“We don’t anticipate winning at Busch” – Why Reds Manager Bryan Price is a Squid

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Want to know why as a Reds fan I don’t write about this team every day anymore? Look no further than what Reds Manager Bryan Price said recently in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

When you go certain places and you win, you anticipate winning there,” Price said. “There’s a good feeling that you have as a team when you go into ball parks where you’ve had success in the past.

“I think the complete counter is our situation here. We haven’t had success here for the last several years here and I don’t think we anticipate success here, as much as we work at it. (But) there’s certain places where guys just love to go and play. Whether it’s going to San Diego and pitching or going to Colorado and hitting, there’s certain things that guys get excited about.”

This is the guy  who leads? Seriously?

Price is the type of guy who holds his bladder for an entire four hour flight back from the West Cost because he doesn’t want to upset any flight attendants, even when the fasten seat-belt light is off.

He was a great pitching coach, but lacks the surly edge quality that every man needs to be a good manager. When the Reds hired Price, I decided that I was okay with it because it was going to be the same group of veteran Reds core players continuing to trying to make a run and by sliding Price into the spot; it wouldn’t shake things up too badly.

However, in the year and change since; it’s become clear that the guy is a mouse; and that window you feel closing is shutting more quickly because Price is a weakling that doesn’t raise the stakes of his players or argue enough calls, or get the most out of less.

Bryan Price is the nail in the Reds coffin.

The Miami Marlins are in deep trouble

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Giancarlo Stanton said it best – and we were waiting for some quote like this to leak out of the Miami clubhouse:

“We’re not really giving ourselves a chance, it feels like,” the All-Star slugger said after the loss. “We’ve got a positive vibe, but [something] is just not there.

“The fire is not there, it seems like. You always want to have it. But when you’re out there and it’s game time, it’s just nothing there.”

Things didn’t get much better on Saturday night in a 5-4 loss at Citi Field. Despite an okay five innings from Mat Latos, and five hits from Dee Gordon; Jacob deGrom threw seven scoreless innings striking out eight and walking nobody. Stanton went hitless (down to .220) and Christian Yelich went 1 for 5 (down to .225).

You could make the case that this is baseball’s most disappointing team; a label they have tried desperately to avoid with all the offseason moves and roster makeover.

Perhaps this was the test that was meant to happen all along. If they’re one of baseball’s worst teams in the first half of the season will Jeffrey Loria stick to his promise to continue trying to build a championship team or will they deal a few veterans for prospects?

This just wasn’t the way it was supposed to go down in Miami. Our call is that they continue to struggle, only to become one of baseball’s hottest teams when they get back Jose Fernandez, falling just short of a Wildcard berth by season’s end because they couldn’t break out of their slumber soon enough.

If you’re wondering on an update for Fernandez, he’s been throwing off a mound for the last month and he’s expected back in June.

If you’re wondering about the Marlins salvaging something on Sunday in Queens, they’re staring down the barrel of Matt Harvey; as always a team seems to when they’re struggling most.

Jorge Soler was masked up today Wrigley

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This was a lot funnier until I saw the game-time temperature at Wrigley was 43 degrees. Still, by looking at Soler today you would have thought the Cubs were playing in 12 degree weather with some windchill.

This kid is from Havana, Cuba; where those tobacco fields he grew up playing on hit 88 on a cool day.

This was a magical little matinee for the Cubbies, where Kris Bryant was on base five times and collected his first big league hit. He got another key infield hit in the bottom of the 11th off Craig Kimbrel to keep the line moving. Cubbies walk-off with a win 7-6 in a game they blew a 6-2 lead in the top of the ninth. The winning hit came on a Starlin Castro single to left field. Anthony Rizzo stole two bases; baseball is odd.

The cold Soler went 1 for 6. He just wasn’t comfortable today out there. Now he can head across the street and rob the nearest convenience store.

This was the epic moonshot home run in Bryce Harper’s career to-date

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This was the one. The one that shows off the ’80’ grade power. If you thought Friday night’s homer was a bomb (it was), this one on Saturday afternoon is the one that will be talked about for ages (or a few days on social media) and have the Washingtonian school children imitating Harper in the schoolyard on Monday.

Look where the ball lands – I told my wife off the bat something like “holy shit, look at this one” – it hits a back wall in the bullpen in center. If you watch many Nationals games, it’s an area that just isn’t reached by baseball’s.

Bob Carpenter on the telecast: “Oh my look where it hits! We’ve never seen one on the back wall out there!” and followed it with “That’s the longest home run to center field that we’ve seen in this ballpark”.

The rumor according to MLB Gameday is the ball traveled an estimated 461 feet. Back in the days of Mickey Mantle there would be some legend that ended up derived through tales through the years that the ball went 500 feet or some shit. This was that type of blast.

And it comes off Aaron Harang. He’s such a kind, old ape isn’t he? It didn’t bother Aaron Harang at all that someone just hit one to Bethesda off him. He was just like ‘give me a new ball’. There are some pitchers it would get fired up, but Harang was his usual vanilla self. The Phillies won the game 5-3.

Alex Rodriguez slugs two more homers; is two from Willie Mays 660

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Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs last night in a 5-4 Yankees win in Tampa. He drove in four runs, and now has an improbable four home runs on the season and 658 for his career. He also had the most notable amount of white, chalky shit on his helmet that we’ve ever seen on a guy in a game. What the Hell is with that?

And these words never felt like they would be written here again. What a story this really is, what A-Rod is doing. He’s doing it right in the face of his team’s ownership and fans, and really the entire world has tried it’s best to forget about the guy.

The reality of it is, A-Rod looks to be in pretty good shape. His swing looks pretty good, as it has all spring. There’s no reason to think that he won’t pop 20 or 25 home runs this season cleanly for the Bronx Bombers. But to think that it’s this quiet when a guy is two home runs from Willie Mays is just crazy.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s our favorite day of the week, and our favorite time of the week. A Saturday afternoon with the full slate on tap. Every team is in play, and our second week of counting baseball is about to wrap up.

The week that was saw the inauspicious debut of Kris Bryant (welcome to the big leagues, kid). The Cubbies really are the Cleveland Browns of Major League Baseball.

Here’s your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a loudspeaker at a ballpark near you. The Cars are the greatest in our book. And this is a great video with a true 80’s babe (Susan Gallagher is her name).

The flag is always at half mass on this blog on a Saturday during the regular season; to salute the greatest sport on earth.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone.

“I Brought a Whore to the Prom.” – Adventures of the Week Two Gentleman’s Game Cup

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Last night over on DraftKings (the official daily fantasy sponsor of Major League Baseball, for whatever that is worth), the Gentleman’s Game Cup Circuit rolled along in week two, with Adam Warren being a big thorn in everyone’s side.

We rolled with Warren because we are subscribers to “The Bat” over at Fantasy Insiders. They had cheap little 4400 dollar or whatever Adam Warren ranked ahead of Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw on this April evening. This couldn’t be possible; but off we went with Adam Warren plugged into several various lineups. We weren’t the only ones (see above image).

It turns out, the bat is burping up incorrect and glitched names in regards to whomever is facing the Rays lineup each night. This would of course have been great to know until we played about 15 games on Friday night.

But Adam Warren could not spoil the Gents Game for Diamondhoggers, Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, and Russell Martin would not allow that to happen.

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Yearly Standings:
Diamond Hoggers – 8 Points
DStars45 – 7 points
t3bird04 – 6 Points
Swindaman3 – 5 Points
Jsquad34 – 4 Points

Things are heating and scrambling up in the Gents Game standings, and we’re only just getting started in our adventure. So stay tuned to the saga for next Friday on who can begin to separate themselves in this Daily Fantasy Baseball Pantheon. This game of honor, and class. Will the Bat cause us to use Ubaldo Jimenez over Chris Sale? Will someone stack the light hitting Oakland A’s against King Felix? Will Jason Marquis become someone’s Gentleman’s Game MVP? What names will the bat of Fantasy Insiders burp up next Friday? You must stay tuned until next week in the Gentleman’s Cup Circuit to find out.

Mike Trout might be the best ballplayer these eyes have ever seen

Here's Trout hitting home run #100. Spoiler: he hit #101 a few innings later.
Here’s Trout hitting home run #100. Spoiler: he hit #101 a few innings later.

Texting with my buddy M.J. Lloyd before tonight’s ballgame, he brought up a good point. In today’s sport world, everyone is always searching for the ‘next Trout’ or ‘next Kershaw’. It leads to diminished returns and not really appreciating what is in front of us. As M.J. (wise man in the ways of the Trout) pointed out, he’s essentially ruined being a prospect for the next 20 years. There won’t be another Trout in our lifetime. Just like there’s only been one Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and the Darryl Strawberry’s who came along after them did not reach the lofty expectations set by the legend.

Tonight, the legend of Mike Trout grows.

So Mike Trout’s 100th career home run will go into the record books, a textbook Trout blast into the Crawford Boxes in Houston off Roberto Hernandez (he’ll always be Fausto Carmona to us). It of course comes in an Angels win, because that’s what big games from Mike Trout usually result in for his franchise. Mike Trout is now the youngest member of the 100 home run/100 stolen base club in baseball history.

Feather in his cap of all the other insane things he’s done. I am sitting here currently debating whether or not he’s the best talent that I’ve ever seen. Some would want to bring Bonds into the conversation; for me in terms of the eye test and pound for pound clean talent; it’s between him and Junior Griffey. That’s the only thing I can relate what I’m seeing from Trout to.

Finally, M.J. added: “The worst thing a prospect could be called now is the next Mike Trout”. Yes. Yes Mr. Lloyd you are correct.

Bryce Harper hits a Friday night Monster Bomb at Nationals Park

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It appears that the Washington Nationals have found themselves a little bit, we would bet that the bullshit begins to come to an end with this team for the rest of the season. Tonight they beat the Phillies 7-2 at Nationals Park, and in Max Scherzer’s first win as a National, Bryce Harper hit a monster home run into that bullpen in center field. When you see one land in that pen, it’s a legit big league home run.

You’ll see in the footage above that Harper catches a 1-2 hanging breaking ball from Sean O’Sullivan. Let us make a quick point on the aforementioned O’Sullivan. We don’t know where the Phillies found this guy, and we don’t care to look it up. But this guy has to be one of the biggest ‘gimmes’ in the big leagues today. He’s sloppy. He hangs pitches that scream ‘hit me’. And he generally just can’t get anyone out.

This was Harper’s career home run number 58. The last two have come off O’Sullivan. You know these professional hitters wish they could face O’Sullivan every day.

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And what’s that we spy in Harper’s lip? We know what that is. It appears the last two games that young Harper has acquired a very bad habit – ironically enough just as we are trying to quit (once again).

Kids at home who see that – never start if you haven’t. It’s an awful habit, even if you’re hitting big league homers 410 feet.

It’s Kris Bryant Day

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Baseball is in for a real treat today – because today – Kris Bryant is hitting cleanup at Wrigley in his big league debut. In a way, this era begins exactly as it should: in an afternoon matinee to kick off the weekend at Wrigley.

The miserly-for-no-reason Cubs get to save that year of arbitration eligibility and now Bryant is up for the long haul.

As we do any time one of the generational talents to be debuts, we have a post in his honor. Hopefully after nine innings, ‘Go Cubs Go’ is playing on the loud speakers at Wrigley and Bryant does something to make this day even more memorable. It’s going to be a good decade plus of watching this ’80’ scale power in afternoon slates at Wrigley.

Giancarlo Stanton is on the board

With this home run, Giancarlo Stanton passes Dan Uggla as the Marlins all-time leader in home runs. That’s pretty sad that Dan Uggla – when you think of the type of player he’s been reduced to – was at one time a tenured, all-time leader in home runs of a franchise. This in and of itself has the Marlins headed towards a more respectable future with this guy atop their archives in the sexiest category.

It was a true rapier shot to right-center. The Marlins lost the damn game 7-5 and continue to generally underachieve (especially when we bet money on them, they’re 0-4 now).

Miami wasted a pinch-hit triple and subsequent unbelievable play at home plate by the little old man Ichiro.

We still would like to see Giancarlo ditch that facemask for good, which he seems to be considering.

Jose Abreu loves hitting Cleveland pitching

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[Box Score]

It was last April 10th, 2014 when Jose Abreu hit a pair of homers into the Chicago night off Danny Salazar and Josh Outman when we realized that this guy has 80 scale power. Something about Chief Wahoo just brings out the true brutality of Big Cuban Stud.

Cleveland fans hate seeing this guy come to town more than Jack Parkman.

Tonight, he hit his second home run of the season off some poor Miller Light canopy at Progressive Field; and it was already his sixth career homer against the Indians.

And something about a huge daily fantasy contest brings out the best in this guy. Last year during the DraftStreet Friday Big Scores, he always went deep (remember the walk off grand slam?). There was a $500,000 tournament on Draftkings tonight, and some lucky sucker walked away with $50K.

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We came in 870th out of 20,852. Not fabulous. Next time we will be using Abreu.

MLB Power Rankings –With sneak peak by Mybookie.ag

The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals came into the season with plenty of pressure and expectations in the AL Central, especially as the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians have improved. However, the Tigers and Royals have shown themselves to be very strong teams as they are were unbeaten through the first two series of the season. They have won their first six games. Read more about MLB betting favorites in this 2015 review.

The Detroit Tigers swept the Minnesota Twins and the Indians to start the season but lost their first game to the Pittsburgh Pirates to go 6-1 to start the season. Star player Miguel Cabrera is still a stud for the Tigers and went .517 in his first seven games with 9 RBI. J.D. Martinez also has 9 RBI plus four home runs.

Meanwhile, the pitching has not been hurt by the departure of Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander’s injury. David Price has not given up a single earned run in 14.1 innings. The same can be said for Shane Greene, Joe Nathan and Tom Gorzelanny. It is no surprise that the Tigers have 6/1 odds to win the ALCS and 10/1 odds for the World Series.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals are out with the goal of trying to show that their ALCS title from last year was no fraud. The Royals only have 16/1 odds to win the World Series and 8/1 odds to get their second straight pennant.

The Royals swept the White Sox and Los Angeles Angels to start the year. Yordano Ventura won both his starts so far this season and has a 2.31 ERA. Wade Davis has also been reliable from the bullpen as he has pitched in four one-inning efforts and has not given up an earned run. Greg Holland also has pitched three perfect innings for three saves.

As for the Royals’ offense, Salvador Perez may be an interesting figure to watch for. He has a .417 average with three home runs and 8 RBI. In fact, the team’s 39 RBI is far greater than the 15 the Royals have given up.

The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals should be interesting to see in 2015 and they are good MLB betting favorites. However, they should be aware of their AL Central competition just as well as there are plenty of teams that could compete with them this year.

In particular, the Cleveland Indians are at 9/1 to win the ALCS and 20/1 to win the World Series. The Royals are 2-4 and will miss Yan Gomes for two months with a knee injury. Still, Corey Kluber has been a proficient pitcher with 17 strikeouts in 13.2 innings.

Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox have 12/1 odds to with the ALCS and 25/1 odds to get a Series win. Chris Sale’s injury and the question of when Carlos Rodon will be added to their rotation have floated around the team throughout the start of the season. In addition, the White Sox only have a .237 average and Jose Abreu only has one RBI.

The Minnesota Twins are also long shots at 66/1 to win the league and 150/1 to win the Series. At 1-5, the Twins may be afterthoughts if they keep struggling. This is in spite of Joe Mauer’s .300 average.

 

Whether it’s Buck Showalter, or Beau Bridges; this is a sweet Baseball commercial (It’s’ Buck)

Baseball has rolled out a really great commercial to start the 2015 season which we enjoyed – because it truly lets you know how great the players we watch on a nightly basis are; with their varying origins and skill-sets.

I have a friend who saw this commercial and texted ‘what a great commercial there narrated by Bridges’. I heard it, knew which one he was talking about, and while I didn’t look up during it; it does sound like Beau or Jeff Bridges (all Bridges sound the same). I replied that I thought it was Buck Showalter.

Conclusion: baseball is wonderful, and Buck Showalter sounds an awful lot like Beau or Jeff Bridges. Great commercial if you haven’t seen it, encapsulated forever here now.

Baseball