[D’backs.com] Kelly, D-backs sunk by six-run frame in finale - The D-backs’ recent struggles continued Monday night as an ugly second inning led to an 11-6 loss to the Marlins. With the loss, the D-backs finished a seven-game stretch against the last-place Orioles and Marlins with a disappointing 3-4 record, all but assuring they will be sellers prior to Wednesday’s Trade Deadline. Things unraveled quickly for starter Merrill Kelly and the D-backs in the second inning as six of the first seven batters reached base, capped by a two-run homer from Miguel Rojas, his third in as many games. It wasn’t just that they yielded the six runs: The D-backs also committed a pair of errors firing the ball around the infield on an uncharacteristic sloppy play.
[Arizona Sports] Early damage too much to overcome for D-backs in Miami - In a crucial stretch of the season, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 11-6 loss on Monday to the Miami Marlins made it a 3-4 record for them against Miami and the Baltimore Orioles, two of the worst teams in baseball. It was a chance for the D-backs to break away from the rut of average baseball they’ve been playing all season. The last time the D-backs were three games above or below .500 was June 16 when they were 38-35. Alas, in the 34-game run, Arizona now finds themselves still stuck in that range at 53-54.
[AZ Central] Marlins shell Merrill Kelly as Diamondbacks stumble toward MLB trade deadline - Caleb Smith endured a bad stretch after a baserunning adventure but recovered to pitch seven innings and help the Miami Marlins beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-6 Monday. Smith laid down a bunt in the second inning and wound up at third base thanks to two errors on the play. The jaunt may have taken a toll, because in the next inning he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer by Ketel Marte. Smith (7-4) allowed only one other run, struck out nine and retired his final 10 batters. The left-hander has won his past four decisions for the team with the National League’s worst record.
[D’backs.com] D-backs still in flux as Deadline approaches - D-backs general manager Mike Hazen is not ready to officially call his team a seller before Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, but he did admit that the team’s disappointing play of late has changed the equation with the team receiving more calls about its players than it is making. “We’re still engaged on both sides of things,” Hazen said. “I will concede that our recent run of games has put us in a more adverse situation than the last time we spoke.” It still seems that the players with the greatest chance of being dealt are left-hander Robbie Ray, lefty reliever Andrew Chafin and outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Hazen and his staff are also looking to see if there might be opportunities to buy before the Deadline, pulling off something similar to what they did with Paul Goldschmidt last offseason -- trade a veteran with dwindling years of control for one or two players who are less proven, but have upside and more years of control.
[The Athletic] Marcus Stroman is off the board. What does that mean for Robbie Ray? - That’s all it took to get Marcus Stroman? The 28-year-old right-hander was the supposed prize of the starting pitching trade market. He’s enjoying one of his best seasons as a pro, with a 2.96 ERA, a .656 OPS against and his first career All-Star selection. He comes with an extra year of control. So, when the Mets (the Mets?!) acquired him in exchange for pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson – non-Top-100 arms from a system that Baseball America recently ranked 26th out of 30 – it surprised many. “Average return. Relief risk on both arms,” said one scout from an American League club. “The return seemed a little light,” an NL scout said. One rival general manager less equivocal: “I was shocked it wasn’t more.”
Around the League
[ESPN] Hey, bubble teams: How much is a wild-card spot worth? - The Diamondbacks are 3.5 games behind the second wild-card spot, and their chances of claiming a playoff spot are somewhere from 10% to 50%, depending on which baseball stats site you go to. The question that will hang over the trade deadline the next three days -- for the Diamondbacks and at least six other teams directly and for the rest of baseball indirectly -- is how much that wild-card spot is worth.
[MLB Trade Rumors] Braves Reportedly Considering Outfield Acquisition - The Braves are contacting rivals in search of outfield help, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The Atlanta organization is evidently looking to address the newfound uncertainty surrounding the status of right fielder Nick Markakis. It didn’t seem as if the Braves would be involved in this segment of the market, but a fractured wrist now threatens to put Markakis out of action until late in the season. Even if they’d prefer to wait and see how he heals up, the club is no doubt concerned with bypassing an opportunity to fill the gap at the deadline.