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Snake Bytes, 8/24: Sink the Mariners

Here’s to Arizona sending Seattle aground in this landlocked state.

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Severe Flooding Affects Northern England Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Team news

[AZ Central] Ahmed on track for Gold Glove - Outfielder Eric Young Jr. hit a ball deep into the hole between third base and shortstop. Ahmed back-handed the ball but had no time to plant his leg and throw. So he jumped a bit, threw across his body and had enough on the ball to throw Young out. “He makes it look easy,” Diamondbacks infielder Daniel Descalso said. “The great ones make it look easy, and he’s one of the great ones we have in this league.” A play like the one on Tuesday is why shortstop has been Ahmed’s favorite position since he was a kid.

[Arizona Sports] ESPN's pitching metrics give D-backs hope with over a month left - In a recent ESPN article, Jay Jaffe analyzed the AL and NL contenders’ chances to make the playoffs based on FanGraphs playoff odds and rest-of-season pitching projections. Despite having the fourth-best odds to make the playoffs in the National League, pitching metrics seem to give the Diamondbacks a solid chance to make a run in the postseason. According to the metrics, the D-backs have the third-best projected ERA (4.05), second-best projected FIP (3.93) and second-best projected WAR (3.1) of all NL teams in the playoff hunt.

[The Athletic] Grading the farm systems of all 30 MLB teams after the trade deadline - A nightmare season on the farm thanks to injuries to two of their top key prospects, right-handed pitcher Jon Duplantier and catcher Daulton Varsho, and down years from prospects like first baseman Pavin Smith. Arizona does have a strong depth of outfield prospects, led by Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy and Marcus Wilson. However, there have been some positive developments as well. Right-handed pitcher Taylor Widener had a breakout year at AA, where he has punched out 155 hitters in 123.2 innings, with a 2.69 ERA in 23 games. Jazz Chisholm is another real bright spot; the left-handed-hitting 20-year-old shortstop has belted 21 home runs with 13 stolen bases this season.

[ESPN] Buchholz feeling it - [You need to scroll down for this section, though you can also enjoy the bit about the Dodgers' struggles as well...] His fastball has averaged just 90.1 mph, but he throws the whole kitchen sink at batters: four-seamer, sinker, changeup, curveball, cutter. His changeup has been a big weapon, holding batters to a .115 average in 55 plate appearances ending with the pitch. That pitch is a key reason lefties are hitting just .190 and slugging just .306 against him. "It feels so much better to grip a baseball and throw all your pitches without something in the back of your head knowing that this pitch is going to hurt."

[AZ Central] Marte eager to face his former team in Seattle Mariners - On Friday, for the first time since being traded to the Diamondbacks almost two years ago, he will face his old team, and he needed only a moment to consider the question: How is he most different now compared to what he was then? He considers himself a stronger hitter, a more consistent defender, all of that. But he thinks the biggest difference between the Marte the Mariners last saw and the player he is today starts between his ears. And with what he’s willing to let in them.

[The Athletic] Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray has unique situation — and these three guys understand and have some advice - Archie Bradley loves the situation he’s in. He gets to live the dream of playing in the majors — he’s in his fourth season as a pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks — and can tell anyone who is interested that of course he would have been Oklahoma’s starting quarterback if he’d wanted to go that route. “Deep down inside, I always wonder if I could have played at the D-I level,” Bradley said. “I know I had the offers, but could I put together the offense? And read defenses and stay healthy and everything that goes into that? I like being on this side of it.”

And, elsewhere...

[SI] The Rays, their bullpen and how they inverted pitching strategy - For most teams, a blank rotation is usually sign of a catastrophe in progress. For the Rays, though, it was the inadvertent result of the strategy that has upended their season and the league at large. Where once starters ruled the day, Tampa has chugged through the year by stacking relievers and loading up on bullpen days. Dubbed “the opener,” it’s proved surprisingly successful with a cast of under-the-radar arms. And with the Rays above .500 after being largely expected to struggle this year, it may be here to stay.

[ESPN] The 20 rules for creating an MLB nickname (and what yours would be) - Mike Trout's jersey will say "Kiiiiid" on Players Weekend, when major leaguers get to put whatever nickname (or poem title) they want on their backs. But when he goes back to the clubhouse, he'll be Trouty. That's his ballplayer name, and, if you're a ballplayer, the odds are you have a ballplayer name. "Why Trouty?" you might wonder. "What would my ballplayer name be?" you might also wonder. There are rules.

[MLB] No-hitter headlines Day 1 of Women's World Cup - Not even the summer Florida thunderstorms could dampen the excitement of an action-packed first day in the opening round of the 2018 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, which featured a five-inning no-hitter from Canada's Anne-Sophie Lavallée, a big day for the United States' bats and a dramatic comeback win by South Korea in the night's final game.