All posts by TheNaturalMevs

On the night after the Angels clinch, some comprehensive reads on Mike Trout

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The Angels became the first team in baseball to clinch last night. The player most responsible for that was Mike Trout. Our buddy Corey sent us this old but classic read from Baseball America from 2011 that someone retweeted the other night in the wake of the Angels firing Greg Morhardt. Morhardt was the scout who gave the recommendation to draft Mike Trout.

And then there’s Dave Cameron over on FOX Sports, who shows us that Mike Trout is the best ever up until his age 22 season.

One thing was for sure all season long, when we got the alert texts from the @TroutAtBat twitter account this season, we stopped what we were doing and tuned into the at-bat on our iPhone. He’s the only guy in baseball who can command that or who ever has commanded that. We feel like we’ve paused to take notice of what we’re seeing. And even we can’t do him justice, as good as he is.

We still love you, Jay

We are hoping (and praying) that this is not the case, but it is a very real possibility that Jay Bruce is somehow inconceivably entering his final two weeks as a Cincinnati Red. It is sad, and it makes us a little sick to our stomach. This was the player we had hoped that our kids would grow up watching in Cincinnati.

There are whispers that the Reds ownership wants to clean house, and perhaps Bruce is atop that list.

From disappointing, to dispiriting to disastrous. Again: Losing a lot now is a good thing. The more the Reds lose, the less likely those in charge are to dismiss this season as an injury-bombed aberration. Insiders have suggested to me this will not be the case, that the Big Man is sufficiently hissed to do some serious housecleaning. That is good. Boldness is required, if only to change the blood. We know what the current blood can do, at its peak. It’s past that now. Time for a Keith Richards-esque transfusion. (Excellent, OG-based reference, right?)

Gulp.

While we’ve had to check out of doing the Reds every night for our own health (this is just really depressing and hard to watch) we wanted to note that Jay Bruce won the Reds a game last week with his glove, preserving a 1-0 Cueto shutout over those rotten-assed Cardinals in a game St. Louis desperately needed.

If indeed this is it – Bruce’s last ride into town – we will have a lot more to say about it at a later time. Let’s put it this way: no matter what we’re doing that final Sunday of the regular season, September 28th; we’re going to make sure we soak in Bruce’s last three or four plate appearances.

Bryce Harper continues his assault of the Mets pitching staff in New York

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Bryce Harper is just a great bet to succeed any time he’s playing in New York. Tonight he hit what play by play guy Bob Carpenter called fittingly, a ‘Ruthian Clout’ into the upper deck in right field. It was one of three hits Harper collected in a Nationals win, and he also walked.

This long home run comes off a promising young arm in Zack Wheeler, who Harper was previously 1 for 11 against with six strikeouts. Another pretty good arm that Harper adds to his wall of big game pelts.

As the below graphic will show, Harper has really slaughtered the baseball at Citi Field. His 13th home run of the 2014 season was his sixth career home run in New York.

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You look at Harper’s numbers in what hasn’t exactly been the breakout season everyone hoped for, and he’s had one of the best stretches of his career quietly since August 1st (.284, 10 HR, 19 RBI).

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Happy Saturday in Major League Baseball!

After today, by our count there are only two Saturday dates remaining in the regular season. That’s entirely awful. Mostly everyone out there – even some who love baseball – are more focused on the NCAA football schedule today and they’re simply killing time until the opening round of the MLB playoffs. That’s understandable.

It’s still hard to beat a Saturday during the baseball season when everyone is in play, and fantasy baseball championships are on the line.

And if you playing on placing a wager today, you can see the odds at allpro. Special thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers who have started us in a hole this football season.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Bryce Harper hits a monster home run off Craig Kimbrel

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Bryce Harper’s power has fully returned. As evidenced by this swing against his greatest nemesis, he might still have holes in his swing; but Craig Kimbrel found a part of the zone where such a hole does not exist.

The Nationals lost the game 6-2, and this came in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation. But Harper has taken some impressive pitcher’s deep this season, with the last two being Kimbrel and Clayton Kershaw.

It’s the classic power vs. power match-up that people always want to see at the park. Possibly the most-feared right-handed closer in the game against the young phenom made famous from his pre-highschool YouTube home runs. He was previously 1 for 7 with five strikeouts against Kimbrel, and it looked like he was headed for a sixth.

The home run was the 12th of Harper’s 2014 season and 54th in his career.

The Marlins are willing to break the bank for Giancarlo Stanton

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If you like what’s good for baseball, (we feel) that you should want the Miami Marlins to find a way to keep big Giancarlo Stanton in South Beach as their centerpiece for a long time to come.

According to a story that broke this morning by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, that’s exactly what they’re going to try to do this offseason.

“He’s the leader of this franchise,” Marlins president David Samson tells USA TODAY Sports. “We always knew the talent he had, but what he’s done this year, playing every day, he’s the definition of a game-changer.

“We call him a no-food player. A no-bathroom player. When he comes to the plate, nobody leaves their seat.

We like that second quote by David Samson – that’s exactly what Stanton is.

The article by USA Today seems to highlight the Marlins’ bright future. There are some pieces, but we don’t quite feel that it’s a roster destined for anything beyond mediocrity. The Marlins need to find a way to re-sign Stanton and then get extremely creative in attracting more talent up and down the roster to truly build around the player who could become the highest-paid in Marlins history.

Make no mistake about it, we’re really hoping Stanton signs that long-term contract in Miami. There are rumors that Stanton could become baseball’s first $300 million dollar player. If his next eight to ten years are anything like this one, he is deserving of that.

When you see this, you know you’ve heard the Death knell for the Indians’ season

Alright, so I feel halfway bad posting this. But I am going to post it anyways for all those Cleveland Indians fans who might have had an ounce of hope left in them. Your season ended last night. J.D. Martinez took that swell kid Cody Allen out to deep center, and with it you can begin looking forward to the Browns 6-10 season that awaits them here in the fall.

I was in a fantasy football draft with about a half dozen Cleveland Indians fans when Martinez got this paydirt, and each one of them had a unique obscenity to truly capture the moment. You could tell that they too knew; deep down inside, that another Indians season will end without delivering the ultimate joy of victory.

Cleveland collapses are the most remarkable kinds of collapses.

News to us: Harry Caray once went out 288 consecutive nights

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I got to talking with a buddy at work today who somehow mentions that Harry Caray went out 288 consecutive days back in his heyday. They knew this because they found the legend’s diary, he said.

There’s an internet to prove my friend wasn’t lying. Harry Caray drank the fuck out of 1972.

Highlights that need documented:

Jan. 16 something unusual happens. Caray is in Miami, yet there are no expenses, just one enigmatic word, “Super.”

After that break, if indeed it was, comes 288 consecutive days in bars, not only in Chicago, but New York City, and of course on the road with the Sox, beginning with spring training in Sarasota.

The unbroken streak pauses Nov. 3, when all we get is “to K City @310.” The only completely blank day is Monday, Nov. 6 — what must THAT have been like? Then off to the races again.

[snip]

“I was out with Harry Caray a couple of times,” the Tribune’s Rick Kogan said. “It was always at the Pump Room. He was one of the most charming people in the world.”

How so?

“Drunk but joyful,” Kogan said. “It always wound up being a joyful, laughter-filled time.”

[snip]

But give Caray credit. As old-fashioned, and perhaps even pathological, as the bar-crawling seems today, there is another truth worth mentioning: Harry Caray could have taken his drinks at home. He went out because it was his job.

“He felt the bartender and bar people were his fans,” Rittenberg said. “He felt he was responsible He would stop in 10 joints. He was just a gregarious guy.”

I think I just wish that one time in my life, I could have enjoyed beers with Harry Caray. Hell, at this point I would just like to have met someone who enjoyed a drink or two with the guy.

Some things really are just larger than life. And 288 days in a row would suffice as that. I don’t know if I could handle 10 in a row right now.

Bryce Harper homers off Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium

Clayton Kershaw was so good, so on his game last evening in Los Angeles that he only allowed three hits in eight innings of work. This was the only one that counted for anything in a Dodgers 4-1 win.

No sooner did Vin Scully finish telling viewers of the broadcast that Bryce Harper was a ‘pleasant fellow’ when the lightning quick bat flipped through the zone; and oh-my-gosh Bryce Harper just took the game’s best pitcher deep into the Chavez Rivine night to legit right-center on a night when he’s got his best stuff.

In our opinion, that’s why this one – the 53rd home run of Bryce Harper’s big league career – is his most epic yet. It came on a night when he started in centerfield, at a ballpark where he’s had a season of his career wrecked.

It’s obvious that there are just few left-handed hitters in the game who can do this to Kershaw. It’s obvious that this shows what Harper is capable of when he’s right and he’s on. But more than anything it’s just epic that he took top-of-his-game Kershaw out to those deep yellow bleachers in a pitchers’ park on a night when Kershaw was nearly unhittable (and had owned Harper pretty good in the first two at-bats).

One Last Stop for the Big Donkey

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In what is looking like the final chapter in a long and storied career of home runs, Adam Dunn hit his 461st career blast today in his first at-bat as an Oakland Athletic.

Let us just say; we’re totally not ready for a baseball world without Adam Dunn being a part of it. It seems like just yesterday it was May of 2002, and Dunn was 22 years old in his first full big league season; and we were saying hello to him just as he came out of the Cincinnati dugout at old Riverfront Stadium before a game to get warm.

Where did the years go!

At least Dunn will finally get a chance to appear in some postseason games unless something unlikely happens. And Billy Beane finally has that coveted player that was written about in Moneyball.

What major Changes will Rob Manfred make as new MLB Comissioner?

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Have you gotten to know Rob Manfred yet?

After the 2014 MLB season, the 55-year old Harvard Law graduate will have the game resting in his hands. Now we speculate on some of the major changes he brings to the game during his tenure.

According to My Top Sportsbooks, here are the odds on some of the changes Manfred could implement:

• All-Star Game no longer determines home field for World Series
Odds: 10/1

• More Playoff Teams Added
Odds: 25/1

• Playoff teams taken away
Odds: 120/1

• Season is shortened
Odds: 200/1

• Ties established for the regular season
Odds: 200/1

• Teams are contracted
Odds: 40/1

• Teams added in Mexico/Puerto Rico/etc.
Odds: 50/1

• DH in both leagues
Odds: 80/1

• DH is abolished
Odds: 200/1

• Labor Peace ends with Strike
Odds: 75/1

• Labor Peace Ends with Lockout
Odds: 25/1

• Labor Peace continues
Odds: 10/1

• PED policy altered
Odds: 200/1

• Pitch Clock Instituted
Odds: 30/1

• Instant Replay expanded
Odds: 20/1

• Salary Cap instituted
Odds: 80/1

• No commercials during pitching changes
Odds: 100/1

• No warm up pitches after entering from bullpen
Odds: 80/1

• Abolish chewing tobacco
Odds: 4/1

Of these, if we were forced to pick two that were most likely; it would be that chewing tobacco is abolished. And we can see this happening soon, with the wake of Tony Gwynn’s death and Curt Schilling’s admission that tobacco caused his cancer battle.

Some of the stuff listed there is absolutely horrible. Shortening a season or abolishing the DH; these are wholesale changes that we want NOTHING to do with. Still, the best odds of all are that something not even listed here ends up being part of Manfred’s vision with baseball’s future.

Mike Trout sets a career high in home runs

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In an odd turn of events, the Anaheim Angels have won six games in a row; including a four-game sweep of the team that was supposed to win the American League West after acquiring the two biggest arms on the trade market. In yesterday’s 8-1 win in Anaheim, Mike Trout drove in three runs and set a new career high for home runs in a season with his 31st of the year off Jesse Chavez on a pitch that was in a zone that should never be sniffed to Mike Trout:

The Angels now sit five full games up on the Athletics who are scrambling to find some offense. Many awoke to the news yesterday that Adam Dunn had been traded to the Athletics at the waiver wire deadline.

Bryce Harper took a liking to Safeco Field

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Baseball can be such an odd game. With Bryce Harper struggling all season long, he hit two monster home runs in two at-bats in a pitcher’s park against Hishashi Iwakuma; a guy who doesn’t surrender a lot of long balls.

The Nationals still ended up losing the game 5-3 the day before Labor Day.

In all, Harper had three home runs in the series and now has ten on the year. He had three hit games in the Friday and Sunday games when Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma were the starting pitchers.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s the final Saturday in August in the 2014 season, and College Football is underway. Soon the weather and leaves will change; the field of MLB teams in play will be reduced to just a dozen or less, and the season will wind down.

Your little siblings are likely back in college – leaving town with only memories of what you did with your summer together.

The baseball season rolls along, beautifully and elegantly for us all. Full slate of games today as always during the best day of the week in the game of baseball.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.