[D’backs.com] ‘Frustrating’ year continues for D-backs ‘pen - Of the eight relievers who were on the D-backs’ Opening Day roster, only one — Joakim Soria — is still in their bullpen. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Arizona’s bullpen has had more than its fair share of struggles this year, the latest of which came Saturday night when San Francisco scored a pair of runs in the eighth inning to win, 6-5. Injuries have played a role in the changes to the bullpen, but so has ineffectiveness. The D-backs’ bullpen ranks 28th in the Majors with a 5.23 ERA.
[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks’ bullpen falters late in loss to the Giants - Jake Faria made his second start for the D-backs since being signed by the team on June 19. Despite getting into some difficult situations with runners on, he limited the damage and showed some signs of promise. He had another D-backs’ trademark rough start in the first inning though, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a walk with one out. Then he was able to get two consecutive outs to escape the jam without putting any runs on the board. After a clean second inning, things unraveled for Faria and the D-backs defense in the third. He walked third baseman Thairo Estrada with one out, who then scored on a two-run homer by Mike Yastrzemski to put the Giants up 2-0. The inning continued with a single by Alex Dickerson and an RBI triple off the bat of Brandon Crawford that should have been caught in centerfield but was poorly played by both David Peralta and Pavin Smith.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks can’t hold late lead vs. San Francisco Giants in loss at home - Asdrubal Cabrera and Christian Walker each had run-scoring singles in the third inning, and Ahmed tied it at 4 with a two-run homer just over the wall in right in the fourth. “I was just trying to stay through the middle of the field and got just enough of the barrel on it,” Ahmed said.
Around the League
[MLB.com] Jax makes history in first MLB start - In his postgame press conference following Friday night’s loss to the Royals, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli still hadn’t named a starter for the Saturday afternoon matchup. To the media, Baldelli made it appear as if he still hadn’t made up his mind. In reality, he and his staff have had a plan brewing to give Griffin Jax his first start in the big leagues on Saturday, and in the process, make him the first graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy to start a Major League game. Minnesota missed the mark by about 20 hours to have Jax start on Kansas City’s Armed Forces Night, but the fact that Jax made his first big league start on Fourth of July weekend makes it a special occasion for the Twins nonetheless.
[MLB Trade Rumors] Welington Castillo Retires - Former big league catcher Welington Castillo is retiring from baseball, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter link). He’ll hang up his spikes having appeared for five teams in parts of ten major league seasons... Chicago traded him to the Mariners in May 2015, and Seattle flipped him to the Diamondbacks as part of a deal to acquire Mark Trumbo a little more than a month later. The right-handed hitting backstop spent the next year and a half in Arizona, working as the D-Backs primary backstop before being non-tendered.
[NBC Sports] Nationals’ Kyle Schwarber out with ‘significant’ hamstring strain - Kyle Schwarber limped into the Washington Nationals’ dugout on Saturday with a heavy wrap poking out of the right side of his shorts. Schwarber was in shower shoes and trying to be upbeat when meeting with reporters after being placed on the 10-day injured list because of a right hamstring strain. There is no timetable for his return. “It’s not the best, but not the worst,” Schwarber said. “Just got to take it for what it is.” He was among the hottest hitters in the majors, bashing 16 home runs in June, seven of them leading off games. All were critical for the Nationals, who went 19-9 in the month to turn their season around. Schwarber said he does not need a procedure to repair damage to his hamstring.