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Snake Bytes, 9/18: Bear-hunting quota reached

The Cubs are now an endangered species.

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General Custer with Dead Grizzly Bear
General George Custer and Colonel Ludlow sit next to their first grizzly bear kill on a hunt during the Black Hills expedition of 1874.
Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images


[SI] Diamondbacks Sweep Cubs With Timely Hits, Lights Out Bullpen - Before Friday's night's game, Torey Lovullo challenged his players to give him their best 14 days. Over the weekend, the team responded to that message, securing a series sweep of the Cubs with a 6-2 win in front of a national audience. It was the first time Arizona swept Chicago in a series since July 18-20, 2014 at Chase Field. Lovullo spoke about being able to showcase their style of baseball in front of a national audience: "There's a good baseball team here in Arizona, we proudly represent the state. We're growing and learning every single day, and we play the game right way. We do it right and we expect to have good results."

[Arizona Sports] D-backs put together clutch series sweep of Cubs to climb in wild card standings - It was the third straight game Lovullo yanked his starter after two rounds through the opposing order, give or take a couple at-bats. “I am doing things with our starting pitcher that I haven’t done, ever,” Lovullo said. “I’m clipping guys at 65-75 pitches. I feel like there’s a script in my head that I’m comfortable with. I want their best effort, but I think it’s just a little bit different. I want to match it up to help us win a baseball game the best way I know how.”

[] Ketel Marte slugs homer, double as D-backs sweep Cubs - The D-backs celebrated their return to Sunday Night Baseball for the first time in five years with a 6-2 win over the Cubs at Chase Field. Arizona swept Chicago and finished with a 6-1 record against the North Siders. The D-backs (79-72) climbed into the second spot in the National League Wild Card race, a half-game ahead of the Cubs (78-72), and also hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. The D-backs scored three runs in the first inning, before Ketel Marte slugged his 23rd home run of the season, a two-run shot to right-center field, in the sixth. Marte finished 2-for-4 with a walk.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks sweep Cubs, hold second National League Wild Card spot - Torey Lovullo offered a short leash to starting pitcher Ryne Nelson. That’s become a common theme this month — Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are allowed to pitch as deep as they can go, the Diamondbacks’ other pitchers are hooked at the earlier opportunity. This weekend, it worked, with Brandon Pfaadt, Zach Davies and Nelson all pitching in wins. Nelson threw 75 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. He worked around traffic to allow two runs, which was all the damage the Diamondbacks would allow on the night. Luis Frías, Miguel Castro, Ryan Thompson and Bryce Jarvis all held the Cubs scoreless out of the bullpen.

Team news

[AZ Central] Evan Longoria's incredible slide lifts Diamondbacks over Cubs - [A deep dive into a Play of the Year contender] He was not the first bench player Lovullo called on as the game trickled into extra innings, not even the second or third. But to prevent a lefty-lefty matchup in the 13th, Lovullo finally summoned Longoria. Falling asleep at night, Longoria lets his mind wander. “I think about how bad I've been at the plate,” he said. But inside the walls of the ballpark, the Diamondbacks have adapted a collective focus as their playoff race kicks into full gear. Longoria said, “At this point of the year, the goal is to really put aside personal accomplishments and personal numbers and do whatever it takes to win on that day.”

[SI] Drey Jameson to Undergo Tommy John Surgery - Jameson suffered the injury against the Mets on July 6th and is on the 60-day injured list. The 26-year-old right-hander initially attempted the rehab route, but experienced discomfort after his second bullpen session and was pulled from his throwing program. "He was really encouraged early on by the throwing program and his ability to let the ball go and be pain-free. I think when he stepped on to a mound, that he just felt like he had nothing behind the ball. There was not a lot of power and the discomfort began at that point. That was the trigger for all of us, that he should get re-examined and certainly Tommy John was the best option for him."

[Arizona Sports] Scott McGough to IL, Bryce Jarvis returns - McGough was placed on the 15-day IL on Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. Arizona recalled Bryce Jarvis, who Lovullo said would be available to provide some length in the bullpen on Sunday. “It wasn’t one particular pitch, so that’s a good thing,” McGough said. “Because usually that’s a bad sign when that happens. I think it was just kind of, long season and threw a lot last week, and just unfortunately, it wasn’t able to stand it.” McGough will have an MRI on Monday to learn more details about what comes next. Lovullo said the window is open for a postseason return if the D-backs get far enough.

And, elsewhere...

  • The Orioles walked off the Rays, and are going to the post-season for the first time in seven years. But the Rays also clinched a play-off spot, thanks to the Rangers’ loss.
  • The Padres won four games in a row for the first time this season - they are the last MLB team to have a four-game winning streak.
  • The Angels clinched a losing record for the eighth straight year, despite having the two best players in baseball of late.

[ESPN] The Orioles are headed to the playoffs — and the rise of the O’s has just begun - The Orioles have been so methodically consistent all season and now that they’ve clinched a playoff spot while on their way to 100 wins — a mark the franchise last achieved in 1980, by the way — it’s easy to forget that not much was expected from them in March. Though they were surprise winners of 83 games in 2022, the consensus was clear: That wasn’t going to happen again. ESPN forecasted 74 wins. FanGraphs projected 76. None of ESPN’s 28 voters picked the Orioles to win the division — or even to get in as a wild card. Mea culpa.

[MLB] They got outscored — but got to October - There are currently five teams competing for the final two Wild Card berths: the Cubs, D-backs, Reds, Marlins and Giants, who all entered Sunday within three games of each other. And while the Cubs sport the third-best run differential in the NL, the other four are all negative in that category, ranging from -15 (Giants) to -51 (Marlins). Will one or more of them join the list below? Here is a look at how these past clubs managed to make the postseason while getting outscored. [Three of those teams were in the 2020 season, which as we all know, doesn’t count. But the last team prior to them should be familiar...]

Today's important games

  • Minnesota Twins @ Cincinnati Reds 3:40 pm
  • New York Mets @ Miami Marlins 3:40 pm
  • Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves 4:20 pm
  • Milwaukee Brewers @ St. Louis Cardinals 4:45 pm