Bryce Harper with a dramatic Sunday homer in Philly, in futility

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This was to be the statement comeback game of the year so far in 2016 for the Nationals. This was supposed to be where they overcame the deficit and won the game on the back of the best player in baseball, after he homered on a rocket to right center on a full count pitch to put the Nationals ahead 2-1 in the top of the ninth. The Nats were going to steal this one on getaway day, after Bryce Harper’s sixth home run. That would be the headline.

That is, until their bad ju-ju closer Jonathan Papelbon would enter the game and blow it in the bottom of the ninth.

Bryce Harper baptized not-for-long closer Jeanmar Gomez with a home run in the ninth inning, for his sixth of the year. It was the fourth straight game he had homered and I don’t even know how many straight at Citizens Bank Park, a streak that will ride into the next time he plays at this park.

The Nationals lost the game 3-2 and went to 9-2 instead of a shiny 10-1. But Bryce Harper is proving he’s the most difficult out since Barry Bonds.

I will never understand for the life of me why the Nationals felt the need to retain this slug. He is a true POS. He will rear his ugly head again in a big, much more costly spot. You watch.

Blackout Rules Make It Impossible For Baseball Fans In Las Vegas To Watch Teams

When it comes to watching baseball, fans in Iowa and Las Vegas bear the brunt of the television network deals because they are unable to follow their favorite teams, making them less likely to bet on online MLB sports betting odds.

Bruce Arnold, a long-time baseball fan that lives in Iowa and has a second home in Las Vegas knows just how hard it is to follow his favorite team.

With the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago White Sox all claiming Iowa as their home territory, it is impossible to watch all six teams on television. The six teams also make up almost half of the 15 baseball games televised on a nightly basis, leaving fans in Iowa with very few options.

According to Arnold, it is a hit or miss situation with those teams every night because baseball fans don’t know which games will be televised on any given night.

Las Vegas suffers from the same problem. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants all claim Las Vegas as their home territory.

According to Matt Bourne, MLB’s vice president for business communications, these territories were created decades ago to prevent teams that aren’t from one area from promoting in different parts of the country. The rule prevented teams like the Boston Red Sox from poaching fans from the Baltimore Orioles because they didn’t belong in the same territory.

While the rule was effective in the past, a lot of people believe it has outlived its usefulness. The rule currently prevents territories without an MLB team from watching other teams in their region, instead, they are forced to watch whatever teams their local station broadcasts, unless they pay extra for the MLB League Pass or subscribe to MLB.com.

The MLB blackout rule isn’t affecting Bruce Arnold much right now because he subscribes to the MLB Extra Innings television package, which provides him with access to San Francisco Giants games. Arnold will be affected by the rules when he retires in a few years because he plans on moving to Las Vegas after retirement.

Because of the blackout rules, Arnold won’t get access to Giants games because they are one of the six teams that claim Las Vegas as their territory. Even when the Giants are playing a team like the New York Mets, whose games can be broadcast in Las Vegas, the game would not be broadcast in Las Vegas because it is against the San Francisco Giants.

If the blackout rules weren’t bad enough, baseball fans in Las Vegas have to pay about $200 per month for MLBs Extra Innings, or $109.99 forMLB.TV’s online streaming service, which allows them to watch 100 games per week. Unless one of the six teams that claim Las Vegas as a territory are playing.

So, unless you are one of the T-Mobile customers that took advantage of the free MLB.TV subscription they offered last week, it isn’t really worth it to pay for the MLB packages if you live in Iowa or Las Vegas.

Bryce Harper just keeps homering in Philadelphia

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Bryce Harper homered for the third straight game on Saturday evening. Before we had time to live our life and get the post live on our site, he hit another one Sunday. We simply cannot keep up right now. We say it every day. But we won’t complain. We LOVE Bryce Harper home runs.

This was career bomb number 102, and it came in a runaway Nationals 8-1 victory in Philadelphia.

This came off promising young Phillies starter Aaron Nola. At least, he was promising until he was de-pants’d by this bomb. Who knows what could happen now. This was Bryce Harper’s 10th career home run at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark.

This was bomb number five on the season. If they don’t start walking him, he’s going to hit 50+. And spoiler alert, he gets one again on Sunday if you’re one of those read-ahead type folks. We’ll be doing another one of these tomorrow.

Swindaman3 Takes down the Week Three Gentleman’s Game

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I have to apologize as this post usually comes on a Saturday, but Swindaman3 won this week; and as is customary I will never wake up the morning after losing to one of his lineups he set on the toilet at his work and voluntarily waste my 30 minutes of leisure time to write about his big triumphant victory.

The fact of the matter is – Swindaman won the week three Gentleman’s game with a fine score of 136.05, and he didn’t even use Chris Sale. In fact, the fun fact of the Gentleman’s game this week is that the top two Gents did not use Sale and his 46+ points in his hometown area of Tampa. Swindaman3 rolled with Jake Odorizzi, who only decided to throw decently because I left him on my bench in my yearly leagues. The ‘swing’ move of the week and Gentleman’s game MVP was Matty Holliday. He homered twice against the Reds and tallied 36 points. In a stroke of economist brilliance, Swindaman3 was the only gent to roll out The Undertaker Matt Holliday in this week’s gentleman’s duel.

He also had Josh Harrison for some reason; who lucked his way into 16 points. Jason Castro was a great punt play as he stole a bag and had 11 valuable points. Surplus value for my man Swindaman3 here on his way to the huge cash prize for the week and the full FIVE points!

Our champion and current standings leader DStars45 got 37 huge points from that little Kike Hernandez to pull him into second later in the night. He now holds a commanding lead in the yearly standings.

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 13 points
t3bird04 – 9 points
Diamondhoggers – 8 points
Swindaman3 – 8 points
Jsquad34 – 7 points

I want to note that I got 46+ and 28+ from my two pitchers; Sale and Joe Ross. Then Carlos Correa and Mike Trout gave me two points a piece, and Craig Gentry, Buster Posey, and Ryan Goins all zeroed on the night. This is complete horse shit, and these men have now been blacklisted from my future Gentleman’s Game Cocktail Party Guests Lists.

Here is a look at whom Swindaman3 invited in route to the victory:
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A few notes on this week’s gentleman’s game:

  • In a cunning move of bravery, JSquad34 rolled out three Giants against Clayton Kershaw: Posey, Matt Duffy, and Hunter Pence. It didn’t work out .
  • Our own t3bird got zeroes from Emannuel Burris (who was not a prophet on this night), Francisco Cervelli, Stephen Piscotty, and Coco Crisp. Like a bad bug at the office, there were a lot of the zero-flu flying around Friday evening.
  • The only gent to use Bryce Harper on his homer binge was DStars45, and he tallied 24 points.

Next week will be a very important week for us Gentleman. We must collectively pull together to overthrow the runaway rebel force that is DStars45. This has gone on long enough. We need to do well enough that he gets a measly one or two in points, and we all need to get back in this. We must phone his wife and ask her to secretly steal his phone at their Friday evening dinner and enter the likes of Chris Collabello and Danny Espinosa, with bonus points going to her if they are not in the lineup! We must hope this man loses his mind, and we reap all the benefits!

So………. what will happen next week?

Will Swindaman3 defeat all with a lineup he creates in four minutes while on the shitter? Will JSquad34 dig way down deep to crawl out of the Gentleman’s Game basement? Will Diamondhoggers roll out two of the finest hitters in the game again and render them helpless like only he can do with any player? Hell, I’ve ruined Paul Goldschmidt so far! Which pitching whore will be cordially invited for the first time to the cocktail party? Can we reach Mrs. DStars45 in the coming week to get her help to poison the righteous king? It may be our only hope.

You must tune in next week to find out, as we continue to write the monumental saga of the Gentleman’s Cup Series presented by Thornton’s Gas Station and our other sponsor, Cane’s Fried Chicken. Eat at Cane’s, and make sure you get the toast with your meal!

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Bryce Harper’s 101st career home run

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Bryce Harper is hitting them at such a pace, we cannot keep up. And there’s another one of these posts already coming tomorrow.

The Nationals won on Jackie Robinson Day 9-1. Bryce Harper honored the man who wore 42 by slugging his fourth home run of the season off Brett Oberholtzer – who is hardly the sexiest pitcher Harper has hit one off of.

Here’s Harper ‘shooting a cripple’ as they say:

And man, does Harper love hitting in Philadelphia. This was the ninth career home run he’s hit in Philly. He sees the ball extremely well there.

The Nationals are off and running to an 8-1 start. Harper had three hits total on the day. He’s the closest thing to Barry Bonds we’ve seen since Bonds himself.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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It’s the best day of the week, at the best time of the week, on possibly the most beautiful day of the entire year. Full slate of baseball on tap as always and this post is here to salute that and the week that was of the greatest game on earth.

My wife and I are taking our 17 month old to her first baseball game ever today, at our Alma Mater. It’s best to test the youngster out at a game that charges minimal admission before you take her to the show later in the summer and you’re wanting to pluck all your hair out after three innings; so we’ve heard. I’m planning on seeing about four pitches today in between chasing her and making sure she doesn’t trip over any blunt objects.

That said, it’s a Saturday; and there’s baseball. And you can feel summer in the air. Enjoy your Saturday and thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers! We hope all your teams win today unless you’re a Cardinals fan.

Vincent Velasquez with the premiere pitching performance of 2016 thus far

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Vincent Velasquez – the former Astros starter who was traded for Ken Giles in the offseason – made one of the best starts in Phillies history today. Velasquez had a game score of 97 today, and only four Phillies pitchers ever have had a better score than that in a game they started.

In a 3-0 Phillies win in Philadelphia over the San Diego Padres, Velasquez logged 16 strikeouts while allowing three hits on his way to a complete game shutout.

This reminds me of Michael Pineda’s May 10th start from last season in the Bronx when he had 16 strikeouts and zero walks.

Velasquez hasn’t allowed a run this season yet, if you’re one of those people who believes it was just because of the Padres futility.

Noah Syndergaard Becoming One Of MLB’s Best Pitchers

New York Mets Pitcher Noah Syndergaard is nicknamed Thor, after the Marvel comic book hero. This season, the lanky Texan has definitely earned the nickname. If he continues performing like this all season, the Mets online MLB sportsbook odds of winning the World Series will significantly improve.

After last season’s impressive rookie debut, Syndergaard worked on his game some more and it shows with the way he has performed so far this year. In his season debut against the Kansas City Royals, Syndergaard pitched six innings, struck out nine batters and didn’t allow a run. The Mets went on to win the game 2-0.

In his second start of the year, Syndergaard pitched another gem. He struck out 12 batters and allowed one run in seven innings, but he finished with a no decision because the team lost 2-1.

In his two starts, Syndergaard has allowed 10 hits and one run in 1 innings. He also struck out 21 batters and walked one batter in the two starts.

What makes Syndergaard start to the season even more impressive is the fact that his strikeouts haven’t been gifts from umpires with generous strike zones. Syndergaard made 16 batters swing for strikes against the Kansas City Royals, which is an impressive feat against a team that rarely chases the ball.

Although people have been impressed by his performance this season, his dominance shouldn’t be that surprising. Syndergaard entered last season with a lot of hype because he was a highly rated prospect. The fact that he struck out 166 batters while walking only 31 batters and finished the season with a 3.24 ERA, was an indication of things to come.

What should be surprising to people is how quickly he has gone from a highly rated prospect to a pitcher that is expected to be in the Cy Young Award race this season.

Last season, Syndergaard impressed a lot of people with his 97.1 mile per hour fastball, which was the best among qualified pitchers. Against the Royals, his fastball’s average speed was 98.5 miles per hour, and against the Marlins, it was just a little under 99 miles per hour.

Industry experts like MLB.com’s Mike Petriello believe the reason Syndergaard throws with so much power is because of his height, which allows the fastballs to reach the plate faster than any other pitcher last season.

In addition to his fastball, Syndergaard’s changeup has been equally devastating. His changeup is averaging 90 miles per hour, and almost as unhittable as his fastball.

Another thing batters have to worry about is the fact that Syndergaard has been working on his slider, and it has significantly improved from last year. Against the Royals, a quarter of his pitches were sliders, which the Royals batters couldn’t get a grip on. When he faced Kendrys Morales, his slider registered at 95 miles per hour.

Mets third baseman David Wright said he looked up at the scoreboard and saw Syndergaard’s pitches going 94 and 95 miles per hour, so he asked catcher Travis d’Arnaud what pitches Syndergaard was throwing. The catcher told him they were sliders and Wright said he couldn’t believe it.

Even though Syndergaard has performed better than expected since he made his MLB debut, it is still too early to proclaim him the next great pitcher. If he wins the Cy Young or leads the team to another World Series, then we can start talking.

Bryce Harper’s 100th career home run is a Grand Salami

You knew after having this decal on his bat knob (how awesome is Bryce Harper for using an emoji on a damn bat), that he wouldn’t be stuck on 99 career home runs for long. He was simply waiting on one of his old rivals; Julio Teheran, to bring out the very best in him.

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It was Harper’s fifth career home run off Julio Teheran. He has now hit five off Teheran and five off Tom Koehler, the most against any pitcher in baseball.

Here is Harper’s 100th regular season homer, in grand fashion:

And it seems like just yesterday that we started doing these posts when Harper launched his first one back in 2012 against the San Diego Padres at Nats Park. MLB.com was nice enough to put a video together of every one of Bryce Harper’s home runs.

The Nationals won this game 7-2 behind seven-plus strong innings from Stephen Strasburg.

With many players, it’s hard to say if they’ll hit hundreds more. With Harper, you know we’re going to be doing about 400 more of these posts, which is astounding.

Paul Goldschmidt Spoils Vin Scully’s final Dodger Stadium Opener

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[Box Score]

Possibly the saddest thing for us during this baseball season: this will be Vin Scully’s last season in baseball.

Yesterday afternoon at Dodger Stadium was his last first day. Paul Goldschmidt came into town as a guy who always spoils nice things at Dodger Stadium, so when he hit a 425-foot monster homer to help the DBacks steal the game, it should have came as no surprise.

Paul Goldschmidt owns the Dodgers, and is the finest hitter in the National League today.

Trevor Story hit another one today….

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My late Sunday afternoon (and intuitive thought) went a little like this:

Make dinner for my kid, make sure the food was cut small enough kid doesn’t choke, check MLB app on phone to see what’s going on in Rockies game/find Trevor Story in the box score….. nothing….. he’s 0 for 2…. surely he’s done…. he might not hit another one…… the six home runs he already hit were an aberration… don’t get excited… he’s done hitting them…. get the coloring book out with kid…. make sure she doesn’t eat crayons like she always tries…. check phone again to see what Trevor Story has done….. oh shit, she’s eating a piece of the red crayon…. change poopy diaper…. give kid a bath…. watch Frozen songs on iPhone with the kid so she doesn’t scream but need to check what Story is up to in Colorado….. check MLB app in the middle of her favorite song to see what Story has done and she screams bloody murder – can’t blame her…. Story still hitless.

And just as I put her to bed, a friend texts me “who does Story think he is? A-Rod”. Trevor Story of course hit his SEVENTH friggin’ home run of the season this afternoon in the Rockies win. The Rockies announcers are affectionately calling it ‘Story Time’ (awww) when he homers now. It’s a thing.

This is completely incredible, obviously. We aren’t going to do a post every time this kid homers because we aren’t going to be able to keep up with him. But he’s definitely piqued our interest in a big way. And this is a great story – no pun.

Maybe the Rockies can have nice things after all.

The Champ is back on top in the Gentleman’s Game

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The first Friday edition of the Gentleman’s Game Cup Series on DraftKings had several stunning occurrences. Tyler “The Great White” of the Houston Astros was definite MVP of the Gentleman’s Game this week. His 26 points led the way for DStars45 to take the week, the huge winnings, and his top place in the standings from last season.

JSquad34 spent the week complaining about what a sham Draftkings is. He’s right – however JSquad34 believes that Draftkings would make life wonderful if they would allow for late-swaps of players involved in bad weather games. We disagree a little bit here; but I do think DraftKings is shadier than the largest shade tree in my grandfather’s backyard – a 200 year old oak. Several Gentleman learned this week that their referrals have been zeroed out by Draftkings to pay (we assume) their lofty attorney fees. This is really too bad; not because I will miss the $10.15 in “Draftkings bucks” I received each month, but because I had to beg, borrow, and steal to get people to sign up under my name. Literally, the three or so guys I talked into being “my recruit” on Draftkings probably do not like me anymore because of the sales job I did to get them to sign up through the site, referral code “Diamondhoggers”. People in general do not like you selling things to them. I have done it for a living for over a decade. Hawking Draftkings services to a friend just sounds shady from the get-go, and about 30 minutes in I always feel like I am trying to get them to buy a coupon booklet or phone directory. Anyways, none of that matters now because I have no more referrals. If any draftkings employee reads this – I would like you to use referral code “kiss my ass” from here forth for a deposit bonus on this website!

JSquad34 should get props for being the only Gentleman to use the animal that is named Josh Donaldson. He hit a grand slam and was worth 20 points. This alone pulled the Gent we call ‘The Squad’ into second place. We don’t really call him that, though.

T3Bird was t3bogey during this Master’s week. He took zeroes from Luis Valbuena and Nelson Cruz in route to scoring 85+ points and coming in third place. Another winning move was using Scooter Gennett for his home run and 16 points. He was the only gent other than the victor to use the Scooter on Friday night. Scooters can be a lot of fun when you ride them with a few gents.

As for Diamondhoggers (that’s us, let’s just be real here), well where do we start. Diamondhoggers….. it’s gonna take a solid month or two to get you sorted the fuck out with your DFS. What a mess. Just 61.65 pathetic points on a lineup you spent all day tinkering with. The move you were most excited about was bringing a trash whore like Matt Wisler to the cocktail party. It really worked out well for a while, too. You thought you had them all fooled. And then Matt started saying things that made others question why he was your date to begin with in such a fine establishment. And things got foiled. Diamondhoggers was awarded with two pity points for putting their name on the paper and finds themselves in an uphill battle in this early gentleman’s joust.

And then there’s Swindaman3. We are checking with the Elias Sports Bureau on this, but it is possible that his 33.35 points was the lowest recorded score in the history of the Gentleman’s game. Matt Shoemaker did the honors this week as the Gentleman’s Game Turd of the week with a negative -7.25 points. Matt Shoemaker is the kind of whore you want to bring to the cocktail party! We like El Swindy’s train of thought here. It could have definitely worked. Marcus Stroman’s off night and a slow night from his hitters compounded the bad behavior on Shoemaker’s part. He’s done this before at the Friday night gala.

Here’s the look at the standings at the two-contest mark:

Yearly Standings:
DStars45 – 9 points
t3bird04 – 8 points
Diamondhoggers – 5 points
Jsquad34 – 5 points
Swindaman3 – 3 points

And here is a copy of the winning entry by DStars45:
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So now we wait. It’s after weeks like this that I wish there was a gentleman’s game on a Tuesday so we could all take aim at proper vengeance. But you only get so many Gentleman’s Games in life to take advantage. It is a high-pressure environment that simply isn’t for everyone in the Daily Fantasy realm.

So what will happen next week? Will JSquad34 take aim at Draftking’s rake amount? Which new whore will diamondhoggers have on his arm come Friday evening? Will Swindaman3 complain that this post came too late in the week and say that he is not interesting in reading it? Will our own t3bird spread his wings and decide to go for an eagle? Will Dstars45 permanently elect Tyler White into his circle of trust?

You must tune in next week to find out.

Your Saturday Baseball Post

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Has it ever felt better to get to the first Saturday afternoon of the MLB regular season?

There is a full slate of games on tap on a Saturday for the first time in about seven months. We’ve all waited a long time for this. I’ve spent the morning on Daddy duty, and surely the hardest part is behind me.

Hopefully your fantasy teams are off to a shining start and you aren’t losing your bets on your heavy moneyline favorites. Hopefully you can catch nine innings tonight without being interrupted by the other stresses of life. Hopefully you see something really special.

Today’s 80’s song of the week that should be played on a ballpark loudspeaker nearest you is Fallen Angel by Poison. A real classic:

So enjoy your Saturday! Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers – where we always put the flag at half mass on Saturday during baseball season to give thanks to the best sport on earth.

Trevor Story’s Record Setting Debut Week (that I was too tired to write about)

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We got a bit lazy, but we aren’t going to completely miss this one. Trevor Story hit two more home runs today at Coors Field; totaling now six on the young season. The game of baseball has never seen this before, and this post was due last night when he was sitting on four.

The curiosity is growing in just what we have here. Is it the next Chris Shelton tale in baseball – or do we have a guy who is going to put up Tulo numbers (in his rookie season) in an environment that seemingly creates a brand new slugger every year?

We don’t do a ton of Rockies posts. It has to be something pretty special for them to get run time. But through the first five days of the season, this is absolutely the biggest story in all of baseball.

Fangraphs says it’s irresponsible to get excited about it all. We disagree slightly. It’s hard to believe that with all the great talents at shortstop in the game, Story has emerged as the Alpha dog in the 2016 season.

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