We’re gonna go with a rapid fire Snake Bytes this morning seeing as game time is an hour and a half away. I should probably stop telling you and just do the darn thing...
[D’backs.com] Greinke dominates Bucs despite pair of delays - As his velocity has dipped over the years, Greinke has continually found ways to reinvent himself on the mound. Some days, it’s his slider that he’ll go to, other times his changeup. On Saturday, it was his eephus curveball, which registers 67-70 mph on the radar gun. Greinke threw 12 of them, with four going for swinging strikes and two being taken for strikes. “It’s been working really good this year,” Greinke said of the eephus. “I don’t know how long it’ll last for, but it’s been working good. I didn’t throw any harder curves, where I think the whole year, I’ve kind of done both. But my harder one gets hit, usually. So, I started throwing only slow ones.”
[AZ Central] Rain delays cause stress for Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke - Greinke said he’d never had to pitch through multiple delays, nor had he experienced one as long as the second delay. The first delay was no big deal, but the second one created some stress for Diamondbacks decision-makers. “We were probably right around the (time) limit that we were comfortable with,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, adding that the club was debating whether or not to have Greinke continue. “So it’s risky, it’s very risky, but we trusted Zack would be able to go out there and execute. He kept us informed.”
[Arizona Sports] Zack Greinke pitches Diamondbacks past Pittsburgh Pirates - Goldschmidt walked and scored on Peralta’s triple in the first. Peralta then scored when Sean Rodriguez’s relay throw landed in the Pirates’ dugout. The duo combined for another run in the third when Goldschmidt walked again and scored on Peralta’s double. Chris Owings singled in Jake Lamb to make it 4-0. Goldschmidt hit his 17th homer in the seventh, and Lamb added an RBI single in the ninth. Musgrove’s day ended with the second rain stoppage. He allowed seven hits, struck out two and walked three.
[The Athletic] Zack Greinke shows how he’s mastered staying ahead of the (slow) curve - Before Saturday’s game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle slapped a lofty comparison on Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke. Watching Greinke over the years, Hurdle said, was like watching Cal Ripken Jr. hit. Ripken would change his hand position, add a leg kick, ditch the leg kick, tweaking things constantly over his 21 years in the majors. Greinke is just as adaptive, Hurdle thinks. “It’s been fun to watch him improvise, adapt and overcome, and finish up in a similar place every year with wins and losses, ERA, WHIP and all those things,” the Pirates manager said. “And he’s doing it in different ways.”
[The Athletic] Andrew Chafin lost his mustache and, more importantly, a hitch in his delivery - Chafin was plagued by what he called a “timing issue” in his delivery. Pitching coach Mike Butcher said Chafin was dipping his front shoulder as he brought his leg up in his delivery, robbing him of his balance. It affected his command and the sharpness of his slider. Together, they worked to correct the issue, having Chafin lift the leg higher to his chest rather than pull it back toward his other hip. Since the fix, Chafin’s peripheral stats have caught up to his ERA. His first-pitch strike rate has jumped from 42 percent in his first 17 games to 71 percent in his subsequent 20. His strikeout rate has dipped, but so has his walk rate. He’s thrown nearly one fewer pitch per plate appearance.
[Arizona Sports] Shelby Miller ‘excited’ to get back on the mound for D-backs - It’s been over a year since Shelby Miller graced the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the wait is finally over. Miller will make his first start of the season on Monday when the D-backs take on the Miami Marlins. It will be the first time he takes the mound in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL he suffered last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “For me personally, it’s a huge accomplishment,” Miller told reporters on Thursday. “It’s been a long road. I’ve had so many people help me from the guys over at Salt River, all of our big-league trainers here, strength coaches who have helped me get to his point.”
[D’backs.com] McFarland revels in first big league save - D-backs reliever T.J. McFarland still had the baseball and lineup card tucked away in his locker Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after he recorded the first big league save of his career. McFarland had made 189 appearances before pitching a scoreless 13th inning Friday night to earn that elusive first save.
[Roof and Panels Open] Old Age and Zack Greinke - Our ace is getting older. He can’t ramp up his heater like he used to, and the margin of error is smaller than it used to be. Age has taken some things away from Zack. He’s given up too many home runs as a result, but when you look at the stat line and see an ERA in the upper 3s, remember that he is, and likely will be, pitching better than that. He’s not gonna win a Cy Young Award or put up a season like he did in 2015, but Greinke is still our ace.
Around the League
[Sports Illustrated] Clayton Kershaw Sees Mixed Results in Return From Disabled List - Clayton Kershaw was shaky in an abbreviated return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night. Kershaw came off the disabled list and allowed two runs in three innings against the New York Mets. He threw 55 pitches, starting out strong before laboring through his final inning. The lefty ace was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but Los Angeles decided Friday to have him pitch in New York because of precarious weather in Nebraska. Kershaw had been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain.
[MLB Trade Rumors] Hanley Ramirez Denies Knowledge Of Reported Investigation - Long-time major-leaguer Hanley Ramirez is “being eyed” in relation to a broader federal and state drug investigation, Michele McPhee of ABC News and Newsweek reports on Twitter. The precise nature of the Ramirez’s involvement is not yet entirely clear; at present, it’s not even apparent whether he is viewed as a potential suspect of any kind by authorities, and he has not been charged with any crimes.
[Sporting News] Cubs’ Willson Contreras explains odd reason for bench coach’s ejection - Cubs catcher Willson Contreras had a strange explanation as to why bench coach Brandon Hyde got ejected Saturday night. It was a lack of manners. Contreras said home-plate umpire Greg Gibson was upset Contreras didn’t say thank you after he asked for a timeout while batting. “It was really a difficult situation and I tried to handle it as best I could,” Contreras said, via Chicago Tribune. “The umpire said something to me that I didn’t really like, and it got to the point where I looked over to the bench to get a little backup just because I didn’t want to get thrown out and cost the team. It all happened because I had asked for time out, and apparently I didn’t thank him.