The guess here is that the Diamondbacks are about to start swapping players for prospects in the next two weeks with the trade deadline looming.
It’s possible they could catch the Dodgers at the top of the National League West, but at this point it would require winning every day between now and the end of the month just to get close. It’s also possible they could get a wild-card spot, but at least a half dozen teams are in contention for a chance at the one-game playoff.
So, consider this homestand a chance to show your appreciation to some of the guys who’ve made things interesting the last couple of seasons.
We don’t want another Paul Goldschmidt situation, where fans are left adrift without a proper chance to say goodbye.
Robbie Ray’s Ks dominate Dodgers
If Robbie Ray is shipped out for a package of prospects, we should remember him for fanning enough batters to keep Chase Field cool without air conditioning.
Ray had 436 strikeouts during a two-year run that started in 2016.
Ray became a star in 2017, when he led all National League starters in strikeouts per nine innings.
Plus, he was merciless against the Dodgers that year, especially down the stretch.
He beat L.A. at home in late August, getting 10 strikeouts in a 6-4 win.
He beat them again a week later in Dodger Stadium, this time striking out 14 in a 13-0 victory.
No one had gotten that many strikeouts in a Diamondbacks uniform since Randy Johnson a generation earlier.
Ray threw five perfect innings that game and became the first player in history to strike out 10 or more Dodgers hitters four times in one season.
And who could forget when he held up a sign for Amy Hall at the All-Star game in Miami? The Diamondbacks first lady, the wife of team President and CEO Derrick Hall, was fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer.
His compassion left them in tears.
Zack Greinke: Master of reinvention
It seems like every conversation about Zack Greinke comes back to the massive contract he signed to come over from Los Angeles in 2016.
That’s fair, and fans have had $206.5 million reasons to scrutinize his every move.
But he’s been an All-Star three years running, and he’s done it by reinventing himself.
In 2017, he relied mostly on a fastball and slider.
In 2018, as his fastball velocity dropped, he went more with the change up and added a comically slow curveball. His Eephus pitch sauntered to the plate at about 65 mph.
It was the sort of junk that Bugs Bunny would throw to get Elmer Fudd to swing and miss three times at one pitch. And it’s mind-boggling to think this was a part of his repertoire in a season where he put up a 3.21 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.
Greinke can throw as many as eight pitches. He’s a perennial Gold Glover. And have we mentioned he can swing a bat? Consider this headline from April on the advanced stats website Fangraphs: “Zack Greinke is Hitting Like Barry Bonds.”
David Peralta: Production with a smile
David Peralta might be the easiest guy to root for on the whole roster.
He was out of baseball and had to make a transition from pitcher to outfielder to find a steady role.
He was a 26-year-old rookie when he came up in 2014. Fresh in his memory was working at a McDonald’s in Florida to make ends meet.
And he had to find a way to keep his focus on the field while his home nation of Venezuela started to collapse in a political crisis that left him worried for the safety of his family.
And while Greinke was earning about $1 million for every appearance, Peralta was earning only half that for an entire season.
But just try to catch the guy without a smile on his face.
He got a big bump last year, going from $570,000 to $3.3 million. And he responded by winning a Silver Slugger award, more than doubling his home run production from 14 in 2017 to 30 last year.
(He’s up to about $7 million.)
But now that he’s comfortable in his role as a team leader, he’s fighting off injuries that cost him a shot at his first All-Star appearance. He was tied for fifth in the NL with 32 hits in April. He was second in doubles that month with 12.
By mid-May, he was dealing with back tightness and a balky shoulder, and he’s had an up-and-down season ever since. But when he’s healthy, he can hit and get on base with the best of them.
But from here, Peralta will always be the guy who hit his first career game-winning home run in the 14th inning of a 3-2 win over the Phillies.
Peralta had started out 0-3, then he homered in the ninth and again five innings later. He finished 4-for-7 with two home runs, a double and two RBIs.
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