[D’backs.com] Ray pays for tough first as D-backs’ skid hits 4 - Robbie Ray’s second start returning from the disabled list was not as smooth as his first against the Miami Marlins last week. The St. Louis Cardinals hit him exceptionally hard in the first inning scratching across 4 runs on 5 hits, 2 of which went for extra bases. He settled down after that until the Cardinals added 2 more runs on back to back solo home runs in the 6th.
“I’m not really sure what to look for, because I felt great. I felt like I was making my pitches and they were just putting good swings on them. That’s usually a pretty good sign that they saw something.” - Robbie Ray
[AZ Central] Torey Lovullo and Yadier Molina meet to clear the air, but Cardinals get the last word - A.J. Pollock was 0-4 with a run scored in his return. The Diamondbacks only recorded 9 hits, 6 of them coming from Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta. The team did manage to go 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but a pair of GIDP from Jake Lamb and Jon Jay quickly ended any chance for a rally. Goldy raised his batting average to .274 with the performance.
“A.J. looked fine, maybe a little bit off timing-wise and rhythm-wise, but I know he was excited,” Lovullo said. “He had some quality at-bats. He just unfortunately couldn’t square up the ball, but once again, getting him back in this lineup, his presence was felt. And the fact that he got through the game and felt fine, that’s a bonus for us today.”
[Arizona Sports] Robbie Ray becomes latest starter to struggle, D-backs drop fourth straight - Arizona has now lost 4 games in a row and is only 1.5 games ahead of the resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead. The San Francisco Giants are close behind as well sitting 2.5 games back. The offense has cooled off again outside of Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta which has made it difficult to secure victories with the starting rotation sputtering of late as well.
“It is frustrating. It is,” Torey Lovullo said, referring to the team’s current four-game losing streak. “I think we’re a better team than what we’ve shown over the past four games.”
[D’backs.com] D-backs to ink high-upside D.R. OF Guzman - So here’s a little fun fact about me. When I’m writing Snake Bytes, I tend to work from the bottom up. Meaning that the articles discussed at the bottom were the first I selected to include. As you can see, the international signing period was the first that I was interested in, so he we are discussing it again. Back on topic. Alvin Guzman is said to have the best arm out of this year’s international class and is strong enough as a defender that he can stay in the field even if his bat doesn’t warrant including him in the lineup.
[MLB.com] This is the team that should get Machado -The goal for Arizona should not simply be to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season. Not with two of their best players on each side of the ball scheduled to become free agents at the end of the season. No, they should strive to win the National League West out from under the Dodgers and advance deep into the postseason. They might need some extra firepower in order to do so. Manny Machado would provide an immediate upgrade over Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed at the plate, but should be used primarily at third base due to his less than stellar defense at shortstop this season. The question remains, what price should Mike Hazen be willing to pay to pry Machado from Baltimore?
[Fangraphs] The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Arizona Diamondbacks - Paul Moehringer takes an interesting crack at crafting the D’backs all-time team using his pyramid rating system. It isn’t too far off from what we discussed in our top 50 countdown before the season began. Outside of a fairly dominant starting rotation, Luis Gonzalez, Paul Goldschmidt, and A.J. Pollock, there isn’t much to show for as far as “all time” depth is concerned.
[AZ Central] From hitting to stolen bases, Zack Greinke does a lot more than pitch for Diamondbacks - Zack Greinke has been a surgeon in his craft this season. Not just on the mound as a pitcher or a defender, but also with a bat in his hands and on the basepaths. He has 9 hits in 36 plate appearances as well as 3 walks and 2 stolen bases in two attempts. While having no way to objectively measure it, one might wonder if his cerebral approach on the mound trickles over into how he attacks an opposing pitcher at the plate.
“Quite honestly, he can really hit,” Mattingly told reporters after the Diamondbacks took three of four in Miami last week. “We were talking on the bench, and he’s probably got a better swing than like 70 percent of the guys in the big leagues. I’m serious about that. Just look at his mechanics.”
[The Athletic] After ‘pounding the table’ to come off the disabled list, A.J. Pollock is back - A.J. Pollock needed a whopping two games in his rehab stint before he found himself back with the Diamondbacks. It likely had something to do with how pushy he was with Torey Lovullo, letting his manager know that he was ready to go.
“I don’t need to take a million swings. I never really have,” Pollock said. “For me, it’s just get a couple swings to get your mechanics down, and then it’s really timing. I couldn’t do a lot of stuff with my mechanics, so it was mostly timing. I had a couple weeks to really get my mechanics down, and that was kind of a breeze.”
Around the League
[ESPN] Power Rankings: Who is on top at the halfway point? - A sweep at the hands of the division rival San Francisco Giants quelled any movement in the power rankings for Arizona following a strong road trip. ESPN keeps them at #8 one spot ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Likewise for MLB.com. CBS Sports drops the D’backs out of the top five to #8. Bleacher Report has gone delusional in small sample size moving Arizona down five spots to #9 and below the Giants. USA Today slides them two spaces to #9. The Athletic rounds out the consensus at #8.
[Reuters] Guggenheim accused of siphoning annuity unit’s cash for LA Dodgers - The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group has been accused of channeling their inner Wolf of Wall Street to secure enough capital in their purchase of the team in 2012. A class action lawsuit accuses the Guggenheim Partners of strapping an insurance affiliate with risky investments and siphoning the premiums for their own pursuits. It should be noted that a similar lawsuit was filed in 2014 only to be withdrawn a day later, and of course these are accusations of which we do not posses all details. There is a possibility for the case to be settled before even going to trial, but attorneys for the Guggenheim Partners call the action baseless. However, the federal government does not take this sort of alleged fraud lightly and would likely continue its own investigation independent from any civil litigation.
[MLB.com] International signing day: Top prospect tracker - The international signing period began yesterday, and most of the the top 30 ranked prospects on the market have come to an agreement with a team. The Diamondbacks had an allotted bonus pool of $5,504,500, and have signed four players so far. Alvin Guzman, an outfielder out of the Dominican Republic, signed with Arizona for $1,850,000 and was ranked #16 for this signing period by MLB.com. Other acquisitions made by the team include Abraham Calzadilla, RHP Venezuela, Diomedes Sierra, LHP Dominican Republic, Luis Rubio, SS Venezuela. In total, the D’backs have spent $3,170,000 of their allotted pool so far. They can acquire up to 75% of their original allotment from another team through trade if needed. The San Diego Padres are far and away the most active again this signing period, as they have been the past few seasons, signing 15 players for $300,000 each. However, because they exceeded their pool last season that is the max amount they can sign international prospect for, effectively excluding them from the most highly coveted names.