Trade Deadline Approaching, bevy of deals completed

We’ll update things through tomorrow’s afternoon trade deadline, but we’ve already seen a flurry of activity thus far. As fans, we can thank the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros for this year’s donations. Here’s a recap of the deals we’ve seen thus far:

Detroit Tigers acquire SS/3B Johnny Peralta and $ from Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians acquire P Giovanni Soto from Detroit Tigers

Los Angeles Dodgers acquire LF Scott Posednik from Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals acquire C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel from Los Angeles Dodgers

Philadelphia Phillies acquire P Roy Oswalt and $11M from Houston Astros
Houston Astros acquire P JA Happ, OF Anthony Gose, and SS Jonathan Villar from Philadelphia Phillies

San Diego Padres acquire 3B Miguel Tejada from Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles acquire P Wynn Pelzer from San Diego Padres

Texas Rangers acquire 1B/3B Jorge Cantu and $6MM from Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins acquire P Evan Reed and P Omar Poveda from Texas Rangers

Minnesota Twins acquire P Matt Capps and $500K from Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals acquire C Wilson Ramos and P Joe Testa from Minnesota Twins

Chicago White Sox acquire P Edwin Jackson from Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamonbacks acquire P Dan Hudson and P David Holmberg

Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from New York Mets
New York Mets acquire PTBNL from Toronto Blue Jays

Texas Rangers acquire 2B/SS Cristian Guzman from Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals acquire P Ryan Tatusko and possibly 1 more prospect (currently unknown) from Texas Rangers

New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman and $4MM from Houston Astros
Houston Astros acquire P Mark Melancon and IF Jimmy Paredes from New York Yankees

I had a hell of a week at work. I wasn’t able to do any blogging in the office and won’t be in the forseeable future, but I definitely wanted to react to all this and the lack of deals that were made by some teams.

While I agree with Craig Calcaterra’s list of 5 teams that need to make a deal, I’ll add two teams of my own. The Cincinnati Reds and the Tampa Bay Rays needed to make a deal, and I fear that both of those organizations are going to stand pat. If that happens, I think that these two teams will fall short of where they could potentially end up.

Both of these teams are in a position of ‘challenger’ rather than ‘champion’. They’re chasing franchises who are battle tested, who exhaust every avenue to make the move I’m talking about, and who consistently win in the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees.

Of course, there’s the official waiver deadline August 31st, but most guys worth a shit are gone by then for obvious reasons. Every team in MLB has to pass on them before they can be dealt.

Opening Day 2011 to fall on a Friday?

Something that we’re really excited about here at Diamond Hoggers: Opening Day 2011 being moved to a Friday.

Major League Baseball, trying to avoid having long underwear as part of its players’ postseason apparel, is planning to start the 2011 season in earnest on Friday, April 1 – three days earlier than the traditional Monday opener.

It would be the first time a majority of teams start the season on a Friday since 1905, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Personally, there’s a few reasons we’d love it. It would eliminate that brutal off-day in the schedule after waiting all winter and then seeing game 1 on the season. Second, you get all weekend to enjoy the opening weekend in baseball. Third, nothing is worse then the drive home from Cincinnati or your big league city knowing that you’re going back to work in a few short hours.

Taking a break from the Reds

Tonight, two future mega-stars of this game face off in Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg. That’s a game I’m going to be dialed into on my MLB at-bat on my iPhone. Jason Heyward finds himself on a 9 game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .486 during the streak.

Heyward on his matchup with Strasburg:

“It’s always great to face good pitchers; it’s always great to face the best. That’s what the major leagues are about.”

Plain and simple, I need a break from the Reds. An extended break. A break I’ll return from this weekend when there is a highly anticipated showdown between them and the Braves.

The Reds are losing to teams like the Nationals, Astros, and Brewers. That’s not going to get it done this year folks. We’re so very close, but the Reds aren’t cutting the mustard and getting those wins now that they’ll fall short of getting in late August and September. Jay Bruce has had the worst month of his career and hasn’t homered in 84 at-bats. He has 1 home run in about 150 at-bats. Clearly, this is not the player I was expecting this year. I’m extremely disappointed in the lack of power and production that he has put forth this year. Extremely. I think you have to wonder what you really have in the guy.

So my goal is this week, to turn my head from the Reds in order to sway the baseball Gods. I guess, in actuality; I’ll only miss tonight and tomorrow night’s game if I decide to watch the Friday matchup between the Reds and the Braves. At the latest, I’ll want to catch Saturday’s national game on FOX between the two teams.

But as I promised a friend last night (and I only watched an at-bat or two of the game last night in Milwaukee and listened to the rest at the gym), I’m taking the week off from the Reds.

You may never eat stadium food again. “Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati) — Inspectors saw an employee scraping food debris from a spatula using the trash bin and then trying to continue using the same spatula without cleaning it.” [Yahoo! Sports Blogs]

Garza gets his

Last night, Matt Garza became the first Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to throw a no-hitter; and the first pitcher in my recent memory to be a member of my fantasy team and accomplish the feat while in the lineup.

Garza was the fifth pitcher this season to throw a no-hitter. Folks, we are playing 1992 baseball again, and it’s trending towards being an even lower scoring season then that.

Matt Joyce hit a grand slam in this game to account for the first scoring in the 6th inning.

[Box Score]

Stephen Strasburg proves to Cincinnati he’s the real deal

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You guys wanted to see Stephen Strasburg. Guess what? We got Stephen Strasburg. He sold out our stadium. His t-shirts were sold in the team shop. He came into town, fanned 7 Reds hitters, and left 5-2 on his rookie season with the Reds lying in the wake another game back of the Cardinals.We hope you enjoyed the show. Strasburg mania. It wasn’t quite as fun as we thought it would be. But hey, at least we saw it in person.

Game was televised nationally on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball. My roommate and girlfriend were watching it on television and said that they announcers commented that Strasburg had turned this sell-out crowd and stadium into a very different environment then normal.

I’ll say this, the kid is the real deal. At first I thought that this start would be what some of his better starts would be like. But it turns out he comes out and pitches this way (still dominant at times) and people are surprised he didn’t strike out a dozen hitters.

The guy is advanced more then most of the great pitchers in baseball who have been here for 5 or 6 years; and he’s one of those rare guys of which you’d ‘pay money to see’. Other guys on that list are the special guys: Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Clemens pre-juice, Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson. Great power pitchers of the past. Strasburg should be right there someday if he stays healthy..

Strasburg was between 95-99 for his 5 and 2/3 innings of work last night. He didn’t touch 100 or go over 100 even once in the game. On this humid night when your glasses would fog out after walking out of air conditioning, he definitely had enough gas in the tank to really neutralize the Reds hitters and give the Nationals a chance to win the game.

I’ve been hard on Jay Bruce lately but I have to admit he looked decent against Strasburg. He had a hard lineout and two solid singles off him. Since Jay is primarily a singles hitter now, this is good. This is definitely the type of guy you just want to collect hits off of. The problem is, Jay singles off turds as well now too.

I remember Adam Dunn had a lot of success against Roger Clemens (7 for 16 lifetime). Maybe Bruce and Strasburg have a long career like this ahead–where Bruce gets the edge.

Here’s video of the first pitch of the game to Brandon Phillips. I also shot some zapruder film of the first time Votto and Strasburg went head to head. So yeah, nothing exciting in either one of these videos, but that’s him. That’s really him. Stephen Strasburg. Throwing gas, in Cincinnati on a hot July night in 2010.

Definitely proved why he’s worth millions of dollars on a home weekend pitching in Washington.

Gambling, it's important to me

Which is why it’s important to know about the best sportsbook during the Major League Baseball season. Why lie? Diamond Hoggers endorses BetUS as the official sportsbook of Diamond Hoggers Baseball Blog. I’ve placed hundreds of bets on the site myself. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose–the only guarantee is you’ll become more passionate about the results of Houston vs. Pittsburgh in September.

With that said, if you’re thinking of laying down a bet of who is going to be in the World Series this year, I might back off my early pick of Tampa Bay. If you’ll remember, I told you at season’s beginning that they were going to win the World Series. They’re going to make the playoffs as a wild card, but you have to ask yourself if you think they’re powerful enough to get past the mighty Yankees. I think the winner of that ALCS series wins the World Championship.

As for the National league, I still like the Atlanta Braves. I have been saying Atlanta all year. I even said Atlanta when they were on a long 8 or 9 game losing streak earlier this year.

If you stick with those three teams in your long-term World Series betting; you should feel comfortable about your odds.

Now why do we endorse BetUS for baseball betting?

Here is the biggest reason why:

In addition to making the standard Moneyline, Over/Under or Run Line wager, MLB gamblers across the globe should know that there are at least two more excellent betting routes to what could potentially be a plethora of? payday-producing MLB picks.

That’s right baseball bettors, BetUS has all the bases covered (pardon the pun) by offering MLB gamblers the most bettor-friendly Runs, Hits and Errors (R+H+E) betting odds in the online sports wagering industry.

In addition to this fun-filled betting method, avid MLB bettors can also cash in by nailing one of the Alternate Run Line odds that generally accompany every MLB game on the board.

Making an R+H+E wager is a fairly simple wager MLB bettors and one that can be very profitable when you do your homework. Think of the R+H+E wager as a props pick in NFL football.

MLB bettors may see a R+H+E line that may look something like this.

Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Over R+H+E 27? -115
Under R+H+E 27? -115

In this instance, MLB bettors needs to figure out how many combined runs, hits and errors the Brewers and Pirates will combine for, and pick either the Over or Under.

Baseball bettors may also see individual R+H+E lines for each team, where they will pick the combined total for each individual ballclub.

Alternative Run Line betting allows you to flip the odds in your favor.

Milwaukee Brewers -1? -105
Pittsburgh Pirates +1? -115

The Alternate run line wager will flip-flop these odds, making the underdog Pirates the favorite by 1.5 runs and the formerly favored Milwaukee Brewers the underdog giving them 1.5 runs.

Milwaukee Brewers +1? -340
Pittsburgh Pirates -1? +240

This form of alternate run line betting is best used when dealing with teams grossly overlooked by oddsmakers in the match-up.

Strasburg is pitching tonight, we’ll be there

“As sensational as the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg has been in his rookie campaign, he has yet to face an elite offense or pitch in a hitter-friendly park. That all will change tonight when Strasburg steps on the mound at Great American Ball Park. The Reds rank in the top five in the majors in runs scored, homers, slugging percentage and OPS, and in the top 10 in several other key statistical areas.” [The Sporting News]

The Night Before Strasburg

[Box Score]

[Better off Red] [Cincinnati.com]

Last night will go down in my personal history book as the longest amount of time I’ve been at a ball park, the longest rain delay I’ve sat through, and the latest I’ve been at a ball park to see a conclusion of the game. By the time last night’s game wrapped up, it was past midnight. Judas Priest’s “Rocking After Midnight” was blaring on the loud speakers at GABP.

We got to see a lot of Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez last night. It’s worth noting that he’s sitting on 2,776 hits. Does he hang on long enough to get to 3,000? He’s 38 years old. I think he’ll get there but it could take three more seasons to do it. Still, he’s a first ballot Hall of Fame player and I’m glad that I got to see him in person.

The struggles continued for Jay Bruce. He got his first RBI of the month with a groundout. In the first inning he laced a shot that one-hopped the wall in left center field for a double that broke the second longest hitless streak of his career at 0 for 16. After he doubled, “Born to Run” played on the loud speakers at the park. It was kind of cool.

Jay, if you ever see this; we’re sure hoping you put it all together soon. The roller coaster ride is killing us on a nightly basis. Be the player that not only you can be but that you are. Just go out and play and relax. I miss the guy who had power to all fields and who was a virutal menace to get out if you threw him a fastball.

 

I watched Nyjer Morgan a lot last night. This guy by far looks like the angriest ballplayer to ever play the game. He has a stone cold, mean look on his face like he’s ready to kill someone. Not just some of the time, but the entire game. He looks completely pissed. I asked Nyjer if he wanted some peanuts; he replied with a stone cold death stare and a simple “I’m good”.

Small man’s syndrome?

I miss Adam Dunn. It’s no secret. Dunn struck out to end the game last night on a questionable call. I had a feeling that he was going to celebrate his homecoming with a majestic blast off Micah Owings or Mike Leake. It wasn’t meant to be on this night. Dunn remains the player who has homered more times then any other when I’m in attendance at the ballpark. Joey Votto is gaining quickly.

 

Dunner in the dugout. Before the game he did his ritual that I saw him do a hundred times when he was a Red. He takes a giant cooler of water up on to the bench in the dugout and takes out a wet towel from the cooler. He throws the towel over his face until his head is completely soaked. He does this after running sprints (jogging) lightly in the outfield. Just thought I’d share, he’s still preparing to play in the same way.

 

And then there’s Mike Leake. Leake gets the first victory of the year while I’m at the ballpark. This is the second time I’ve seen him pitch in person. Seems like I always draw Arroyo or Harang. But on this night, Mike Leake was mighty enough to improve to 7-1 on his career.

Joey Votto: Gladiator with a Louisville Slugger

The most impressive thing I saw last night from my viewpoint was Joey Votto’s 1st inning home run to the opposite field. Votto hits backside bombs, which not every player in this league is gifted to do. Where he hit that 3-run bomb last night isn’t a place where left handed hitters are supposed to reach all of the time. It was clearly left-center. That is special power.

I’ve said it before, but if I’m seeing it, scouts are seeing it. This guy is morphing into an offensive monster right in front of our eyes.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen him hit this type of home run. He hit a backside bomb on Opening Day and it landed just rows of where I was perched.


Votto is having one of those seasons. It’s one of those rare seasons a player has maybe once or twice in a career. As a fan, you come across it once or twice in 10 to 20 years of following a franchise. The stars are aligned, and Votto is raking for a contending team.

The opposition; the advanced scouts, they cannot find a hole in his game right now. They’ve run out of ways to get him out consistently. There is no solution for Joey Votto right now. You either walk him and increase his on base average and let him score runs against you, or you pay the piper and try and get him out. If you do that, he’s going to hurt you. His blast last night sounded like a gun shot off of the bat.

As someone who is very knowledgeable of the game said to me at the ballpark after the game last night; if the Reds make the playoffs, Joey Votto is going to be the MVP.

I’m officially on the Votto bandwagon. The guy is a stud. Below is a short video shot the pitch before he launched that 3-run parabola into the left centerfield stands.

The Cincinnati Reds Diamond Club is back on top

A little over a year ago, I wrote a review about the Diamond Club Seats at Great American Ball Park and I talked about how it had decreased from the original overall experience that existed when I first attended a Diamond Club game in 2004.

I’ve got to say, it’s pretty much back to being the greatest viewing experience in baseball.

The buffet last night was more then impressive. Castellini and company; or whoever he puts in charge of overseeing this, they’re doing a great job. I can see Big Bob saying to his Diamond Club Cronies, like Ace Rothstein in Casino “I want an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.”

Like I said, it’s back to being a great experience just based on quality alone. There are a lot worse places to spend a 2 hour rain delay. The Diamond Club is absolutely tits and gives you a closer look up close and personal with most members of the Reds. If you’re a die-hard fan, I know it’s outrageously expensive but you really should spend your vacation money on a ticket in the Diamond Seats.

For more photos, go to our twitterpage.

Arthur Rhodes, kicking it at the Diamond Club during last night’s rain delay

So last night we’re waiting out a 2-hour rain delay (a first in my life) and we’re in the Diamond Club watching ‘The Homestand: Milwaukee Brewers’ and the story of the 1990 Reds, and in comes Arthur Rhodes.

There were about 5 ladies in the Diamond Seats last night who happened to be the Reds team charter flight attendants. These ladies are like the players mothers away from home, as it was described to me.

Also noted, Brandon Phillips is a little prankster. You see that door that Rhodes is headed out of at :25 into the video? That’s the tunnel back to the team clubhouse. Brandon Phillips continued to crack open that ‘emergency exit’ during the entire rain delay and just peek through barely. A few times he’d open it up completely and everyone would yell “what’s up B-Phil” and he’d open it a little more and smile. Overall, our boy is about 28 going on five and you have to love him for it.

As for Arthur Rhodes, he’s a bad man.