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Snake Bytes 9/10: Rude Welcome

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have their first losing streak in roughly two weeks.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks 1, New York Mets 3

[D’backs.com] D-backs get taste of October test vs. deGrom - If the D-backs expect to make noise this October, they’re going to have to do better against top-flight pitchers like Jacob deGrom. That didn’t happen Monday night at Citi Field. deGrom overpowered the D-backs, who collected three hits against the Mets ace and lost to the New York, 3-1. The loss put Arizona two games behind the Cubs for the final National League Wild Card spot, pending the result of Chicago’s late-night game against the Padres.

[AZ Central] Bats remain quiet as Diamondbacks drop consecutive games - New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso stayed back on a curveball from Merrill Kelly, then blasted it out to left-center field in the first inning. Four innings later, Alonso struck again, this time lining a Kelly fastball into the left-field seats for a solo homer. A day earlier, it was the RedsEugenio Suarez who slammed a pair of homers, shots that sent the Diamondbacks to a loss in Cincinnati. Alonso made it two days in a row the Diamondbacks let the opposing team’s best hitter beat them.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ Wilmer Flores receives standing ovation in return to Mets - Players like Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Wilmer Flores have a knack for holding a special spot in the place of fans’ hearts. He won over the New York Mets almost from the jump. In 2015 at the age of 22 in his first full season playing in the big leagues, Flores cried when he was told mid-game he had been traded. He infamously then hit a walk-off homer later in that same game and was a fan favorite from there. In six seasons playing for the Mets, Flores wouldn’t play at Citi Field as a member of another team until Monday. Flores received a loud ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat.

Diamondbacks News

[AZ Central] Red Sox front office shakeup has Diamondbacks’ GM Hazen in rumor mill - A day after Dave Dombrowski’s surprise ouster in Boston, the baseball industry turned its attention to who might take over as the Red Sox leader of baseball operations. Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen’s name was front and center in speculation, but CEO Derrick Hall didn’t sound concerned about losing Hazen. “I have no reason to think they are going to ask,” Hall said in a text message. “He is under contract.” Hall said he was unable to participate in a phone interview on Monday, and in messages exchanged via text he did not directly answer the question of what he would do if the Red Sox were to seek permission to speak with Hazen. He also did not respond to questions about Hazen’s contract status.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte named NL Player of the Week - Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman and outfielder Ketel Marte has been a big part of the team’s season, especially their effort to get back into a playoff spot as September rolls along. For his late-season performance in the first week of September, Marte was awarded the National League Player of the Week Award on Monday. Over the last week from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, Marte hit .542 with a 1.785 OPS and 14 RBIs, all three of which led MLB for that span. He also had four home runs. Marte is hitting .330 this season with 32 home runs and 91 RBI. His average ranks second in the NL behind Anthony Rendon (.337) entering Monday, while his 178 hits are the most in the NL by a margin of 11.

[The Athletic] Wilmer Flores’ bat is powering the Diamondbacks (at least when he actually plays) - Wilmer Flores insists nothing is different. It’d be easy to tell if there was. If there’s a defining characteristic of the 28-year-old’s swing, it’s simplicity. He stands tall in the box as the pitcher comes set, the barrel of his bat resting against his helmet. As the pitcher begins his delivery, Flores pulls his hands back, loads his weight onto his back leg and lifts his front foot onto a toe. Then he whips the bat through the zone – no wasted movement. It’s the same swing the Diamondbacks infielder was using in the first half of the season, when he posted a .725 OPS in 42 games before breaking a bone in his foot. And it’s the same swing he’s used since he returned, the one that has propelled him to a .375/.415/.614 in his last 33 games. So, if you’re searching for a reason that he was mediocre then and good now, he … can’t really help you.

[Baseball Essential] The Diamondbacks Were Always This Talented, Recent Surge Only Proves It - The D-Backs have won 11 of their last 13 contests on the backs of players a casual baseball fan has never heard of. What they’ve done in a very competitive NL West division, without many well-known, impactful players, is purely beautiful. But this is not a traditional underdog story: The 2019 Diamondbacks have always been this talented and capable of a postseason run, and they’re finally hitting their stride. This club is consistent, complete, and getting considerable contributions from everyone on their roster. Albeit unlucky and undeserving of a large amount of losses earlier in the year, the D-Backs have made a late-season charge up the NL standings due to an underrated amount of talent in the clubhouse. If you have not paid much attention to the Diamondbacks thus far this season, it would be easy to miss what is special about this team.

Around the League

[FiveThirtyEight] Do We Even Need Minor League Baseball? - Since the 1970s, Major League Baseball clubs have generally added more and more minor league affiliates. In 1979, there were an average of 4.7 affiliates per major league club.1 This season there are 8.2 — a total of 245 minor league affiliates, the most since 1948, spread across 30 major league organizations. But the Houston Astros, a model of modern player development, bucked that trend a few years ago. After the 2017 season, they reduced their affiliate count from nine to seven clubs.2 The Astros believed they could become a more efficient producer of talent with fewer farm clubs.

[CBS Sports] NL MVP race still looks like Cody Bellinger vs. Christian Yelich; will anyone else make a late push? - We have but three weeks left in this Major League Baseball season. Many sports fans are focusing on football at this point, but it’s the best time of the year to grasp onto meaningful baseball. Though we might be void of any fun divisional races, individual award races can be exciting and the National League MVP is still very much up for grabs ... for two guys. There’s always the chance someone goes crazy and enters the fray, too.

[MLB.com] Trout undergoes procedure to address foot issue - Angels center fielder Mike Trout underwent a minor procedure on his right foot on Monday to alleviate pain stemming from a nerve issue that has been bothering him for roughly a month. He’s considered day to day. Trout, aiming for his third American League MVP Award this season, was diagnosed with a neuroma in his right foot and underwent a cryoablation procedure that essentially deadens tissue in the area. He was out of the lineup for Monday’s opener against the Indians, but he could be back at some point in the the three-game series. “I’m not in the medical field, but it’s a buildup of tissue around the nerve that causes pain,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Today, he had a cryoablation that deadens the tissue, deadens the nerve area. So, he’ll miss a couple days, but we don’t expect him to miss more than a couple days. But that’s why he’s not in the lineup.”