[D’backs.com] Bats back Smith’s strong start in win - The D-backs smacked three home runs and got an outstanding pithing performance from Caleb Smith as they beat the Pirates, 4-2, on Monday night at Chase Field. Smith allowed a pair of runs over 6 2/3 innings, with both of the runs scoring after he left the game in the seventh. It was a bounce back performance for the left-hander, who allowed nine runs in one-plus inning in his last start against the Dodgers. Pavin Smith and Josh VanMeter hit back-to-back homers in the second to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, a two-run homer by Eduardo Escobar pushed the lead to 4-0.
[AZ Central] Caleb Smith, Eduardo Escobar lead Arizona Diamondbacks over Pittsburgh Pirates in opener - Chase De Jong (1-4) took the loss for the Pirates, giving up four runs over five innings. He walked two and gave up seven hits, including three homers. The Pirates pulled within 4-2 in the seventh after Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds hit back-to-back RBI singles. Joe Mantiply struck out All-Star Adam Frazier with the bases loaded to end the rally.
[The Athletic] The ideal Diamondbacks rotation is returning, offering a glimpse of what might have been- Nearly a month ago, on June 21, Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly held the Brewers to one run over seven innings as the Diamondbacks claimed their 21st win of the season. Five games later, he blanked the Padres for six innings as his team landed win No. 22. The 23rd win of the year was a Kelly start. So was the 24th. Sunday, the Diamondbacks claimed their 27th win of the year, a 6-4 victory over the Cubs. Who was on the mound? Kelly, of course. Over a hyper-efficient eight innings, Kelly held the Cubs to two runs. Manager Torey Lovullo tugged his leash after a couple of batters reached to start the ninth, but Kelly still entered the dugout at just 82 pitches. Over his last six starts, Kelly owns a 2.56 ERA. “He is as good as we’ve got,” Lovullo said. That may be true, but for the last two months, Kelly was the only starter they had. No other Diamondbacks pitcher has made every start this year. Arizona’s intended starting rotation — Kelly, Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Caleb Smith — has yet to pitch five games in order. But that soon could change.
[The Rattle] Lost Development Time Has Plagued the D-backs’ Farm - All eyes are on the future for the D-backs following the MLB draft. With the sixth overall pick, the D-backs nabbed Jordan Lawler, who severalevaluators believed to be the best player in the entire draft. There will be more support coming their way as well. Given their current record, they should receive one of the top picks next year as well. That infusion of talent will be a huge boost to a farm system that has been growing for quite some time.
Around the League
[MLB.com] ‘Pretty special’: Lester deals, HRs in blowout - Jon Lester had been looking for answers. His past two starts had lasted a combined six innings, and something had to change in the second half of his 16th season... Lester did it all in the Nats’ 18-1 victory over the Marlins on Monday at Nationals Park. The veteran southpaw tossed his longest outing since July 27, 2019, as a member of the Cubs. Lester allowed six hits and fanned seven off an efficient 81 pitches (59 strikes). In comparison, he used 80 pitches to get through 2 2/3 innings in his last start on July 10 in San Francisco. Lester improved to 3-4 on the season and tallied career win No. 196.
[NBC Sports] MLB gives fan who hit Alex Verdugo lifetime ban from all parks - A fan who threw a baseball at Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo during Boston’s game against the New York Yankees has been banned for life from all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. “While the Yankees appreciate the spirit and passion of our fans in our various rivalries — especially with the Red Sox – reckless, disorderly and dangerous behavior that puts the safety of players, field staff or fellow fans in jeopardy will not be tolerated,” the Yankees said in a statement, via the Associated Press.
[MLB Trade Rumors] Jazz Chisholm, Garrett Cooper Undergoing MRIs - Two of the Marlins’ most prominent players made early exits from today’s 7-4 loss to the Phillies. Jazz Chisholm Jr. suffered a left shoulder contusion in the first inning and had to leave the game, while Garrett Cooper departed in the eighth inning due to an elbow injury sustained after Travis Jankowski ran into Cooper’s arm during a play at first base... Both Chisholm and Cooper are undergoing MRIs today, Wilson tweets. Manager Don Mattingly said simply that it “didn’t look good” for either player. Mish adds that he expects Chisholm to be placed on the injured list. The outlook on Cooper is not yet clear.