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Snake Bytes, 5/18: Live from New York edition

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The team dressed up as Saturday Night Live characters for the trip to New York, where they start a series today.

Team news

[Arizona Sports] Miller takes ‘step forward’ in second extended spring start - “Command was not as good as last time but overall, felt pretty strong, which is really all I’m worried about right now,” Miller told ArizonaSports.com. “Threw some good curveballs. Fastball was pretty good — don’t know what the velocity or anything was on it yet, but overall, it was a step forward, for sure.” Miller wasn’t sure what the next step would be for him, either another start in extended spring training or a minor league rehab assignment. Also unknown at this point is when Miller might rejoin the active roster. “I don’t really have a date set, but I’m feeling good,” he said. “My next one will be, hopefully, a little bit more pitches and we’ll see where that lands us.”

[AZ Central] Lamb a 'possibility' to rejoin Diamondbacks on road trip - Lovullo said the team will evaluate Lamb after his game on Wednesday and make a determination if the third baseman is ready to rejoin the big club or whether he needs more at-bats. “I’m going to say that there is a possibility,” Lovullo said of Lamb meeting the team on its upcoming road trip, which begins Friday in New York. “I don’t want to get trapped by that, but we need Jake Lamb. We know that we need Jake Lamb, and we want to get him here. But we want to make sure that he’s healthy and ready and gets every at-bat he needs.”

[The Athletic] Chris Owings is the Diamondbacks’ indispensable jack of all trades - In Owings’ do-everything role, he can’t spend too much time prepping at every single position at which he might be asked to play. He takes regular groundballs all over the infield, but shagging balls in batting practice can only prepare a part-time outfielder so much. He leans on Peralta and Souza to help him with positioning, and Dyson has given him pointers as well. But even with a steep learning curve – and his currently meager .202/.266/.316 batting line – his value to the Diamondbacks is clear. “Whether it’s somebody getting injured or guys getting off days, I think it really helps the team out in that aspect,” he said. “I’m just trying to be versatile.”

[FanGraphs] Losing Pollock Isn’t the D-backs’ Only Problem - As to whether the humidor is having an impact on offense in general at Chase, it certainly looks that way, but without a full season of data, and particularly, data from the warmer months, when the ball carries better, we can’t get a reliable estimate of the extent. Through the first 25 home games of the year, home runs and scoring levels are down by about one-third, and while the average exit velocity hasn’t fallen by that much, the xwOBA has, and yet players are still underproducing relative to the lower expectations.

[HardballTalk] The Diamondbacks are in a hideous offensive slump - The Diamondbacks badly need Goldschmidt to figure it out, especially now that Pollock is out. His exit velocity remains strong. His strikeout rate is way up — he’s fanned in 30 percent of his plate appearances — but his swinging-strike rate isn’t all that bad. Maybe the humidor is in his head. There’s little doubt that the change in Chase Field baseball is taking a toll on Arizona’s offense at home, but the effect isn’t as severe as Goldschmidt’s numbers would suggest; he’s hitting .140 with no homers at home, compared to .294 with four homers on the road.

And finally, more from the flight: It’s Bullpen in a Box... Additional pics can be found on the team’s Photoblog:

And, elsewhere...

[MLB] Analyzing NL West at season's quarter mark - The young season no longer seems so young anymore, as Major League Baseball has reached the one-quarter mark of what's been an often surprising year. The first month and a half of the 2018 campaign has offered more than its share of twists in the National League West, a division that's been turned upside down -- yet remains completely up for grabs. With the opening quarter of the marathon in the books, here's a breakdown of what we've seen -- and what we might still see -- from the five clubs in the NL West.

The Baseball Gauge - This is quite a fun site to click around, offering a bunch of different ways to look at data. It's where the 15-game rolling average of our runs scored and allowed, posted in yesterday's discussion thread, came from. I also like the idea of their "Game Changer". If you have an MLB.tv subscription, you can set up a series of rules and it will automatically change the channel on your computer to the most appropriate game for your rules!

[ESPN] Trout is on pace for the greatest season in MLB history - On Sunday, the Angels played their 40th game, the closest thing to a quarter mark for the season. Mike Trout started the game on the bench -- his first day off of the season -- and finished it with 3.51 WAR. The game's best player was on pace to produce 14.2 wins above replacement. It's almost unimaginable -- nobody has cracked 12 WAR in a half-century, and no active player has ever WAR'd higher than 2016 Trout's 10.5 -- but it's time to take seriously the possibility that we're watching the greatest season of all time.

[MLB] A 21 strikeout game is coming soon - It's pretty unlikely that a single pitcher will get 21 K's, because it's pretty unlikely that he will survive the pitch count... The more likely scenario is that a 21-strikeout game will be a team effort. This year, so far, starters are averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine, which would have been unheard of even a few years ago. But relievers are striking out 9.1 batters per nine, and 113 times this season a reliever has pitched one inning and struck out three. If a starter could even give the bullpen 15 strikeouts with two innings to go, there would be a real shot at 21.