Archive for the 'MLB' Category

Dodgers Rookies Shine

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

The Dodgers are running away with the National League West. They have a number of veterans leading the charge in Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw. They also have a number of younger players in Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager who are making an impact. And how about the rookies. They pulled a first in major league history by having two rookies win back to back games with walkoff homeruns. They did it again Sunday to make it three straight games in which rookies have won back to back to back games with a walk off homerun. Will it ever end?

It began on Friday. Matt Beaty had probably been feeling a bit down since he was sent to the minors on Thursday. Lo and behold, an injury forced the Dodgers to put a player on the disabled list and since Matt had not yet left he was called up to replace him for Friday’s game. Another rookie, Walker Buehler started the game, striking out 16, the highest total in National League history. Yet when he finished the ninth the score was still tied 2-2. Max Muncy started the inning by drawing a walk. Beaty, who got the start in left field, then blasted a pitch over the centerfield fence for a 4-2 win over the Rockies.

On Saturday Alex Verdugo had already slugged one homerun. He has been up all year despite the fact the outfield is crowded and finding playing time for him has been difficult. It was Beaty who hit a single in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4. Then came the bottom of the 11th and Verdugo blasts his second homerun of the game to give the Dodgers a 5-4 win. They had also become the first team to have rookies win back to back games with walkoff homeruns.

But they were not done. Will Smith was called up on Sunday. He had been up earlier in the year. He did not start the game but in the bottom of the ninth the Dodgers put two runners on. Beaty had started the inning by beating out an infield single. A wild pitch advanced him to second and the Rockies chose to walk Russell Martin intentionally. That brought up Will Smith as a pinch hitter for the pitcher. He poked one over the right centerfield fence for the third straight walk off homerun by a Dodgers rookie.

The Rockies have to be shaking their head. They were swept in the series and have now lost 11 straight to the Dodgers. Winning the division does not look like it is in the cards, not with a lot of rookies still performing well in the minor leagues.

A Doo-Littleless Pen Shines

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019

There were a number of people who thought Dave Martinez had lost it Friday night. First he brought in Tony Sipp in the eighth, a lefty to face Freddie Freeman with the Nationals up 4-3. This is a lefty who has had trouble getting lefties out facing a future Hall of Famer. Tony struck out Freeman, then gave up a double to Josh Donaldson. When fans looked into the bullpen to look for Tanner Rainey warming up all they saw was Trevor Rosenthal. He of the 19.90 ERA. Did anyone tell Davey this was the Braves he was playing? It was like a nightmare for Nats fans. Pinch me to wake me up.

He allowed Sipp to face the lefty hitting Nick Martinez. Nick hit a harmless fly to left. Fans did their best to calm their racing hearts. Out walked Martinez from the pen. The hearts began running like it was a President’s race. In from the bullpen with the tying run at second came Trevor Rosenthal. To face the rookie Austin Riley. Who had clubbed a two run shot off Stephen Strasburg earlier in the game. This can not be a reality that I am witnessing.

Gotta give Trevor credit. He threw strikes. Worked the count to 1-2. Austin then hit a slow roller to Anthony Rendon. It appeared Anthony lost the ball briefly as you could see it hanging like a snow cone from his glove, but he was able to recover and throw Riley out at first. Disaster averted. Now quit fooling around. Bring in Doolittle.

But for the ninth that was Wander Suerro warming up in the bullpen. He of the above 5 ERA and no career saves on the back of his bubble game card. There have been some blown saves on the back of that card. Now the hope was the Nationals would score some insurance runs to give Suerro some cushion. A lot of insurance runs. That was not to be. They went down 1-2-3. In came Suerro to protect a 4-3 lead. Mercy. Mercy. Someone take me to the hospital. I think I’m about to lose it.

What does Suerro do? He walked the leadoff batter. Ozzie Albies lined his first pitch into centerfield for a base hit. This did not look good. Not good at all. Davey would be roasted tomorrow. Charlie Culberson came up. The Nationals expected him to bunt. He did not and after getting two strikes he flew out harmlessly to right. Suerro was now facing the rookie of the year last year Ronald Acuna Jr., who has been known for a few of his clutch hits, more game winning hits than Suerro has saves. Wander was not phased and blew a 93 mile per hour cutter past him for strike three.

Now it was Dansby Swanson up with Freddie Freeman on dice. Matt Grace of the ERA above 6 was now warming up in the bullpen. This did not look like it was going to end well. Dansby swung at the first pitch he saw. He blooped it into right field. Dozier raced back for it. Robles came charging in. It looked as if it was going to fall with two bodies colliding into each other. Robles slides to avoid crashing into Dozier. He reaches out with his glove and catches the ball. Nationals win. What a game.

Now it is off to Omaha for myworld to watch some College World Series. Davey is a genius. If he is going to make a playoff run he is going to have to trust his bullpen, even those pitchers who did not get the job done at the start of the season.

Nats Sweep Phils Behind Mad Max and Corbin

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

With two games being rained out on Monday and Tuesday the Nationals played a day/night split double header against the Phillies on Wednesday. They got two strong pitching performances, the first from Patrick Corbin and the second from Max Scherzer to sweep the Phillies 6-2 and 2-0, despite the prediction of rain through Thursday. There was a brief drizzle in game two, but it did not interrupt the game.

In the early game the Nationals called on Patrick Corbin to give the Nationals a critical win. He gave up a solo shot to Scott Kingery, a two out solo bomb deep into the back of the left field bullpen. That was the only time in the day the Phillies had a lead. Corbin shut down the Phils through the next six innings, at one time striking out 7 of the eight hitters he faced in the second through fourth innings, striking out the side in the fourth. For the game he struck out eight.

The Nationals responded in the bottom of the first off Zach Eflin. Adam Eaton hit a ball off the right centerfield scoreboard for a double. Kingery had a ball clank off his glove for an error putting runners on first and third with just one out. Juan Soto tied the game up with a single into right field.

The Nationals took the lead in the fourth after a one out double by Matt Adams into the right field corner. Bryce Harper had the ball hit off his glove when reaching for it, had trouble picking it up as it landed against the scoreboard, allowing Adams to race to second. With two outs Gerrado Parra, getting a rare start in centerfield lined a single into right center to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Parra turned the hit into a double hustling into second. He was ultimately stranded there when Yan Gomes was intentionally walked and Corbin grounded a pitch to third where Kingery dove to make the stop and flipped the ball to second to end the inning.

The Phillies had an opportunity in the sixth. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a walk. Scott Kingery grounded a single into centerfield. Harper hesitated about going to third after rounding second, but then turned on the afterburners. Parra picked up the ball barehanded and just barely threw Harper out, with a video of the play confirming the call. Rhys Hoskins grounded a single past the diving Trea Turner to put two runners on. J.T. Realmuto grounded to third, Rendon looked just a bit casual trying to turn two and only retired the lead runner at second. No harm as Corbin got Sean Rodriguez to ground to third for the final out, swinging at a 3-0 pitch with runners on first and third.

The Nationals came back to add another run in the bottom of the sixth. Juan Soto led off the inning with a walk, stole second and was able to score on a Brian Dozier double down the left field line. Another intentional walk to Yon Gomes brought up Corbin to hit and he struck out on three pitches.

Corbin retired the side in order in the seventh. The Nationals went with young rookie Tanner Rainey for the eighth inning in a 3-1 game. He struggled a bit with his command, walking one and hitting one. With two outs he ran the count full to J.T. Realmuto. Under most circumstances the bullpen would have caved. Rainey stayed his course, getting Realmuto on a ground out to short to send it to the ninth.

The Nationals had Sean Doolittle warming. Brian Dozier hit a two run homer in the flower bed in left field. Gerrado Parra made it back to back sending a ball off the scoreboard behind the right field bullpen. Doolittle was no longer needed.

With the score 6-1 Javy Guerra came out of the bullpen. He retired the first two hitters, but Cesar Hernandez singled and pinch hitter Brad Miller skipped a pitch down the right field line. He ended up at third after the ball went past Parra after bouncing around the corner in right field, scoring Hernandez. The fans got a little restless, but Corbin retired Jean Segura on a ground out to short to end the game.

The night cap was all Mad Max. He was going against Jake Arriata. Despite his broken nose and black eye he threw seven shutout innings, striking out 10. The only time he allowed a runner to reach third base was in the first inning. In the seventh he gave up a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez but despite being visibly tired he struck out the side to end the inning.

Jake Arriata was equally as sharp. He gave up a second inning solo shot into left field in the second inning to Brian Dozier to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead. He only gave up one other hit in the fourth. He ended up going six innings after the Phillies pinch hit for him in the top of the seventh, giving up just the one run.

In the top of the eighth Wander Suerro retired the side in order, striking out two. He did take the count to 3-2 to the two hitters he whiffed. In the bottom frame the Nationals got an insurance run when Victor Robles popped a pitch into the left field bullpen for a 2-0 lead. Doolittle did not need the extra run, retiring the side in order in the ninth to complete the sweep.

Game Notes: As the weather has gotten warmer Brian Dozier has gotten hot. He is 28 for 97 (.289) with 7 of his 12 homeruns and 21 of his 28 RBIs since mid-May…Lots of boos for Bryce. If he ever enters the Hall of Fame he will not be wearing a Nationals hat. He appears to have worn out that welcome…Anthony Rendon is too casual on defense when he makes the play. He also does not run hard when he doesn’t think he can take the extra base. Depending on his asking price myworld would not pay above market price to extend him…The more I watch Juan Soto the more I am convinced that DH is his best position. He does hustle for balls hit to him but he falls short of too many balls, or misplays them…For the first Brian Dozier homerun in game one, a Phillie fan retrieved it from the flower bed and threw it into left field. Leftfielder Sean Rodriguez picked the ball up and threw it back into left field. So much for that statement…The Phillies played the shift with Adam Eaton on third and Matt Adams up. The third baseman was almost playing shortstop. This allowed Eaton to take a leadoff halfway down the third base line. I was hoping he would steal home…The first game saw more empty seats than occupied seats. You could almost count the attendance. The announced crowd was 17,960, but take away the “1″ and it would be closer to the number of people in the park….Patrick Corbin had an ERA of 11.37 in his last three starts…Scherzer’s fastball had a little more velocity than his previous outings. Myworld saw him hit 98 twice and he was consistently at 97. In the seventh inning he began to tire and you saw the fastball drop to 94/95. But he still struck out the side, putting out all his effort to get that 97 mph reading…Pat Neshek came back to the Phils on Sunday from the disabled list. He was on the IL for a strained shoulder. After facing three hitters in the second game he strained his left hamstring and may have to return to the IL.

Top Prospects from Colombia

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Last year we included the top prospects in the “Best Prospects from South America” List. Five Colombian players were named on that list. One of them graduated to major league baseball (Jorge Alfaro) and is no longer considered a prospect. The four remaining reappear on the top prospects from Colombia list. Myworld was able to find ten players who we felt had enough skills to make it to the major leagues. Below are the top ten prospects from Colombia.

1. Ronaldo Hernandez C (Rays) - The Rays signed the infielder for $225,000 and then converted him to catcher. His biggest asset is his arm and the ability to hit for power. While the arm can control a running game he is still learning the other aspects of the game such as blocking the ball and framing the pitch that will get him to the major leagues. His defensive mechanics other than his arm would fall below average. On the offensive side, the bat showed it can hit for some power, crashing 21 homeruns last year and slugging .494 at Low A. This year he is trying to tackle High A in the Florida State League which is more of a pitcher’s park. He has five homeruns, but a much worse walk to whiff ratio (6/32), which could be a cause for concern. His batting average is still high (.287) but his OBA has dropped 20 points (.313). He is still a couple years from the major leagues.

2. Luis Patino RHP (Padres) - The Padres signed Patino back in 2016 for $130,000. At the time he was still a teenager lacking meat on his bones. He has picked up 40 pounds since that signing and his fastball velocity has gone up ten miles per hour, hitting the high 90s but sitting in the mid-90s. He also has an excellent slider that crosses the plate in the mid-80s. Finding an off speed pitch (curve or change) would make him effective as a starter. The one concern is his smallish frame, which at 6′0″ is death for right handed starters. Last year he dominated at Low A (2.16 ERA). This year a promotion to High A has not impacted his pitching, his ERA (2.92) and opposition average (.194) still showing he can dominate at that level. The Padres are flush with pitching prospects so there will be no rush to move him up the system. Expect him to make the major leagues sometime in 2020.

3. Luis Escobar (Pirates) - Luis signed back in 2013 for $150,000. He was signed as a third baseman but the Pirates moved him to the mound. He has bulked up another 60 pounds since his signing and his fastball now hits 97, but sits in the 93-95 mile per hour range. He has the secondary pitches to make it as a starter (curve and change) but he lacks the command to get them over the plate with any regularity. Last year he walked 59 hitters in 129 innings. That is almost a walk every other inning. This year he has walked 18 in 40 innings. Last year he got seven starts in AA (4.54 ERA). This year the Pirates have tried him out in the bullpen in High A, then skipping him to AAA where he has been used as a starter and reliever. His career opposition batting average entering the 2019 season was a pretty impressive .216. This year he has gotten it down to .150. The Pirates have had dome frustration as they have promoted their younger pitchers to the major leagues and achieved very little success. With every failure comes a greater opportunity for Escobar to show what he can do. Before the 2019 season ends he could start his career in the Pirates bullpen.

4. Meibrys Viloria C (Royals) - The Royals signed him back in 2013 for $460,000. In his first year stateside he shocked the minor league world in 2016 with a .376 average in rookie ball. The last two years he has been stuck at .260. Last year with the injury to Salvador Perez he got his major league opportunity, appearing in 10 games and hitting .259. That first year batting average appears to be a bit of an outlier. After getting off to a slow start in 2019 he has gotten his average up to .254. He is more noted for his defense and his strong arm that can control the running game than his bat. The Royals appear to have a top flight catcher (M.J. Melendez) ahead of him on the depth chart, which could cause a move to another organization if he wants to get playing time. He is currently in AA and should see some time in September, or earlier if an injury results in a promotion. At worst his solid defense would make him an excellent backup catcher.

5. Oscar Mercado OF (Indians) - Oscar was a second round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, signing for $1.5 million. He was traded to the Indians last year for two lower level outfielders. Mercado moved from Colombia to the United States when he was eight years old, growing up in Florida and gaining a reputation as an excellent shortstop. He was moved to the outfield in 2017. There is not a lot of power in his game. Playing good defense and stealing bases will be his specialities. Last year he stole 37 bases in AAA, scoring 85 runs. The Indians are very weak in the outfield and that weakness led to a promotion to the major leagues this year. After hitting .294 in AAA Mercado continues to hit for the Indians with a .306 average. He has also shown some surprising pop with three homeruns in just 26 games. If this kind of production continues with the Indians he will graduate from prospect status and not appear on this list next year.

6. Harold Ramirez OF (Marlins) - With the Pirates he was once a big time prospect. Signed way back in 2011 he got a bit heavy and out of shape and his prospect status suffered. The Pirates traded him in 2016 to the Blue Jays and the Blue Jays did not see anything in him and outrighted him last year. That is where the Marlins picked him up as a minor league free agent. He has resurrected his career, killing it in AAA with a .355 average and a .999 OPS. The Marlins promoted him and have been using him in centerfield, where they had hoped Luis Brinson would have been the answer. His success in the major leagues (.325) appears to indicate that he will be another player to graduate from the prospect list.

7. Jhon Torres OF (Cardinals) - Jhon was signed by the Indians in 2016 for $150,000. Ironic that he was one of the two outfielders the Indians traded to the Cardinals for Oscar Mercado. Could be the first trade where two Colombians were traded for each other. He did not make his state side debut until last year when he hit .397 in 17 games at the Gulf Coast League. At 6′4″ he can generate some power in his swing, hitting 8 homeruns last year in just 44 rookie league games. His arm is built to play right field. The Indians may be getting some good use out of Mercado now, but in the future they may regret trading Torres. The Cardinals have him playing Low A, where he has struggled in his 21 games (.167 average). When the rookie leagues begin he will probably be demoted there to get his bat working.

8. Jordan Diaz 3B (Athletics) - Jordan signed in 2016 for $275,000. Last year he played in the Arizona Rookie League where he showed a good ability to get on base (.371). He has the defensive tools to play third base. His power is currently restricted to the gaps. Whether his 5′10″ frame can generate more pop is open to question. Last year he hit his first and only professional homerun. In the New York Penn League he went deep early where in three games he is hitting .364. He is still a long way from the major leagues. A lot of developing needs to be done.

9. Santiago Florez RHP (Pirates) - Signed in 2016 for $150,000 Santiago has the height (6′5″) and the fastball (mid-90s) to get the Pirates excited. His curveball has some promise but there is no real third pitch yet and his command is suspect. Last year he walked 23 hitters in 43 innings and saw his innings limited because of a barking elbow. There is a lot of development to do. He will work on that in the 2019 season when the rookie level leagues begin.

10. Danis Correa RHP (Cubs) - We needed a tenth player but don’t know a lot about Danis other than his fastball has hit triple digits, but sits at the mid-90s. At 5′11″ his height goes against him as a right handed pitcher. Last year he only was able to pitch in two games of relief at the rookie level. The year before he pitched 40.2 innings. At 19 years of age the Cubs are possibly waiting for the rookie leagues to begin before they put Correa on the mound.

Orioles Givens it Away

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

The Orioles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth. They turned to Mychal Givens to seal the victory. Givens threw a flat changeup to Marcus Hernandez. Marcus tagged it into the Orioles bullpen for his first homerun of the year. Givens stayed on for the tenth inning and gave up a mammoth homerun to Rafael Devers that landed in the Red Sox bullpen, that sits behind the O’s bullpen in centerfield. The Red Sox would tack on four more runs, then overcame their own bullpen issues to hang on to a 8-6 victory.

It was a long torturous game. The first nine innings lasted four hours as managers chose to change pitchers in the middle of innings rather than let them finish the inning and bring on a new pitcher to start the inning. The last inning went 40 minutes as the two teams combined for eight runs.

It didn’t seem like a pitcher’s duel because both starting pitchers did not last past five innings. There were 15 pitchers that combined for over 400 pitches. Brian Johnson was removed early because this was his first start since April. John Means had already thrown over 100 pitches after just five innings.

The Orioles struck first in the bottom of the third. Keon Broxton led off the inning bouncing a pitch over the glove of Rafael Devers into the left field corner and gliding into second. He advanced to third on a fly out and scored when Hanser Alberto hit a high bouncer that Devers attempted to field with his bare hands to throw to first. He dropped the ball, Broxton scoring on the hit.

John Means was effective in his first three innings, giving up just one hit per inning. In the top of the fourth he gave up four consecutive hits that gave the Red Sox two runs. Rafael Devers started the hit parade with a single. Xander Bogaerts hit a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Devers to tie the game. Michael Chavis hit a single up the middle but it was stopped Villar from going into the outfield. Bogaerts rounded third too far and got caught in between, eventually being tagged by Alberto for the second out. Jackie Bradley gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead with a double into right center field.

Brian Johnson gave up two hits to the first two hitters he faced in the bottom of the fourth and that was it for him. Colton Brewer, the righthander came on to face Chris Davis, a lefthanded hitter. Davis grounded to first, the Red Sox failing to turn a double play. Keon Broxton laid down a bunt, was thrown out at first but was called out for runner’s interference (running too much on the fair side of the foul line. Anthony Santander would have easily scored on the bunt but he had to return to third because of the interference call. Brandon Hyde was ejected for arguing the call. Richie Martin struck out to end the threat.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the fifth on a single sandwiched between two walks. Josh Taylor came on to pitch and got Jonathan Villar to ground out to short to end the rally.

Both teams stranded a bucketful of runners as the game progressed. In the bottom of the eighth Jonathan Villar did not wait for anyone to drive him in. After walking he stole second. He then took advantage of a Christian Vazquez lob throw back to the pitcher to steal third. He scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. With two outs Stevie Wilkerson pinch hit for Richie Martin. He lined a triple into the right field corner. Hanser Alberto came through again, grounding a single past the shortstop to give the Orioles the lead.

Mychal Givens came on to get the save. He gave up the homerun to Marcus Hernandez. The next batter Mookie Betts almost took one deep, hitting it above the glove of a leaping Trey Mancini and bouncing off the rightfield scoreboard for a triple. Givens got out of the inning by striking out the next two hitters.

The tenth myworld was gone after Rafael Devers blasted a pitch deep into the centerfield bullpen. The Red Sox would go on to score five runs. It was a good thing too because the Orioles homered twice in the bottom frame, Wilkerson and Trey Mancini going deep to score three.

Game notes: John Means had thrown over 100 pitches after five innings. He only walked two but he had at least six three ball counts…Rafael Devers did not look good playing defense at third. Don’t know if Michael Chavis would do any better, moving Devers to first. Currently Chavis is playing first, but his natural position in the minor leagues was third…This was the fourth straight game for myworld. We have another in D.C. to make it five straight…Myworld thought it was interesting that the Red Sox pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez in the ninth but did not pinch hit for Marcus Hernandez. They would have lost the DH spot since Holt would have had to play second. They did not pinch hit and Marcus rewarded Alex Cora with a game tying homerun…Marcus Hernandez has two career homeruns. Both have been at Camden Yards…Eduardo Nunez was supposed to play second base and Anthony Benintendi was to DH. Benintendi was a late scratch because of quad tightness and Nunez moved to the DH slot while Hernandez went to second base. Benintendi is dealing with a quad issue but hopes to play Monday.

Force is with the Diamondbacks

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

It was Obi Sean Kenobi bobblehead day at Nationals stadium. The first 10,000 fans received Sean Doolittle bobbleheads. They also promoted a Star Wars theme with the Nat pack all dressed in Star Wars characters. But the force was with the Diamondbacks. They blasted five homeruns in their 10-3 drubbing of the Nationals and ensured at least a split of this series.

It did not start off well for Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. Ketel Marte deposited the first pitch from Strasburg into the Nationals bullpen in right field. Before the shock could wear off two outs later Adam Jones belted a pitch just over the left field wall. Juan Soto attempted a leap to catch the ball but the wall was too high.

The Nationals did come to life in the bottom of the first. Trea Turner bounced the first pitch he saw into the left field corner. When left fielder David Peralta fell trying to retrieve the ball Turner hustled to third for a triple. He scored on a fly ball to center by Adam Eaton. With two outs the Nationals created some fireworks of their own with back to back homeruns from Juan Soto and Matt Adams. Adams shot went over the right field bullpen into the second deck.

It did not take long for the Diamondbacks to respond. In the top of the second Christian Walker led off the inning with a blast into the centerfield bleachers. Nick Ahmed hit a ball into the left centerfield gap. Soto stabbed at the ball but it hit the fence and bounced past Soto, rolling along the left field warning track. By the time Eaton retrieved the ball Ahmed was standing on third with a triple. A Carson Kelly single put the Diamondbacks up 4-3.

Taylor Clarke was not sharp but after the first inning he bent but he did not break. He did not last the requisite five innings to get the win, falling one out shy. The Nationals could only muster four more hits off him.

The Diamondbacks continued to have their way with Strasburg. In the third Strasburg was able to retire the first two hitters. Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker followed with singles. Nick Ahmed slashed a pitch into the hole. Turner dove for the ball it but it tipped off his glove. The ball rolled into left field while Ahmed could glide into second with a double, the Diamondbacks tacking on another run for a 5-3 lead.

Ketel Marte went deep again off Strasburg to lead off the fifth. Strasburg was able to retire the next six hitters in a row but the damage prior to that was too great. Down 6-3 the Nationals bats went quiet with just three hits off the Diamondbacks pen.

The Nationals pen was not as stingy. They have been failing much of the year and they failed again today to keep this game close. Javy Guerra pitched two shutout innings. In the eighth Kyle Barraclough gave up a two run homer to Kevin Cron. He failed to find the strike zone after that, walking the next two hitters. Tony Sipp came on to replace him to try to get the last out but gave up an RBI single to David Peralta to ante up the score to 9-3.

The Nationals have their unique specialty reliever. Instead of using a position player to pitch in a blow out game, the Nationals turn to Trevor Rosenthal. He brought his 21.60 ERA to the mound, walked the first two hitters, coughed up a single to Nick Ahmed and gave up an SF to Nick Ahmed to put the Diamondbacks in double digits. He was able to get Kevin Cron to hit the ball hard to the shortstop that was turned into a double play, lowering his 21.60 ERA to 19.50.

Game Notes: Not too much to get excited about in this loss. Davey Martinez has a couple arms he can trust in Tanner Rainey and Sean Doolittle. Most of the arms he can not trust. The Nationals bullpen from those arms can turn close games into blowouts…There were 38,044 at the game for the bobblehead day, enough to call the game a sellout. This was not the performance the Nationals wanted to put on the field to get the fans returning to the park…Stephen Strasburg had a little talk with the umpire when the top of the fourth inning ended. Davey Martinez joined in the discussion…The score could have been worse, but with runners on third and second and one out in the eighth Sipp was able to get a double play ground out. Adam Jones hit a ground ball to Anthony Rendon. He threw home to tie up Ildemaro Vargas, who was tagged out trying to return to third. Rendon then threw to second where he got Peralta wandering too far off second base. Peralta was tagged out to end the inning…The last time Strasburg gave up 9 hits in a game was back in 2016, 65 starts ago…The Nationals came into this series hot. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks are also hot. The Diamondbacks have won eight of their last 10 games to get closer to the wild card hunt. The Nationals can put together winning streaks against teams playing below .500, but have trouble finding victories against teams who are above them in the standings. They fall further from the wild card position…The Nationals are now 16-17 at home. The only team that has a losing streak at home are the Diamondbacks. They are 24-18 on the road while the Nationals are 16-21.

Scherzer Rights Nats Ship

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

The Nationals scored some runs for Scherzer and Max gave the team seven solid innings to avenge their opening day loss with a 7-3 win. Michael Taylor got a rare start and his speed proved to be troublesome for the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks were the first team to strike. Carson Kelly, who in St. Louis was more noted for his defense than his offense, launched a 96 mile per hour fastball that Max got a little bit up deep into the left field bleachers for an early 1-0 lead. Up until that time he seemed unhittable, striking out four of the seven hitters he faced.

Robbie Ray also looked pretty tough but a critical mistake by him in the bottom of the third allowed the Nationals to bounce back. Michael Taylor started the inning with a single to right center. Max Scherzer attempted a bunt but struck it too hard and Ray fielded it just short of the mound. He went to second but may have rushed his throw seeing Michael Taylor running and threw it into centerfield. Taylor advanced to third. A Trea Turner double down the left field line tied the game up. Victor Robles hit a fly ball to center and Scherzer tagged, hustling home to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. A Juan Soto checks swing single into left field scored Turner, his slide home coming just ahead of the throw.

With a 3-1 lead and Scherzer pitching you feel pretty confident. In the fifth Nick Ahmed rocketed another high fastball hitting the plate at 95 mph over the left field bleachers to pull the Diamondbacks to within one. National fans squirmed in their seats. If it is one weakness of Scherzer it is he likes to give up homeruns. This year he has been pretty good at limiting the homerun balls. The Ahmed homer made it the first time Scherzer had given up two homers in a game this year.

The Nationals responded in the bottom of the sixth with two gigantic shots. Anthony Rendon blasted a pitch from Ray far into the centerfield bleachers. One batter later Howie Kendrick lined a shot into the left field bleachers. As he circled the bases fans chanted “this is Howie do it.”

The Diamondbacks went to the bullpen in the seventh. Michael Taylor got things started laying a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single. He stole second. A walk to Turner put runners on first and second. A little TnT followed as Taylor and Turner pulled a double steal. Victor Robles lined a single past the outstretched glove of third baseman Eduardo Escobar to score Taylor. Rendon hit one deep enough into center to score Turner on a sacrifice fly.

Scherzer departed for a pinch hitter in the seventh. With the Nationals bullpen a 7-3 lead is not safe. Wander Suero made things interesting in the eighth. A one out walk to Ketel Marte and two out single to Adam Jones put runners at first and second. Eduardo Escobar lined a pitch the opposite way that one hopped into the right field bullpen fence for a double. That was it for Suero and in came Tanner Rainey, a bullpen savior since being called up. Kevin Cron lined a pitch off the leg of Rainey. He was able to find the ball, rifled a throw to first and just nipped Cron to lesson the damage to just one run.

Doolittle has not been the most effective closer this season, giving up a number of ninth inning runs. Carson Kelly drove a pitch just left of the left field foul pole or he would have had a two homerun game. He did line a pitch to Taylor in centerfield, who took a bad rout to the ball and it went past him for a double. A two out walk to pinch hitter Christian Walker made things even more interesting. Doolittle finally got Ketel Marte to swing and miss at his high 96 mile per hour fastballs to end the game.

Game Notes: Scherzer struck out 10 batters last night to slip past two Hall of Famers, Warren Spahn and Bob Feller on the all time strikeout list. His 2,585 whiffs put him in 27th place on the all time strikeout list. Next on the list is Tom Glavine at 2,607. Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia are the only active pitchers ahead of him on the strikeout list. Scherzer currently leads the National League in strikeouts with 136…At one point Carson Kelly was considered one of the top catching prospects in baseball. Unfortunately, Yadier Molina stood in his way as the starting catcher for the Cardinals. The trade of Kelly to the Diamondbacks has given Carson the opportunity to show what he can do with his bat. Kelly is hitting .264 with eight homeruns, numbers most teams would love to have from their catchers. Coming into this season Kelly had a career major league average of .154 with 0 homeruns in 117 at bats…Kind of like the dark gray uniforms of the Diamondbacks. On day games, when it is really warm they look the color of light gray uniforms dripping with sweat…Did learn at the game that a book written by Eddie Dominguez, who was a security agent for the Red Sox and eventually a cop with the DOI for major league baseball, titled “Baseball Cop” spoke of David Ortiz and his habit of hanging out with shady characters. Back in 2005, one of those characters named Monga was betting on baseball and to Ortiz objections was banned from the locker room. That ban had to be taken back when Ortiz threatened not to play. Monga was later arrested at Ortiz residence for immigration violations. The book was released in 2018. David Ortiz denied any link to gambling after the book came out.

Greinke Stymies Nationals

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Looking at the pitching matchups it did not look good for the Nationals. The Diamondbacks were throwing their ace Zack Greinke, while the Nationals were throwing their number five starter Erik Fedde, who began the season in the bullpen. Greinke shut down the Nationals on two hits in just over eight innings, while Fedde had trouble throwing strike one. The weather and not the National bats was the only element that could remove Greinke from the game. An unexpected rainstorm hit after Greinke had retired the first hitter in the eighth, delaying the game for just over an hour. The Diamondbacks went to the bullpen and they were able to reserve the 5-0 shutout win.

Greinke had a no hitter until the seventh inning. His fastball may no longer touch the 90s with great regularity, and the swings and misses are rare, but the Nationals hit 8 balls in the outfield with no result. The first hit came in the seventh when Trea Turner grounded a ball through the hole to the right side of the infield. Christian Walker made a tremendous diving stop, but bobbled the ball as he transferred it from his glove to his hand. Turner beat the throw. Adam Eaton lined a clean single to left to finally give Nationals fans something to get excited about. Up until that point Greinke had faced the minimum 18 hitters, with the only baserunner eliminated on a line out double play. Anthony Rendon hit the ball hard, but right at the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play. Juan Soto hit a weak ground ball to the pitcher and the rally was ended.

Greinke only throws 88-90 at max. He locates his pitches well and mixes in a slider and a slow curve ball that hits between 67-77. Hitters whacked at the ball and carried it to the outfield, but they were “at em” balls. That is when you wonder whether Greinke’s success is with a low batting average on balls in play. The hitters probably felt pretty good about hitting the ball to the warning track, hoping to face him another time where they were confident they could get a hit. And again Greinke would get them to hit the ball into an out. He struck out three in his 8.1 innings of work with mostly 1-2 or 0-2 counts on the hitter when he hit the ball (10 of his 23 hitters faced).

Erik Fedde was not so fortunate with his pitches. He had trouble finding the plate early. A lead off double by Jarrod Dyson on a ball hit into right field got things started for the Diamondbacks. Two walks loaded the bases. Fedde did get Adam Jones to hit a hard grounder to Anthony Rendon that should have been turned into a double play, but Rendon dropped the ball and could only get the out at first on a slow moving Adam Jones. Eduardo Escobar hit a line drive single to left field that dropped in front of Soto and the Diamondbacks were up 2-0.

Alex Avila got ahead in the count 3-1 against Fedde, then blasted the next pitch into the centerfield bleachers for a 3-0 lead. In the fourth the usually light hitting Jarrod Dyson lifted a ball into the right field bleachers for a two run homer and a 5-0 Diamondbacks lead.

That was all the Diamondbacks needed for victory. The rains came visiting with one out in the eighth. Greinke had only thrown 75 pitches so it would have been an easy complete game for him if not for the rains.

Game Notes: Myworld does not believe the Nationals have the personalities and the bullpen to get back in the race. With three teams ahead of them in the standings they have a better shot at the wild card than the division. That means beating teams with a better record than them. The Diamondbacks were 36-33 and are not going to catch the Dodgers. The win now puts them five games ahead of the Nationals in the wild card race. Above the Diamondbacks in the wild card are the Cubs, Phillies and Rockies. The Nationals are 8.5 games behind the Braves in the Division race…Greinke has not thrown a no hitter in his career, but if you listen to him he would prefer not to throw one. It only comes with a bunch of “hassles”…After Greinke hit Eaton and the decision was being reviewed by the umpires, Zack actually walked over to first base and spoke with Eaton. That was a nice gesture. The umpire had initially ruled the ball did not hit Eaton, but as Eaton was talking to Greinke he was pointing to his foot…The homerun for Alex Avila made it three consecutive games in which he has hit a homerun…Trevor Rosenthal pitched his second consecutive shutout inning in relief. This one he retired all three hitters he faced, striking out two…In bullpen news both Koda Glover and Justin Miller have been shut down because of shoulder or elbow issues. It could be July before you see them next on the mound.

Forbes List of Top Paid Baseball Players

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Soccer players are the top three salaried athletes on the Forbes Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes list. The process was to figure out a player’s salary or winnings and endorsements, add them up and come up with their 2019 earnings. The one difficulty with that is the endorsements were based on publicly identified endorsements or word of mouth by talking with representatives about the worth of those endorsements. So the list may not be totally accurate.

Soccer takes the first three, a boxer is number four, tennis at five, football takes 6-7, basketball dominates 8-10 and golf is at 11. You have to go to the 17th spot to find your baseball player. Only one woman makes this list and she plays tennis. Myworld will force you to go the Forbes list to get the names of the above listed athletes associated with their sport.

For baseball, endorsement money was a small portion of their value. I’ll list the endorsement money for the top three, but after that it was under $1 million.

17. Mike Trout (Angels) - $56 million ($3 million in endorsements)
23. Bryce Harper (Phillies) - $44.5 million ($6.5 million in endorsements)
30. Manny Machado (Padres) - $34.8 million
50. David Price (Red Sox) - $31.7 million
54. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) - $30 million
61. Justin Verlander (Astros) - $29.5 million
62. Yoennis Cespedes (Mets) - $29.4 million
63. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) - $29.2 million
68. Jake Arrieta (Phillies) - $28.8 million
73. Albert Pujols (Angels) - $28 million
77. Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees) - $27.4 million ($2 million in endorsements)
84. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) - $26.6 million
94. J.D. Martinez (Red Sox) - $25.6 million
96. Joey Votto (Reds) - $25.4 million

Kremer Dominates Fisher Cats

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Myworld was in Bowie to watch Dean Kremer and the Bay Sox do battle against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Fisher Cats are not the same team with the promotions of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette. They do have Nate Pearson but he was not pitching tonight.

Kremer was acquired from the Dodgers for Manny Machado. Yusniel Diaz, who was playing right field was also acquired in that trade as was the Bay Sox third baseman Rylan Bannon. In his three starts in AA Kremer has struggled with a 6.89 ERA. The opposition was hitting .333 against him and he had issued walks to 8 batters in 15.2 innings. At Frederick he made two starts and had not given up a run in 9.2 innings.

Kremer threw seven shutout innings, striking out eight and walking one. He showed a good fastball at 93 miles per hour but the pitch that got the swings and misses or called third strikes was his breaking pitch. It had at least three hitters watch it spin across the middle of the plate and begin their walk back to the dugout before the umpire announced strike three. The Fisher Cats were able to put a runner on second base in the second and fifth innings but Kremer allowed no runner to find third base.

Dillon Tate, acquired from the Yankees threw the last two innings to complete the shutout, retiring all six hitters he faced and striking out three. Tate was a first round pick of the Rangers back in 2015. He was traded to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran. The Orioles acquired Tate in the Zach Britton deal. He hit 96 with his fastball.

The Bay Sox scored their first two runs on sacrifice flies. Yusniel Diaz drove in the first run with a fly ball in the first and Ryan McKenna drove in a second run with a fly ball in the third. Rylan Bannon drove in a run with a double in the sixth.

Yusniel Diaz has not been healthy. He came into the game hitting just .215 and failed to get a hit, dropping that average to .208. He is slugging just .313. This year was an opportunity for him to possibly see some major league time, but his bat has got to start producing.

Prospect to watch: Mason McCoy may not hit for power, but he has speed and is hitting .323. He could be a disruptor. We don’t see him playing shortstop in the major leagues, but maybe as a utility player. He scored three times last night.

No Fisher Cat prospect stood out. Yennsy Diaz was hitting 97 with his fastball but the Orioles had no issues getting the barrel of the bat on the ball. He struck out two. Forrest Wall has a good bat that lacks power. He also has an arm for left field, after moving from second base. The former supplemental first round pick of the Rockies is still just 23 but he has no real defensive position to play. He is a Ryan Mountcastle without the power.