The Diamondbacks are 7-2. They started last season 7-2. They rather famously exposed the Giants’ Mark Melancon problem despite Madison Bumgarner’s two home runs on Opening Day. Then some other stuff happened, and then the Diamondbacks were swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS. But that happened after a season where they went 69-93 and looked to be in for an unknowable stretch of simply terrible baseball as an organization.
For a few years, they were committed to the idea of ManBall... or GruntBase... something that was primal, that only a caveman could play... that reflected what Real America thought of Real Baseball... or something. Tony LaRussa and Kirk Gibson wanted to make eating a bucket of glass and doing the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing even when it made absolutely no sense a badge of Baseball Honor to save the game. And then Dave Stewart was their GM and that went terribly, but then as soon as he was gone and the cave drawings were pressure washed from the building, they turned back into an actual baseball organization, and somehow turned a genuine turd into a metaphorical golden egg. And with that mental change came the aforementioned success. The Diamondbacks turned things around very quickly all because of an attitude adjustment.
Fast forward to yesterday, when the Dbacks and Cardinals got into a quasi-brawl that resembled more of a crowded convention floor than an angry commingling of bravado...
Cardinals, D-backs benches clear after an argument at home plate. pic.twitter.com/8JuybxkWOH— MLB (@MLB) April 8, 2018
... and yet, it definitely brought memories of that old Diamondbacks awfulness. The whole “if you’re on time you’re late” / “I’m showing you I love you by treating you like human garbage until you learn your lesson and never, ever showing you affection” / “Baseball isn’t a game, it’s a battle” mentality is the byproduct of an agrarian culture run by sociopaths and borderline personalities — it shouldn’t have a place in baseball except as an object of ridicule. And this latest flare up of Corporate Grit was over Yadier Molina’s famed pitch framing and the reality distortion field he creates with it.
Look, you know I am sensitive to the shadiness of pitch framing...
The Yasmani Grandal reality distortion field is undefeated at life.— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) April 8, 2018
GRANDAL WAS STANDING UP TO CATCH THE PITCH— McCovey Chronicles (@McCoveyChron) April 9, 2018
... but Torey Lovullo twice called Molina a m-fer. On Molina’s home turf. To his face. Over balls and strikes. It’s so easy to see Yadier Molina, who’s default setting is RAGE, and blame him for the fracas, but it’s clear that Torey Lovullo was the dingleberry.
Lovullo attempted to walk back his comments but came up short of explicitly apologizing for them.
”The first thing I want to say is I have the utmost respect for Yadier Molina,” he said. “He’s one of the best catchers the game’s ever seen. I just was going out there to talk about something with the umpire and was referencing something and used a poor choice of words, and he took offense to it. I wish I could take back what I said, but it really wasn’t really directed at him.”
I’ve really had a “I’ve been callin’ her Crandall!” situation with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. I thought his last name was spelled “Luvallo” and that his first name was Troy for the longest time. Since... really... this whole time. Until earlier today. That’s embarrassing. But not nearly as embarrassing as Tori’s behavior in St. Louis. His team won and he’s been a successful manager, but man oh man, is he an enormous fart weasel.
What was the conversation Toro had with the umpire that he claims Molina overheard?
TURDY LOVEYOLO: “Hey, ump!”
UMPIRE: “Yes, Torno?”
TORBY LANYARD: “Are you gonna let that motherf—er call whatever game that motherf—er wants?!”
Shouting that nonsense within earshot of the subject is the version of passive-aggression they teach in law school (do not fact check this). More to the point, the non-apology “I’m sorry if you were offended” apology (which his statement clearly is) is the least direct, least “manly” way to go about one’s business, and the Diamondbacks have always been about how men “go about their business” and doing things the right way.
Yadier Molina is nowhere near as good as Buster Posey, so, I don’t even want to imagine what Lovullo might say during this series.
Wait. This post was supposed to be about a baseball series. Games being played and all.
Hitter(s) to Watch
Would you believe that Paul Goldschmidt has 10 walks to 11 strikeouts and... and only 3 hits in 41 plate appearances? He’s been remarkably awful and there’s no Tim Lincecum lifeline in San Francisco this week. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a hitter to watch. It would be a real bummer if his bat got hot starting today.
But my eye is still on their outfielders.
The outfield trio of David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, and Chris Owings have a combined line of .358 / .440 / .523. Only 4 of Pollock’s 12 hits have been singles. These dudes are scary, which is why I have my eye on them. Don’t want them sneaking up behind me or from the side like some velociraptor situation.
Pitcher(s) to Watch
Tonight’s starter is Zach Godley, which means Arizona has two starters named Zack. One of them is Greinke one of them is Godley, and only the latter unlocks the frivolous bonus level of Godley puns.
Against all odds, the Giants demonstrate that they’re not only good against their arch rival and make it a tough series for the Diamondbacks in at least one of the games. Also, something tells me Pablo Sandoval will, randomly, have some effect on a game’s outcome. And, Tyler Beede will make his debut despite what the weather forecast suggests.