an injury was one of those choices. “They just really are that good,” Greinke said. “Today kind of looked a little bit like the Minnesota Twins team back when it was Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer and (Justin) Morneau, where you have this really good middle of the order, 1 through 4, and the rest of the guys are just the best defenders ever, work counts, find a way to do solid. A lot of our team is just really good defensively.

Team news

[MLB] Owings crashes into Pollock making great grab - Owings was removed from the game and diagnosed with a head contusion. He passed the concussion protocol tests, which will be administered again Friday. “I’ve had concussions before and I feel like I got lucky this time around,” Owings said. “I’m doing good. I feel like I’m definitely getting better rather than turning the other way. Obviously a little shaken up after everything happened, definitely a little confused.”

[Arizona Sports] Hall: Though limited, D-backs could still look to free agents for pitching - While the organization’s farm system offers some replacement options in pitchers Braden Shipley and Matt Koch, team president Derrick Hall wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the front office looking elsewhere for additional depth, although a trade seems unlikely. “That’s what they do, that’s what we do. They’re constantly looking to see who may be available and the only thing is, these guys that are out there, we don’t have all the resources,” Hall told Doug & Wolf. “We’re already stretching it thin (financially). There are some pretty good arms out there and some veterans out there, if they still want to pitch and still want to play. We’re going to look at all those guys.”

[AZ Central] Avila is off to a rough start at the plate - Avila identified a few areas within his offensive approach that he’s looking to shore up. Knowing when to swing is part of that equation. “You’ve got to smartly be aggressive,” Avila said. “I’ve played long enough to know how to be aggressive and swing at pitches in the zone and still lay off pitches outside the zone. Sometimes you get hits from balls, too. It depends on the situation.” Yet, for all his struggles at the plate, Avila said he has been feeling good about his defensive game. Lovullo agreed. "Defensively, he’s been off the charts," Lovullo said. "You can see how well he’s been blocking the ball. He’s been throwing runners out. ... He has been lighting it up behind the plate. That’s what we ask the catchers to do. The offensive side is a bonus."

[MLB] Walker opens up about elbow injury, surgery - When he learned that an MRI of his right elbow showed a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament, D-backs right-hander Taijuan Walker was surprised. After being removed from his start against the Dodgers last Saturday with forearm tightness, Walker passed strength tests and did not feel like the injury was serious. “It was very disappointing especially how I felt,” Walker said. “It didn’t feel that serious. It still doesn’t, but the MRI showed a pretty big tear in there, and I think the best option is to get it done, get it fixed and rehab and be ready to come back next year.”

[The Athletic] Is this who Patrick Corbin is now? - It may be unfair to paint Corbin’s resurgence as a return to his All-Star capabilities; the left-hander may have already surpassed that. He’s securing first-pitch strikes at roughly the same rate as that breakout campaign — around 70 percent of the time — but Corbin admits he’s a smarter pitcher now. He’s more familiar with the hitters, and the scouting reports he works off of are more detailed. That’s led to a change in his arsenal. Corbin has all but scrapped a changeup that never displayed much effectiveness and introduced the 74-mph curveball, which is basically just a slower version of his 82-mph slider. He’s used that slower breaking ball to steal strikes and keep hitters off-balance.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Three wild ways baseball in 2018 is unlike ever before - Even three weeks into a baseball season, there are a lot of loud changes for us to appropriately react to: Launch angles are up (from 11.1 degrees last year to 11.7), home runs are down (even accounting for the weather), the weather is killing attendance and Shohei Ohtani is real. More quietly, though, the game is always shifting and sloping. It can sometimes be hard to know what's permanent, what's portentous and what's nothing more than an April fluke. Here are a few of the under-the-radar ways that baseball in 2018 has been unlike any baseball played before it:

[] The Reds are a disaster. Firing Bryan Price won't change that. - On the one hand, almost no manager alive could survive that kind of brutal start—one devoid of anything resembling competitive baseball. Cincinnati has lost 10 of its last 11 games, including back-to-back shutouts at the hands of the Brewers. Those are the third and fourth shutouts already on the season for the Reds. Then again, what exactly did the Reds expect Price to do? Simply put, the Reds are bereft of talent. Not even the ghost of Connie Mack could’ve made this team look anywhere near competent, to say nothing of competitive.

[] HOA approves fan’s Giants-themed house - Chalk up yet another reason why HOA’s suck. Any organization worth its salt would have been slapping that homeowner with a cease-and-desist - like they do if you leave your garbage cans in the wrong place, or let your grass grow a centimeter too long. But a genuine affront to public decency like this? #Approved. Take that shit out of Arizona and back to California, where it belongs. [H/T: edbigghead]

The Astros were on the end of the slowest developing triple-play in baseball history, after Evan Gattis forgot how many outs there were..