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Snake Bytes 10/31: Spoooooooooky Times in Phoenix

Hold Up Signs, Missed Signs, and Fortuitous Signs are SO HOT right now - oh, and Happy Halloween!

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Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK


[MLB] Momentum shifts early as D-backs quieted in Game 3 loss by Paul Casella

After erupting for nine runs to even the series heading back to Arizona, the D-backs’ bats fell silent in a 3-1 loss to the Rangers on Monday night at Chase Field. In similar fashion, the sold-out crowd also went from roaring to quiet following a pivotal early sequence.

Moments after attempting to will Christian Walker out of his postseason slump with an ovation, the hometown fans were left in a stunned silence when he was thrown out at home for the first out of the second inning. Walker, who roped a double off the right-center-field wall, got a late read on Tommy Pham’s single to right field before cruising through a stop sign from third-base coach Tony Perezchica.

[USAToday] ‘Never saw the stop sign’: Diamondbacks rue momentum-killings gaffe in World Series Game 3 by Gabe Lacques

It’s been a miserable couple weeks for Christian Walker, filled with strikeouts and the occasional hard-hit ball that finds a glove and a general feeling that, as the Arizona Diamondbacks sped to their first World Series appearance in 22 years, he was something of a bystander.

So when a grassroots movement in town to show Walker some love – not unlike Philadelphia fans embracing a struggling Trea Turner over the summer – gained social media traction, he was touched.

The Chase Field crowd of 48,517 rose and gave him a standing ovation leading off the bottom of the second inning in Game 3, and Walker responded by lashing a double.

[MLBTR] Max Scherzer, Adolis Garcia Leave World Series Game 3 With Injuries by Leo Morgenstern

10:26 pm: Max Scherzer told reporters after the game, including Bob Nightengale of USA Today, that his back locked up ahead of the fourth inning. The spasm was unrelated to the batted ball that hit him in the back earlier in the game (per Alden González of ESPN). As reported by Levi Weaver of The Athletic, Scherzer has had this issue before; sometimes, it clears within two or three days, but on some occasions, it has been significantly worse. Thus, his availability for the rest of the series is up in the air.

García, meanwhile, is set to undergo an MRI, per Nightengale.

[MLB] 9 fun facts from G3: Road-warrior Rangers set postseason record by Sarah Langs

9) Tommy Pham followed up his 4-for-4 performance in Game 2 with a fifth straight hit before finally making an out. Only three players have had a longer streak of hits in World Series plate appearances than his five, per Elias. They are the Reds’ Billy Hatcher (seven in 1990), the Yankees’ Thurman Munson (seven in ‘76-77) and the Nationals’ Goose Goslin (six in ‘24).

[MLB] Rangers win 9th straight(!) road game to take 2-1 series lead by Anthony Castrovince

Game 3 of the World Series went from a Max effort to a Gray area on Monday night at Chase Field. But a radical revision to the Rangers’ playbook didn’t stop the most dominant road run in postseason history.

Despite losing starter Max Scherzer to back spasms after only three innings and losing star right fielder Adolis García to left side tightness late, the Rangers were backed by exceptional emergency relief from Jon Gray to not only regain control of this Fall Classic with a 3-1 victory but also to extend their road winning streak to a perfect 9-0 this postseason.

Other Baseball Stuff ‘n Things

[MLB] Judge Wins 2023 Clemente Award: ‘It’s just the beginning’ by Bryan Hoch

The Yankees captain received the prestigious honor on Monday. It annually recognizes a Major League player who best represents baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, on and off the field.

[MLBTR] Taylor Walls Undergoes Hip Surgery by Nick Deeds

7:53 pm: While the Rays are not prepared to say that Walls will be ready for Opening Day, his manager is “optimistic” he could be back for the start of the 2024 season, per Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times.

“If he’s running before he comes into spring training, that would be a very good sign,” said Kevin Cash. Still, the skipper cautioned that it’s too soon to know for sure: “I think we’ll know more in a month.”

Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: Walls has been on my radar as a potential 3B trade candidate, but this may strike him from consideration right now.

[WashingtonPost] Snakes Alive: How one fan’s simple sign became an October rallying cry by Scott Allen

Back in spring training, the Arizona Diamondbacks adopted the mantra “Create Chaos” as a reflection of the team’s hair-on-fire approach on the base paths. Led by presumptive National League rookie of the year Corbin Carroll’s 54 stolen bases, Manager Torey Lovullo’s squad would swipe 166 bags during the regular season, second most in MLB.

In mid-September, with Arizona in a heated race for one of the NL’s final wild-card spots, a modified slogan, “Embrace the Chaos,” began appearing in the team’s promotional materials and on the Diamondbacks’ social media accounts. During Arizona’s improbable run to the World Series, an entirely different phrase of even more improbable origin has taken the desert by storm: “SNAKES ALIVE.”

[MLBTR] Previewing Upcoming Qualifying Offer Decisions: Pitchers by Darragh McDonald

A player is eligible for a qualifying offer if they have never received a QO before and spent the entire season with the same club. The value of the QO changes annually, calculated by taking the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in the league. That means it generally rises as salaries increase over time, with this year’s QO expected to land around $20.5MM. If a player receives and rejects a qualifying offer, he becomes a free agent. If he then signs elsewhere, the signing team is subject to draft pick forfeiture and possibly other penalties, while their previous club receives draft pick compensation.

MLBTR is taking a look at the candidates, with one post focusing on the position players and this one looking at the pitchers.

Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: No Arizona pitchers on this list (thankfully? unfortunately?), but knowing who will cost draft picks to sign this offseason feels more important than usual.

[MLBTR] Dodgers Notes: Martinez, Ohtani, Burnes, Heyward, Betts by Nick Deeds and Leo Morgenstern

Perhaps one of the most interesting dilemmas facing the Dodgers as they turn toward the coming offseason is the pending free agency of veteran slugger J.D. Martinez. After signing with the club on a one-year, $10MM deal this past offseason, Martinez posted his best offensive season since 2019. In 479 trips to the plate with the Dodgers, Martinez slashed a fantastic .271/.321/.572, good for a 135 wRC+ that ranked 16th among all hitters with 450 plate appearances this season.

That sort of offensive production would normally make extending Martinez a qualifying offer something of a no-brainer for Andrew Friedman and his front office; after all, both Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic and Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times suggest that multi-year offers could be on the table for Martinez in free agency, with Ardaya in particular suggesting that Martinez is likely to receive more than the approximate one-year, $20.5MM deal a QO would provide. That being said, the situation is more complicated than it might seem on the surface. As MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald and Anthony Franco spoke about on last week’s episode of the MLB Trade Rumors Podcast, the possibility of Martinez accepting the QO could complicate matters for LA.