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Snake Bytes 9/14: Going to the Chapel

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Clayton Kershaw was too much for the D’backs to handle in his first start since July.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks 1, Los Angeles Dodgers 5

[D’backs.com] Gallen ‘not very far off’ from 2020 form - He doesn’t light up the radar gun or pound the strike zone with overpowering movement, but Zac Gallen is excited by what he’s learned on the mound this year as he’s battled back from injuries. The 26-year-old right-hander is finding his way through his first full season with the D-backs. Though the results haven’t been overwhelmingly positive, with a 4.44 ERA through 20 starts, Gallen has flashed signs of growth in his last handful of outings. Gallen logged a solid 5 1/3 innings, but Arizona had its two-game winning streak snapped by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in a 5-1 loss in the series opener at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs offense held at bay in loss to Dodgers as Kershaw returns from IL - Clayton Kershaw struck out five in his first start since July 3 and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Monday night. Activated from the injured list earlier in the day, Kershaw had missed 57 games with elbow inflammation. The 33-year-old left-hander gave up four hits, walked one and didn’t figure in the decision after throwing 50 pitches over 4 1/3 innings. Arizona’s lone run came on Josh Rojas’ RBI single in the first.

[AZ Central] Zac Gallen still looking for old magic in Diamondbacks’ loss to Dodgers - Gallen did seem upset at multiple points during Monday night’s outing, but he adopted more of a sanguine take on things by the time he sat down for a call with reporters later in the night. He did not profess to have all of the answers. Instead, he seemed eager to find them. “I just try to look at it like a trampoline, a situation where I have to figure out some things I might have been getting away with earlier or have now created some bad habits,” Gallen said. “I’m so meticulous I kind of like the challenge of it.”

[The Athletic] David Peralta accepted change this year, but more could be in store for the longest-tenured Diamondback - Back in July, with his average sitting in the low .250s and his OPS in the low .700s, David Peralta orchestrated a video call. On one end were Peralta and Diamondbacks hitting coach Rick Short. On the other was Peralta’s personal hitting guru, José Amado. Together, they brainstormed ways to fix the 34-year-old outfielder’s swing. “We knew something wasn’t right,” Peralta said Monday. “We were trying to figure out what it was.” The change they settled on was small, at least to the naked eye. Peralta raised his hands, keeping them near his ear until he initiated his swing. After struggling with his timing, particularly against fastballs, he worked to begin his swing earlier. It felt unnatural and uncomfortable, especially since Peralta rarely has had to tinker with his mechanics. But sometimes, Peralta realized, “you have to make a change.”

Around the League

[ESPN] Seattle Mariners to host 2023 MLB All-Star Game, sources say - Seattle has been chosen to host Major League Baseball’s All-Star week in 2023, sources familiar with the decision told ESPN on Tuesday. Plans to bring the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby back to T-Mobile Park, which last hosted it in 2001 when it was known as Safeco Field, are being finalized, according to sources. MLB declined comment and said it would not confirm that Seattle was the choice.

[Yahoo Sports] MLB umpire stays in game after getting nailed in head by errant shortstop throw - A game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets on Monday saw a scary moment unfold, but thankfully with no apparent injury. On a ground ball from Mets outfielder Kevin Pillar, Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa made a throw to first base that was so errant it hit first base umpire Junior Valentine square in the head. Valentine, who would have been looking at first base and not the ball, immediately went down upon impact. Valentine was bleeding, but apparently felt well enough to remain in the game after several minutes of attention from a trainer.

[Reuters] MLB roundup: Giants bomb Padres, clinch playoff berth - The San Francisco Giants clinched their first postseason berth since 2016 on Monday night, using a five-run first inning against Yu Darvish as a springboard to a 9-1 victory over the visiting San Diego Padres. Tommy La Stella led off the bottom of the first with a home run and Evan Longoria added a three-run shot, helping the Giants post their eighth consecutive win. San Francisco clinched no worse than a National League wild-card berth, while San Diego trails Cincinnati by a half-game for the NL’s second wild-card spot.

[CBS Sports] Blue Jays’ Triple Crown threat Vladimir Guerrero Jr. takes sole possession of MLB home run lead - The Toronto Blue Jays cruised past the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night by a score of 8-1, chiefly because of Alek Manoah’s dominant outing (8 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 10 SO, 0 BB) and Teoscar Hernández’s five-hit night. Playing a supporting role was first baseman Vladimir Guerrero, who in the sixth inning incinerated an Adam Conley fastball for his 45th home run of the season. That one left the bat at 113.9 mph and the left the park in roughly a blink-and-a-half of the eye. Notably, home run No. 45 for Guerrero puts him in sole possession of the MLB lead in that category. Coming into Monday, he’d been tied with Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani with 44 apiece. Not far behind is Royals catcher Salvador Pérez with 42. As MLB Stats notes, Guerrero now joins Eddie Mathews and Joe DiMaggio as the only players to hit 45 or more home runs through the first 143 games of a season at age 22 or younger.