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Snake Bytes 9/22: Race to the Bottom

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Turn away if you don’t want to see the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers slug it out for last place.

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MLB: SEP 20 Diamondbacks at Astros Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks News

[MLB.com] LeMahieu, Calhoun win Players of the Week - Calhoun is slugging a career-best .547 this season, and the past week sure helped. He hit .458 over six games, with a 1.250 slugging percentage. Calhoun hit six home runs last week, the most of any player in the Majors in that span. This is his first Player of the Week Award.

[The Athletic] Three good things we can say for sure as the Diamondbacks look toward 2021 - The 2020 baseball season will mess with your mind. A 60-game season defies certainty, something with which Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen has wrestled all year. At the trade deadline, he determined that a month of bad baseball was believable enough to ship away four veterans and not simply run the same team out there next season. Last week, though, he said he doesn’t want to fix his offense by shuffling his deck of hitters, preferring to work with the ones he’s got. As the season nears its end, Hazen faces decisions about his coaching staff. His team is 20-34, but the Nationals started off similarly poorly last year and won a title. Trying to make sense of it is a great way to lose your mind. Because of this season’s brevity — along with its other unique circumstances, like a four-month shutdown and a lightning-fast three-week ramp-up to real games — most conclusions that can be drawn about the 2020 Diamondbacks have to be tempered with a healthy amount of skepticism.

Around the League

[Baseball America] Arizona Fall League Cancels 2020 Season - In a normal world, the Arizona Fall League would have begun on Thursday. Instead, citing an abundance of caution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the league has been officially canceled for 2020. Specifically, MLB did not believe the AFL’s traditional facilities—Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Sloan Park and Camelback Ranch—were well-suited to deal with 40-plus players as well as coaches and other staff members while still maintaining proper physical distancing.

[ESPN] Inside a final week like MLB has never seen before - Just like that, the fastest, weirdest, pandemickiest baseball season ever has come and gone. Mathematics holds that a 60-game schedule is shorter than the standard 162, but the 2020 season has whistled by so quickly that in a way it feels more like it should be June than October. And yet here we are, on the cusp of the MLB playoffs, and the season that almost wasn’t and couldn’t be and shouldn’t bother trying is nearing completion. It’s been a neat trick, pulling it all off, and while the buildup of six months has been compressed, a three-layer cake can be every bit as delicious as its 10-layer counterpart. In terms of packing a lot into a little, this last week kicked off Monday and churns into gear Tuesday with 16 games. There are postseason berths to be secured, awards to be won and questions to be answered.

[NBC Sports] Arenado placed on injured list due to sore left shoulder - The Colorado Rockies will chase after a flickering playoff spot without All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was placed on the injured list with a sore left shoulder. Arenado has been hampered this season by inflammation in his AC joint, along with a bone bruise, and the team elected Monday to shut him down. Surgery isn’t required but Arenado will need about a month of rest for a shoulder ailment that first started to surface in Oakland at the start of this 60-game season. “Definitely not feeling good and definitely bothering me. But the pain, it’s not sharp pain. It’s just pain,” said Arenado, who began feeling a nagging sensation in the shoulder after sleeping wrong. “It’s just constant pain and soreness. I think rest will do it real well. I don’t think it will linger on if I take care of it the right way, which I will.” Although Arenado’s been his usual seven-time Gold Glove self in the field, he’s struggled at the plate. He’s hitting just .253 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.

[Forbes] $10 Million Commitment To Players’ Alliance From MLB/MLBPA Signals Step Toward Greater Diversity In Baseball - The Players’ Alliance, a group of Black current and former Major League Baseball players, is only a few months old, but it is already leaving a stamp on the game. Nearly a month ago, this cadre of players came together to donate their salaries on Jackie Robinson Day — held on August 28 this season — to forward initiatives that would support the growth of baseball in underrepresented communities. On Monday, they were the recipients of a $10 million donation from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association to give a further boost to their efforts. That sum will be distributed over the course of the next five years, and it will be aimed toward increasing Black participation in baseball, both on the field and in off-the-field roles with teams.