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Snake Bytes, 7/6: Four Musketeers or Four Horsemen?

The band was together for the first time at Chase Field. Not that it immediately helped much...

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UN Climate Change Summit Enters Final Week Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images


[AZ Central] Shelby Miller much better this time out, but Diamondbacks lose again - The Diamondbacks might not have been able to deliver against the San Diego Padres, getting thumped 6-3 in front of 17,928 at Chase Field, but Miller managed to build his bridge and find the positivity he so desperately sought. A win, he would tell you, would have suited him far more neatly. It certainly would have benefited the Diamondbacks, who now have lost six of their last seven games. But on a night when the defense wasn’t quite there for him and the offense also stalled despite collecting 11 hits and getting the injection of outfielder Steven Souza Jr. back into the starting lineup, Miller’s effort was encouraging.

[Arizona Sports] Miller shows improvement in third time out, but D-backs fall to Padres
- Torey Lovullo said before Miller’s outing that he would like to see improvement upon what his starter did his last two times out, against the Marlins and Giants, respectively. “I thought Shelby threw the ball really well, it was his best outing so far,” Lovullo said. “He continues to improve. The fastball-curveball combination with the occasional cutter was well-planned-out, well-thought and well-executed. At the times where he didn’t execute pitches, I thought he got hurt. That’s just part of his progression. He needs to keep improving and lock down those misses. But overall I thought it was a very nice day for him.”

[] D-backs fall into tie for 1st with loss to Friars - Things unraveled for Miller in the sixth, though, as the Padres scored three runs -- thanks in part to an error by shortstop Nick Ahmed -- and chased Miller from the game. “I got a lot of swings and misses on it,” Miller said of his curve. “It’s a pitch we were talking about going forward that I would need to get command of and control a little more. I think tonight we did a better job of that. I would like to go out there and finish the sixth and put up zero there and get out of the game, and have us in a little bit better situation, 2-1, instead of, 5-1, in that inning.”

[The Athletic] Returning from Tommy John surgery in a playoff race is tough, but Shelby Miller welcomes the challenge - Thursday represented a quietly encouraging step in the right direction for Miller. His 5 1/3 innings against the Padres were largely drama-free, and he gave up just three earned runs, with two unearned runs scoring in the sixth as the result of a Nick Ahmed error. Perhaps most heartening was the effectiveness of Miller’s curveball. The righty has never been one to rack up the whiffs with the pitch; hitters fanned at it less than 6 percent of the time in his first two starts, and never more than 9 percent in any season of his career. But the Padres missed on nearly a third of Miller’s curveballs on Thursday, helping him rack up seven strikeouts.

Team news

[AZ Central] Steven Souza's return reunites Diamondbacks' sluggers - It marked the first time since spring training that the Diamondbacks had Souza, center fielder A.J. Pollock, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and third baseman Jake Lamb all in the lineup at the same time. “I’m very excited about that,” Lovullo said during his pregame news conference. “When you’re talking about lineup construction in the offseason, when you see some of the names popping up when we trade for Steven, there was a lot of excitement – hoping that we’d get all these guys on one lineup card. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen until today. But it means we’re getting healthy and it means good, exciting things are on the way.”

[Arizona Sports] D-backs send Jarrod Dyson to DL, Delgado 'on his way' back to team - “I feel terrific. I feel 100 percent, I feel ready to go, and I think we’re in a good spot,” Souza said, adding that he didn’t feel tired or sore at all after making throws this time around his rehab. Lovullo said the quartet of Souza, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Jon Jay will share the playing time relatively equally in a rotation. “It’s fun, I think this is what everybody envisioned at the beginning of the season in spring training,” Souza said. “It’s taken a while, but now it’s time to go play some baseball and win some ballgames.”

[] Souza returns from DL; Bracho recalled - “We don’t know the extent of it yet,” Lovullo said of Dyson’s injury. “We’re still researching that right now.” Dyson is set to see a specialist on Friday, at which time the team hopes to have a clearer idea of the injury and recovery time. When Delgado and Avila return, it’s likely the D-backs would send out a pair of pitchers to make room for them given that they are currently carrying an extra reliever. “There are a lot of tough decisions to make,” Lovullo said. “We have a lot of conversations to have.”

[ESPN Insider] Players that need to pick up the slack to help their teams stay in contention - Arizona needs the rotation to be among the best in the NL. It can be with Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin at the top, but Taijuan Walker is gone, Zack Godley has been inconsistent and suffering from lapses in control and Matt Koch was never going to be the savior. Ray has been the missing piece in a lot of ways, good enough last year that he just missed my Cy Young ballot due to inning count (162). Ray is back from an oblique injury, and the lefty re-establishing himself as a star quickly gives Arizona less reason to worry about Godley. Remember, the Diamondbacks have a very thin farm system, and it’s unlikely they can find the pitching equivalent of J.D. Martinez at the trade deadline in 2018.

And, elsewhere...

[MLB Trade Rumors] Which Team Will Land Manny Machado? - The recent indication is that trade chatter on Orioles star Manny Machado has picked up of late. Of even greater note is the fact that the team evidently is interested in completing an early deal for its best player, rather than waiting until the deadline itself. It seems, then, that there’s a real possibility of a deal coming together in the coming days — perhaps even tomorrow, on Machado’s 26th birthday — though the O’s could certainly still decide to wait if offers aren’t yet to their liking. The early movement itself is notable, as the broader market situation could be quite a bit different in a few weeks’ time.

[The Athletic] Is Manny Machado really as bad as he’s looked at shortstop? - Playing shortstop looks like something Manny Machado shouldn’t be doing right now. But looks can be deceiving, particularly when it comes to defense. In the short term, at least, someone as good as he was defensively at third base should be able to handle shortstop, especially if their positioning is tightly managed. Don’t believe everything your eyes tell you. And with a sample size this small, don’t believe everything the stats tell you, either.

[SI] Million Dollar Moves: After His Unlikely Baseball Career Flamed Out, Rinku Singh’s Next Stop Is WWE - “You had a great successful career in track and field,” he says, “and you were very close to going to the Olympics and representing our nation. Really, you’re going to the United States, where you don’t even know the language? And you’re leaving friends, family, and most importantly, your game, to become a professional baseball player?” He sits up. “Well, here I am. I conquered the track and field. I conquered the baseball. Now here I am, sitting in the WWE Performance Center and going after my dream.”