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Snake Bytes, 5/21: Escape From New York

An entirely apt reference from yesterday’s broadcast...

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Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are honored with a Star On the Hollywood Walk of Fame Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney


[Arizona Sports] Clay Buchholz has strong outing in first start for Diamondbacks - Buchholz looked comfortable on the mound in his first start as a D-back. After allowing a double in the first inning, he didn’t give up another hit through five frames. “Couple more nerves than usual, just getting back out there,” Buchholz said. “Just went with the scouting report and game plan and trusted (Jeff Mathis’) instincts behind home plate.” Buchholz’s curveball was also effective early in his outing, but was the pitch Amed Rosario connected with for the solo homer. “I went to the well one to many times with the curveball, but that’s part of the game,” Buchholz said. “They’ve got some good hitters over there too but it felt good getting back in it.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks lose again as New York Mets finish off sweep - The Diamondbacks are a mere 46 games into their season, not nearly deep enough to draw troubling conclusions. They remain four games over .500 and on pace for 88 wins, enough to have made the postseason in the NL in three of the past four years. “We’re not even at the All-Star break yet; ain’t no sense in panicking,” outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “Things can turn around. It ain’t like everybody in our division is just winning. We’ve still got a shot. As long as we’ve got a shot, we’re going to keep our heads up in here.”

[AP] Buchholz solid in debut but D-backs swept by Mets - Arizona has lost four in a row and 10 of 11, scoring just 22 runs in that span. “Everybody here is a victim of trying to do too much,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “They care and I sense that, and I think they might be guilty of trying too hard. They want it so bad that we’re doing things in a pressing manner. I just want us to remember that we’re good when we’re ourselves,” he said.

[] Buchholz’s strong debut not enough to top Mets - The bullpen has been an area of strength for the D-backs all year long, but it was a rough weekend for them. Saturday, a 4-2 eighth-inning lead turned into a 5-4 loss, and a three-run seventh off the ‘pen turned things in favor of the Mets on Sunday. “Unfortunately, the bullpen didn’t execute today,” Lovullo said. “They’ve been doing a great job throughout the course of the year. When one area doesn’t do their job, it’s time for another area to step up. Unfortunately, it was a tough series. We’re struggling, no doubt about it. But this group is staying together, they are accountable and just pressing on.”

Team news

[Arizona Sports] D-backs Farm Rumblings: Taylor Widener pitching well for Jackson - The Kane County duo of Tim Susnara and Renae Martinez feasted at the plate this week. Susnara, a catcher who was an eighth-round pick out of Oregon last summer, hit .529 (9-for-17) with three doubles and two RBI while Martinez, a 33rd-round pick out of Oklahoma, hit .500 (10-for-20) with a homer and seven RBI. His OPS of 1.350 was the highest for the week in the D-backs system. Another catcher, Visalia’s Daulton Varsho, also had a big week, hitting .478 (11-for-23) with a home run and six RBI. His teammate, Drew Ellis, had two home runs and an organization-high 11 RBI for the week. Ellis’ 31 RBI lead the team and are tied for third-most in the California League.

[AZ Central] John Ryan Murphy could see more action - “I’m taking notice of what he’s doing,” Lovullo said. “Is there going to be a change? Possibly. But I need to sit guys down and have conversations with them before any type of movement is made in that area. It’s just a thought I’m having right now.” Murphy believes some of his success is the result of an offseason spent retooling his swing in hopes of better driving the ball. The home run was his fourth in 56 at-bats; he had just five homers in his career in 351 at-bats entering the year. “That’s a lot of homers for me, so far,” he said. “I think I’ve just made some changes and it’s nice to finally see some results in games. I think that’s what everybody looks for.”

[The Athletic] Zack Greinke and Archie Bradley are getting it done for the Diamondbacks, but in very different ways - While they have been forces on the mound, each have found success in different ways. Greinke (3.08 FIP, 26.6% K%, 3.2% BB%) has become a master at using his stuff. He has five pitches in his arsenal and knows how to use each of them effectively while executing his game plan every fifth day. Bradley (2.6% FIP, 24.1% K%, 6.9% BB%) also has big time stuff, however, he could never seem to harness it successfully enough to be a starter. Nevertheless, that big stuff still allows him to put away hitters, even if his execution isn’t razor sharp.

And, elsewhere...

[SI] Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks Throws Two 105 MPH Sinkers, Five Fastest Pitches of 2018 - Hicks hit 105 mph on two pitches to Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera, becoming just the first pitcher to reach that mark twice in the same game since pitch-speed data has been kept. Hicks also threw the five fastest pitches of 2018 in his appearance, throwing sinkers clocked at 104, 105, 104, 105 and 103. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is the only other pitcher to throw a recorded 105 mph pitch.

[ESPN Insider] Unusual and exotic MLB records within reach in 2018 - In a way, the retirement of Ichiro Suzuki, who seemingly could hit singles at will, fits in with the theme of the current re-explosion of offense in baseball... Now it's different, with the league not reaching .260 since 2009 and MLB in 2018 standing at .245. The singles rate is the lowest in baseball history, down 5 percent from 2017. Baseball has never finished below .250 in a season with designated hitters, and just three times in the past 100 years overall (1967, 1968 and 1972). Baseball isn't just different than what you might remember from 1985, it's different from 2005.

[MLB] J.D. hits 2 dingers, tied for MLB lead with 15 - “He puts himself in such a good position to hit, he’s ready for what he wants to hit,” said manager Alex Cora. “He took advantage of the pole. You could see him smile, like, ‘Yeah, that was fun to do.’ And then he got a good pitch to hit and drove it to center field. “A lot of people were talking about how Fenway was going to affect him. When it’s 80 degrees and humid, it’s a good place. We’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it firsthand. He’s a guy that he stays with his approach. He drives the ball to right-center and he has power.”