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SnakeBytes, 6/15: Beat the Mets

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The humidor was given a night off at Chase Field, as the D-backs got their first victory over the Mets this year.

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Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Game recaps

[Arizona Sports] Matt Koch, David Peralta power D-backs past New York Mets - With Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray due back soon, the D-backs are going to have to – eventually - create two vacancies within their starting rotation. The question then becomes who gets evicted. Obviously, Koch would prefer it not be him. Koch stated his case once again with a quality outing to help lead the D-backs past the New York Mets, 6-3, in the opener of the four-game series in front of an announced crowd of 23,300 at Chase Field on Thursday. It was the D-backs’ sixth win in their last seven games, and it was Koch’s third win in his last four starts. He pitched six innings, allowing just three hits, though two of them were home runs. He walked one and struck out five.

[AZ Central] Peralta credits revamped swing for power surge - With two more home runs in Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the New York Mets, Peralta has 14 on the season, matching his home run total from last season in fewer than half as many at-bats. He believes the swing changes he implemented are directly responsible for this. “It’s working really good right now,” Peralta said. “At the beginning, when I was trying to do it, it felt weird, but I had to trust the process. That’s what I did. And it’s working for me really well.”

[dbacks.com] Peralta, Goldy power surging D-backs over Mets - Lost in the shuffle of the homers by Goldschmidt, Peralta and Lamb was the bases-loaded walk drawn by Nick Ahmed in the seventh. While a pair of solo homers in the eighth gave the D-backs a cushion it was the patient at-bat by Ahmed that drove in the decisive run. “Nick had a really good bases-loaded walk that helped us get that run,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s going to take a total team effort. Hopefully different guys will just step up and that’s what it’s going to take for us to win.”

Team news

[Arizona Sports] Miller back to Single-A Visalia for next rehab start - Meanwhile, it was a day of strength and conditioning for both injured outfielders A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. Pollock will have another CT scan on his broken left thumb on Monday, Lovullo said. “I’m sure they have a percentage (of how much the break has healed) and they can tell exactly from one (scan) to the next, but I don’t get wrapped up in that,” he said. “I just want to know when he’s healthy and when is it time to take the next step. It’s been progressing in a very positive way, so there’s been healing each time.” Souza Jr. took a day off from throwing, which he resumed on Wednesday. He did, though, take batting practice, something he has been doing on a regular basis.

[AZ Central] Jon Jay already providing lift for Arizona Diamondbacks' outfield - Hazen said the Diamondbacks had a “small handful” of names they also were considering, but Jay fit on all the right levels. The Kansas City Royals were willing to move him. He didn’t cost much financially. He didn’t cost much in trade capital. And he fit the roster. Making him even easier to acquire is the fact that the club pursued him in the offseason. “We followed him all year, starting in the offseason and going into the season,” Hazen said. “We had done a lot of work on him in the offseason on how the fit was.”

[The Athletic] From 11,600 miles apart, following wildly different roads, Yoshihisa Hirano and Kelvin Kondo became inseparable - Kondo also tries to serve as Hirano’s guide to American culture. He introduced Hirano to “Stranger Things” on Netflix, since it has Japanese subtitles. “He says it’s not funny, not good,” Kondo said. “But he watched the whole thing nonstop.” On the road, Kondo and Hirano become tourists, enjoying the attractions of the American cities they visit. In St. Louis, they visited The Arch. Later, Hirano learned they’d seen it in lieu of a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery. “Man, you should have told me about that one,” he said... With four languages mastered, there’s almost no one with whom Kondo can’t communicate. It’s not uncommon for him to facilitate a conversation between Hirano and his teammates in three different languages at once.

[USA Today] With Donald Trump in his corner, Buchholz back to his old ways - “I was never ready to give up the game,’’ Buchholz said. “I knew I still had the ability to do it. I really think I’m better now than my last two years in Boston because my arm doesn’t hurt... It’s gratifying any time you’re faced with any kind of adversity. To come back now and have a little bit of success, it gives you confidence. I always knew that if I got another opportunity to pitch in the big leagues, I’d make the most out of it." Ironically, Buchholz now has the job that Lackey, his teammate for nearly five years in Boston, rejected during the winter. He was unwilling to sign a cheap, minor-league deal with Arizona, particularly with no guarantee of cracking the rotation. “I don’t bring that up to him now,’’ Buchholz says, laughing, “because he’s a lot bigger than me." [Note: all politics aside (and that’s an order!), it’s still an interesting background piece]

[Beyond the Box Score] The Arizona Diamondbacks have resurrected Clay Buchholz - The low walks and propensity for long balls are both byproducts of him consistently pounding the strike zone. He’s thrown 67% of his pitches for strikes this season, and he throws the first pitch for a strike 65.8% of the time. That would be 16th best in baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. What we have here is a pitcher who throws strikes and isn’t prone to strikeouts or walks. The right-handed Buchholz may have found a way to keep lefty hitters in check. They’ve only managed to slash .184/.231/.306 against him this season. His changeup is a big reason why.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks’ bullpen making a case to be seen as the best in baseball - That laid-back attitude and camaraderie belies the all-business, locked-in approach manager Torey Lovullo’s group of relievers has leaned on this season to become one of the best relief units in baseball. Through games played on June 13, Arizona’s bullpen sports an MLB-best 2.50 ERA. “We want that, you know. We want to be the best ‘pen in the league,” Bradley said. “Whether it’s the back-end guy or a guy like T.J. McFarland picking up the starter who has a short outing or gets hurt and can’t continue. We take pride in what our bullpen does.”

[RealSport] Arizona Diamondbacks: Why Daniel Descalso is an All-Star - The Diamondbacks don’t have a lot of All-Star worthy players and, at this point, will have no more than two representatives next month, but fans should at least give Descalso a look at going to the All-Star Game. Descalso has been Arizona’s best player offensively all year and kept the Diamondbacks in the division race when things seemed to fall downhill last month. Descalso will not start the game but if he’s selected as part of the Final Player Vote after the polls close on July 5, fans should give him love and vote him into his first ever All-Star Game. The more he plays and gets in the lineup, the more he proves why he’s an under the radar option to go to the All-Star Game.

And, elsewhere...

[SI.com] The strikeout is changing baseball and changes must be implemented - Consider how much the game has slowed in just 20 years: the games are taking 15 minutes longer with 17 more pitches not put in play (including home runs, strikeouts, walks and hit batters). Balls in play are important because they create movement across your eyes—movement of the ball, runners and fielders. Movement is what the screen-addled mind craves, and movement is the attraction of soccer, basketball and football (even with its perception of movement created by the use of the no-huddle offense). Inertia is the enemy of the digital generation. Today, on average, you have to wait 3:45 between balls put in play—41 seconds longer between movement than 20 years ago.

[Vice] Obsessing Over Player Salaries Is Ruining Baseball - You shouldn’t care about what players make. You should care about their arm, throwing something over 100 miles per hour. Or the split-second response needed to glance a strike against said object, let alone the hand-eye coordination needed to crush it deep into the stands. You should care about defensive shifts, a pitcher holding a speedster to a six-foot leadoff, or the bleacher hecklers who know how to get under the outfielder’s skin. That’s the game, that’s the entertainment, that’s the stuff worth paying attention to on a hot summer night under the lights. Not the players’ paychecks.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs' CEO Derrick Hall addresses potential rule changes - Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall doesn’t see anything major happening soon, but he does think there has been some progress in regards to game speed. Hall does support one rule change that could draw the ire of baseball fans. “I kind of like the idea of putting the runner on second base in extra innings. They are doing it in the minor leagues in some settings it’s been successful,” Hall said. “International baseball does it, it worked for WBC. I think it’s fun, it brings some excitement and it usually brings quicker closure.”