The Fiers that could burn during Milwaukee’s postseason run

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Mike Fiers must have some nasty shit. In today’s 6-2 Brewers victory at Wrigley Field, Mike Fiers struck out 14 Cubs in six innings. This has to go down as one of the most impressive pitching performances of the season, and I can’t wait to see the BBREF game score with how it stacks up to Max Scherzer’s 14 strikeout performance on the same afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The one thing the Brewers lack is any type of ace with shutdown stuff. They have a nice staff compiled of guys you would consider two’s, three’s, and four’s. But prior to today you wouldn’t think there was anyone in the group capable of this – Fiers was only getting a crack at the rotation because Matt Garza is injured.

But this is something to keep an eye on we would suggest. Fiers has done stuff similar to this before; in 2012 he struck out 10 on three different occasions. Milwaukee has to keep a guy like this in the rotation and consider him being one of the fellas they roll out should they sneak into the postseason. They lack a stopper and even though it was the Cubs, they’re not a bad offensive team. This is something to keep an eye on as baseball heads towards October.

Bryce Harper visits the Dunkin’ Donuts sign in Queens again

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Bryce Harper has been here before.

We ask you to think back to a time when he was on top of the baseball world. It was April of 2013, and he homered off the Dunkin’ Donuts sign in right center field at Citi Field. he hit two monstrous home runs that day.

Thus far in his young career, he has homered against the Mets more than any other team. He has half his home run total this season against New York. Dillon Gee kept throwing balls right down the pipe, and Harper connected with one of his longest home runs of the year.

It was a picture perfect night for Washington, as they won the game 4-1 with Stephen Strasburg throwing seven great innings.

Also, we won a Home Run Derby on MLB ’14 The Show with Harper tonight. Here’s a shot of that:

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Throwing it Around

There are so many good links we need to put here on this Thursday. It’s not easy running your own business and maintaining your own baseball blog, but someone has to do it. Here are some good links from the past few days that you may have missed, but you should read if you have the time:

-Javier Baez’s first Wrigley Field home run. [Chicago Now]
-A roster of 25 Adam Dunn’s on Out of the Park Baseball. [FanGraphs]
-Jonah Keri takes a look at Bryce Harper’s scary year three struggles. [Grantland]
-Carlos Gonzalez & Troy Tulowitzki, done for the year once again. [Hardball Talk]
-Google has already awarded Mike Trout with the 2014 MVP award. [USA Today]
-Baseball has a new commissioner, and his name is Rob Manfred. [NY Times]
-Joe Posnanski weighs in on Bryce Harper’s 2014 season. [NBC Sports]
-Pedro Martinez wants Clemens and Bonds in the Hall. [Surviving Grady]
-Mike Fiers went off today, 14 strikeouts in six innings. [Brew Crew Ball]
-Building around Giancarlo Stanton is a big priority. [Fish Pond]

You can’t knock Bryce Harper’s power to all fields

In the Nationals 7-1 victory on Tuesday evening, Bryce Harper hit another ball out to left field. It was the fourth in his career at Citi Field. It should be no secret that he absolutely kills the Mets.

And when you scroll back through Harper’s career homers, he’s hit a fair number of home runs to straight away left field. Of all the parts of Harper’s game that you wish maybe were a little different, the one thing the scouts have been right about is his auspicious power to all fields. He’s just as likely to homer the other way as he is to any part of the park.

Harper now has five home runs on the season and 47 in his career.

Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week: Caleb Joseph?

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Caleb Joseph hammered the ever loving piss out of the baseball this past week. He hit the ball so hard so frequently, we’ve brought back one of our favorite features from the past on the blog.

Caleb Joseph is a 28 year-old rookie catcher who entered the week with three career home runs. He’s hitting .227 on the season and the chances are if you were in a pay phone booth and he knocked on the window and told you he needed to use it, you wouldn’t realize it was a big league player and you would keep talking.

Here’s what he did this past week:

8 for 18 (.444), Five home runs, nine RBI, a double, 1.778 OPS and that’s without anyone bothering to walk him.

That was career games 49 to 53 in the career of Caleb Joseph. He’s unlikely to ever have a run again in his career where he homers in five straight (he went 1 for 4 without homering today). Hell, he’s unlikely to ever appear on this blog again. But for what he did this past week, he’s brought back the HHMWMPOY. And it’s back to stay.

A Bucket List Item Sits in the distance

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Here’s an image you’re likely to see repeated many times over between now and next July when the Cincinnati Reds host the 2015 All Star Game in the Queen City.

I’ve waited my entire life for this game to come to Cincinnati. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll pay for everything, but I have to be there in some form for all the festivities, game included.

As for reviewing the logo, they could have done a bit more with it; but it’s clean and I like it.

Now all I need is Jay Bruce to have an All-Star season and rebound from his 2014 campaign and be there to come full circle in his career. That Home Run Derby in that bandbox has his name written all over it.

Atlanta’s panties in a bind over Bryce Harper’s gamesmanship

The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals locked up in a late night game that didn’t get underway until almost 11 PM on the east coast due to a lengthy rain delay. The Nationals won the game 4-1 in 11 innings, but as it often happens when two rivals get together, the final score was the secondary story.

I didn’t notice this while watching the game live, but saw a tweet from David O’Brien that alerted me about it. Bryce Harper appeared to scuff the Braves ‘A’ behind home plate before stepping into the batters box every time up.

Of course, this sent Braves fans into an uproar. Saying that Harper didn’t respect their logo (he doesn’t need to), and generally leading them to say that the kid lacks all kinds of respect and whatnot.

I think it’s great. For all the unbecoming things Harper has accomplished this season – hitting .250, getting hurt a lot, base-running blunders what seems like every other night – this is what’s great about the kid. He isn’t stupid and is simply stirring up the rivalry. Of course he probably has programmed himself to hate playing Atlanta, especially in Atlanta; a team that has been the Nationals very own House of Horrors.

At the end of the day, baseball is entertainment. Some argue that it’s not entertaining enough. They’re nuts, of course. But that’s what people say. When something like this goes down, it should make the public crave more of these two getting together. Like, what the Hell is going to happen tonight when they face off on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN after they’ve had a night to sleep on Harper scuffing their prize logo?

Good for Harper.

A Bat Flippin’ Good Time Podcast: The Cubs are on their way

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Last night, Mike Hllywa (Gammons Daily, Halo Hangout) and M.J. Lloyd (Baseball Prospectus, Off-Base Percentage) and I hung out in our virtual bar and talked some baseball for an hour. We rolled out the new name of the podcast, A Bat Flippin’ Good Time; and that’s what we had damnit!

Topics discussed include:

  • Our usual Mike Trout segment
  • Angels playoff odds
  • The David Price trade.
  • The Cubs’ young nucleus and bright future (and MJ’s bromance for Kris Bryant).
  • Thoughts on Bryce Harper’s present, future, and the Washington Nationals.
  • Mike H’s trip to Anaheim for a perfect day of baseball for his son’s first game.
  • Pop Culture Segment: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie, Breaking Bad, and more.

Angels Survive 19 inning Marathon with Red Sox

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[Box Score]

[Boston Globe] [OC Register]

This was a WILD one. I had the game on for much of it, and once again the Angels’ magical season rolls on through an improbable event. It was Albert Pujols’ 19th inning home run – the 514th of his illustrious career – that kept this game from running into some Sunday morning church services.

By the end of the game, Pujols had played five innings at his old position third base. Matt Shoemaker had thrown three scoreless innings as the final arm out of the Angels pen.

Mike Trout hit a solo home run in the 8th inning, his 25th of the season and first as a 23-year old player off Clay Buchholz; who was actually throwing a pretty good game. They were just getting started at that point.

Of course I dozed off somewhere in the 16th or 17th inning, at 2:30 AM ET, a time when no normal human should still be up to see how a ballgame concludes.

This was one of the better games of the season and an incredible effort by the Angels.

The Angels turned around today and lost 3-1 in the series finale. Their only run coming on Mike Trout’s 26th home run of the season. These teams were dog tired, and today would have been a great under bet with your local book. Of course, we were out baby crib shopping all day; so we didn’t capitalize.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Welcome to what is still the finest day of the baseball week, and regular week. Preseason NFL football has started to impose on the baseball season as it always impolitely does, but that doesn’t mean that baseball is taking a backseat. There’s another meaty month of the baseball season left before the real football begins, and a lot of high drama yet to be decided in your fantasy and our real life standings.

As always, full slate of baseball today from sun up to sun down with the first game kicking off here as the post goes live.

Enjoy your Saturday, and pay homage somehow to the best sport on earth while you still can. The flag will be at half mass today here at the blog that always salutes baseball.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

The Home Run Bryce Harper Desperately Needed

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper came under fire, and the volcano reached it’s apex point yesterday with talk that he should be sent to the minors, sent to the Disabled List, and other general diatribes mapping out how he’s ruined himself.

The Nationals locked up in a 13-inning game with the Mets yesterday afternoon in DC. While the baseball world had it’s eyes on Javier Baez, the game of baseball and it’s irony reared pointed the finger at those who had beeen wondering if Harper had lost it.

And to be honest – no one will believe this – I knew Bryce Harper was hitting a walk-off home run to win this game. I had the game on the radio and actually thought it was going to come in the 11th off Buddy Carlyle. He singled off him. Two innings later, I just shook my head when my premonition came to life. This was probably Harper’s best swing of the season, all things considered. It was an outside fastball that caught too much of the plate, and hopefully this stinging contact allowed him to realize that he has the natural power to hit balls out the other way. Harper’s power to all fields is probably what we’ve remained the most impressed about through his whole career, even with his struggles. Lately, teams have built a book on him that has seen them go away on the outer half of the plate with hard stuff to get him out.

This is the type of swing that could get Harper on a tear for the rest of the season.

Adam Dunn threw the ninth inning in Chicago last evening

The White Sox were brutalized last night by the Texas Rangers by a score of 16-0. But for those who paid hard earned money for a ticket, all was not lost.

There are certain ‘baseball things’ you grab your cell phone for when you’re half asleep to fire off a handful of texts to your buddies. Big Adam Dunn coming out of the wind-up, painting corners at 80 would be at the top of that list.

There’s only a select few players in the game’s scavenger hunt of history who have pitched an inning on the mound and hit over 400 career home runs. Babe Ruth is one of them, and one of our all-time favorites Adam Dunn is now part of that list.

Things like this make baseball fun.

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