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SnakeBytes, 9/14: The End Is Nigh

And now, the end is near... And so we face the final curtain...

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Funeral Of MH17 Victim Ben Pocock Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images


[AP] D-backs' Matt Koch can't handle Rockies after Clay Buchholz scratched - Diamondbacks right-hander Clay Buchholz was scratched from the start. Matt Koch (5-5) started in his place and allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings. Freeland (15-7) allowed only two hits and one run through six innings before giving up a triple to Steven Souza Jr. and a double to Nick Ahmed in the seventh. Freeland left after manager Bud Black and trainer Keith Dugger came to the mound. Yencey Almonte gave up an RBI double to Ketel Marte that made it 5-3.

[] D-backs drop finale to Rockies, fall 4 1/2 back - The Rockies put the game away in the bottom of the seventh as they scored five runs, two of which came on a single by pinch-hitter Charlie Blackmon. The D-backs, who were in first place in the NL West when September started, have dropped nine of 12 since. "It's obviously not the way we envisioned these last couple of weeks going," outfielder Steven Souza Jr. said. "We've got to get going. Time is running out. Like I said earlier, we're making it more difficult on ourselves, but it's not impossible. Crazier things have happened before in baseball. We've got a tough road ahead of us, but we're very capable."

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks left clawing for daylight after Rockies pour it on - After three straight extra-base hits by the Diamondbacks cut the Rockies’ lead from four runs to two in the top of the seventh, Lovullo had a chance to send David Peralta and/or Daniel Descalso to the plate as pinch-hitters with a runner in scoring position and one out. Instead, fearing left-on-left matchups, he opted for Ildemaro Vargas and Socrates Brito, both of whom struck out. Lovullo explained later he was hoping his bullpen could keep the game close, and that Descalso and Peralta could face Rockies relievers Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis in the final two innings.

Team news

[] McFarland to have precautionary elbow exam - McFarland last pitched on Saturday against the Braves, then he reported the discomfort Sunday. "He's been throwing and it's been improving, and he's been feeling better and better," Lovullo said. "Yesterday we just felt like it made too much sense to send him out to get examined, just to make sure everything was OK." Lovullo said the team expects McFarland to fly to Houston on Thursday night, where the D-backs open a three-game series with the Astros on Friday.

[The Athletic] The bullpen — theirs and everyone else’s — is killing the Diamondbacks - No offense in baseball entered the day with a worse batting average against opposing relievers than the Diamondbacks’ .225, a mark that sank even further after Wednesday’s loss. Diamondbacks hitters also have the eighth-worst on-base percentage (.309) and fifth-worst slugging percentage and OPS (.366 and .675, respectively) against opposing bullpens. “We’re trying. We’re trying to do our best to break it open,” Lovullo said. “It’s when you’re fighting for the same turf and you haven’t got it done. Tacking on and extending leads, those are things we’re talking about, we’re actively engaged with the players and they understand how important it is. It’s not for a lack of effort. It’s not one of those things that seems to be working right now.”

[Arizona Sports] D-backs pitcher Clay Buchholz misses start with elbow stiffness - D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said Buchholz was going through his pregame routine when he felt the elbow stiffness. Regarded as one of the most consistent starters on the team, Buchholz has gone 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 98.1 innings pitched (16 games). He’s struck out 81 batters and walked 22. According to reports, Buchholz was sent back to Phoenix to be evaluated by team doctors and have an MRI.

[The Athletic] Steven Souza Jr. has had a weird and disappointing Diamondbacks debut - If there’s one clue that could provide some insight, it’s perhaps the direction of his batted balls. Souza has found success pulling the baseball in years past, doing the bulk of his damage on balls he’s pulled to left. He routinely posted wOBA numbers in the low to mid-.500s there but this season he’s down to .436. He’s pulled the ball far less this season, too. His career average pull rate is 45 percent but he’s pulled the ball just 38.6 percent of the time in 2018.

And, elsewhere...

[AZ Central] Former Diamondbacks executive to auction off 2001 World Series ring to help sick colleague - Washington Nationals Assistant General Manager Bob Miller, a former executive with the Diamondbacks, has placed his 2001 World Series ring up for auction to raise money for his colleague, Doug Harris, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia. Miller was the director of baseball operations for the Diamondbacks in 2001, the year they beat the New York Yankees in Game 7 to clinch Arizona’s first major-sports championship.

[NPR] Contagious Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Throws Curveball Into MLB Season - Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock has come down with hand, foot and mouth disease, a team spokesman confirmed to NPR, in Major League Baseball’s third known case of the contagious virus this season. Pitchers Noah Syndergaard with the Mets and J.A. Happ with the Yankees both came down with the virus earlier this summer and were placed on the 10-day disabled list. “I’m not sure why this has become a thing in Major League Baseball this year,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch told the Chronicle. “There’s a running joke inside about having to sanitize everything, but I’m not aware of any sort of precautions we’ve taken.”

[USA Today] David Wright calls it quits: 'It's debilitating to play baseball' - The Mets' longtime third baseman and captain held a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce that his body will no longer permit him to play baseball. Wright will be activated for the team's final 2018 homestand, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon explained, and start at third base Sept. 29. But that's it. Wright's efforts to return to the field after multiple surgeries to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis - on his neck, shoulder, back, you name it - proved an intriguing sideshow during an otherwise moribund finish to the season, but all the minor-league rehab appearances and simulated games and pre-game batting-practice sessions ultimately only offered the cruel crush of reality.