Good Sunday Night Baseball Game this week

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Real good ballgame going on tonight on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Noah Syndergaard opposes Jordan Zimmerman down at animalistic Citi Field that is sounding and feeling more like old Shea Stadium by the night this summer. The Mets are going for the sweep, and are just a game back of the Nationals. The first two games have been nail-biters. This should be a great one. Or it could be 7-2. Gut feeling, Bryce Harper hits home run number 30 before leaving the big apple. He likes hitting there.

Carlos Correa is proving to be a generational talent just like they said he would be

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[Astros 9, DBacks 2]

[Houston Chronicle – Ultimate Astros]

Carlos Correa is proving to be one of the best players in baseball already, and hitting in the middle of the order for a 59-46 club that is proving to be one of baseball’s most exciting stories of the 2015 season. Correa homered two more times last night, giving him 12 home runs on his partial season and a .916 OPS.

It was the first two-homer game of Correa’s career. The first one he flicked his wrist and a fly ball just kept going and landed in the Crawford boxes. Later in the game with his new teammate Carlos Gomez on first base he threw his hands at a pitch on the outer half and took it out to right center field. This kid is absolutely unbelievable.

Dallas Kuechel went six innings strong striking out eight and allowed only two hits to improve to 13-5 on the season. Carlos Gomez – another aspect that adds to the fun factor of Houston – added three hits in his first game in an Astros uniform.

The Astros are three games up on the Angels in the AL West.

Swindaman3 says I only write about the Gentleman’s Game early when I win

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The group of Gentleman engaged in this fierce weekend competition of Daily Fantasy Baseball skill on Draftkings were feeling a little bold this first August weekend of 2015. The gentleman decided that not one, but two competitions should be held, and what happened was a greater separation between the gentleman at the top of the standings, and the bottom.

Swindaman3 made the remark that we only write about the Gentleman’s game early when we win…. this may seem true. However, he is to be commended for his excellent score of 153.5 with the likes of such vagrants and fantasy vermin Nathan Eovaldi and James “White American” McCann. In all, Swindaman3 collected home runs from four players on Friday night to dominate what was a very heavily-competitive contest; that saw all four gentleman achieve 100 or greater points.

On Saturday evening, a different shadow was cast over these five great daily fantasy warriors considered to be the highest of their pedigree. t3bird04 spread his Saturday evening wings as far as they could stretch, and put forth a 115.50 point effort to take home gentleman’s game gold and record five points. A crafty play of Aaron Nola and his twin 21-point Cubbies Schwarber and Rizzo made him Aaron Hamilton and made Swindaman3 Alexander Burr.

Looking at the top of the standings, Dstars45 and Swindaman3 are engaged in quite a game of Gentleman’s Cat & Mouse. It’s like watching Spy vs. Spy. This will be talked about for ages by those who have stood back and watched. One heavyweight throwing a big right hand, only to be countered by a barrage of punches from the other pugilist to work his way off the ropes and out of the corner. We have just seven to eight gentleman’s games left in the season; unless we decide to start playing them on Thursday evenings because we are bored.

Stay tuned, as we get more clarity in who is the greatest Gentleman of them all.

 

Friday Night:

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Saturday Night Gentleman’s Game Special:

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Yearly Standings after two more Gentleman’s Game Cup Series Contests:

DStars45 – 57.5 points
Swindaman3 – 56.5 Points
t3bird04 – 51 Points
Diamondhoggers – 47 points
Jsquad34 – 44 Points

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

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Anyone who has read this blog for a length of time knows that I have a nerd side that will never abandon my wrestling fandom completely. I might go on hiatus for months at a time and then somehow Vince Mcmahon sucks me back in. A big reason for this is I grew up in the 80’s and early 90’s when wrestlers were larger than life, and more entertaining than Saturday morning cartoons.

Rowdy Roddy Piper was one of those guys, and he passed away yesterday from cardiac arrest at age 61. I lit a candle for Hot Rod in my own way, watching a couple of his classic matches. The guy had a well of telling a story with his matches and entertaining the ways that guys just can’t today. I’m not simply being nostalgic. He was a good one.

Josh Reddick who is around my age obviously felt a similar connection to Piper, paid tribute in a better way than making a post on a blog:

This is awesome. I always love when pro wrestling somehow bleeds over into baseball. The two things are simply too awesome not to have some type of silent marriage. And ironically on the day Roddy Piper passed away, the Miami Marlins continued the finest baseball promotional night in the Major Leagues. Legends of Wrestling Night.

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An article in the Miami Herald says that Piper was there, he obviously was not. I don’t think Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart made a return appearance either.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s the best day of the week, and there are four early games on the slate with the rest going on stage late here as we begin summer’s final month.

Even if you aren’t feeling your best, even if you’re taking care of your sick kid, there’s something harmonious about baseball on a Saturday in the summer that can make everything seem alright for a couple of hours. Let’s not forget that Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Kuechel throw today.

While you were sleeping, Mike Trout had another amazing Mike Trout game last night in the City of Angels. He had three hits, two of them coming off the lately unhittable Zach Greinke. He drove in all three Anaheim runs in a 5-3 losing effort. He hit his league-leading 32nd home run of the year. Mike Trout is God’s gift to the game of baseball.

Today your 80’s song of the week that should be played on a ballpark loudspeaker near you preferably in between innings is “Something so Strong” by Crowded House. This is from 1986 when the New York Mets ruled the world.

So enjoy your Saturday. We say it every year but sadly, soon enough the boys of summer will be giving way to the guys on the gridiron of the NCAA and NFL. We aren’t quite ready not to be able to watch baseball on impulse at any time of the day on the weekends yet.

Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers.

Jay Bruce survives the deadline

I woke up to tweets like this:

And around dinner, kind of like back when rapture was supposed to happen; the deadline passed and we caught this:

What a day of roller coaster emotions. I thought this was going down, then I thought it wasn’t. Then it looked like it was. I think we’ll come to find out the Reds came very close and their owner blocked a trade of Bruce.

He was after all, the guy who gave us this:

I’m very thankful for whatever amount of time I have left to watch Bruce as a Red. His last couple months; let’s call it six weeks or so, have been six of the better weeks of his Reds career.

Trade Deadline-Eve

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So many deals have happened that; the days are starting to run together. Here’s the notes of what’s taken place since we last logged trades:

  • Brandon Moss from Cleveland to St. Louis for the Cardinals number three overall prospect, Rob Kaminsky. [Lets Go Tribe]
  • Cole Hamels is sent to the Rangers for five minor leaguers. [Grantland]
  • Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Jose Peraza, Luis Avilan and Mike Morse are headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 13-player, three-team deal. The Miami Marlins got three minor league arms, and the Atlanta Braves got a few side pieces in Hector Oliveras, Zach Bird, and Paco Rodriguez. [Dodgers Now]
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates traded some cash for Joe Blanton of the Royals.
  • Carlos Gomez was sent to the Mets for Wilmer Flores and Zach Wheeler. Except, no.
  • Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers were traded to the Houston Astros with Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana being the marquee pieces headed to Milwaukee. {CBS Sports]
  • The Blue Jays went all-in in trading for David Price from the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers get three nice prospects in the deal. {MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Joakim Soria was sent to the Pirates from the Tigers for JaCoby Jones.
  • The Chicago White Sox are buying! And they paid cash to the Pirates for infielder Justin Sellers.
  • The Phillies traded Jake Diekman and Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers for handful of prospects and Matt Harrison. [Philly.com]
  • The Yankees dealt for Dustin Ackley. [Seattle Times]
  • The Reds traded Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants for a AAA slugger and another piece. {Diamond Hoggers]

To me, this has been the wildest trade deadline period in baseball history. I don’t remember one with more big deals before July 31st and this many huge names discussed. And there’s some huge stuff still in the works for tomorrow to be sure.

Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Ben Revere, Craig Kimbrel, Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gonzalez, Tyson Ross, Jake Marisnick, Yovani Gallardo, Zach Wheeler, Carlos Carrasco and others have been rumored.

Tomorrow is going to be crazy.

Mike Leake traded to the San Francisco Giants

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Another Jenga piece of the Reds roster tower is pulled out of the toppling fray late tonight – Mike Leake has been traded to the San Francisco Giants for some minor leaguers.

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.

We are approaching the one year anniversary of Jim (RALPH) Bowden

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Randy Johnson heading to the Astros. Mark McGwire to the Cardinals. Curt Schilling to the Diamondbacks. Juan Guzman to the Reds. The trade deadline has featured some absolutely huge moments in history.

None were as big to us as Jim ‘RALPH’ Bowden freaking the fuck out, declaring that Marlon Byrd had been traded to the Yankees; and then trying poorly to cover his tracks like an 8th grader lying to his father.

Then look at that Bowdiv go! He claims he was hacked through a spokesman!

The trade deadline ends in about 20 hours. We have our fingers crossed that Ralph Bowdiv picks up on something completely erroneous and runs with it. He provided us with one of our favorite deadline memories. Every time we hear that nasally voice on MLB Network Radio, we think about Ralph. Tomorrow, we celebrate Ralph.

One More for the Core

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If the Reds are torn apart sometime in the next 48 hours with key members of this core from the playoff run stripped from the roster and fan base, then let it be written that the Redlegs went into the sea of red that is St. Louis and shut out the best team in baseball for the second night in a row, winning 1-0.

Jay Bruce hit his 17th home run of the season off a very good John Lackey, and Aroldis Chapman locked down his 21st save of the season.

It was so baseball. These guys going out and in the midst of all kinds of rumors that have them shipped all over teh globe; they go out and play a sound game to beat a much more sound team.

Anthony DeSclafani threw seven shutout innings and improved to 6-7 on the year. The Reds collected just two hits.

And maybe; just maybe, this is the type of win that tells ownership it’s not time to let the sun set on this group yet. Maybe they look towards next year and aggressively decide that by adding a key arm or two to the rotation, they’ll have the lineup to attempt to make a run at things.

But if not – if they do decide to sell off these guys who were being rumored in deals before the game started tonight – it was perhaps one last signature win to remember them by. It’s the kind you don’t forget.

When it comes to Bryce Harper, Tom Koehler will never learn

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[Box Score]

It was that May 6th day before summer really got hot that Bryce Harper’s career took off. A three home run game off Tom Koehler, all three of them more majestic than the one before it. Harper entered tonight’s game in Miami with four career bombs off Koehler, and tonight he would get his fifth off the stubborn right-hander.

It would give him sole possession of the National League lead with 28. He would later add another even more Ruthian clout to give him 29. He’s trailing just Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in all of baseball for the home run crown.

Home Run #28 (and his fifth career off Tommy Koehler):

Home Run #29:

Harper acted like having Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup was a big help to him. But let’s be honest, no one is afraid of Ryan Zimmerman. Harper is hitting these home runs because he’s locked in, and because pitchers like Tom Koehler are stupid enough to believe that they can sneak a fast ball by him.

Lots of Members of the MLB Fraternity changing Places

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In the past 24 hours, we’ve all seen the equivalent of what you would see on a true deadline day:

  • Troy Tulowitzki (I am a great speller and can never get it on the first try no matter how many damn times I attempt it) was shocked in being traded to the Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and Miguel Castro along with minor leaguers.
  • Ben Zobrist was sent from the A’s to the Kansas City Royals for minor league arms. Many are saying that this makes the Royals the team to beat in the American League. Now I love Ben Zobrist as much as the next guy; but come on now. That said, Zobrist’s average has gone from the low .200s to .268 in a short amount of time.
  • The Angels acquired David DeJesus, David Murphy, and Shane Victorino in the wake of the news that Mike Trout could be headed to the disabled list.
  • The Washington Nationals traded for Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies for the 10th rated prospect in their system, pitcher Nick Pivetta. It’s a good move until you get to this part of the news: Papelbon will take the closer role from Drew Storen. Totally bone-headed on the Nationals part as an organization. Storen has had his troubles in the past, but has arguably been the best closer in the National league this season. He’s 29 for 31 in opportunities, has a 1.73 ERA to follow up his 1.12 ERA last season and has struck out 44 batters in 36.1 innings. Papelbon has 17 saves, hasn’t blown one, and has 40 strikeouts in 39.2 innings. I think you stay with Storen until there’s an issue or you use both of them. Remember you heard it here first, there’s going to be a blown save that costs the Nationals dearly at some point by Papelbon. It’s Storen’s pen, he has the confidence of his teammates right now, and he simply has the better stuff.
  • The Mets added Tyler Clippard from the Athletics; and following that trade he said the Nats were ‘beatable’.

There are still some marquee names out there being talked about going somewhere: Cole Hamels, David Price, Mike Leake, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Francisco Rodriguez. Of course you’ll have that random deal made between two middling teams that is really just shuffling deck furniture on the Titanic. Those trades are the best trades.

Alex Rodriguez has a three-homer game at 40 years old

I’m going back and forth now on whether what Albert Pujols is doing this year in his age 35 season, or Alex Rodriguez is doing in his age 40 season was more unpredictable or more unbelievable. I think at the moment, I’m leaning Rodriguez.

In an 8-5 Yankees win in Minnesota – a pretty hard ballpark to hit home runs – Alex Rodriguez hit three on Saturday evening. All three home runs traveled at least 420 feet. It was the 62nd multi-homer game in his career.

He’s played in over 90 games this season and has an OPS over .900, and with 23 home runs on the season I’m wondering where he’ll end up (he’s on pace for 37).

Coming into the year, I thought we would see a guy who barely hit above .230 (he’s at .277) and whom the Yankees just tried to hide all the way throughout the season. How improbable it is that the Yankees are in a pennant race becauseof Rodriguez being a key middle of the order force for the Bombers. Any talk of the Yankees wanting nothing to do with A-Rod has been quieted, and it’s clear they’re better off with him and his near 3.0 WAR.

You just have to hope Rodriguez isn’t on some type of foreign substance and is doing this completely clean as when he entered baseball. Because if he is, this is truly one of the better seasons I’ve seen an aging player have out of nowhere. The guy looked like an old Clydesdale ready for the glue factory in 2013, and didn’t even play last season.

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Never Doubt Mike Trout

[Box Score]

Mike Trout wrecked the Texas Rangers this weekend in Anaheim. He ended the weekend with a four-hit performance, two home runs, and five RBI. His grand slam was merely the exclamation point.

There are so many guys around baseball absolutely wrecking things this year. It seems like; to a degree, offense is back in the game. Big time offense. Of all those guys, and all the youngsters who are making a big impression as the future of the game, Mike Trout stands above them all as the one immortal. The Mickey Mantle of the present.

At the conclusion of today’s game, Trout has 31 home runs to lead baseball, 64 RBI, 10 stolen bases, a .315 batting average, a .405 on-base percentage, a 1.038 OPS and a WAR fast approaching seven. The Angels are a game in first place, and Trout is going to win the second of what should have been his fourth MVP award. He’s 23 years of age.

Every single time you, I, or anyone decides to say ‘(fill in the blank with player name) is overtaking Mike Trout as the best player in baseball’ he gives you a startling reminder that the statement isn’t even close to being true.

And what the Hell were these Rangers pitchers thinking to continue throwing fastballs low in the zone? Must have had a death wish.

Baseball