By all accounts August 30th should be like any other day in baseball. There is another five weeks left in the season. Teams in the playoff hunt are trying to solidify their place in the standings and seize momentum heading to the post season.
Teams not bound for the playoffs are trying to maintain their focus hoping to end the season on a bright note, an attitude they can carry with them through the long off-season as they prepare for next year.
The Arizona Diamondbacks begin a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field tonight. These two teams met a week ago at Petco Park with the Padres winning the first two games of the series before dropping the final game.
The Diamondbacks win in that third game marked their first win this season in San Diego. Since that time the Diamondbacks went on to take two of three from the San Francisco Giants while the Padres were swept at home by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Prior to Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, injured Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb threw a simulated game of 52 pitches. This marks the first time Webb has thrown to live batters and is a litmus test to determine a timetable of when he may return.
By all accounts the simulated game went well. Webb threw primarily fastballs and his velocity ranged from 80-82 miles per hour. The ball seemed to have some life too it. Hitters who faced Webb commented that while the velocity was down, the movement was still there.
In an article first reported by Nick Piecoro, the Diamondbacks beat writer for the Arizona Republic, team officials admitted they are considering changes to Chase Field that would change the way the stadium plays.
It is no secret that Chase Field has long been a hitter’s paradise. The ball seems to fly out of Chase Field faster than a four-dollar beer on a 110-degree afternoon game. And if the roof happens to be open the ball flies even further averaging roughly 10 more feet of flight.
For all intents and purposes the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks have been a disappointment. There have been high points such as the no-hitter by Edwin Jackson on June 25, 2010 and the emergence of young pitching such as Ian Kennedy and Barry Enright but overall the team has failed to live up to expectations.
No one expected that the 2010 team would not only fail to be competitive for the National League Western Division but would actually be worse than the 2009 team that finished in last place 25 game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
September 1st represents the date that rosters expand from 25-men to 40-men. Teams fall into two categories when contemplating who should be called up. Teams going to the post season use these call-ups to give their players especially pitchers a break to keep them fresh for the playoffs.
The second camp are those teams who have all but been eliminated from the playoffs. These teams use the final month of the season to give their rookies playing time. This gives the organization a chance to evaluate players in game situations to decide whether they fit within the team’s plans for next year and beyond.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a long history of affiliation with the Pioneer League. The league is classified as a short-season rookie advanced meaning it is the beginning classification and the first step for many in their career as a professional baseball player.
In 1996 the Pioneer League representative for the Diamondbacks was the Lethbridge Black Diamonds. They had the distinction of playing the first game in Diamondbacks history nearly two years before the first major league game would be played.