Late on a Friday night in San Francisco, when the Nationals saw their season basically salt away due to their ace getting rocked by those pesky, annoying Giants; Bryce Harper reached the 30 home run plateau for the first time when Matt Cain tried to sneak a high fastball past him.
It seems like it has been a good while since we’ve done one of these posts. Hopefully there are about 10 or 15 more of them before the season concludes. Harper is going to need to get hot.
Harper had this to say about hitting his 30th:
“I’m playing for 40,” Harper said. “When you’re worried about 30, you’re not worrying about 40. I want to hit 40 or 50. I just want to keep going and keep battling. Hopefully if I’m doing that, we’re winning ballgames and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Personal stats are fun and whatever, but it’s all about winning ball games and what you can do for your team.”
We would really like to see him get to at least 40. The Nationals it appears are going to fall well short of their lofty expectations once again. Harper will need a strong finish to win the MVP award.
I never really liked Mike Leake. Heard some things about him snubbing an underprivileged kid down at the park when he didn’t need to, then he stole the tee-shirts, then he blocked us on twitter for ribbing him in good nature about it. And he lost game four of the 2012 NLDS at home with a flat performance. We never really forgave him for any of that.
That said, he’s a solid big league pitcher. He profiles to be even better in San Francisco than he was in Cincinnati, where he went 62-47 with a 3.87 ERA, 701 strikeouts to 260 walks since being the 8th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. His best year was 2013 when he went 14-7 and 3.37 ERA.
He’s really a durable guy who will use that big ballpark and have success. He doesn’t miss starts, and can go the distance any time in a ballgame when he’s on.
Seeing the roster dismantled this time around is really hard. Even to see Mike Leake go, even a guy we aren’t fond of. It’s a changing of the guard. This is brutal.
I asked some guy I know who is a Giants fan at the beginning of the year what he thought of Chris Heston – because I thought the guy was more than serviceable.
“I don’t know man. I think he’s pretty much just a guy,” he said to me.
The guy just threw a no-hitter in his 12th career start. It was the fourth no-hitter for the Giants in four years. They have things good. Heston struck out 11 Mets hitters, and didn’t walk anyone. The only thing that separated him from a perfect game was him hitting three batters.
Heston got the final out with a called strike-three to Ruben Tejeda. It was a pretty good pitch. It’s interesting to note that the last time the Mets were no-hit was in September of 1993 by Darryl Kile. I remember that day well.
It’s always good to see the magic a no-hitter brings during baseball season. Even if you hate the Giants, it’s still neat. Baseball will grab center stage on the sports highlights shows tonight. At least, they should.
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.
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.
Game four of the NLDS, and Bryce Harper may have cemented his legend in baseball once and for all.
It was evident that Harper was still locked in from the early going, as he missed a home run to center in his first at bat by a narrow margin. In his second trip to the plate he doubled in the Nationals first run with a great at bat.
In his third at-bat, he took nasty Hunter Strickland into McCovey Cove to tie the game in epic fashion. It was a moment for the ages in postseason baseball.
Bryce Harper has FOUR #postseason HRs before the age of 22. Only other players to do that? Andruw Jones, Miggy and Mantle.
Welp, that’s a wrap. For all intensive purposes, baseball season ended for us tonight a bit prematurely. In a matter of hours, two teams we love to watch completed the foursome of elimination in the League Division Series with the Cardinals getting past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and the Giants breaking the hearts of the Nationals out in the Bay Area.
I never dreamed when this postseason started that a World Series would exist without at least one of these two teams. It almost seems unfair – but it’s not. The Giants and Cardinals took the fight to these teams. They just went out and took it, with the help of a little more clutch hitting and better management.
I spent a TON of time watching Washington and Los Angeles this season. They were entertaining, yet flawed teams. Until the spring comes, I won’t see them again. If you want to see the remaining teams left in the playoffs, find and buy sports tickets to do so.
Harper had an absolutely huge game, making two great defensive catches with the game on the line, drawing a walk that started the rally, and hitting of course his monstrous home run which was his third of his postseason.
To take a quote from Brandon Belt – that’s probably one of the hardest balls Harper has hit.
You have to love lowly Jean Machi pointing in the air for the ball to assist his outfielder as it heads toward McCovey Cove. Yeah, Jean. He’s got no chance for this.
So the Nationals live to fight at least one more day, 4-1. They survived Madison Bumgarner and one has to wonder if this series has swung and the Nationals have enough left in the tank to get it back to Washington. One thing is for sure – nothing gives the Nats a shot in the arm like a monster Harper bomb.
Bryce Harper possibly hit the premiere home run of the postseason this afternoon. And the Nationals lost a heartbreaker, giving those rotten Giants from the left coast their ninth straight playoff victory. But damn it, Bryce Harper put on his eye black and brought his game to the park today.
And the Nats seemed so lifeless for much of the day. I had the thought that if they could just get a Bryce Harper home run; it would be the one thing that could ignite the crowd and the rest of the Nationals enough to get them back into the game while trailing 3-0. It needed to be something big, and something epic.
And man, they don’t get any bigger or epic than this one. The only way it could have been more out of The Natural is if it was to win a game. It came off a guy in Hunter Strickland who is a relative newcomer to the Major League level, and his stuff is absolutely filthy. He’s never been touched up like this before:
Harper turned on a 97 MPH fastball, and nearly hit it out of the stadium.
The Nationals would add an Asdrubal Cabrera home run to cut the deficit to it’s final resting spot of 3 to 2, but the titanic home run wasn’t enough to dig them out of the hole that their slumber caused.
Still, anyone who tuned in today expecting to see Harper and Stephen Strasburg play the roles of the two leading Knights in the baseball Camelot that is the Nation’s capital got half of it (Harper also broke up Jake Peavy’s no-hitter the second time through the lineup).
Bryce Harper's 7th-inning HR traveled 445', longest of his career. It was tracked at 114.2 mph when it left his bat. pic.twitter.com/1l0iUOjuqP
My buddy/former fraternity brothers Brent and Ryan from DC were present at the Nationals game yesterday to see the masterpiece of a game the Nats put together in slaughtering the San Francisco Giants 14-6 to take yet another series from a National League foe.
When they paid for their ticket and got to their seats, they had no idea that they were about to be at a Bryce Harper Home Run game. But it was exactly that. When Bryce Harper homered off the Giants J.C. Gutierrez, it was the 49th of his career; and his seventh of the season.
My friends also got to see Harper’s first home run that went off a foul pole in any park, and a Stephen Strasburg start (he got rocked).
He also saved the Giants from getting swept by the dreadful Pads, winning 4-0. His first no-hitter took 148 pitches, this one only took 113 as he struck out six and walked one.
I was the lucky SOB who choose to add him in a fantasy league last night off the wire – because ‘the Giants aren’t getting swept by the Padres’ and that was the lone reason.
I came home from work in time to see the final three outs, to see history. I heard Krukow’s call of the final out and saw the joy on the catcher’s face as he ran to the mound and grabbed Timmy.
To think it was his 236th career start today, and this was probably his best start ever. And this is why baseball is both equal parts magical and random. Tim Lincecum just woke up, and it was his day. No one in the world would have planned on a no-hitter for him today but it took on a life of it’s own.
There were some late-night Friday firewords out at Chavez Ravine last evening, and I was lucky enough to catch it live. Yasiel Puig continues to be one of the most electrifying watches in the sport. And Madison Bumgarner is a chippy crybaby.
Puig is one of those talents that still manages to do something each night, even if an elite talent is on the mound and on top of their game (San Francisco won the game 3-1). He’s on the cusp of entering that next dimension in the sport right now – if you watch him night over night he’s really been on fire lately and having great at bats. I am glad I caught this part of the game:
I like what our friendly neighborhood Puig did here; notice that Bumgarner was quite the sportsman when he quick-pitched Puig to take an easy strike on his opponent. All is fair and well. When Puig steps back in the box and gets all of a Bumgarner fastball up in the zone and then flips his bat and puts his head down (it’s just his thing, relax) Bumgarner suddenly takes exception to another aspect that is simply part of the game.
The 2013 San Francisco Giants had a weird year coming off their World Championship which saw them go 76-86 and finish fourth in the NL West.
This season will be interesting for the Giants. They are a veteran team with much enough of the core remaining from the World Championship runs that if they were to make a run, it wouldn’t be completely shocking. At the same time, I look at this Giants roster and I just don’t get excited. That’s not different from how I felt writing the 2010 and 2012 season previews for the Giants.
Really, the Giants play a certain style of game out in that big park by the bay. It’s a slow paced game most nights. There are a lot of ugly wins. The Giants have built a quality organization of which the main cornerstones remain in-tact. They will be competitive, but they have a few blemishes we see that will keep them from making a serious run in 2014.
Major Off-season Moves:
Signed Tim Hudson to a 2-year, $23 million dollar contract
Signed Mike Morse to a 1-year, $6 million dollar contract
Signed Tyler Colvin
Signed Hunter Pence to a 5-year, $90 million dollar contract extension
Signed Tim Lincecum to a 2-year, $35 million dollar contract extension
Signed Javier Lopez to a 3-year, $13 million dollar extension
There’s nothing that overwhelms me here. I like Mike Morse more than a lot of the new-age sabermetrics crowd. But you have to wonder what kind of team the Giants were trying to scrape together here. Defense? Keep the core together? I look at the amount that Lincecum and Hudson signed for, and I say to myself the Giants could have landed a top-tier arm for this amount. At the end of the day, it’s kind of cool that Big-Time Timmy Jim is staying put in San Francisco. He’s an icon there, and the contract kind of signifies that the Giants got sentimental on us.
Click through the jump to learn the fates and facts of the 2014 Gigantes.