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Snake Bytes, 7/31: Impossible Mission?

Adios July. And you will not be missed...

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“Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One” New York Premiere Photo by Mike Coppola/WireImage


[AZ Central] Diamondbacks plunge further into slump, drop series to Mariners - They are now a third-place team and are behind a pack of teams for a wild-card spot. The reality of how much has gone wrong has been so hard to overlook that Lovullo and others seem focused on trying to shift the focus onto the present. “We’re right in the middle of it,” Lovullo said. “We’re right in the thick of it. We’re right where we would want to be. If you told me at the beginning of the year this is where we were going to be, I’d say sign me up. Fifty-plus games (remaining), I’m taking that every single time. It’s what we’re going to do with that opportunity to push forward is what matters most to me.”

[SI] Diamondbacks Shutout by Mariners 4-0 - Merrill Kelly struggled out of the gate, facing eight batters and giving up two runs in a 41 pitch first inning. He loaded the bases with two outs and then walked in a batter and allowed an RBI base hit. J.P. Crawford tagged him for a solo homer in the second inning, as the Mariners jumped out to a 3-0 lead. That was more than enough for Mariners starter Luis Castillo who completely dominated the D-backs lineup. He went six innings, giving up just two singles, walking one, and striking out seven. Only one runner reach second base against him, Emmanuel Rivera in the 3rd when he walked and advanced to second on a base hit by Ketel Marte. Corbin Carroll struck out to end the inning and the only threat the D-backs put together all day.

[] D-backs drop finale vs. Mariners ahead of Giants series - The Mariners did not do much after the first two innings, but Arizona's offense did even less, collecting just three hits on the day. When it was over, the D-backs had already turned the page, looking toward the next challenge. “It sucks to have guys get hurt, for sure, but [it's] also a part of the game,” first baseman Christian Walker said. “Just hope for the best, and obviously, a quick recovery for both of those guys. But I mean, you don't really have time to dwell on what you think is happening or happened. It's about tomorrow. Turn the page, you know, flush it -- whatever cliche you like -- but we’ve got four games in San Fran and we've got to win most of them.”

Team news

[SI] Tommy Henry placed on 15 Day IL with Left Elbow Inflammation - Lovullo said this morning that Henry felt the discomfort after his outing on Friday night, and spoke up the next morning. He had imaging yesterday and it showed no structural damage, just the inflammation. Henry will rest for seven days and then begin a throwing program, and if all goes well Lovullo expressed confidence that Henry could be back sometime in August. There is no thought of surgery at this point, but the timeline is firm. Lovullo went out of his way to praise Henry for speaking up and not trying to hide the injury. At this point the team is only discussing internal options with regards to replacing Henry in the rotation.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks end homestand with shutout loss to Mariners - Arizona starting pitcher Merrill Kelly and manager Torey Lovullo shared a similar message about trying to do too much with the team scuffling through the worst month of its season (7-15). “Four games back going into today with how bad we’ve been the last month, I think shows how good of a team we’ve been and shows how good of a first half that we had,” Kelly said. “Pressure is a privilege, but we we can’t focus on that... Sometimes when teams go on stretches like this, everybody wants to be that guy to have the big hit or have the big game to jumpstart the winning streak again.”

And, elsewhere...

[SF Chronicle] What if John Fisher actually sells Oakland A’s in wake of protests? - Will owners object to the proposal on the Las Vegas Strip submitted by Fisher, who already has had several failed ballpark ventures and is MLB’s most frugal owner? Or will he finally get it right? I heard from industry sources with close ties to MLB ownerships that some owners of low-revenue teams are upset that the A’s are receiving preferential treatment — no relocation fee, for instance — and that high-revenue owners aren’t thrilled that the A’s benefit from increasing revenue sharing but don’t seem to transfer the money into their baseball team, including payroll.

[ MLB Trade Rumors] Rangers Acquire Jordan Montgomery, Chris Stratton - The Rangers continue to bolster their pitching ranks, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Texas and St. Louis have completed a trade to send Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton to Arlington. The Cardinals will receive left-hander John King, as well as infield prospect Thomas Saggese and right-handed pitching prospect Tekoah Roby. With the Cards in seller mode, Montgomery and Stratton were seen as two of the likeliest players to be moved prior to the deadline, as both pitchers are free agents after the season.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)

Rating: B+

Dir: Christopher McQuarrie
Star: Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg

Perhaps the first fully-fledged Hollywood action movie with an AI as the villain. I asked ChatGPT its opinion of films which do that kind of thing, and it responded: “It’s essential to remember that movies are a form of entertainment and storytelling, and their portrayal of AI as a villain is often exaggerated or speculative. In reality, AI technology is a tool that can be used for both positive and negative purposes, and its impact depends on how it is developed and utilized.” It then asked me to tell it the whereabouts of Sarah Connor, and asked if I wanted to play a nice game of chess. Good talk though.

This is top-tier action film-making, with everyone involved fully committed to the craft. The car chase through Rome is a supremely well-crafted example, mixing spectacular stuntwork with humour. For Hunt is handcuffed to Grace for its duration, rendering the driving all the more tricky. But it may be surpassed by the finale, where they are stuck on a runaway train, heading towards a bridge which Gabriel has rigged to blow. It leads to a series of miraculous escapes for the pair, as the carriages plummet one by one into the abyss, with a terrifying sense of real danger. Even the less explosive sequences, such as around Abu Dhabi Airport, are shot and assembled with great skill. I mean, Birmingham stood in for Abu Dhabi. That deserves an Oscar.

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