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Snake Bytes, 8/3: Well, that was a Bummer

Zack Greinke did his part. The offense and new bullpen arms? Not so much...

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San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images


[Arizona Sports] D-backs leave runners on, bullpen struggles in loss to Giants - Jake Diekman, acquired on trade deadline day on Tuesday, faced only three hitters in his D-backs debut, committed an error, walked two, tossed a wild pitch and was charged with an unearned run. Brad Ziegler then made his (second) D-backs debut, pitching parts of the seventh and eighth innings and allowing four runs on three hits, a walk and a strikeout. But an oddity occurred in the eighth inning. With Ziegler on the mound, Lovullo made a mound visit, during which time the Giants called upon Alen Hanson to pinch hit. According to second-base umpire and crew chief Bill Welke via a pool reporter, Lovullo asked if he could change pitchers but was told he couldn’t. That was not correct.

[AZ Central] Bats quiet as Diamondbacks on wrong end of rules snafu - What seems crystal clear about their 8-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants was that the game was lost long before manager Torey Lovullo was fed “misinformation” – in the parlance of crew chief Bill Welke – in the seventh inning. It was lost in the first. Or maybe the second. Or the third. Take your pick, really. In the first, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases against Madison Bumgarner and came up empty. They loaded them again in the second and scored only once. They put runners on second and third in the third but couldn’t produce a clutch hit. “It’s a tough thing to do in this game, hit with men in scoring position, but this team has done it since the break,” Lovullo said. “We’ve created some really big innings and got some hits at the right time. It just didn’t happen today.”

[MLB] Greinke solid, but D-backs fall out of tie for 1st - “Stuff was good, command probably wasn’t as good as the last however many starts,” Greinke said. “Probably better at-bats, too. They had some professional at-bats up there today. At least the last couple years, that’s one thing they do pretty good. In the past couple years, they didn’t really strike out much and didn’t chase a ton. There are a couple of guys that will chase, but just tough to strike out, and grind at-bats is kind of what they’ve done the last couple of years.” Indeed, it was that grinding of at-bats by the Giants that raised Greinke’s pitch count and chased him from the game after six innings.

Team news

[AZ Central] Lamb out for rest of season - “Obviously we’re very disappointed on one side of (the decision),” Lovullo said. “But on the other side of that, we know he’s on the road to recovery and, by making that decision, he’s going to be ready for a healthy 2019 season and I think that was the main point of emphasis here.” Still, as much as the July 26 injury was the catalyst for Lamb needing surgery, it sounds as though Lamb never fully recovered from an AC joint sprain he suffered on the same shoulder during an April 2 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field.

[Arizona Sports] For the D-backs and Jake Lamb, season-ending surgery gives clarity - “I was feeling a little bit of pain towards the end there in Chicago and stuff,” Lamb said. “But I went a good two months with zero pain... So when they asked me, ‘Are you feeling good?’ I did feel good. And I thought it was just swing mechanic issues.” But it instead appears that a nagging injury was the source of the swing problems. "It’s my back arm [that’s injured], so getting on-plane with the ball, dropping my elbow and then finishing through the baseball,” Lamb said when asked how the injury was affecting his swing. “Because the move going across and up is the most painful slash most uncomfortable.”

[The Athletic] Can the Diamondbacks’ deadline deals provide a playoff push? - Mike Hazen has decided to push for the playoffs and has once again upgraded his roster without incurring significant costs. The prospects traded may hurt a bit down the road, but none were projected to be franchise cornerstones and trading players is just part of doing business, especially when a team doesn’t have ample financial resources. Upgrades were obtained and the cumulative effect may just be the difference between another postseason berth and sitting at home in October. The window for contention, albeit small, is still open and the Diamondbacks are primed to make the most of it.

[Arizona Sports] The July resurgence of Steven Souza Jr. has given the D-backs a spark - After missing June, the outfielder got a hit in six of his first eight games in July. It set pace for a month of 21 hits, two home runs, 14 RBI and a .292 batting average, .129 above his May output. Souza said his stamina has been the difference. “When I initially came up (in May), I felt just as good, but my endurance wasn’t great. So the longer I played or the more I threw, the more tired I would get, and I don’t think that’s something that anybody could plan for,” he said before the game Monday. “This time, I’m able to just continuously let it go and wake up the next morning feeling great.”

[AZ Central] Greinke named NL pitcher of the month - "I know that those honors don’t really matter to him," Lovullo said of Greinke. "He just wants to go out and perform, have great results and help his team win. He’s the ultimate teammate, but one day he’s going to feel really good about the honor that he achieved today. It certainly means a lot of good things have gone into his month. When he’s on one of those rolls, he gets the fastball moving on both sides of the plate. He walks with a swagger and starts to finish off hitters early in counts. He just starts to become a very complete pitcher."

[The Athletic] Over-the-top good: Nick Ahmed’s throws are unorthodox but on the money - Every​ so​ often, when​ he’s taking grounders at​ short​ during​ batting practice, Ketel Marte will try​ to​ throw​ like​​ Nick Ahmed. Instead of sidearming the ball to first base, Marte plants and whips his arm over his shoulder like a trebuchet. Then he’ll laugh and look Ahmed’s way. Marte knows it’s an exercise in futility. There may be only one person on the planet for whom those mechanics work. “He’s the only person that can throw like that,” Marte said. “I can’t throw like that. If I try to throw like that, I’m going to throw the ball to the fans.”

[Arizona Sports] Broken thumb hasn’t stopped Pollock from being key player for D-backs - Pollock’s teammates praised the amount of effort he put in not only to return but also to be effective when he got back. “He was on fire and that probably made the thumb injury hurt a little bit more,” fellow All-Star Paul Goldschmidt said. “He’s worked hard to get back as quickly as he could.” Pollock missed all of June but has batted .286 with five doubles, four home runs and 11 RBI since returning to the lineup on July 2. He needs just five home runs and three triples the rest of the way to match career highs in each category.

[CBSSports] Here's the other reason the Diamondbacks acquired so many relievers at the deadline - There was another reason beyond the obvious why the Diamondbacks wanted more relievers heading into the stretch run: no team has asked more of its relievers on zero days' rest. Entering Thursday, manager Torey Lovullo had asked a relief pitcher to appear on zero days' rest some 91 times this season, according to Baseball-Reference. That's seven more appearances on no rest than any other team -- a significant margin in this category, given it's the same amount that separates second place from 12th place.

[AZ Central] Brad Ziegler’s turnaround leads him back to Diamondbacks - Searching for answers for his back pain during that series in June, Ziegler paid a visit to Chuck Clark, a chiropractor he knew from his previous stint with the Diamondbacks. Clark’s adjustments helped. With the Marlins headed next to St. Louis, Clark reached out to Brett Winchester, a Cardinals chiropractor, and Ziegler received similar treatment the next week. When the team returned home, the Marlins’ chiropractors took over from there. “Since then I was able to go out and worry about executing pitches instead of worrying about, ‘Is my back going to hurt when I throw this?’” Ziegler said. “It’s made a big difference mentally knowing that when I get on the mound, I’ve got one thing to focus on now.”

And, elsewhere...

[FanGraphs] Has Position-Player Pitching Reached Its Peak… or Nadir? - Less than a decade ago, in 2011, there were eight position-player pitching appearances all season long, where we’ve had 15 since this year’s All-Star break — five by the Cubs, who used Victor Caratini, Tommy La Stella, and Ian Happ in an 18-5 loss to the Cardinals on July 20, and then Caratini and Anthony Rizzo three days later in a 7-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. Maddon and the Cubs have their reasons, and every other team does as well when it comes to these moves. But for as commonplace as they’ve become, and as much as some might fret about the hell-in-a-handbasket that portends, one point that should be hammered home is how completely noncompetitive nearly all of these outings are.

[The Onion] Terry Francona Still Amazed People Think Managing Baseball Hard In Any Way - Flatly denying that he’s had any influence whatsoever over his team’s success, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona admitted Thursday that he was amazed people still think managing baseball was hard in any way. “If I’m being honest, there is really no strategy or skill involved at all—I could probably take a nap in the dugout and it wouldn’t make a difference,” said Francona, 59, who explained his entire plan going into every game was to have players continue to hit in their predetermined order and tell them “nice job,” when they made a good catch.

And, finally, I’ll just leave this here. Maybe circle this date on your calendars...

[ESPN MediaZone] 2018 MLB Postseason to Begin Exclusively on ESPN with NL Wild Card Game October 2 - Major League Baseball and ESPN today announced that the 2018 MLB Postseason will begin exclusively on ESPN on Tuesday, Oct. 2 with the National League Wild Card Game presented by Hankook. The time is to be determined. The NL Wild Card Game will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and the ESPN App. The Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team – play-by-play commentator Matt Vasgersian, analysts Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza, and reporter Buster Olney – will culminate their first season together as they call the NL Wild Card Game on ESPN.