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Snake Bytes 9/30: End Chapter

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The bleeding can stop now.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

I thought it would be interesting to go back and look at win predictions made by the Snake Pit staff before the season began. Jim might already have this planned for a future article. If so, it was nice knowing you all and I’ll be turning in my badge now.

Some of the writing staff and commenters on the site hit the wins total essentially on the head although nobody had any idea the season would play out as it did. Michael McDermott, Steven Burt & Jack Sommers (in the comments section), and I were the closest at 84, 81-83, and 83.5 wins respectively. I was waiting for the tie which never happened all season.

piratedan7, repre, and Fang were all also correctly in the neighborhood of 81-83 wins. And for that we all win a coupon for a free roller dog at QuikTrip with the purchase of a soft drink!...

Arizona Diamondbacks 5, San Diego Padres 4

[D’backs.com] Vargas’ 1st homer carries D-backs over Padres - For 10 years, Ildemaro Vargas toiled everywhere from Venezuela to the independent Atlantic League while never giving up hope that he would reach the big leagues. Vargas realized his dream last year when he made his Major League debut in September, but it took until this September’s callup for him to make a big impact. Vargas hit his first career homer and drove home three runs as the D-backs beat the Padres, 5-4, on Saturday night at Petco Park. “I am so happy,” Vargas said via a translator. “I was looking for a good fastball and he threw me a fastball.” Vargas, 27, has a story somewhat similar to D-backs outfielder David Peralta. Signed originally by the Cardinals, Vargas was released before making it to the big leagues and had to play for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League before being discovered by the D-backs. “I’m so happy, man, so happy,” said Peralta, who also was discovered by the D-backs while playing in independent ball. “It reminds me of when I was in the same situation, and I can imagine the way he feels right now, so it’s pretty special. I know he’s really happy and it’s a special moment for him.”

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ rookie Ildemaro Vargas hits 1st homer in 5-4 win vs. Padres - Vargas’ homer staked Zack Godley to a 4-0 lead and the Diamondbacks held on to give the right-hander his career-high 15th win. San Diego dropped to 65-96, five more losses than last year with one game to go. Executive chairman Ron Fowler expected the rebuilding Padres to be better this year than their 71-91 finish last year, but they’ve lost more than 90 games for the third straight year and fourth time in eight seasons.

Diamondbacks News

[AZ Central] Steven Souza Jr. falls short in debut season for Diamondbacks - Steven Souza Jr. is no stranger to expectations. He once wore the label of a highly regarded prospect. He was the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade before he’d logged two dozen at-bats in the majors. So when the idea is floated to him that having to replace J.D. Martinez might have created an undue burden, that it might help explain what has been a difficult first season with the Diamondbacks, Souza respectfully disagrees. He understands the premise. He just doesn’t think it adds up. “I didn’t put those expectations (on myself) to replace J.D.,” Souza said. “I’m pretty realistic of who I am as a player. I play a completely different style of game, a more overall game. J.D. is a phenomenal hitter; there is really nobody in the league that can really replace J.D.’s ability to hit. I don’t think that had anything to do with how my year went at all.”

[Arizona Sports] If D-backs rebuild immediately, it means trading Paul Goldschmidt - (In no way do I endorse seeing Paul Goldschmidt play in another uniform). The 2018 Diamondbacks could only produce a pair of consolation prizes: a non-losing season and a series victory that kicked the Dodgers out of first place. They were a spoonful of sugar, akin to eating a cupcake. But it won’t last and it’s not enough. And the time is coming for general manager Mike Hazen to build a perennial contender from scratch, executing the job he was hired to perform, a job that has never been done properly in Arizona. So: How soon is now? If immediately, it all starts with trading Goldschmidt, and I cringe at the sight of him finishing up in another uniform, like Brandon Webb playing for the Rangers, like Randy Johnson winning his 300th game with the Giants. I’m not ready for another lengthy rebuilding effort for another major professional sports team in downtown Phoenix, either. But I also know this: I don’t want to see another baseball season like this. Not at Chase Field. Not ever.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin could be winter’s most-coveted free-agent starter - Left-hander Patrick Corbin’s season ended on a round number that is highly valued by starting pitchers – 200 innings – and with his health intact as he enters free agency. After logging a fifth scoreless inning on Friday night against the Padres, Corbin was removed from the game by manager Torey Lovullo. His pitch count was at just 58, but Lovullo said he wanted to ensure that Corbin’s season had “a positive, healthy ending.” “He’s got a lot of his career ahead of him,” Lovullo said. “I don’t want him to twist an ankle or do something silly or goofy.” The title of most-coveted pitcher on the free-agent market likely will belong to left-hander Clayton Kershaw once he opts out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Until then, however, it would seem to belong to Corbin, ahead of two other lefties in the AstrosDallas Keuchel and the CubsCole Hamels.

[The Athletic] Back to basics: How the Diamondbacks became good on the bases again - The Diamondbacks have been quite good on the bases in recent history. This season is much the same, but there are contradictions here, too. Dave McKay joined the Diamondbacks as a first base coach in 2014 and during the first three seasons of his tenure, the team ranked above average on the bases. In 2015 and 2016, they ranked third and first, respectively. The 2017 season seems a weird blip on the radar as they finished well below average (25th), but this season saw them climb back toward familiar ground as they stand seventh in the game in baserunning. With just a few contests remaining, that’s where they should finish, barring a late push by the Yankees.

[AZ Central] Disappointing Arizona Diamondbacks’ decision: Rebuild, or take one more shot - In the coming weeks, General Manager Mike Hazen will solicit opinions from throughout his organization. He will dissect what went wrong with the Diamondbacks. He will determine what might come next. And he will take these answers and possibilities to owner Ken Kendrick. The course they chart might define not just the Diamondbacks’ upcoming offseason, but also the direction of the franchise over the next half-decade. The club has disappointed this year. Key players are set to become free agents. Change is coming. And with it the Diamondbacks might be one of baseball’s most fascinating teams as the offseason approaches. “They have a decision to make,” a high-ranking official with an American League club said. “It’s just a matter of whether they want to try to thread the needle one last time.”

Around the League

[MLB.com] Crew tied for 1st; Yelich pushing for Triple Crown - With one game to go, the Brewers are back on top of the National League Central. Christian Yelich, meanwhile, is on top of the baseball world. Yelich put the Triple Crown squarely in play by smashing two more home runs against the Tigers on Saturday -- a two-run shot that started a comeback in the third inning and a tiebreaking solo blast to lead off the seventh that sent the Brewers to a 6-5 win at Miller Park and a share of first place with the Cubs with one thrilling regular-season Sunday to go.

[Sports Illustrated] Strikeouts Reach Record High for 11th Straight Year - Major League Baseball has set a strikeouts record for the 11th consecutive year - and with four days to spare. There were 40,196 strikeouts through Wednesday, topping last year’s 40,104 - the first season strikeouts reached 40,000. There were 32,189 in 2007, the last season without a record, and 30,801 in 2003.

[CBS Sports] Chris Davis finishes 2018 with the worst batting average in MLB history after Orioles shut him down - One of the worst seasons in baseball history is official over. Friday afternoon Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced struggling first baseman Chris Davis will not play during the final weekend of the regular season. Davis is not injured. It’s an organizational decision to sit him, according to the Associated Press. Davis was mired in a 1-for-37 slump before being shut down for the season, and he finishes the year with a miserable .168/.243/.296 (50 OPS+) batting line and 16 home runs in 128 games. Among hitters with the necessary 502 plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, Davis has the lowest batting average in baseball history.