All posts by TheNaturalMevs

Bryce Harper’s Thunderous Opposite Field Home Run off Jon Lester at Wrigley Field

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[Nationals 3, Cubs 0]

It was announced on Wednesday that Bryce Harper was the leading vote-getter in the National league for the first update of All-Star voting. On Wednesday night at Wrigley Field off Jon Lester, he hit his National League leading 18th home run of the season.

It was a shot to the opposite field that didn’t need wind, just like Harper said when the series started. It was his 18th home run of the 2015 season, this time he was the one tying Nelson Cruz (who earlier in the afternoon hit his 18th of the season as well) – how many times have these two guys homered on the same day this year?

We continue to marvel at the power Bryce Harper has to the opposite field. He’s now on pace for 62 home runs on the season.

Happy Jay Bruce Day!

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What? You thought we wouldn’t recognize this holiday in the Queen City because a guy is hitting .225? That’s a .225 on the rise, to be exact!

On May 27th, the day that Jay Bruce made his splendid debut in 2008; he’s always been pretty close to money in the bank. Last year he went just 1 for 4 and did not leave the yard in Los Angeles against Zack Greinke. But Bruce has homered four times on this date in his career, and has a couple huge performances to his name on the day he made his big league debut.

You look at the slate tomorrow and everything is coming up Bruce: Right hander on the mound in Kyle Kendrick – CHECK. Game in Cincinnati, where Bruce has been significantly better in his career – CHECK. Afternoon getaway game where Bruce seems to do most of his damage – CHECK. Date on the calendar is May 27th – that too.

Can’t believe Jay Bruce has been in the big leagues seven years now. Time absolutely flies. Here’s to Bruce finding the seats tomorrow with at least one and continuing to enjoy May as his best historical month. And maybe the Reds can win two in a row for what seems to be the first time in two weeks.

If indeed this is the last Jay Bruce day we are to celebrate with #32 in a Reds uniform, we want it to be a memorable one. We’re calling it now, Bruce gets a couple of knocks and homers. Reds win.

Bryce Harper does not need the Wrigley Field Gail Force Wind; but it doesn’t hurt

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper said before yesterday’s Memorial Day afternoon match-up that with power like his, he didn’t need the 20-plus MPH winds that were being forecasted at Wrigley Field.

Winds were flying out at about 17 MPH on Tuesday night, when Harper came to bat against Kyle Hendricks who held a 1-0 lead. Harper gets a ball in the air with some backspin, it looks like your garden-variety pop out; and Harper shucks his bat aside in disgust. Except, look at Coghlan the left-fielder. He just keeps drifting and the ball keeps going.

It lands in the bleachers for Harper’s 17th home run of the season and 12th in May. It is referred to as a ‘towering home run’ by the guys doing the play by play.

This tied the game at 1-1, and the Nationals would add one on a Denard Span home run to make it 2-1. And then Kris Bryant hit one out to tie the game. From there, Addison Russell would win it in the bottom of the ninth with a gapper. Nice little ballgame with a couple homers from the young stars.

Memorial Day Weekend is a time to celebrate baseball

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I’ve always really loved Memorial Day weekend, I would guess due to it’s strong connection to the game I love most. As a kid this was always the weekend that I would be playing in a big baseball tournament that would kick off my team’s summer season. It was full of new hope and possibility and if you had a solid weekend, your batting average was always started magically high despite what you finished the spring season of school ball at.

When I was in college and a young adult, I would go to my wife to be’s roots in New Jersey and run in the Spring Lake Five Race, and usually there were all kinds of festive things going on to kickoff summer on the Jersey Shore.

Now as an adult, it’s down to watching baseball, enjoying my neighborhood pool being officially opened, and maybe a barbecue or two. It’s still a great weekend to just enjoy the weather and count your blessings.

Another spring is in the history books, and the cold weather should be gone with it for good. It’s about to be the dog days of summer before we know it; and this weekend serves as a short pause before that happens.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s a beautiful Saturday morning of a holiday weekend, if you have a normal job you’re definitely not working Monday, and there’s a full-slate of baseball on tap for your viewing pleasure today, tomorrow, and Monday.

Summer officially begins with this weekend, it’s okay if you don’t have your tan yet. The kids are out of school and baseball finally begins to take center stage.

Your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a ballpark loudspeaker near you deals with Lionel Richie. It’s Dancing on the Ceiling. This plays good at any park in the big leagues.

Enjoy your Saturday, your holiday, and God Bless. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers, and the best game on earth. Do not burn yourself on the grill this weekend.

The Gentleman’s Cup DFS Game: Swindaman3 begins his takeover

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Friday night was a little bit of an intimidating slate, so if you jumped into the action on Draftkings or another Daily Fantasy Baseball site, you definitely deserve some props for your courage. The nightly slate featured a Coors Field game that got wild, aces all over the board, and of course the unpredictability that a full slate brings.

One man who was not scared was Swindaman3. He took the Gentleman’s Game by storm for the second week in a row, this time scoring an impressive 168.05 points. He had three hitters cross the 20-point mark (Longoria, Belt, LeMahieu) and his pitching from Archer and Greinke was good enough to make this a drama-free gentleman’s game; though there were some reports of JSquad34 throwing some furniture around in the cocktail room when Andrelton Simmons posted a zero.

Yearly Standings:
Diamondhoggers – 25 points
Swindaman3 – 22 Points
t3bird04 – 21 Points
DStars45 – 20 points
Jsquad34 – 16 Points

And congratulations to our very own t3bird04. In a contest not as heralded as The Gentleman’s Game earlier in the week; with some 110,000 contestants, he came in an astonishing 17th. He also won the $6K Flare that night! Using a Cardinals stack and some of the very tricks that have shown him success in this tournament of champions, other players with their 30 entries need be wary of t3Bird04. He is a dangerous man.

Here’s a copy of Swindaman3’s lineup from Friday night – a lineup that allowed him to move into sole possession of second place in the Gentleman’s Cup Standings:

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So what will happen next week? Will Swindaman3 continue to shoot up the standings and grab the lead over Diamondhoggers? Will DStars45 come back with a vengeance to reclaim a top spot? Will JSquad34 be satisfied with his lineup? Will the t3bird04 go out on a limb and stack Marlins? You must stay tuned for the answer.

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Bryce Harper Starts his Memorial Day Weekend by tagging Sean O’ Sullivan again

[Box Score]

Bryce Harper’s home runs are piling up so quickly that you actually begin to forget them all. What you don’t forget is that he owns this sloppy right-hander from Philadelphia named O’Sullivan.

It would be the third home run that Bryce Harper has hit off O’Sullivan this season.

Bryce Harper is completely dominating right now. What you don’t see on the video clip is he had a pretty good at-bat against O’Sullivan prior to hitting this screaming line drive out the direct other way in Washington (not a hitter’s park), and this isn’t a towering home run or anything. But if a left-handed hitter hitting a line drive to left field for a single is a ‘nice piece of hitting’, what is it when he hits that line to left field and it goes 380 feet?

The answer is, it’s the best young power hitter in the game today. Ironic that it is Memorial Day weekend, when all things in baseball that you see are real; and Bryce Harper is on a 62-home run pace during his age 22 season. He’s been so good that it’s brought back the Harper vs. Trout debate somehow. There is talk of Harper and Nelson Cruz giving us a record home run chase this season, which seems premature at this point. Or does it?

As for the game – these Nationals are pretty exciting to watch. They have won 18 of their last 22 games. If you have been paying attention, they have shown you they can win the 2-1 with brilliant pitching from a Max Scherzer or they can slug it out with you and win 10-8 if their starter lets them down. They aren’t at full strength, but they are very, very good.

As for baseball handicapping, we were confident enough in the Nationals last night to bet them at -270 odds. If you had them at an online betting sportsbook like CarbonSports.ag you would have received a line similar to this that pays you $100 for that $270 bet.

Bryce Harper homers against his favorite team, the Yankees

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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

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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

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[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

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[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

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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

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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.