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Snake Bytes 4/8: Put on Ice

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The sad excuse for a strike zone yesterday that is.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 3

[D’backs.com] D-backs can’t overcome Greinke’s shaky start - In the midst of historically unusual weather conditions, the Arizona Diamondbacks were unable to continue their winning ways against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday afternoon. The game time temperature was 37 degrees, the lowest recorded in Cardinals’ history, and the Diamondbacks were undone after Zack Greinke struggled to find outs in the 3rd inning. Greinke allowed a 3 run home run to Jose Martinez in that inning, and the Arizona offense failed to recapture the lead after a few opportunities.

“Fowler had a good at-bat,” Greinke said. “And 3-2, I threw a fastball and he got a hit. It was a good at-bat by him. He waited until I made a mistake. Pham, I made pretty good pitches to him, and he did a good job getting a hit. Then I started making some mistakes to the next three batters. [Matt] Carpenter, he lined out. Ozuna got a hit and then the Martinez home run. And then I started pitching good again. It was a bad three batters. It was an important three batters.”

[Arizona Sports] Cardinals cool off D-backs, ending four-game win streak - The Diamondbacks had a great opportunity to do some early damage against Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha after four of the first five batters of the game reached base, but he was able to end the top of the 1st after allowing only a single run. Arizona cut the lead to two in the 8th, and had Paul Goldschmidt at the plate representing the tying run in the top of the 9th, but he did not swing the bat in the entire plate appearance and was retired looking at a called strike 3.

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke fall to St. Louis Cardinals -

“I could be wrong, but their team is always tough to strike out,” Greinke said. “They grind at-bats. That has something to do with it. Maybe the pitches weren’t quite as good as they need to be. I still struck out five. But a lot of their guys know how to not strike out, unlike some teams.”

Diamondbacks News

[Fangraphs] Patrick Corbin Is McCullersing - You will not get me to shut up about this topic this season. I will continue to geek out about it and beat it into the ground. Fastball usage across the league is decreasing, although not being eliminated completely. As long as a pitcher is able to maintain similar release points with his fastball and slider/curveball/cutter offerings, the movement after the hitter’s decision point to swing could lead to some foolish hacks from hitters. Patrick Corbin took that practice one step further on Wednesday with his slider, his best pitch, by altering the velocity of the pitch. His slider was already disgusting to begin with, but now that he has increased his velocity variance with the pitch it can become even more difficult to make solid contact with. Take a look at the videos in the article. He was able to throw the slider on Wednesday with a 7 MPH variance and even alter the amount of movement on the pitch. It resulted in the best performance of his career to date, and in the midst of his audition prior to free agency.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks option right-hander Matt Koch to Triple-A Reno - Heavy hitting first baseman Christian Walker makes his return to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 27 year old hit 2 home runs in 15 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks last season and won the Pacific Coast League’s Most Valuable Player Award. Arizona could use the thump of his bat coming off of the bench with Jake Lamb and Steven Souza Jr. on the disabled list and Yasmany Tomas down in AAA Reno.

[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ Jarrod Dyson hasn’t been slowed by surgery - Jarrod Dyson has already demonstrated his remarkable speed in a small sample size this season, but there was concern before the season began that he may have lost a step after having sports hernia surgery. The Diamondbacks have him signed through the 2019 season, so it is imperative to monitor his usage to ensure that the speedster does not experience another injury.

“I’m a speed guy,” Dyson said. “If anything happens to my legs, I’m always wondering if I’m going to lose a step or two, especially with my age playing a part of that. But my mind-set is don’t tell me that I’m old. I let my mind control the body. My mind tells me I’m 21 and I can still get out there and do it.”

Around the League

[Yahoo Sports] How did an MLB hitter get ejected for this? - I have to admit that I was rather surprised when Ketel Marte was ejected earlier this season for slamming his bat after a called third strike. My feelings towards that are because I believe umpires in MLB alter the outcome of contests too much and have rather quick trigger fingers. However, what transpired on Saturday between Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals and home plate umpire Marty Foster was an even better example of that than Marte’s situation. What Rendon did does not even register on the scale of egregious acts. The worst part about this is that there is no consistency in the league let alone a written rule which states when a player should or should not be ejected. During Patrick Corbin’s dominant start on Wednesday, Kike Hernandez slammed down every single piece of his equipment after being called out on appeal in the 7th inning, yet he was allowed to remain in the game. Not that I have a problem with what he did, I obviously do not, but where does the consistency lie? Umpires make the game about themselves entirely too much and can control the outcome with their mood of the day.

“I don’t even think I opened my mouth to chew gum,” Rendon told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier of MLB.com after the game. “It’s sad there’s no accountability for them.”

[New York Post] Brandon Drury comes clean about scary issue he’s hid for years - It appears we may have at least some sort of explanation for Brandon Drury’s prior inconsistencies and struggles. Drury has undeniable potential and talent, but he revealed that he has been dealing with migraines for years. The issue has blurred his vision at times which is an obvious problem for an athlete who relies on vision to make split second decisions. The Diamondbacks disclosed the prior history on his medical records as well as an MRI in 2016 which did not reveal any issues, so it is not as if this was concealed from the New York Yankees.

“We think he can be a terrific player for us, and especially if he’s been dealing with this,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Hopefully, Monday is the start of getting some answers when we can put him through the extensive tests. Right now we’re just going to support him and feel for him [for] what he’s going through.”

[MLB.com] 10 ‘small sample’ starts to believe in - Here is a small sample start to not believe in. Paul Goldschmidt in 37 plate appearances: 3 hits, 9 strikeouts, 10 walks, 0 home runs, .115/.378/.154, OPS+ 40 (as of Friday). Since his first full season in the league in 2012, Goldy has never posted an OPS+ below the 126 he registered in that same year. Although we might never see him reach the 160, 158, 168 marks he had in 2013-2015 respectively, it is highly unlikely that he will finish the current campaign as a below league average hitter. The silver lining is that he currently rounds out the top three in the league for walks, so it is not as if there is something to be concerned about.

[Ballpark Digest] Montreal Mayor: “We’re In” on Return of MLB - Fans in Montreal deserve to have a baseball team again. They went absolutely berserk when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a walk off home run there in a meaningless exhibition game prior to the season as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Granted it will not be that way there in every game should Montreal have a team again, but it demonstrated that fans there are ready to make it a viable market. As soon as stadium issues are resolved in Oakland and Tampa Bay, and Phoenix for that matter, we can expect a possible league expansion of at least two teams. Mayor Valérie Plante is already working to make her city an option as a possible destination.