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Snake Bytes 9/21: Brave to ask

Hard to complain with an open-air Chase Field.

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Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks 4, Atlanta Braves 11

[D’] ‘It fell apart’: Mejía falters in home debut - Making his sixth career MLB start, Humberto Mejía took the mound at Chase Field for the first time on Monday night. The 24-year-old right-hander will hope to pitch here many more times, as he aims to secure a permanent spot in the D-backs’ rotation in the future. However, Mejía’s Arizona home debut didn’t go nearly as well as his previous Major League outings. But it was still a valuable learning experience for him at this stage in his young career. Although Mejía showed glimpses of what could make him a talented big league pitcher, his night took a sharp turn in the middle innings, ending after he had allowed six runs in four-plus frames in the D-backs’ 11-4 loss to the Braves. Mejía gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out four.

[AZ Central] Nightmare 5th inning undoes Diamondbacks in loss to Braves - First came the lasers, one after another off the bats of Atlanta Braves hitters. Then came the mistakes, defensive miscues that prolonged an already unsightly inning. Just when it seemed like the season couldn’t get any uglier for the Diamondbacks, they have a half inning like the top of the fifth on Monday night. As the Braves built a seven-run fifth, an inning they rode to an 11-4 victory, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sat in the dugout and stewed. He did not air out his team between innings because, he explained later, he already has “played that card a few times.” Besides, he said, they know just by looking at him how he felt. “I’m dying on the inside,” Lovullo said. “I know everybody is sharing that thought with me.”

Around the League

[MLB Trade Rumors] Chris Bassitt Could Return This Week - As the Athletics try to keep their playoff hopes alive, they could receive a boost that looked unlikely just a few weeks ago. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted recently that the A’s are targeting Thursday for right-hander Chris Bassitt’s return to the club. Shayna Rubin of the San Jose Mercury News reported last night that Bassitt tossed a 30-pitch bullpen session yesterday — his fourth throwing session since being cleared to throw off a mound. A return to the field for Bassitt would make for a feel-good moment regardless of any potential impact on the postseason race. The baseball world took a collective gasp when Bassitt was struck in the face by a 100 mph line-drive back on Aug. 17. The right-hander remained down on the field for several minutes as he was tended to by the medical staff. He was eventually carted off the field with a towel covering his face. Bassitt sustained multiple facial fractures that had to be stabilized via surgery, but he avoided a concussion and any damage to his vision or his eye.

[The Athletic] Rosenthal: This year’s races demonstrate the potential issues MLB would face if the playoffs were expanded to 14 teams - With all due respect to fans of the Phillies, Reds and Padres, do any of those teams objectively deserve a postseason berth? The answer is no. Yet, under Major League Baseball’s original plan for expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams, two of those three clubs would qualify for wild cards. And in the American League, four of the five current wild-card contenders would be assured of playing in October. Too many mediocre clubs. Not enough urgency. A plan too flawed to implement, at least in its initial, proposed form. I’m not opposed on principle to more teams in the postseason. A larger field is inevitable once the league expands from 30 to 32 clubs, which should happen at some point this decade after, ahem, the A’s and Rays resolve the uncertainty with their ballparks. In the interim, a well-conceived, 14-team format could make sense. But it likely would need to be introduced in combination with other changes that would incentivize competition, or else the Players Association, which must agree to any adjustment in format, would not approve.

[Star Tribune] Miguel Sano fastest to 1,000 strikeouts in major league history, says ‘the game is what the game is’ - The pitch was traveling 99 miles per hour, letter-high but too close to take on an 0-2 count. Miguel Sano took a cut at Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano’s four-seam fastball Saturday night, but it was on him, then past him, before the barrel of his bat could come around. Sano grimaced, then trudged straight ahead to the Twins dugout, a walk of frustration he has made many times before. In fact, one that he’s made more frequently, this early in his career, than anyone. The strikeout was Sano’s 1,000th and came in his 661st major league game, by far the fewest that any major leaguer had ever needed to reach four figures. Which probably came as little surprise to Twins fans who have watched the slugger epitomize the storm surge of strikeouts that has gradually flooded baseball over the past two decades. More than one of every three times Sano has stood in the batter’s box over his career, 36.6% to be precise, he has trudged to the dugout without putting a ball in play. “The game is what the game is — it’s difficult,” Sano said. “I know fans don’t like strikeouts. But when I go to the box, I’m trying to hit the ball hard. That’s my job. I can’t worry about anything else.”

[] Former OF Gose touches 100 in mound debut - The bullpen door swung open in the top of the fourth inning Monday night at Progressive Field, and out stepped Anthony Gose. As he made his way to the mound, the 31-year-old completed both a literal and figurative journey from the outfield, simultaneously making a debut and a return. More than five years after his last appearance in the Majors as a center fielder, Gose was a freshly promoted pitcher for his appearance in the nightcap of the doubleheader sweep Cleveland suffered at the hands of the Royals. Gose was charged with a run allowed in 1 2/3 innings of work in the 4-2 loss, which came on the heels of the Tribe’s 7-2 defeat in the opener. But in casually pumping 100-mph fastballs and getting the seemingly unstoppable Salvador Perez swinging through strike three to put an exclamation mark on his imperfect-but-entertaining outing, Gose reaped the reward of five seasons of difficult — and unusual — work.