All posts by TheNaturalMevs

The Toddfather is at his Zenith

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There just isn’t much to cheer about as a Reds fan right now. The Reds are playing out a string here in late June and in a season that they welcome the All Star Game, the team just seems so ‘blah’.

They dropped two games today, one the completion of a suspended game in 13 innings and the other becoming the first belt notch in Steven Matz’s career in Queens.

But there is Todd Frazier; the beacon of light. The Toddfather just hit his 25th homer of the year in the team’s 74th game. George Foster holds the record with 52 home runs which he hit in his MVP season of 1977. Right now, Frazier is in the hunt for this team record and 40 home runs seems a lock.

I have to admit, I always thought Frazier would have a few Aaron Boone type years where he showed flashes of first-round brilliance at the big league level. But I always saw Frazier as more of a secondary start to the Bruce’s and Votto’s of the world. Frazier at this point is completely leveling any expectation I had of him. Little league swing or not, the guy has a .978 OPS and is going to catch Giancarlo for the National League home run lead shortly.

He’s a good dude who goes about his game quietly, and he’s developed into a hell of a power hitter. That doesn’t go without salute in these parts. Plus, our wife loves him!

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s hard to believe that spring has spawned into the final Saturday in June already. The season is in full swing, and 75% of the action today kicks off at or before 4:00. It’s kind of a weird Saturday slate.

As with all Saturday’s during the baseball season; it’s the best day of the week and we salute the game we love with this post.

We’re spending the entire weekend taking care of our seven month old for the first time without mommy. If it weren’t for a nap that will surely be all too short, we wouldn’t even have time to do this post.

Your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a loud speaker at a ballpark near you is One More Try by George Michael.

Enjoy your Saturday. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers Baseball Blog.

A Friday Night at the DFS Gentleman’s Cup Game: The One Where Franlin Morales & Stephen Vogt Serve a Midnight Shitburger

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It wasn’t a play that would be shown on highlight reels (actually, I did see it run on MLB Tonight once). But time was running late in the Gentleman’s Game – and I held a half point lead over JSquad34 – having just captured the flag from DStars45 an hour earlier with a Mike Trout home run.

And then it happened. It didn’t change the outcome of the Royals 5-2 win in Oakland much; but it stole the Gentleman’s Game, a tournament of champions right out from under me late.

Franklin Morales drilled Stephen Vogt with a 2-2 pitch. The two points awarded on Draftkings allowed JSquad34 to take a small lead. My hopes went out the window when Efren Navarro didn’t come to the plate in the bottom of the ninth for the Angels. Who the Hell attaches their hopes to Efren Navarro anyways? I deserved to lose.

JSquad’s win was his second in a row. No easy task with this bunch. Diamondhoggers got off the mat to avoid another last place finish but it feels half-hearted in not winning the thing after getting that close.

The Gentleman’s Game MVP had to be Noah Syndergaard and his 27 points against the Cincinnati Reds. It was a bold move by JSquad34 with all of the great arms that were going last night; he was the only contestant to use Syndergaard.

The Gents game turd might have been Giancarlo Stanton, checking in with a zero and owned by 60% of the field at his hefty price, and he  broke his damn hand.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 39 points
t3bird04 – 37 Points
Swindaman3 – 36 Points
Jsquad34 – 36 Points
Diamondhoggers – 33 points

Here’s JSquad34’s winning lineup:

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Our own t3bird04 had a bit of an off night and DStars45 was on vacation. This made for a Gentleman’s Game that should have been ripe for the picking. They’ll be back next week with very solid efforts. This was a golden opportunity missed by Swindaman3 and Diamondhoggers to gain a ‘5’ in the standings. An opportunity that JSquad34 leaped at.

JD Martinez has a three homer game

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We always thought J.D. Martinez had some thunder in his bat. It’s easy to forget he hit .315 last season with 23 home runs. You take a pup like that and put him around Miguel Cabrera long enough, he’s going to learn a few good tricks.

Today, he hit three home runs at Yankee Stadium on Father’s Day. He’s up to 16 now on the season.

Any time a guy hits three long ones in a game, that’s enough to get some run on this blog. We like J.D. just fine anyways.

Bryce Harper anoints Father’s Day with a Home Run Blast

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How would Bryce Harper follow up Saturday’s 23rd home run of the season on Father’s Day? With his 24th of the year off Charlie “Chuck” Morton of course. The Nationals scored nine runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 easy win. This was the swing that got them on the board first.

At end of watch today, Harper was hitting .345 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI. He’s on a 56 home run, 132 RBI pace.

Bryce Harper reaches a new career high in home runs on a day he wasn’t supposed to play

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We weren’t expecting much from Bryce Harper today. His season almost ended the other night and he was facing Francisco Liriano who has been the ‘Lights Out’ version lately.

Harper answered the bell, and until the whole Max Scherzer Perfect Game thing took over as the game’s biggest storyline; without a doubt it was Harper’s mammoth home run onto the lawn in center that would have grabbed headlines.

It looked like an 86 MPH slider he hit out to dead center.

I think when Harper got started on this home run binge, a lot of people figured we were seeing the breakout of a tremendous power hitter. As evidenced all year long and by his next at bat when he hit a single through the left side (he uses the whole field often), we are just seeing the development of a great all-around hitter. This is a guy who could pretty easily win a batting title it looks like and someone who perennially could be over the .300 mark.

There’s just no great book on how to get him out, which is why you see some of the hottest pitchers in the league surrendering hits and homers to him regularly.

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Max Scherzer’s Almost Perfect Game No-Hitter

[Nationals 6, Pirates 0]

Big time baseball history on back to back days.

And Max Scherzer was so close to baseball immortality. Not that a no-hitter is anything to roll your eyes about. It’s still baseball immortality. And his last two games have seen him throw 18 innings, allow one hit and strike out 26 hitters. But that little son of a bitch Jose Tabata! A guy who has absolutely done nothing but disappoint me, every Pirates fan out there, and piss off his teammates in spring training. He’s on the last legs of his career here. The game was out of reach; and Tabata leans into one.

The funny part of this is that I have several friends who are fans of other teams; and they all said the same thing “I’m genuinely pissed right now about that” via text. I felt the same way.

Most pitchers as a whole; they bore me. To me, they’re all like NFL kickers. They come and they go. They’re interchangeable parts. They’re volatile. I like hitters. I like offense. I don’t feel this way about Scherzer though. I like watching him throw. He blows away hitters and when he does it feels like you’re watching a home run. It’s exciting. He’s stomping around the mound like a damn condor and he’s animated. He’s all ate up and into it. He’s firing up his teammates. Max Scherzer is what pitching should look like.

Might I say that the last two outings have signaled a full changing of the guard? If I was locked in a jail for life and I was allowed by the courts to send one pitcher to the mound to win the game and get me out of jail; it would be Scherzer. It’s him and then everyone else right now in my mind.

And my daughter behaved magically in that ninth inning. I’m sitting there with her in her swing and it’s almost bed time. I found myself looking at her when I thought she was going to lose it and I’m telling her ‘this guy might make history’. Suddenly a serenity came over her – she sat there like a perfect angel and stared at me and let me watch the ninth inning in peace. Even she knows Max Scherzer is awesome.

3,000 Hits for Alex Rodriguez

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Alex Rodriguez joined baseball history last night, joining the 3,000 hit club with a home run. He’s only the third player in history (Wade Boggs, Derek Jeter the others) to reach the feat with a home run. Justin Verlander forever holds the dubious distinction of being the man who surrendered it to Rodriguez.

We thought we would see it Thursday night but Rodriguez lined out to right field in his final late at-bat against Miami. We were at the park when this happened, so we didn’t get to tune in.

An interesting footnote, Zach Hample caught the ball. We once interviewed him on this blog. He made a cool entry to his blog about it.

Yankees win 7-2 on a Friday night in the Bronx. And all worked out pretty perfectly for the former Centaur Man Rodriguez.

JSquad34 Takes home his first gentleman’s game of 2015

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After JSquad34’s incredible 176.80 outburst in the Friday Night Gentleman’s Cup game, we now have a two-way tie atop the leaderboard and a new low man on the totem pole; me.

Chris Sale was definite MVP of the Gentleman’s Game last night, striking out 14 hitters and tallying 44+ points for the two owners the used him. The two owners that used him finished first and second. Carlos Carrasco was probably the best candidate for Gents Game Turd; owned by 80% of the contestants and posting just 13 subpar points. He also robbed me blind in the rest of my cash game environments last night. Carlos Carrasco is a bastard.

Before we get into the secret sauce that got JSquad34 off the schneid for good, here is a look at the updated standings:

Yearly Standings:
t3bird04 – 36 Points
DStars45 – 36 points
Swindaman3 – 34 Points
Jsquad34 – 31 Points
Diamondhoggers – 29 points

And now a copy of the winning lineup:

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JSquad collected homers from Stephen Vogt, Randall Grichuk, Kolten Wong, and Ryan Howard. He also had very good performances from Jason Heyward and Matt Carpenter.

It’s going to take a soul-searching effort for Diamond Hoggers to regain their confidence in this contest of Champions and get back in this. It’s going to take risks and hard work. It’s going to take having the guts to use the likes of Carlos Frias and other scrub pitchers who will come up big out of nowhere. You cannot win a Gentleman’s Game with Jason Rogers, Jeff Francoeur, and Gerardo Parra. It simply will not happen.

Harper Crisis Averted

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Many fantasy owners and baseball fans can breath a sigh of relief; for now.

I wouldn’t expect too much with Harper going against Francisco Liriano down at Nationals Park this afternoon. Still, it’s great to see he’s in the lineup. When we first saw the injury the other night, we were pretty sure he had blown his knee up.

The Reds shut out the Marlins on an overcast Friday Night

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[Reds 5, Marlins 0]

It didn’t look like a paid attendance of 33,379 on a decent but cloud-covered night in the Queen City when you looked up in the stands. But those who turned out to see the Reds take on the Marlins in this mid-June contest got what they wanted, a Reds win. The Reds are now 2-0 this season when we attend the game.

I took my wife, sister, and dad to the game. When my dad and I were walking down to our seats the PA announcer came over the loud speaker and asked for a moment of silence in honor of fallen Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim. The announcer said Kim had been killed in the line of duty earlier in the morning, marking the first police officer killed in the line of duty since 2000. Very sad story and solemn start to the night.

It was a great night though, the weather held up and my family had a great time. My dad said it was the best seats he had ever had and a perfect start to Father’s Day weekend. If this is the last game I get to attend with my dad, we had a great time.

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I banked so heavily on Christian Yelich having a big year for me in fantasy baseball, and he’s hitting .233 on June 19th’s ending. He went 1 for 4, and was rang up looking to end the first inning just after this picture was taken.

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Proud to say I got to see Giancarlo Stanton play during this legendary season he’s having. He went 0 for 4 though.

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The fastest man in the big leagues aside from Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon. He’s hitting .355 and leading the National League in hitting in stark contrast to Yelich.

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Mike Leake was real good last night. He had a no-hitter into the 6th inning when Derek Dietrich singled to break it up through the left side. Leake went seven innings, allowed only two hits, walked three and struck out seven. Leake improved to 4-4 on the year.

Jay Bruce had a big double to put the game on ice late.  Marlon Byrd had a big home run to get the Reds on the board early. Todd Frazier made an insane stop at third base.

All in all, really good night at the ballpark. The Reds sit at 31-35, and hopes have not completely faded yet of them getting to .500 on the season.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s a rainy Saturday, and in a few hours I’ll be spending the rest of the day watching my seven month old daughter for the rest of the day while my wife caters a wedding. There will be little baseball for me until bed time.

That said, it’s still a Saturday, and we put the flag at half mass here at the blog on this day to recognize baseball as the greatest game on earth.

There are a couple 10:00 late night starts tonight and games sprinkled regularly throughout the day all over the schedule. Even though the weather is brutal here in the midwest and there are sure to be rainouts, it’s still the best day of the week. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

No 80’s song of the week this week – instead we go to Grantland Rice’s poem, Game Called from the Documentary When it Was a Game. You can’t just watch this once.

Going to see Giancarlo Stanton play tonight

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The weather is cloudy, but thanks to my company; I’ve got four first row tickets on the Cincinnati Reds dugout to see the game’s most prodigious power hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 25th home run of the season last night at Yankee Stadium, a fairway iron shot out to left field.  He’s on pace for 60 home runs this year.

We’ll have a full report of everything once we get safely back up and down I-71. No better way to kick off the weekend than a ballgame.

The Best Reds win of 2015

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[Reds 8, Tigers 4 (13 innings)]

It’s been such a frustrating season. But last night, the Reds had the magic going. As I watched them and the innings wore on and they squandered opportunities with bang-bang plays at the plate to win the game; I knew in my heart they were going to win the game.

It ended with a Todd Frazier walk-off Grand Slam in the bottom of the 13th off Joakim Soria. It was Jay Bruce’s first five-hit game of his career.

They overcame two big home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Tyler Collins that looked like the dagger.

The Reds got three scoreless innings from some guy named Donovan Hand – a guy who hasn’t thrown in the big leagues in a number of years. And look at the names the Reds are running out of the pen out of nowhere: Hand, Carlos Contreras, Ryan Mattheus, Burke Badenhop. It’s not like these are guys who have came up through the Reds system. If you think back to when the Reds were a good team, they had the same bullpen arms the whole year pretty much. They had dependable guys and you knew the names and there were several guys who had came up through the system together. That has faded away.

But on this night the Reds were just meant to win. Frazier hits home runs 21 and 22, including a dramatic blast that won them the game.

After the rain delay, it was hard to remember it was Johnny Cueto and David Price who started this game. But the story was more about Frazier, Bruce and the unlikely late-night magic of the Reds.