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.
First off, happy easter. Second off, HAPPY BASEBALL SEASON!
In just a few short hours, the standings will no longer be stuck on all those goose eggs. I keep thinking about how great it would be to be present at historic
torn up Wrigley Field tonight. Getting to see two rivalry teams who I feel will be pretty solid kick things off.
Opening Night has always kind of felt like Christmas Eve to me – even though the first one I remember was Ray Lankford leading off the top of the 1st in 1994 with a bomb off Jose Rijo! How many Reds fans out there remember the Ray Lankford game? He ate them up that night.
And then there was my favorite Opening Night game of all-time, 1997 Yankees-Mariners at the old Kingdome (don’t try to tell me the Kingdome wasn’t beautiful looking on the inside). To an awkward 14-year old kid at the time, Ken Griffey Jr. was a God in baseball cleats. He hit two moonshots that night off David Cone to start the season on a nice even ‘2’ out of the gate. I remember doofus Chris Berman remarking ‘so Ken is on pace for a solid 324 home runs, decent’ or something stupid that Berman says and actually believing that Ken won’t of course get there, but he could hit 100!
Today, I’m sitting at my mom’s house celebrating Easter. I’m thinking about some of the things I like about tonight’s game; I’m pretty excited about Anthony Rizzo getting a piece of Adam Wainwright tonight and getting that rabid Cub crowd fired up. There’s a great read about Rizzo over on ESPN’s newly-designed baseball site that they’ve rolled out just in time for the new season.
I just can’t believe that; yes we’ve made it, and there will be a real game to react to and recap tonight. And every night following for the next six months. And tomorrow will be even better! But we still have tonight! And my mind starts to spin out of control from there.
So for those out there who are like me, enjoy Easter with your families and when that ends; enjoy tonight. Opening Night in baseball is really about celebrating the year to come in the sport that we all love. There’s nothing like it in any sport.
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. A’s and Angels on center stage, gridlocked in a 76-52 tie for first place in the AL West. The Angels are down a Garrett Richards and to be honest the first two games of the series went exactly as we planned with the A’s getting a couple wins to pull even in the division standings. This was even though Mike Trout hit his 28th home run of the season on Friday night off Sonny Gray. This was despite Gray having lights out command and going eight strong for the win.
But last night, the Angels took the game they had to take. You can’t go into the Oakland Coliseum and get swept by your foes; those rotten A’s. And Mike Trout hit a towering home run into the camera well to put the exclamation point on a 9-4 Angels win.
This was obviously one of the more impressive Trout home runs of the season – though it’s hard to pick a favorite. And you guessed it: it was a low pitch. He was also the Sunday conversation on SportsCenter with Buster Olney. He’s all the rage right now for good reason.
It is important to document as much as we can in what might Mike Trout’s first MVP season.
Last night – another big Saturday night in Mike Trout’s illustrious young career – turned out to be possibly his monster game on the young season. Sure, there was the grand-slam game against Chris Sale a week ago. There was the Saturday afternoon in the Bronx where he made the jungle his playground. But last night he really looked smooth and helped the Anaheim Angels earn a signature win 11-6 in 13 innings down in Atlanta over a first-place club.
Probably the easiest way to do the Trout highlight pack from last night is just straightforward, so here goes:
- He hit his 13th homer of the season, a no doubt blast to left field.
- Steals a bag – he still hasn’t been caught stealing this year – this will keep the Rotoworld forum nerds happy!
- Hit a two-run double in extra innings. I had actually fallen asleep during this.
Then I see here on the game today that he’s already crushed home run number 14 into the left field seats again on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN (that video to come when it’s available), added a single and was robbed of extra bases in deep right field by Jason Heyward.
As I’m wrapping up this post, John Kruk asks when people are going ‘drop the argument that he’s the best player in baseball and just go with it’. I have to say, Kruk is right. It looks as if Trout has overcame the worst slump of his young career and the numbers are returning to career norms (.300/.400/.500 with a .900+ OPS).
My first quasi-father’s day belongs to Mike Trout. He showcased every skill he has this weekend in Atlanta, and it looks like it will give the upstart Angels the series victory.
UPDATE MONDAY: Here is the highlight of Trout’s homer on Sunday Night baseball, and here is a post by Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs about why it’s a bad idea to pitch Mike Trout down and in at all.
You just knew the game’s finest player had something special in store for his one and only trip to Yankee Stadium this season. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, he did everything he could to will his team to victory. He went home run, K, walk, walk, single and stole a bag. If you were at the park – and one of our good friends was – it probably felt like you got the full Mike Trout experience. We would have given anything to have been in the Bronx yesterday to see it. The Angels still lost the game 4-3.
Then tonight, on display for the world to see; Trout gets a couple of singles off Masahiro Tanaka on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. He also struck out a few times. The one thing in watching Trout close is that even in the at-bats he’s striking out, he’s right on a bunch of tough pitches that Tanaka is throwing him. He’s fouling off two seamers and sliders hard, along with the other five pitches Tanaka mixes up in the zone. His swing is so quick and flawless, I’ve never seen anything like it.
You can tell Trout is just at ease in the box and on the field. He’s in control, and because of his ability he’s able to reach a comfort level that lets him have fun playing the game. That’s what makes Mike Trout so great: just showing up for work at Yankee Stadium and straight kickin’ ass. He’ll board the plane tonight after the game and do it again tomorrow night in California.
I love watching Mike Trout ball.
That was it last night – that was the game I have been waiting for out of Jay Bruce since his debut back in May of 2008.
There have been three homer games, home runs in the playoffs, and huge walk-off home runs. But last night was the most dominating showcase of Jay Bruce’s career. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball has been where the entire baseball world pauses and convenes for three hours before starting a new week. There were some folks watching the NFL last night, but the people in the nation who love baseball were watching Jay Bruce hit his 28th and 29th home runs of the season off the closest thing the game has to Sandy Koufax. He did it to seal a sweep for the Reds at home over the Los Angeles Dodgers. When I saw Bruce’s second home run land in the right field moondeck, I knew that Reds season in 2013 had reached it’s zenith.
And there’s this: the home runs that Bruce hit off Kershaw were the first and second homers hit off the left-hander by a left-handed batter all season long.
Tell them Jay, tell them that the Reds think they’re the best team in baseball:
The Reds sit a game out of first, Homer Bailey threw pretty close to what I would consider to be a gem, and Bruce had his pair of national TV dingers off Clayton Kershaw. It doesn’t seem real.
And it’s nights like last night I feel bad for ever saying a terse word about Dusty Baker. He isn’t perfect, but we owe some debts of gratitude to Dusty for pulling the Reds out of baseball purgatory and giving the Reds back to back winning seasons for the first time since 1999-2000 (yes, the Reds now have 82 wins and will finish over .500).
ESPN Releases it’s Sunday Night Baseball Schedule: Honestly, it’s not worth a full post. ESPN turned around and loaded the schedule for the first-half of the season with a bunch of large market teams. The Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, two teams who are talented and will be very competitive did not crack it one time. Yes, there are a lot of ways to watch your team if you want to see them. But it’s still nice to close out a weekend with someone other than the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Red Sox, Braves, White Sox or Cardinals involved. [Hardball Talk]
I wasn’t alone, and I didn’t like Cole Hamels throwing at Bryce Harper.
I played the game for a long time, and I know how it’s played. I know the unwritten codes, the baseball laws, the brotherhood that you can only become part of and come to understand between the white lines at any level.
But I still think Hamels’ decision to plunk Harper in between the numbers in the young superstar’s Sunday Night Baseball debut was horseshit.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. Exactly why is that? Because you didn’t like the way he wore his eye black? What the Hell were you doing at age 17 and 18, Cole?
You haven’t made a habit of throwing at other rookies you’ve faced, let alone in their first at-bat facing you. So why did you take it upon yourself to do it to Harper? Because he’s really good and he knows it? Because it’s going to be his league here in about two or three years?
There really isn’t a good reason, and you wanting to knock him down a peg doesn’t suffice.
Props to Nats GM Mike Rizzo standing up for his boy, I loved that. Props to Jordan Zimmerman for retaliating against the source himself. Props to Harper for stealing a plate and telling Hamels to shove it in 90 quick feet from third to home and then later singling him to left field.
If Hamels was still paying attention late in the 9-3 drubbing when Harper turned a bloop into a double; that’s how the game is played. For as much crap as people give the 19-year old, Harper gets it. Hamels does not.
Yesterday ESPN released their Sunday Night Baseball telecast schedule for the first half of the season. The Cincinnati Reds will host a mid-July contest at Great American Ballpark to give fans that rare Sunday game under the lights.
It seems as a whole ESPN tried to buck the typical ways of throwing the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs on every Sunday Night. This schedule features good variability between teams which is partly in response to the playoff field containing teams like the Rangers and Rays last season.
April 8 Chicago White Sox at Texas
April 15 L.A. Angels at N.Y. Yankees
April 22 Yankees at Boston
April 29 Tampa Bay at Texas
May 6 Philadelphia at Washington
May 13 Angels at Texas
May 20 St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers
May 27 Washington at Atlanta
June 3-July 1 TBD
July 8 Yankees at Boston
July 15 St. Louis at Cincinnati
July 22-Sept 23 TBD
I like what I’m seeing here. As usual we’ll be doing the Sunday Night Liveblogs here at Diamond Hoggers, so we do hope you’ll make a habit of joining us and commenting on the action or at least having a few new dick jokes we can all add to our repertoire.
After 67 games, they’re treading water boys. Nothing has been settled, and there’s a ton of questions to be answered about these Cincinnati Reds, version 2011.
The fact remains that when Joey Votto and Jay Bruce aren’t doing a lot, this team simply doesn’t do much offensively.
I went into last night’s game on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball thinking that the Reds had an excellent chance to take three out of four from the Giants and trim the lead in the NL Central a little bit more. When the Reds jumped out to a 2-0 lead and were getting constant scoring threats against the inconsistent San Francisco lefty Jonathan Sanchez; I was even more sure the Reds were going to deliver on taking 3 of 4 and then head to Los Angeles to begin their run in returning to the top of the division.
I’m feeling mixed up about the Reds right now. They haven’t been under .500 all season, but they have never been more than 3 games above .500 either. They’ve got a lot of problems, too many to just list off in this post. It’s something different every night. When they plug one hole in the ship, another new leak seems to spring up.
Some might say that splitting on the road in San Francisco isn’t too bad. Especially beating Tim Lincecum on FOX Saturday Baseball. But this isn’t a great Giants team–despite how good the bullpen is and how good they are in close games–they’re bare bones right now offensively. The Reds should have swept this series and a good team like the Cardinals or Brewers would have swept or at least taken that 3 of 4 games. The Reds went the entire series without a home run, and really other than a few deep shots to left field that I saw, there was never really a threat to do so.
The Giants had the Reds in their park, and they used their park to get the Reds into playing their style of game; and it gained them a split. Think about it a little bit–especially if you were able to watch three or all four games in this series. The Reds are a team that wins via the three run homer right now; they like to blow teams out and they’re used to scoring five runs a game. They had to play a different game this past series, a manufacture game.
Now the one positive I take from this series is they got quality starting pitching. You would think that if this can continue; and I have serious doubts about it continuing, but if it can the Reds are going to be alright for the long haul of this season and it’s going to be a photo finish in the NL Central.
However, if you’re a person that had thoughts that the Reds were so much better than the Brewers or Cardinals and were going to run away with this thing now is the time where you should start to be humbled and realize you were being a homer. The Reds look to me like the type of team that could do this all season long and if they don’t get some type of shot in the arm help (cough, cough, Jose Reyes) they could actually finish 5 or 6 games out in the race at season’s end.
Joined tonight by our partner in crime MTD from Off-Base Percentage. Grab the cookies, grab the Johnny Walker Red and fire up FanGraphs. It’s Sunday Night People!