June 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire (12) holds back Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams (9) as Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (8) speaks with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
To preview the series between the Miami Marlins and the Arizona Diamondback, I had an email chat with Tom Lynch, the a staff writer at the Arizona Diamondbacks Fansided site, Venom Strikes. VS has to be one of the coolest names for a site on the internet and it also does an excellent job of covering everything D-Backs related.
Tom and I chatted about everything from how Brandon McCarthy is progressing health wise after his latest brain scare to the baseball game that broke out in the middle of a brawl between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks last week.
Here are the questions I answered for Tom on Venom Strikes.
Without any further ado, here is my chat with Tom:
Ehsan Kassim: What exactly happened last week with the Dodgers-DBacks brawl and what kind of implications is it going to have on Arizona moving forward?
Tom Lynch: Ian Kennedy had been pitching to Yasiel Puig inside all night mainly because Puig swings at anything. Puig twice took a swing on a pitch that almost hit his belt. Finally Kennedy had a curve get away from him and it hit Puig on the nose. Well, the next inning Zack Greinke threw behind Miguel Montero twice before finally hitting Miggy in the back. The benches emptied, words were exchanged but no punches were thrown. Grienke came to bat the next half inning and that’s when Kennedy almost took his head off.
I don’t think there will be big impact on the team as only two players were suspended pending the appeals process. Kennedy has been down more than he’s been up this year so he’ll miss at most two starts which can be easily filled by a Tyler Skaggs or a Josh Collmenter. Erick Hinske was the other guy suspended and he is a bench player so they will have to go without a lefty pinch hitter which won’t be a problem depending when the actual suspension takes place as Eric Chavez could be back by then.
Jun 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) reacts after surrendering a three run home run to Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (not pictured) during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
EK: What were your initial reactions to the suspensions? Did Zack Grienke get off without a real punishment?
TL: I actually would have given Kennedy a longer punishment. You can’t go after another guy’s head no matter what that other player did. I they said he is done for 20 games, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that. Hinske is another story. I would love to see what tape they were watching. Did I miss something, did Hinske drop somebody with a left hook that the cameras didn’t spot? Maybe he went MMA on a player and the footage was caught on a camera none of us had access to. To save face, MLB will reduce the penalty to a game or two but they have to know the five game suspension was totally bogus.
The fact Grienke didn’t get suspended is a complete farce. He should have been warned after the second near-hit of Montero. Everyone knows Greinke has a reputation for doing this kind of stuff; he should have been given three or four games. The D’backs still had the last laugh as they took two of three from LA.
EK: How do you feel the Arizona Diamondbacks did in the 2013 MLB draft?
TL: I will start with their 34th round selection which was one of the classiest moves an organization will make. With the pick they chose Arizona St outfielder Cory Hahn, who is now paralyzed from the chest down after sliding head first into a player’s knee while attempting to steal second base. 34 was Hahn’s uniform number.
With their first selection, the D’backs chose Braden Shipley, junior right-handed pitcher out of the University of Nevada. MLB Network a special before the draft on the top 50 prospects. He was one of the more highly-regarded pitchers so the fact the D’backs got him at #15 was pretty sweet. At #36, the team took Aaron Blair, another big right-handed pitcher who played collegiate ball at Marshall and dominated the Cape Cod League last Summer going 6-0 with 60 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings pitched. He tested positive for the banned stimulant Adderall but most people in the game suspect it was a one-time lapse.
EK: What’s the issue with the D-Backs recent slump?
TL: The biggest factor in their recent slump has been the offense. Outside of Paul Goldschmidt and Gerardo Parra, the lineup hasn’t done much of anything since their series in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago. Martin Prado still seems uncomfortable in Arizona and while Miggy has started hitting better recently, he still is at .220. Did Gregorius has tailed off considerably over the past six weeks and Jason Kubel and Cody Ross are providing no power from the corner outfield positions.
The starting pitching has been mediocre at best. Patrick Corbin won’t stay undefeated; in fact with the D’backs reeling, he could drop his first decision this evening. Wade Miley has entered the dreaded “sophomore slump” and Ian Kennedy has almost become a six inning pitcher. Much like Forrest Gump and his line about life being like a bunch of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get from Trevor Cahill.
May 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (32), second baseman Cliff Pennington (4) and Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) watch a home run hit by Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland (not pictured) in the third inning of the game at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
EK: What’s the latest on Brandon McCarthy and the recent development following his head trauma?
TL: The seizure was definitely related to the head injury he suffered last year. He was told that he may have some due to the injury but this one was the first he has had. At first, there was some concern that he would need another surgery because after it happened, the doctors thought they saw a spot of blood on his brain. It turned out to be a shadow that shows up on these types of tests and nothing that was of any concern. McCarthy was able to continue his rehab on his shoulder which became inflamed and caused him to go on the disabled list. He is due to come back in about four weeks. The injury came at a bad time as before his last start on May 30th in which he got roughed up by the Rangers, he had pitched 24 innings and had given up only one earned run.
EK: Give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series.
TL: Tonight, the Fish will face Patrick Corbin, who is 9-0 with a 2.28 ERA. The D’backs have won all 13 of his starts. He was touched up by the Dodgers for four runs on eight hits in his last start against the Dodgers. In fact, in two of his last three starts he has surrendered four runs. Corbin has been great all year with a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and opposing hitters are batting just .224 off him.
On Tuesday, the career leader in appearances, TBD will take the hill for Arizona. The answer to who pitches tomorrow could be at Triple A Reno. However, I would like it to be perhaps my favorite D’back Josh Collmenter who is the most underrated member of the D’backs’ staff with his ability to pitch long relief and spot start on a moment’s notice. He has two extra innings victories against the Cardinals.
The finale will have Trevor Cahill searching for his fourth victory. A typical Cahill outing took place on Friday against the Padres. He was shaky the first inning but managed to get out of the frame without allowing a run. Then he was dominant from innings two through five and then couldn’t get out of the sixth. The final box score: 5 2/3 innings, two earned runs, five hits allowed, three walks, ten strikeouts on 117 pitches. He is now 3-8 with a 3.96 ERA.
A big thank you to Tom for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Diamondbacks fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out Venom Strikes for more of Tom and the rest of the staff’s best work as well as some other great content.