Alex Rodriguez has a three-homer game at 40 years old

I’m going back and forth now on whether what Albert Pujols is doing this year in his age 35 season, or Alex Rodriguez is doing in his age 40 season was more unpredictable or more unbelievable. I think at the moment, I’m leaning Rodriguez.

In an 8-5 Yankees win in Minnesota – a pretty hard ballpark to hit home runs – Alex Rodriguez hit three on Saturday evening. All three home runs traveled at least 420 feet. It was the 62nd multi-homer game in his career.

He’s played in over 90 games this season and has an OPS over .900, and with 23 home runs on the season I’m wondering where he’ll end up (he’s on pace for 37).

Coming into the year, I thought we would see a guy who barely hit above .230 (he’s at .277) and whom the Yankees just tried to hide all the way throughout the season. How improbable it is that the Yankees are in a pennant race becauseof Rodriguez being a key middle of the order force for the Bombers. Any talk of the Yankees wanting nothing to do with A-Rod has been quieted, and it’s clear they’re better off with him and his near 3.0 WAR.

You just have to hope Rodriguez isn’t on some type of foreign substance and is doing this completely clean as when he entered baseball. Because if he is, this is truly one of the better seasons I’ve seen an aging player have out of nowhere. The guy looked like an old Clydesdale ready for the glue factory in 2013, and didn’t even play last season.

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Never Doubt Mike Trout

[Box Score]

Mike Trout wrecked the Texas Rangers this weekend in Anaheim. He ended the weekend with a four-hit performance, two home runs, and five RBI. His grand slam was merely the exclamation point.

There are so many guys around baseball absolutely wrecking things this year. It seems like; to a degree, offense is back in the game. Big time offense. Of all those guys, and all the youngsters who are making a big impression as the future of the game, Mike Trout stands above them all as the one immortal. The Mickey Mantle of the present.

At the conclusion of today’s game, Trout has 31 home runs to lead baseball, 64 RBI, 10 stolen bases, a .315 batting average, a .405 on-base percentage, a 1.038 OPS and a WAR fast approaching seven. The Angels are a game in first place, and Trout is going to win the second of what should have been his fourth MVP award. He’s 23 years of age.

Every single time you, I, or anyone decides to say ‘(fill in the blank with player name) is overtaking Mike Trout as the best player in baseball’ he gives you a startling reminder that the statement isn’t even close to being true.

And what the Hell were these Rangers pitchers thinking to continue throwing fastballs low in the zone? Must have had a death wish.

So Long, Johnny Cueto

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And so ends an era. Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals today for three pitchers; the most notable being Brandon Finnegan.

It’s funny – we had this blog going when Cueto began his Reds career. They were coming out of the darkness, over a decade of futility. You knew you were on the ride up. Today, it’s like the organization admitting that this current core and guys on the 25-man roster will never win a title or play in a World Series. I mean, it was official before today of course. But this makes the probability meter of that ever happening absolute zero.

Right down to the very end; right down to his very last start as a Red, Johnny Cueto was awesome. We kind of eulogized him after his gem in Washington a few outings ago. The bottom line is he’s the best homegrown pitcher the Reds have put in a uniform since Mario Soto. Who knows when we’ll have another true ace like Cueto or how it will go when it happens. I may be a very old man.

It’s really hard saying goodbye to the players you love, the players you’ve grown so attached to. The players you’ve spent so many evenings in your living room living and dying with through the eb and flow of a baseball game and season.

While the Reds prepare to mire in obscurity, Cueto will write a new chapter and start more games in the postseason and probably reach incredible heights yet in his career. The book on this chapter has sadly closed. I’ll really miss Johnny Cueto.

Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter Gem at Wrigley Field this afternoon

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Cole Hamels possible final Phillies appearance was a legendary one.

A Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field was the setting. He racked up 13 strikeouts in a no-hitter (he issued two walks) and a 5-0 Phillies win.

The latest reports have him in a flurry of trade rumors around baseball. If this was his last start as a Phillie; he’s sure to have given them a parting gift that Phillies fans will remember for life. It’s a special thing when a no-hitter comes to us all on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the summer, especially at such a legendary ballpark.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of this. I was on daddy duty from 9 AM to 6 PM and Disney Junior graced my television screen. When I saw what Hamels had done, I had to get this post up.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s Saturday, the best day of the week and the best baseball day of the week. Today, no games start until 4:00 so you’re not going to miss anything good if you have things to get done. Your wives should be home from their bridal showers by then.

A week from now, there will be a boatload of new players in new places and uniforms. Last night the action got kicked off a little early with the franchise unearthing trade of Kelly Johnson to the Mets!

And now the 80’s song of the week that should be played at a ballpark loudspeaker near you:

I think that song played doing my warm up tosses between innings about a dozen different times when I was playing on many late July days like this one.

Enjoy your Saturday – a day where we always remember to put the flag at half mass here at Diamond Hoggers to salute the greatest game on earth on the best day of the week. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Diamondhoggers returns to Gentleman’s Game Glory

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Diamondhoggers locked down over 50 points from their pitchers – Felix Hernandez and Andrew Cashner – and had 20 or more points from Mike Trout and Joey Votto that swung the Friday Gentleman’s Cup Circut Game in their favor.

We see a slight change in the yearly standings with Swindaman3 overtaking t3bird04 for the second spot in the standings. The bottom two remain unchanged despite the separation amount between last place and fourth.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 50.5 points
Swindaman3 – 47.5 Points
t3bird04 – 45 Points
Diamondhoggers – 44 points
Jsquad34 – 40 Points

The Gentleman’s Game Turd of the week was probably Michael Pineda, owned by two contestants in the Gents Game and scoring just over five points. That Minnesota Twins lineup may look cute and cuddly like a Peregrine Falcon, but when you get too close and you’re unsuspecting; they’ll rip your damn face right off.

The Gentleman’s Game MVP had to be Coors Field Joey Votto. He hit a dramatic home run in the top of the ninth inning and although the Reds found a way to still blow the game; Votto swung the Gents game late, leapfrogging Diamondhoggers from third to first in a matter of seconds. That said; Jose Quintana was used by one man only: Swindaman3. Quintana of course shut out the Indians and struck out eight, garnering 41.05 Draftkings points. This was probably the craftiest pick of the night even in a losing effort for Swindaman3.

That said, here’s the monster bomb that Mike Trout hit to break the Gentleman’s Game open:

Here’s a copy of the lineup Diamondhoggers used for the victory:

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So what will happen next week?

Will Diamondhoggers put their trust in another man who is not worthy like an Andrew Cashner to swerve the rest of the gentleman? Will Swindaman3 make another beach lineup before the sun sets on summer? Which contestant will have milk poured on them like celebratory champagne at a live final? You must tune in next week to find out, as we inch closer to crowning the greatest daily fantasy baseball champion of all time.

Jay Bruce’s last (Cincinnati) ride?

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Every time Jay Bruce homers, I wonder if it’s the last time I’ll see him round the bases in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Tonight in Cincinnati, he hit a monstrous clout to right center for his 15th home run of the season. It allowed the Reds to beat the Cubs 5-4. Bruce also doubled and is now hitting .255 on the season.

I really hope that the sun hasn’t set on Bruce’s Reds career. There’s no doubting he is an enigmatic player. But Bruce is in one of the best stretches of his career. Since May 16th he’s hitting over .310 with an OPS well north of .900 and a slugging percentage over .550, all hallmarks of a quality middle of the order hitter.

In a perfect world, Bruce continues to progress and the Reds don’t get quite the offer they hope to by broadcasting to the baseball world that he can be had. They work out a reasonable extension for him to remain part of the solution in Cincinnati – players like Bruce could make the ‘rebuild’ just a bit shorter. Plus, I still want a reason to go to the park. Bruce is at the core of the guys I have a personal attachment to. He has 197 career regular season homers as a Reds player. If you get an offer that brings a top tier prospect, make the deal. If not – you don’t trade a productive player like Bruce just to trade him.

I am a bit puzzled at why the Reds have made Bruce so willingly available but a guy like Todd Frazier whom is under team control similarly until 2017 is not available. You can’t have it both ways. Both should fit the profile of a guy who can be moved, or neither. The Reds have no viable replacement for Bruce being roadblocked in the minor leagues, so I just don’t see a reason to up and move him.

That said, the things are falling into place as I thought they would. The perfect storm for Bruce to be moved. The Reds aren’t very good, the All Star Game is completed, and Bruce is playing pretty well. This is kind of what I saw coming down the pipeline back in March. I think we’re seeing Jay Bruce’s final days as a Red, and it kind of sucks.

It’s kind of shitty being the fan of a small market team. There are teams in the game who have the ability to keep a homegrown talent if they so choose. It seems like the Reds are following some unwritten rule, almost conforming to think because it’s time to rebuild, you move a multiple season All-Star corner outfielder just to get something done. And for the fans, it does suck. We’ll see how this plays out, and eulogize his career in Cincinnati properly should we have to in the near future.

What Albert Pujols is putting together in 2015 is impressive

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Albert Pujols in his age 35 season is leading all of baseball in home runs with 29. Read that sentence again.

In a double-header today in Anaheim against the Red Sox, Pujols homered three times to take the lead from his teammate Mike Trout (who hit his own 28th home run of the season), only to take the lead back from Trout late in the night with his third home run of the day. Pujols ends the day with 549 home runs on his career. The final one of the day allowed him to pass legendary Mike Schmidt on the all-time list.

Right now Pujols is only a 2.5 bWAR, which is a far cry from the days when he posted 8.5 to 9.7 regularly. But I’m a guy who loves power. Since May 28th, Pujols has now homered 21 times and owns an OPS over 1.000, showing that in flashes he can absolutely be the great Pujols of old. He just seems to be a habitual slow starter, overcoming an April in which he hit .208 with only three home runs and nine RBI.

I wish there was more out there on the web to what is making Pujols go – but details seem nary at the moment. It’s hard for one not to have the thought enter their mind; to ask themselves if the great slugger is doing this completely clean. Power is usually the last redeeming quality to go, and this especially holds true with the legends.

It’s impressive to me that in his age 35 season, Pujols is going to pull some MVP votes. He was an aging horse a while ago who had been put out to pasture and readied for the glue factory by scouts and fans alike. It appears at the moment that the guy has a lot more in the tank and his career is going to wind down as it should.

Bryce Harper homers into the upper deck off Kenley Jansen

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Bryce Harper homered off of a bad man on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park. It looks like he caught a 93-MPH two-seam fastball tailing over too much of the outer half of the plate, and he deposited it violently off a seat in the right field upper deck.

It was his 27th home run of the season. He’s been homering at a regular pace, but it’s been a bit since he’s hit a moonshot like this.

Clayton Kershaw took the mound for this 4-2 Dodgers win, and it was just one of those incredible days for the Koufax of our era. He had 14 strikeouts in eight shutout innings, getting Harper to go down on strikes three times. By the time the Dodgers brought Kenley Jansen in to mop up the ninth, a ferocious right-handed closer like him probably seemed pretty human to a mutant like Harper.

Our Own t3bird is once again atop the highest branch of the Gentleman’s Game Cup Circuit Tree

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Another week, another monumental shift in the tectonic plates of the earth of the Gentleman’s Game Cup Standings.

Four Gentleman in the contest opted to go with Jose Fernandez who was the most expensive player on the board Friday night. He delivered just 18.5 points. It would be the other pitcher who the Gentleman in this great battle would choose that would make the biggest difference. The victor went with Lance Lynn – and Lynn tallied a workman-like 33.35 points to earn the Gentleman’s Game weekly MVP nomination.

The Gentleman’s Game turd was Ubaldo Jimenez, scoring 1.7 points and honestly why the Hell do we decide to trust an asshole like Ubaldo in this great contest of scholars?

As mentioned earlier, there was a slight shift in the competitor who holds down second place this week, with t3bird04 overtaking Swindaman3 after his own recent hot streak by a half point. DStars45 did enough to hold onto the top spot, coming in second and adding four more solid points. Diamondhoggers finished third, gaining one extra point to break the tie at the bottom of the standings for the time being. You’re starting to see separation in these standings if you’ve been following this as closely as we figure you have been all season.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 47.5 points
t3bird04 – 44 Points
Swindaman3 – 43.5 Points
Diamondhoggers – 39 points
Jsquad34 – 38 Points

Per our tradition, we show a copy of the winning lineup. This 149.85 point lineup would have been a noble, cashing lineup in any contest offered on Draftkings last night. And the best part about it is that it was a non-stack. Kyle Seager homered twice to tally 30 points and Hunter Pence added 26 of his own. Our t3bird04 of the Gents Game Circuit is proving his vast versatility, in that he is not only great at selecting a pitcher who is about to go off but he also knows which bats can give him the high point total to break open a Gentleman’s Game. He is good under fire.

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But…. what will happen next week? Will the Orioles skip a spot in their rotation and allow us the option to once again ruin our lineups with Ubaldo Jimenez? Will Swindaman3 once again use the tired Home Run Derby champ Todd Frazier fresh off of 1,000 full-tilt swings? How many Gentleman will go back to the Gerardo Parra $3700 fountain of prosperity?

You must tune in next week to find out as we continue to work towards a circuit champion who will represent the highest honor in daily fantasy baseball.

Mike Trout with some Friday Night Magic, is still the best player on the planet.

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We did a podcast Friday afternoon with our buddy M.J. Lloyd, filling in for Mike Hllywa on the Monkeys With a Halo Podcast. During the gratuitous Mike Trout segment – a segment that has become tradition when M.J. and I do a podcast together – we pointed out that with all the amazing talents in baseball today who do a great job taking the spotlight off Mike Trout; he’s still at the top of the mountain.

And about a half hour after your likely midnight….

I like a lot of scoring in my baseball; but it’s always kind of special when there’s a 1-0 game played and the home team wins it with a home run from their star in the bottom of the ninth. Wade Miley allowed just a double to Kole Calhoun in seven innings, and the second hit of the game for those magical Halos won them the game.

The blast was (quietly?) Trout’s 27th of the season, tops among all American Leaguers.

This all follows up of course him giving the American League homefield in the World Series with his second consecutive All Star Game MVP. Mike Trout is king of the baseballers.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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This post should have been up earlier, but I have my hands full with an eight month old all weekend being on daddy duty.  It’s Saturday, we are setting the proverbial flag at half mask; and we wanted to just throw this post up to salute the greatest game on earth while we still have a small part of the afternoon left.

We can’t wait until that 6:30 PM ET bedtime here in the steamy Midwest to turn on some baseball. We’re missing Kershaw in Washington right now to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Junior. Not kidding. It’s Witching hour folks. You don’t want to piss her off.

Your Gentleman’s Game recap post will be up later today. Here’s the classic rock song of the game that should be played on a ballpark loudspeaker near you:

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers Baseball Blog. Enjoy your Saturday.

Baseball Training Aids and Equipment

Trainings aids for baseball includes hitting cages, training bats, pitching machines, training gloves, training balls and several more. With so many training aids available, it is quite difficult for a player to understand which equipment will be helpful for the player to achieve their goals. Most of the people know about the game baseball. However, not many actually have an idea of what it takes for developing and training the required skills for playing baseball.

Several skills are required for playing baseball. If you are interested in the game and want develop your skill, it is very important for you to have a knowledge of what is your skill level currently. This will be very helpful when you select certain equipment that can be best for enhancing your skills.

Training aids for different types of players

Players who are just starting to learn and play baseball will never possess the same levels of skills as those players who play in big leagues. When you learn to play baseball, you must always start with basics. All the beginners need to start by learning the basics. They need to learn how to catch, pitch and hit. For more advanced baseball players, the training has to be specifically done in order to improve certain areas of their game. For instance, a player who pitches should use pitching equipment while a player who struggles with batting must focus on hitting equipment for training. One great thing for all players is that there are equipment for all sorts of players, of any skill level.

Where to find training aids

Coaches or players can look for these products anywhere, from an online retailer to a local sports store. There are numerous companies providing these products. While some of these companies carry only a specific inventory, while others carry products ranging from memorabilia to fan apparel. All the baseball companies thrive to provide the best possible products for baseball players. These companies are trying to create a wide selection of products that they can offer to all sorts of baseball players.

Searching in the internet for baseball training aids can be very helpful (I know that top5onlinecasino website owner is a baseball fan don’t hesitate to contact him for help). The search result can be further narrowed down if you specifically know your needs. Searching for ‘Pitching training aids’ or ‘Hitting training aids’ will provide the necessary results if you know about your specific needs.

How helpful are baseball training aids

Training and practice are extremely essential if you want to develop the necessary skills for playing game safely. A lot of time and effort has to be put in training. As the skill level of players increase, they can make use of different training aids and equipment. These training aids continuously challenge the ability of the player, which further helps the player in improving.

Many players and coaches have noticed that using baseball training aids is helpful in making training sessions more productive. These products are very effective and certainly help players in positive manner. Making use of them during practice and training sessions is always helpful.

2015 All Star Game in Cincinnati: Mike Trout MVP, AL Wins 6-3

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[Box Score]

[Deadspin] [ESPN]

It felt a little bit like the 2015 MLB All Star Game left a lot to be desired. Even I admitted to some friends that the lack of offense and fireworks was painful.

At the end of the day, the headline story was the same as the 2014 All Star Game: Mike Trout adds another luxury vehicle to his All Star Game Most Valuable Player garage. The guy is absolutely amazing, and not human. He is still the best player in the game today, and he shows it when he’s up against the best in the world and offense comes at a premium.

The Scripps Building in Downtown Cincinnati added a nice touch.
The Scripps Building in Downtown Cincinnati added a nice touch.

Here’s the best video we could find of Trout leading off the game with a home run against Zach Greinke. It was a lead the American League would not relinquish by the end of the night despite the NL tying the game 1-1 early. The closest the NL would come after that would be when Andrew McCutchen homered to left field.

Clayton Kershaw had a subpar showing, allowing the AL to hang several runs on him and put the game away.

Bryce Harper went 0 for 3 in his third All Star Game, facing three lefties.
Bryce Harper went 0 for 3 in his third All Star Game, facing three lefties.

Bryce Harper didn’t have a great showing in the game because the American League was able to trot out three left-handed pitchers against him.

All in all, the story was about Trout, Pete Rose being involved in the game, the five living legends who walked on the field before the game (really special moment), and the city of Cincinnati showing what a great baseball town it truly is; even if the Reds are about to hold a full-fledged firesale.

I regretted not being there for this game. I pictured myself there for years leading up to it since the day it was announced – but with the way the game unfolded – I was happy I didn’t spend the $700 or so for a subpar seat and cost my family all that money.

Baseball