Baseball

#67 Nats dugout fight

To say the least I am embarrassed to be a Nats fan after the game Sunday. Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably seen it by now, Bryce Harper hit a pop fly to left field on the way back to the dugout Jonathan Papelbon started barking at him. At first Harper just brushed him off but Pap kept going and he got Harper to snap back in turn Pap lunged at Harper from the top step with his hand around Harp’s throat slammed him up against the wall of the dugout. Defenders of Papelbon are saying “Harper is a little punk” “shouldn’t be running his mouth” “he deserved it” all I can say is these people are stupid. I get it people hate Bryce Harper, I don’t see why but whatever, but Papelbon had no reason to do or say anything people are blinded by hate. I’ll explain what I think about this situation and more.

Let’s take it back to Wednesday or Thursday when the Nats faced the Orioles. Max Scherzer was the starting pitcher and gave up a homer to Manny Machado. You can say he stood there and admired it a little too long but it wasn’t ridiculous or anything I know it didn’t upset me at all. And Scherzer didn’t really care either but apparently Jonathan Papelbon was offended. So when he got in the game and got to face Machado, he threw the first pitch around his head (a no-no in baseball) didn’t hit him but eventually did hit him on the third pitch. Got ejected immediately which was deserved you don’t throw fastballs at their heads. But after the game is where the trouble started, in Harp’s post game interview he was asked about the Machado incident he said “it’s tired now I’ll probably get hit tomorrow because of that”. Of course the media took it as he called out his teammate without saying his name, I’m sure that’s how Jonathan Papelbon took it as well. I’m a thousand percent sure Papelbon was sitting at the top of the dugout getting on Harp’s case after every single at bat since saying that “you should’ve of did this”or “you should’ve done that”. After every at bat just waiting for Harper to react so he could attack him. What kind of teammate does that? Harper was having a bad day at the plate, everyone who has played baseball gets it you get so unbelievably mad when you have a day like that I specifically remember in little league being on the verge of tears after I got out (I was 10 leave me alone) I wasn’t mad at the other team or the umpires I was mad at myself I knew I could do better. I can guarantee that is exactly how Harper felt and if you’re a good teammate you know you shouldn’t say anything right then it can wait until after the game. Maybe if it came from a true teammate like Ian Desmond or Ryan Zimmerman, instead of a relief pitcher who has been there less than two months, maybe Harper would of reacted differently. Also now I’m 100% sure Matt Williams will be fired after this year, claiming he didn’t see the incident he allowed Jonathan Papelbon to pitch the next half inning, to make it better he gave up 5 runs and lost the game for the Nats. I hope neither are back next year. After the game, during the post game interviews Harper said “it’s like brothers fighting”, that might be true for the fights between teammates who spend 8 months a year together. But not some guy the team just picked up a month ago, I have brothers I don’t recall grabbing their throat and trying to slam them against the wall, not your “brother” don’t even call him a teammate.

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Baseball

#66 Yogi Berra/the Nats/Byron Buxton

I couldn’t think of anything to write a whole post about today so I figured I’ll just take a few stories and mash them together.

Tuesday night the baseball world lost a legend. Hall of famer Yogi Berra passed away Tuesday at the tender age of 90. He definitely lived a full and happy life he will be sorely missed. If I had the chance I would love to sit down and have a legitimate conversation with Yogi just talking baseball. From what I understand he knew plenty about baseball and then some more, might of talked like a crazy person but he was definitely a great baseball mind. His “Yogisms” will live on in this game forever. RIP Yogi Berra.

I am not too happy with the Nats right now. So the Mets are now sliding like I predicted, lost 2 in a row to the Braves, but the Nats are losing too. If the Nationals actually won the last 2 nights they’d be within 4.5 games of the division. Yes, I still think the Mets will slide and the Nats will eventually win the NL east. You guys have to win now and make up these games while you can. I still have faith lets go Nats.

And lastly, Byron Buxton has seriously struggled in the majors so far. Only hitting .197 with no homers over his first 115+ at bats. I have watched a few Twins games just to check in on him and I see a ton of potential in everything he does. He has the potential to be legitimate 5 tool player, there isn’t too many of those around. Because, in today’s game the fans are so quick to judge, I’ve heard people call him a bust already. Way too early for that, he was rated the number 1 prospect (ahead of Bryant and Correa) for a reason, stop worrying just give him some time he’ll turn it on.

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#65 Starlin Castro/Harper vs Trout

Over the weekend I heard about Starlin Castro supposedly hitting a lot better since he moved to second base. I decided to watch the Cubs game so I could study Castro and find out first hand what he changed. I’ll present my findings in a minute, first I want to mention the Bryce Harper vs Mike Trout thing. Obviously the last few years people simply wouldn’t shut up with the comparisons of Bryce Harper to Mike Trout. It was honestly super annoying, because Mike Trout got to the league and hit his stride immediately and Bryce Harper took a couple years. But still comparing them so soon didn’t make sense to me, as a Harper fan I knew this player was coming and I’m not surprised at all by his success. But I’m not saying “suck it Trout” no I still don’t think you should compare them, they’re both still playing. If you want to compare them to past greats, go nuts, I don’t like hearing Trout vs Harper. I have to mention Ken Rosenthal, who wrote a good article about this subject a while back that really put it in perspective for me. Rosenthal wrote about Trout vs Harper but did he compare them to each other? No. How about to past players? Nope. He compared them to cars. He said Mike Trout, due to him getting out of the gates so quick, was like a nice sports car. He compared Harper to a big semi truck, might be a little hard to get him going but once he does everybody watch out nothing will get in his way. Genius.

Like I said earlier I watched a Cubs game not for Russell, Bryant, or Schwarber, but so I could get my eyes on Castro. I’ve heard that he was hitting so much better, including having a 2 homer game, since he moved to second base. I honestly believe it was a little too late, I watched Starlin Castro at short and he was pretty bad defensively but better than usual. Russell was clearly the better shortstop but for whatever reason they kept Castro at short. I didn’t get why at all, if they made this switch earlier there isn’t a doubt in my mind Addison Russell would be in the running for a gold glove. Sorry getting off topic. Anyways what I noticed from Castro is that he closed his stance a little, and lowered his leg kick, and cut down the movement in his swing. Just little adjustments like this can change a players whole outlook. He can probably see the ball better with the new stance, in turn he’s swinging easy and a different Starlin Castro. For now at least.

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#64 Anthony Rizzo trade

I already know Cub fans won’t be happy about this post. This is my honest opinion about Anthony Rizzo. Before I start just know I like and respect Anthony Rizzo I am by no means a Rizzo hater. Just want to talk about the Cubs trading for him. Couldn’t really figure out anything to write about today so decided on this because I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now that the Cubs are back in contention.

First, let’s take it back to January of 2012 Cubs trade 2008 first round pick, Andrew Cashner (and a prospect) to the Padres for then 22 year old first baseman Anthony Rizzo (and a prospect). Both of the prospects traded haven’t really did anything yet so it was basically Cashner for Rizzo. I just want to look back on it and I really don’t think the Cubs got that great of a deal. Yes I know Cub fans probably don’t agree but hear me out. So Anthony Rizzo, good first baseman, good power, good plate discipline and probably gold glove caliber. Now Andrew Cashner, top of the rotation arm, throws 96-98 mph with good off speed stuff. Here’s my point, are the Cubs really better off now making this trade? My answer is no here’s why, what is the Cubs weakness for 2015 and probably 2016 as well? Pitching period. Not just the rotation, after Lester and Arrieta there’s nothing, the bulpen has been shaky as well. If everything happened like it has except for that trade I think they’d be better off. Cashner would be an awesome number 3 but if you wanted him in the ‘pen he’d be a lights out closer who threw 100 mph with ease. No offense to Rizzo but it’s not hard to be a good defensive first baseman. Don’t get me wrong you can’t just throw anybody over there, what I’m saying is it’s teachable and they just have to learn it. If you remember it took Rizzo a few years to hit his stride both offensively and defensively. My point is Kris Bryant would be way better at first it might take him a couple years to be gold glove caliber, and yes I think he could be a gold glover at first, but he’s only 23. Kyle Schwarber would probably make a pretty good first baseman as well and he’s only 22. The offense would be as good as it is now plus you have either a lights out closer or a good rotation arm in Andrew Cashner. Anthony Rizzo is a good first baseman but personally I think keeping Cashner could’ve worked out better for the Cubs. Just my two cents on the Rizzo trade that brought him to Chicago.

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#63 David Ortiz

Over the weekend David Ortiz hit his 500th career homer. Ever since steroids it kind of diminished the importance of 500 homers but it’s still an impressive number to reach. So today I feel like talking about David Ortiz and his hall of fame chances. Even though this post might sound like I’m a David Ortiz hater I’m not, well I guess I kind of am. Anyways before I start I just have to give a congratulations to Ortiz on number 500.

On Saturday David Ortiz hit two homers, number 499 and number 500. Like I said earlier since the steroid era the 500th homer isn’t as important as it use to be. Its an impressive number still but before steroids is was an automatic induction into the hall of fame if you hit 500. But now if you’re are even from the steroid era or even close to it and have good numbers its almost an assumption you used. I know David Ortiz isn’t strictly in the steroid era but towards the beginning of his career it was towards the end of the big steroid era. There will always be cheaters in baseball they will never completely abolish steroids. It’s sad but true, these players get paid so much it’s almost worth it to use, for the low integrity players. They cheat, get suspended for 50 games, then turn around and get 8+ million dollars to play baseball. Also while I’m talking about steroids, Red Sox fans probably won’t admit it, but David Ortiz has failed drug tests before. I’m not saying he’s a cheater (well…) but there’s evidence out there that says he tried to take something banned by the MLB and got caught in the process. And to his hall of fame chances I’d say they’ are about 0-5%. First it’s his failed drug test history that of course knocks him down a lot. Second he has primarily been a DH throughout his entire career. There isn’t a DH in the HOF and probably won’t be for awhile. If Edgar Martinez, best DH of all time, finally breaks the DH barrier down and gets into the hall then maybe Ortiz will have a chance. However the failed drug tests might hurt him too much I still say 0-5%. Obviously that means I don’t think he’ll be a first ballot HOFer, not even close to first ballot but I think eventually he might have a 0-5% chance of getting in.

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#62 the Nationals

Before I begin with the Nats just know I’m a little chapped after getting swept by the Mets. So I apologize if this post seems a little angry. I can already feel my blood pressure rising. Tell me how you can lose 3 straight games, that actually matter I might add, when you have a lead in every one? This doesn’t mean I don’t think the Nats won’t win the NL east. Too much talent on this team I still expect a big run and I don’t see anything that would make me think the Mets could run away with it.

First and foremost, before I get to Matt Williams and the Nats, I have to mention Bryce Harper. Also known as the future NL MVP. Harper hit another 2 homers last night bringing his total to 36 on the season. Let’s not forget he’s also hitting .336 all the while seeing 30% strikes. Barry Bonds (cheater I know) usually saw 40-50% because people were too scared too pitch to him. It was actually impressive to watch Bonds, yes he cheated and I don’t like him on a personal level but you got to give credit when credit is due. The only knock on Harper is he only 85 rbis. But rbis are a product of the players environment and whose hitting in front of them. Look at Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt both have a lot of rbis, both in hitters park, both in good hitting lineups even though their teams suck. I just don’t like that people are using rbis as a knock on Harp. Just look at these numbers, .336 average, .467 on base percentage, .657 slugging percentage those are crazy numbers. He’d be in the triple crown hunt if people actually got on base in front of him. The Nats probably wouldn’t even be over .500 if it wasn’t for Bryce Harper. MVP.

Now time to raise my blood pressure. Before the game yesterday I knew Matt Williams was already on the hot seat but after last night I’m 90% sure he’ll be fired after the season. Yes, Williams won the NL manager of the year last season as a rookie manager but that doesn’t mean he can’t be fired. The team was incredibly successful mainly because, unlike this year they were healthy. I like Williams but I’ve noticed more and more that he’s actually not a good manager. He’s pretty bad when it comes to managing the bulpen, the Nats don’t have a horrible bulpen contrary to popular belief. The arms are good they just have to put in the right position to succeed. It seems, to me at least, that Williams just brings in the same guys time after time. Even with expanded rosters you have more options than just a handful of guys who are probably tired of being put into situations where failure is probable. Because of that is why I think he’ll be fired, last year he kept going to Rafiel Soriano even though he was blowing saves and had a high era. Eventually Williams replaced Soriano with Drew Storen but that was towards the end of the year I just think he held onto Soriano a little too long. Coincidentally I think he’s holding onto Storen too long this year. Storen has an era over 9.00 in his last 15 games so why does he keep pitching in big situations? Last year with Soriano he got away with it because the team was so good it didn’t affect much. But this year the team has been injury plagued and every game counts right now. Pitch Storen in the blowouts, get his confidence back stop putting him in these high pressure spots. Otherwise Matt Williams you got to go.

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#61 Matt Harvey/the Mets

Today I have a bone to pick with Matt Harvey and his agent. Before I get to that bone I’ll mention the Mets as a whole. So yesterday started the first of two 3 game series with the Nationals that probably will eventually decide the winner of the NL east. I was almost certain the Nats were going to win yesterday but once again, Matt Williams left the starter in too long and of course the bulpen is shaky. You have to make the right bulpen moves at the right time otherwise it’s problematic. I could rant on about the Nats but I’ll have to dedicate a whole post to that. The rest of this series the Mets are sending Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom to the mound. And they have to face Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Those are some intense pitching matchups however, might be a little biased, I give the edge to the Nationals in the 2 remaining games of this series.

Now it’s time to rant about Matt Harvey. On Friday, I believe it was, Matt Harvey himself comes out and says “I have an innings cap of 180 then I’m shutting down”. The next day or so Matt Harvey himself posted on Derek Jeters players’ tribune. The players’ tribune is a blog that professional athletes use to post about themselves or about their sports. Derek Jeter is credited with the idea for this. Anyways Matt Harvey posted on there about his situation and basically said his agent, Scott Boras, said he should cap off at 180. Yes, you should always take it easy the first year after Tommy John surgery and I have no problem with having a 180 innings cap. I have a problem with him coming out and saying he’s going to shut down after 180 when he’s already pitched 166. At the beginning of the season I can promise you he or Scott Boras said absolutely nothing about having an innings limit this year. Stephen Strasburg in ’12 had an innings limit of 180 too but he just kept his mouth shut and just did his time. Now the Nationals could of handled the Strasburg situation better but that wasn’t his problem he just went out there and pitched. By the way Strasburg and Harvey are both Boras clients. I didn’t hear from Boras during the Strasburg situation either. Matt Harvey handled this whole situation horribly not very professional if you ask me. Scott Boras, who likes to take his clients to free agency no matter what, said “if you pitch him over 180 innings you’re jeopardizing his health for the future”. Sandy Alderson, the Mets GM, had the best response he said “why does the future matter? If we protect this player now and then you just pull the rug out from under us in a couple years when he’s a free agent? After all we did to protect him”. I’m not a “Boras fan” so I loved this response.

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