Bryce Harper homers against his favorite team, the Yankees

HarperHR15

How do you begin the week after you have been named National League Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks (he’s just the 10th player in Major League history to achieve this feat)? You hit a home run against your favorite boyhood team.

Bryce Harper was clearly looking fastball from Nate Eovaldi, but it didn’t matter in the end. It wasn’t the longest home run Bryce Harper has hit, but it definitely was impressive. Harper gets bat to the ball on an offspeed pitch down in the zone, and the pitch lands in the front row of right-center field at Nationals Park.

This was the 15th home run of Harper’s 2015 season. My daughter, who is six months old today; sat calmly on my lap just before her bedtime to watch this at-bat of Harper’s against who my wife says is her favorite team, the Yankees. In the first baseball season of her life; through 40 team games played, Bryce Harper is on a 61-home run pace.

The Nationals won the game 8-6 in extra innings on a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off home run.

Jeffrey Loria fired the shit out of Mike Redmond after the Marlins were one-hit today

mike-redmond-ap2

That little curmudgeon bridge-troll owner of the Marlins sure does know hot to fire a manager or two.

Shelby Miller was one out away from a no-hitter when Justin Bour singled in the bottom of the ninth to save Redmond from that embarrassment. It seemed by the time Redmond reached the clubhouse, ownership and security were there waiting on him to tell him he was re-joining the workforce.

Literally minutes after the game completed (Braves swept), news came across the wire that Mike Redmond had been fired. From the reactions I gathered on twitter, Marlins fans are very unhappy about this. Just 23.5% of the season is completed. Redmond really improved the club last year, so much that he received an extension through 2017.

I can’t disagree with this at all. I’ve watched Miami a lot this season, and they have been noticeably flat. Night after night, they lose in a heartbreaking fashion or fail to show up at all. This team has talent, I would argue that with anyone. After the way they’ve wasted several game-breaking Stanton homers in the past calendar week; it was just time. Redmond was not the man for the job. The swiftness of this decision just further silently states that ownership knows this team is capable of more and losing won’t be tolerated.

It’s shrill but I liked the move. This cold firing did somewhat remind me of when the Mets fired Willie Randolph in what seemed like the middle of the night a few seasons back. I think they called old Willie up at 3:00 AM to tell him he was fired, just to be pricks. The Wilpons were pricks, too.

Reds Swept out of Town on a Melancholy Sunday

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 9.26.58 PM

[Giants 9, Reds 8]

The Reds battled hard today to try to spit the hook and avoid the sweep at home at the hands of the World Champions. Every time they cut the deficit to one, the Giants would add one. Finally, the Reds ran out of outs.

And man, I’ve been in Cincinnati countless times on one of these Sunday’s when the team loses. It’s always an afternoon game and you have the slow solemn walk back to your car, for me it was usually up to Vine and 5th street. The town seems still. The club is leaving town and the town will stay still for several days until the team returns and there is life again and the hope of victories for a town that loves their club.

Jay Bruce had another one of those games; it makes you say ‘here he comes’ with one of his customary hot streaks. He was a few feet away from a grand slam with a single off the wall. Later in the game he connected and took a tough lefty deep in Jeremy Affeldt. All the tell-tale signs are there. Jay Bruce is coming out of this awful funk. It was his first three-hit game since September of 2014. If the Reds have any hope of being spoken for until late in the year, it’s paramount that Bruce returns to form.

It was also good to see Brandon Phillips go yard. There of course were more negatives than positives today. And it was a day that makes you realize why this year’s’ Reds team is so frustrating to watch for nine innings. They aren’t sound or consistent in any facet of the game. The bullpen blows up all hopes in a soul-crushing, demeaning fashion every time hope appears.

So, this song fits. Until the team returns to town and tries to get back on the horse and right this ship to make one last run with this core.

Bryce Harper homers out the backdoor in San Diego, does everything else too

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+San+Diego+ulQ9MELP2b3l

[Box Score]

If you watched Bryce Harper this weekend, you saw just about everything there was to see done by a player on a baseball field. He put up a pretty insane weekend in baseball’s finest pitcher’s landscape, Petco Park.

On Saturday, he didn’t homer; so you didn’t get a post. But he did bunt for a hit (finally), and get on base three times. He also stole a bag Friday night.

On Sunday, Harper tripled, infield singled, and finished off the Padres with a three-run line shot to the direct opposite field off Dale Thayer.

It was his 14th home run of the season and Stephen Strasburg was the winning pitcher in a 10-5 ballgame. Right now, at age 22, on this date; it’s hard to argue that Harper is not the best player on the planet. He has a Barry Bonds slash-line right now.

Miguel Cabrera’s 400th Career Home Run

Miguel+Cabrera+Detroit+Tigers+v+St+Louis+Cardinals+62ZO98u2pA6l

One of our favorite warriors across baseball has reached a milestone, a night after Adrian Beltre reached the same. He’s 32 years old, and he’s at 400 career big flies.

We’ve always loved the way he’s seemingly quietly gone about his business, overcame the same issues that we all as humans face, played hurt, and just generally went out and mashed.

We’ve all heard the stories of 17-year old Miguel Cabrera down in Venezuela, hitting bombs off big leaguers who were throwing inside on him to intimidate the young man, only to offer him something soft and away that he yanked out of the park.

He’s cut from a different cloth, you see. Miguel Cabrera’s come along once every 30 or 40 years. Or maybe once in a lifetime.

Sometimes a guy like Cabrera gets overlooked because of the Harper’s, or Trout’s, or Bryant’s. It shouldn’t be that way.

When it comes to yoking a baseball – the one he hit today was a blast to dead center in the heart of baseball country, St. Louis; in the rain – there isn’t a man alive who has a more sound fundamental stroke.

And good for the Tigers on beating those rotten, luck-box Redbirds 4-3 in ten innings for the second straight day.

Summoning Power from the Baseball Gods

BruceHR6

If such baseball Gods exist, we are summoning their healing powers for one Jay Bruce. Hopefully, this was the swing that changes Bruce’s season and maybe his career.

Yes, the Reds were trounced at home for the second night in a row 11-2 by those pest Giants. Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam and Baby Giraffe Brandon Belt homered for the second straight night.

But Bruce hit a hanging pitch from Ryan Vogelsong into the seats, singled, and almost homered in his first at bat, flying out to the wall in right center. He looked a little better.

This was Bruce’s 188th career homer, all as a Red. This was game number 1001 in a Reds uniform. We are hoping that the final chapter has not been written for Bruce in a Reds uniform. We’re almost to Memorial Day; and it’s simply time to get going. Time to circle the wagons. Ride or die time. Now or never.

Each game represents sands in the hourglass. Every pitch, every at-bat. As Mo Egger recently pointed out, it’s not a young player finding his way, nor is it an aging veteran we are discussing here. This is an integral part of the Reds core.

This is a guy we love. But the numbers never really lie. Here’s to the baseball Gods bringing some of that magic to Jay Bruce’s bat from here forth and sending him on one of those customary hot streaks that only Jay Bruce has (we’ve all seen them) which makes us question the bane of our existence and defies everything we had seen before it.

A Great Read on Steve Garvey, Los Angeles, Life off the Field, Hollywood, the Dodgers, etc.

sg2

We had thought we linked this story done in 1980 for Newsweek, Inside Sports by one of our favorite writers – Pat Jordan – long ago. Stumbling through the archives, it’s nowhere to be found. We originally read this last year via the Deadspin Stacks.

If you’ve got some down time on a Saturday and you’re around the computer, and you want to read a weird story about what it was like to be a star player in Los Angeles in the 1980’s (which later became infamous writing with some of the things that came out about Garvey), you should read this.

Friggin’ love Pat Jordan. Some of his Deadspin excerpts here.

Adrian Beltre hit his 400th home run last night in Texas

Adrian+Beltre+Cleveland+Indians+v+Texas+Rangers+V49zZyA-figl

[Box Score]

Adrian Beltre has made quite a Hall of Fame case for himself as one of the best ever. He’s joined an elite club by hitting his 400th home run last night off Bruce Chen.

Beltre has a lifetime 78.8 bWAR for you Sabermetrics folks. He absolutely has put up the numbers with his bat to be a likely Hall of Famer.

Texas as a team is in a weird limbo with their roster. They’re definitely not good and have all kinds of problems with pitching, yet the roster is littered with aging veterans just forced to play out the string.

In what is certain to be a season of struggle, Beltre provided the home fans with a big moment. And everyone got to touch the head!

Your Saturday Baseball Post

BvnFZUeIIAI41VB

It’s hard to believe we are just a week from Memorial Day Weekend, which means in baseball the things you are seeing are officially real and not a figment of your imagination.

Saturday early afternoon and morning are the best time of the week to be a baseball fan. Soon, your neighborhood pool will be open and the AC will need to be on 24/7 and the dog days of summer will be upon us. Cherish these times as a baseball fan. If you’re forced into doing some type of yardwork or labor by your wife, put a game on the radio and listen to a few innings. The work will pass and the ballgame will be good for your well being.

Baseball is the greatest sport on earth and we salute it with this weekly post.

Now, for your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a ballpark loudspeaker near you. We’re going with a little REO Speedwagon. Because REO Speedwagon is one of the greatest 80’s groups ever. You cannot listen to this song and be anything but happy.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. Enjoy your Saturday and full slate of games. Don’t you dare forget to set all your fantasy lineups.

A Country Breakfast Past Midnight Decides the Gentleman’s Cup Game

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 12.15.30 PM

 

This week five Gentleman’s Game Cup series was decided by two ‘great’ calls by Swindaman3: the stones to use Clay Buchholz, who delivered 36.2 points with 11 strikeouts in Seattle; and a contrarian play of Billy Butler in a game that got wild late out in Oakland.

Diamondhoggers led the contest almost the entire way until when it mattered, aided by 26 points from Gerardo Parra and 30 points from two-homer Ryan Braun.

Who would know that a late-night base hit by Country Breakfast that didn’t even make Sportcenter could decide such high drama.

Four of the five contestants used Clayton Kershaw who scored 28.8 points.

 

Yearly Standings:
Diamondhoggers – 23 points
DStars45 – 19 points
t3bird04 – 17 Points
Swindaman3 – 17 Points
Jsquad34 – 13 Points

Here’s a copy of the winning lineup that got the job done for Swindaman3:

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 12.15.37 PM

 

The Gentleman’s Cup Series is heating up with the weather. Things are getting tight in the middle and Diamondhoggers is beginning to distance themselves from the likes of JSquad34. But we have an entire summer of Gentleman Fun to decide the victor.

Will a late-night Country Breakfast give someone a gallstone attack next weekend? Will anyone have the audacity to use Clay Buchholz once again? Will Pete Kozma ever make an appearance in the Gents cocktail party?

You must all stay tuned to find out.

Bryce Harper makes Petco Park Play Small

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+San+Diego+kETtrWcp6pSl

[Box Score]

On the night that the Washington Nationals caught the New York Mets in the win column, Bryce Harper wrestled away the National League lead in home runs from Todd Frazier. He homered off a guy who isn’t famous enough to have a post tag on this blog named Shawn Kelley. Kelley was just trying to mop-up for Odrisamer Despaigne and Harper caught an off-speed pitch for his 13th home run of the 2015 season.

Harper also singled twice and walked. His current slash line sits at .317/.460/.690, which is Barry Bondsian. If he manages to stay healthy, he’s going to put together a special season for everyone that has been so patiently or impatiently waiting on it.

Poor Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo+Stanton+Atlanta+Braves+v+Miami+Marlins+QNXiBk976dJl

Note to the Marlins – when Giancarlo Stanton homers; especially twice – you should win more often than you lose.

The Marlins dropped another one tonight. The headlines are all about Stanton’s 474-foot blast that landed in the camera well in center field; another rarely-reached spot in a park that he’s touched now with a baseball. That blast tied the game at 3-3.

Earlier in the game, he hit a blast off Julio Teheran to tie the game at 2-2.

It has to be frustrating playing for a 16-20 team that has floundered and underachieved all season. Stanton leads the National League in RBI but the Fish refuse to gel. After a while it just wears on a guy, no matter how many times he makes the SportsCenter Top 10 with his titanic video-game blasts.

That makes ten home runs on the season now for Stanton. He’s probably going to keep doing it too. He has 25 home runs of 450 feet or more since 2010. That’s ten more than any other player in baseball in that span of time.

Baseball