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Snake Bytes: 05/16 - Close Games

Sometimes you win them, sometimes you lose them.

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Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Diamondbacks News

[AZSnakePit] Diamondbacks 2, Cubs 3: If We Only Had the Nerve

Therealramona (question: is there an unreal one?) with another excellent recap on yet another close game that this time ended in a loss, again. You can’t win all these close games, people!

[AZ Central] 9th-inning pitching troubles return Diamondbacks’ loss to Cubs

“You know, (Sunday) there was no closer. I didn’t have anybody that was going to be the closer. I was just going to match guys up and they’re tough to match up against,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “They have a lot of versatility. But you know, we chopped it up the best way we could and it was working pretty well.”

Until it stopped working in the ninth, even though Kennedy and Smith avoided the big inning.

[Arizona Sports] D-backs conclude homestand with 2nd straight tight loss to Cubs

“We’re just not finishing,” catcher Daulton Varsho said postgame. “I mean, back-to-back days and having really tight games, just got to be able to get those extra runs, especially early on and late in the game.

[] D-backs’ rotation remains in high gear as Dodgers await

“Castellano’s doing exactly what you want a fifth starter to do,” Lovullo said. “You want him to be able to give you a chance to win a baseball game every fifth day, pitch deep enough into the game that you’re not going to have to burn up your bullpen. He’s been fantastic for us.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks manager takes some blame for closer Mark Melancon’s workload

After Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, Lovullo was asked if Melancon will be the guy in the ninth inning on Monday in a tie game or save situation at Dodger Stadium.

“We’re going to still have some more discussions about his availability,” Lovullo said. “You know, he’s had a heavy workload, he was on (the injured COVID list) for a short period of time. I was probably asking a little too much too soon. So I’ll take a little bit of the blame for what he did three out of four, but I don’t know that answer right now.”

[] D-backs reinstate RHP Sean Poppen, option Seth Beer to Triple-A Reno

Poppen rejoined the D-backs’ bullpen after missing 3 1/2 weeks due to right shoulder inflammation. Beer, who hit a walk-off three-run homer on Opening Day and was batting .438 through his first 11 games, had been slumping of late. He broke an 0-for-37 skid on Wednesday, but he was still 2-for-42 over his past 14 games.

Around The MLB

[Yahoo Sports] Braves Join Fortnite Backers for Metaverse Field of Dreams, and Dollars

“We definitely are of the mind that, at some point down the road, this will be commonplace in terms of how people watch live sports,” Mize [a Braves’ marketing executive, DBE] said. “We see a place where you will be watching a Braves game live on the video board at Digital Truist Park and you and your avatar will be sitting on the outfield grass with four other avatars around you of your family and friends.”

Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather watch games or whatever with real people.

[] Reds don’t allow a Bucs hit — but lose

If you are as terrible as the Reds, you even end up losing no-hitters. LMAO

[ESPN] Albert Pujols makes first pitching appearance of his career

Pujols was asked to take the mound in a complete blow-out of the Baltimore Orioles and to save a reliever from appearing. “A dream come true to say that I did it,” said Pujols, fifth on the career list with 681 home runs. “It was fun. It wasn’t fun giving up two bombs. I think the fans had a good time. I’m sure the guys that took me deep did, too.” Pujols gave up a three-run homer and a solo shot but managed to get the final three outs and the Cardinals won 15-6.

[CBS Sports] Clayton Kershaw on injured list with SI joint inflammation

Kershaw was having a good start of the season but has had injured list stints due to a herniated disc, a lower back strain, lower back discomfort, back stiffness and this SI joint. That’s five lower-back injuries since 2016.

[Sports Illustrated] The Reds Are the Worst Team in MLB, With Little Reason for Hope

Terrific article, although we all know how terrible the Reds are being managed, this article writes sums it up fine and packages it in a fun way to read.

Across The Pacific

[Japan] Prioritizing future over immediate success set stage for Sasaki perfection

Sasaki suffered a rash of injuries during his middle school days, when he sprouted up more than 20 centimeters, and his growth spurt continued even after he entered high school. He was also said to have heeded the advice of experts, saying, “Athletes tend to be more susceptible to injury if they do too much before the end of the growth phase.”

His high school coach had always thought about creating an environment that would limit Sasaki from throwing at maximum effort, something likely to increase the risk of injury.

The Marines, who are in charge of polishing this diamond in the rough, have also supported Sasaki’s development with a carefully thought-out training regimen. The Marines determined that his physical strength had not caught up with his extraordinary pitching talent, so the team prioritized preparing him physically during his first year as a pro. As a result, Lotte never put him in a game — not on the top team or the farm.

“Training plans that fit individual athletes are being called for now. Yet, it is quite difficult to look down the road for every athlete,” said Ogura, a nation’s top university baseball manager, pointing out that this is a challenge facing the entire high school baseball community.

Across The Atlantic

[Europe] MLB taking the show to London to help grow the game

MLB only focuses on the United Kingdom to grow the game in Europe, which is understandable from a linguistic point of view, but it is on the old continent where MLB has more potential for growth: The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany and even Eastern Europe have been both traditional and upcoming European powerhouses, and some with a long tradition of baseball. It’s a shame that MLB forgets about them, unlike NFL, NHL and NBA.