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Snake Bytes, 6/29: Marlins spiked

The D-backs finish the season series 6-1 over the Marlins, with a combined margin of 37-17 runs.

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[AP] Greinke, D-backs shut out Marlins to take four-game series - The Diamondbacks (47-34) finished 8-2 on a three-city trip “I can’t think of a day where we played bad really,” Greinke said. “The defense was good, pitching was good, hitting was good, baserunning was good. It was just a lot of good things, and we never beat ourselves.” The Diamondbacks matched their season high by climbing 13 games above .500. They won the season series against Miami 6-1. “The biggest thing was being ready to go on the first pitch and not sleepwalking into it,” Goldschmidt said.

[AZ Central] Greinke leads the way as red-hot June continues - He admitted to an extra cup of coffee, and said his body had gotten adjusted to the Eastern time zone since his afternoon start in Pittsburgh last week. “I got some good sleep last night and we got to the park late today. I did almost all my scouting the last couple of days,” said Greinke, who threw 103 pitches, 73 for strikes in notching his fifth win in his past six starts. “All the pitches were working all right, mixed it up and got some breaks.” Sprinkling in his pet 68-mph eephus curve and 90-mph pinpoint heater, Greinke (8-5) had the Marlins off balance for seven innings in which he allowed seven singles while fanning six and walking none.

[dbacks] Greinke does it all as D-backs blank Marlins - All year long, the D-backs have put pressure on the opposition with early production. Three first-inning hits produced two runs on Thursday. Back-to-back singles by Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb and a walk to David Peralta loaded the bases. Daniel Descalso hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Goldschmidt, and Nick Ahmed delivered a two-out double, plating Lamb for a 2-0 lead. "I think we've been ready to play in the first inning," said Torey Lovullo. "We're applying pressure immediately and just having good at-bats. I know that they prepare before the game; they're ready when they step on the field."

Team news

Hey! It’s a BruteSquadPodCast thing!

[Arizona Sports] D-backs' Robbie Ray re-found mechanics before, after oblique injury - “I kind of got away from what I was doing last year, mechanical-wise. That outing in Washington, I found it down in the bullpen and took it into the game, and I was feeling so good in that game. I was telling myself, ‘Alright, you’re going to take off now’ because everything — I mean everything was clicking that game. My velo was up, all my pitches were working. And then I go down after the fourth out of the game. It was kind of like, ‘Dang, this really happened.’ I was able to take that into my rehab and remember what that felt like. I kind of just picked up where I left off after that start.”

[] A.J. Pollock making progress in injury rehab - "The plan is to have him take BP today and see how he feels and figure out what the best plan is moving forward," Torey Lovullo said on Thursday. "Several people that saw him gave me great feedback as to how his day went yesterday and said that he looked really, really good. He was aggressively attacking the ball and showing no signs of the injury. I think the things that we have to be aware of, it's been six weeks of non-game activity, so we want to make sure that he's going to get out on the field and be able to run and chase balls down and be agile without taking any steps back."

[FanGraphs] The Manager’s Perspective: Torey Lovullo on Conferring with His Coaches - Torey Lovullo relies a lot on his coaching staff. Each has his own role and responsibilities, and the Arizona Diamondbacks skipper is well aware of the value they provide. He’d be the first to tell you that 2017 NL Manager of the Year honors — ditto the D-Backs’ playoff berth — wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of his coaches. Managers may ultimately have the final say — that’s the case here — but when Lovullo makes a move, there’s a pretty good chance collaboration was part of the process. [Hat-tip: Terry M]

[The Athletic] Zack Greinke can get the job done with his arm…and his legs and his bat - Greinke is now 7 for 7 for his career on stolen base attempts, and he’s matched his single-season high with two successful steals in 2018. It also puts him on the precipice of reaching stealing-pitcher history. Four more bags will tie him with Greg Maddux for the all-time record for pitchers. Maddux was caught three times, though. Greinke would like to, ahem, steal the record away from him, but only if his own conversion rate remains unblemished. “I like the never being caught stealing,” he said. “Only if I could do it that way.”

[ESPN] Don't bunt on Zack Greinke! At one small skill, he's the world's best - Nobody in the world fields the bunt better than Zack Greinke. Since the start of the 2015 season, there have been 1,953 bunt hits in the majors, and Greinke hasn't allowed any of them. There are 53 pitchers who have thrown at least 500 innings in that time, and every one of them who isn't Greinke has allowed at least one bunt hit -- and an average of seven apiece. This season, nobody has even tried to bunt against Greinke.

[ABC15] 3 big questions for the Diamondbacks heading into the 2nd half of the season - The D-backs had a pair of starting pitchers return to the rotation this week, and center fielder A.J. Pollock, the team's best hitter in the first month of the season, should soon return from a thumb injury. Will their returns be enough to keep the D-backs atop the NL West for another 81 games, or will they need to make some additions to their roster in order to do so? Here are three big questions for the D-backs heading into the second half of the 2018 season.

[AZ Central] Jay feels right at home in Miami - “Jon Jay is probably one reason we’re on this run right now,” Lovullo said earlier this week. “I’m not taking away from any of the other guys who are slugging, doing their job and driving him in. He sets the table; he sets the tone. There’s an ease to what he brings as far as his leadership role, just his presence is ideal here and … has been invaluable.” Jay, a member of the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, is eager to be in a playoff hunt.“Since Day 1 I got here, they made me feel like part of the family,” Jay said. “This core got a taste last year and are hungry for it this year.”

[] D-backs' Jay donates $50K to Miami B&G Club - Jon Jay was born and raised in Miami, barely 10 miles from Marlins Park and 20 minutes from the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade, where he forged his big league dreams as a youngster... "The Boys & Girls Club has been a big instrument, not just in my career, but in my life. A place that allowed me to be safe and hang out when I was a kid," said Jay, whose donation will grow to a total of $300,000 with six separate contributions.

And, elsewhere...

[USA Today] MLB players survey: On umps, shifts, steroids - and striking back - Would you accept a computerized strike zone in place of umpires? It happens every night: An umpire calls a borderline ball or strike, and social media lights up with screenshots of pitch trackers showing the ball a hair in or out of the strike zone. Inevitably, we hear the cry for robot umps, clearly the only avenue to correct these grave injustices. Well, despite tensions that remain between player and ump, there’s little desire to eradicate the human element behind the plate, as 43 of 50 players want to save the umpires. [H/T: edbigghead]

[SI] Midseason Report Card: The Diamondbacks and Dodgers Will Fight for the NL West Crown - Last year, the NL West featured a historically dominant regular-season team (the Dodgers) and two Wild Card winners (Rockies, Diamondbacks). This year, none of those teams appear to be quite as good as they were last year, and it's highly unlikely that two playoff teams will come from this division. The NL West has been underwhelming, but it should still feature a close race by the end of the season. Here are our grades now that the middle of the season has arrived.