Baseball

#43 the LDS

First let me apologize for skipping last week as a Nats fan I was a little pre occupied. Since the Nats lost to the Cubs I have nothing else to focus on so I’m back. Second, this will be a short post I’m going to try and not rant on about anything.

Let’s start in the AL, I guarantee I’ll have less to say. I’ll begin with the Indians and Yankees series and to say the least it was an interesting one. The Indians had the best record in the AL and the Yankees had to win the wildcard game just to get there. Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 series lead and they looked to simply be the better team but some how some way the Yankees won 3 games in a row to advance. Hate them or love them you have to give them props for that. The other series saw the Astros playing the Red Sox. And well the Astros took that series pretty quickly, 3-1, the Stros just looked like a better team all around.

Now the NL, of course I was mainly focused on the Cubs-Nats series. I knew it was going to be a good series from the beginning and boy was I right. The Nats played better than the Cubs, the Nats were better in every statistical category, but somehow the Cubs still pulled it out. Nothing to do but tip your hat and move on when that happens. Not really mad at anyone for the loss, didn’t really like some of the calls the umpires made in game 5 but I need a whole post to to rant about that. In the other series the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks, I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. The Dodgers do have a very good team so I can’t say I’m too shocked though, the Dodgers have won the first 2 games of the NLCS against the Cubs as well.

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#41 the NL playoffs

I don’t have anything specific to write about today so I’m just going to mention what I think will happen in the NL now that the regular season is winding down. I still find the award races very interesting but today I feel like talking about the teams in general not one specific player. Today’s post will more than likely short, you’ve been warned let’s get into it.

Let’s start with the only series set in stone so far, the Cubs vs the Nats. As a Nats fan I promise to try and keep my Cub bashing to a minimum. Bryce Harper came back from the knee injury that kept him out a month, but of course he gets sick and isn’t playing as much as he could if he was completely healthy. The Cubs didn’t really put up a fight against the Nats this year, but not really going to get into that right now I just can’t wait to see Trea Turner vs Jake Arrieta. For those that don’t remember Turner had 6 stolen bases against (most of them) Arrieta and Miguel Montero didn’t like getting blamed for the pitchers (Arrieta) taking forever to get the ball to home plate, those comments got him fired of course. As for the other division series, it will be the Dodgers against the wildcard winner. It’ll probably be the Diamondbacks who just look like a complete team right now, and it really bothers me when I see the “experts” say “who could’ve seen this coming?” Me. I saw it coming. I picked the Diamondbacks to be a wildcard team, even before JD Martinez this was an incredibly talented team. Even though the Dodgers are the only 100 win team in baseball I think they’ll have a tough matchup with the Diamondbacks, who I think will easily win the wildcard game.

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#38 this week in baseball

First I have to apologize for missing last week, I’m getting burnt out on baseball and it’s getting super tough for me to sit down and write a full post. Those who know me know that I can still talk about baseball like no other but I’m struggling to find inspiration to write about it for hours, just getting tough doesn’t mean I’m done for the year. Anyway just had to take a week off and try to recharge my batteries. I have a few talking points from the last week to mention so I’ll just keep each subject short and simple.

First up the Verlander trade. The Houston Astros got the ace they needed for this stretch run by trading for the Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. In the second half Verlander has been pitching like he’s five years younger and the Astros needed an ace all year it might of taken them longer than expected but they got him.

The rise and fall from grace. This is actually about two different teams not the same team. The rise part is about the Cleveland Indians ridiculous and current winning streak of 19 games. And they go for 20 tonight with their ace, Corey Kluber, taking the mound. The Oakland Athletics are the only team to have a 20 game streak in the modern era, and the Indians have a real shot to at least tie that record. The fall part is about the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers have lost 10 in a row and are 1-15 in the last 16 games and this downfall started when Adrian Gonzalez came back from the DL. Hate to say I told you so but… I totally did, I knew Agon was going to get some playing time and it would mess up the mojo they had going. Not my fault no one listens.

On Sunday September 10th the Washington Nationals clinched the NL east. Still early September and the Nats have already clinched a playoff spot, if the Dodgers keep falling the Nats might get home field advantage in the playoffs. Nats are playing the Dodgers this weekend could be a big series.

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#32 Harper’s injury

After Bryce Harper fell to the ground clutching his knee late Saturday night, I’ve been thinking about the whole situation since so I figured I would write about it today. Yes, I am a Nats so you can call me biased it doesn’t bother me any. With this injury there are implications to the MVP race and that’s mainly what I’ve been thinking about, because the Nats are far enough ahead in the division they can withstand losing their 3-hole hitter for a couple weeks while he heals up.

Bryce Harper was trying to beat out a ground ball and he got to the base and his foot slipped off and his knee buckled, buckled the wrong way. The base was probably slippery because of the 2 hour rain delay before the game, and not to mention the base is pretty hard and doesn’t give much. From what I saw it looked like he just hyper extended it, and after that happens you can’t really put any pressure on that leg, so he had to be pretty much carried off the field. To no surprise people were assuming the worst “he tore his ACL” “Harper out for the rest of the year” but I personally didn’t believe that. Was it possible he tore his ACL and everything else? Yes very possible. To me it looked like just a hyper extension especially when it was reported that he came to park the next day with an ace bandage UNDER the knee and not even a real limp. So it looks like Harper will miss a couple weeks with a severe bone bruise, not as bad as it could’ve been. Now to the MVP implications, I wrote about the MVP race just last week and I said I think Harper will win it in the NL. I’m not completely flipping I still think Harper can do it but because of this injury he might miss some time and it would take a lot more now to win it. He doesn’t want to, and the Nats wouldn’t even let him, hurry back and risk further injury and potentially miss a good playoff/world series run. With Giancarlo Stanton absolutely on fire, probably going to end up with 50+ homers this year, he’s making this MVP race tighter than it already was. The person I think benefits most with Harper having to miss some time is Nolan Arenado, the dude already has 100 rbis. The Rockies are actually good this year and will probably be a playoff team, that’s why I think Arenado is getting some real consideration for MVP. I’m not sure he can continue hitting .311 down the stretch, he’s been around .280 the last couple years, but the homers and the rbis will be there for sure. 26 homers and 100 rbis right now and has a little over a month left.

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#23 Cubs v Nats

Today I feel like talking about the 4 game series going on in D.C., mainly because I’m glued to my tv. Call me a homer or biased or whatever you want but I’m not denying that I’m a Nationals fan. I think the Nats are playing some of the best baseball in the majors this year, I’m glued to the tv because I know a lot of Cub fans and I don’t think the Cubs are slouches. I didn’t think this was ever going to be an easy sweep for the Nats. Before I get started I just have to say I’m not feeling 100 percent today so this might be kind of short.

First I just have to mention how well Javy Baez played on defense last night, seriously wow. He absolutely robbed Bryce Harper on a line drive that actually made my jaw drop, he was at shortstop last night. Because Harper is left handed Baez was slightly shifted towards second base Harper hit a liner, not softly either, right to where the shortstop usually would be and somehow Baez dove to his left (and a little towards the outfield too) and caught it. Obviously a little bummed because it should of been a hit but whatever I was impressed. Tonight will be Scherzer for the Nats and Strasburg tomorrow, the Cubs could be in trouble no doubt. I said this last week and I seriously mean it, sending Schwarber down to AAA could be the start of the turn around for the Cubs. Schwarber is a career .204 hitter, let me say that again .204 CAREER HITTER. And he was the leadoff hitter? Yes, he had a good World Series but that was a very small sample size and he was DHing. He’s not as good as some seem to think, he never overly impressed me when he was a prospect. Now is your chance Cubs if a turn around is coming nows the time, more playing time for Baez and Almora.

Just realized I started this post planning on writing about the Nats too but it turned into a Cubs only. Oh well.

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#22 no hitter Wednesdays

First there actually were no no hitters yesterday/last night but there were two “close” ones that I’d like to talk about. The two I would like to write about today is Max Scherzer’s game against the Marlins and Justin Verlander against the Mariners. I might get into a little rant about Verlander’s start just a fair warning. Just a funny tidbit, I’m sure Tiger fans will love this, just a few years ago the Tigers had both Scherzer and Verlander.

Before I get into that I read earlier today that the Cubs are sending Kyle Schwarber down to AAA. Jason Heyward is heading to the DL also, means more playing time for Almora and Baez. This might be the chance the Cubs need to start turning it around.

I’ll start with Max Scherzer because there’s less of a chance of me going full rant mode. So Scherzer and the Nats were facing the Miami Marlins for the last game of the series yesterday afternoon in Miami. And I knew in the second inning Max had his A+ stuff, I knew something special could easily happen today. 6 batters 6 strikeouts in the first two innings, the fastball was coming out his hand easy at 96 mph he slider looked unhitable. He didn’t allow a hit through 7.1 innings, and a come backer that was a little too high and knicks off of Max’s glove and there goes the no hitter. It’s too bad he had no hit stuff but that’s baseball.

Now about Verlander, I’ll try to keep this short I promise. Verlander has his good stuff working as well, had a perfect game as a matter of fact, gets to the 6th inning and Jarrod Dyson bunts for a base hit. YOU DO NOT BUNT FOR A BASE HIT WHEN THE PITCHER HAS A NO HITTER. Baseball players get that. I get why he did it that’s part of his game and I’m not mad at Dyson what so ever but it doesn’t go down too easy, don’t really like it. If it was the ninth inning I’d be seriously mad but it was only the 6th inning so I can let it slide. But current and former baseball players will get it.

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#16 Harper vs Strickland

Before I get into this post, let’s be honest it’ll probably be a rant, I feel like I should apologize for skipping Tuesday. I had some family in town and my brother had a baseball game so I took a vacation day. And besides this will be a short post, I HATE RELIEVERS COMING IN JUST TO THROW AT GUYS, there done. Just kidding I’ll get into the specifics of this situation.

First, a little backstory back in the 2014 NLDS Bryce Harper hit two mammoth blasts off of Hunter Strickland. That’s it seriously. That’s the reason he hit him 3 years later. I’m sorry that is seriously sad, Strickland gave up 5 homers that postseason when the giants won the World Series. So in other words he sucked, got beat twice by Harper, both of the homers Strickland stared down Harper as he rounded the bases, the second homer gave the Nats the lead and when Harp got back to the dugout he was giving high fives to everyone and being real animated nothing new you know. And apparently that set off Strickland and he can stay mad for three years. Yes, I’m a Nats fan you can call me biased I don’t care personally I like that it went down. I think Strickland is just a sad guy with a hurt ego, but nobody charges the mound anymore you don’t see Nolan Ryan getting Robin Ventura in a headlock while knocking his teeth out in today’s game. If you want to point fingers though point them at Buster Posey, the Giants catcher didn’t move an inch after he hit him, Harper started walking down the first base line jawing at Strickland like most players do after they get hit but he realized Posey wasn’t holding him back so he ran out there and threw a couple punches. You can tell by Posey’s, and the entire Giants bench, reaction that it was 2-0 game in the 8th inning Strickland was just being a selfish little man with a bruised ego. I know Posey is getting a lot of attention for this but honestly he didn’t agree so he didn’t want to clean up his mess “you want to hit him with 98? You deserve to get punched a couple times.” I would not be surprised at all if Strickland is traded soon. The helmet throw was great there were ex players on twitter like “you throw helmets by the ear flap not the brim, Bryce you should know better.”

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