MLB world reacts to horrendous call by umpires in critical World Series moment

In an extremely competitive World Series with the Washington Nationals fighting to stay alive, a horrendous call by an umpire could have nearly cost Washington its entire season.

As the Nationals held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning with Yan Gomes on first, shortstop Trea Turner hit a soft bouncer short of the mound. When Houston Astros pitcher Brad Peacock finally picked it up and fired it to first base, the throw was off the mark and forced Turner into first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove.

A play that should have been ruled an error with both runners advancing down the base paths, the umpires called Turner out for interference with the play and made Gomes return to first base.

After Turner and Washington’s skipper Dave Martinez lit into umpire Sam Holbrook for the horrendous call, fans and players watched as the umpires put on headsets as the play was reviewed in New York.

Following an excruciating wait that stalled the game and left everyone feeling restless, the umpires finally took off the headsets and announced the call stood.

Washington’s dugout and the entire baseball world exploded with shock and rage after learning the league’s replay officials stood by the horrendous call.

By: Matt Johnson

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/mlb_world_reacts_to_horrendous_call_by_umpires_in_critical_world_series_moment/s1_12680_30396254

Bryce Harper on Nationals reaching World Series: ‘So happy for them’

It would be understandable if Bryce Harper felt a twinge of jealously over the Washington Nationals reaching the World Series in the first season since his departure. That is not the case, the Philadelphia Phillies slugger insists.

Harper spent the first seven seasons of his MLB career with the Nationals, and despite how the team was perennially considered legitimate World Series contenders during much of his tenure, success in the postseason was always frustratingly elusive.

Now, with Harper’s first season in Philly ending without a playoff berth despite similar buzz, he has to watch the Nats play in their first Fall Classic. That’s fine by Harper.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am and not saying to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, ‘Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous,’” Harper told The Athletic. “No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

Harper also noted how being envious of the Nationals’ success this postseason would serve little purpose, especially given how it was his decision to sign a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies instead of remaining in D.C.

“I made my decision, and that was my decision,” Harper said. “And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude toward anybody else.”

Nationals fans have thoroughly enjoyed mocking and ridiculing Harper over how the team made it to the World Series without his help. Their antics are not surprising, as things got downright ugly at times whenever Harper returned to D.C. this season.

That said, there seem to be no hard feelings on Harper’s behalf toward the Nats organization or their passionate fans. At least he insists that is the case.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/bryce_harper_on_nationals_reaching_world_series_so_happy_for_them/s1_8061_30290954

By: Jason Rowan

Astros, Nationals take very different paths to the 2019 World Series

Well, you guys, this is it. The 2019 World Series is finally set in stone with the Houston Astros taking on the Washington Nationals. Houston will be looking to win its second title in three years, while Washington is looking for its first-ever championship.

Now that we know who will be representing both the American and National Leagues, it’s fun to look at the similarities and differences between each squad. The biggest similarity they share is having star-studded and dominant starting rotations.

Official probable starters haven’t yet been announced, but it’s not inconceivable for the first three games to look like this:

  • Game 1: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer
  • Game 2: Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg
  • Game 3: Zack Greinke vs. Patrick Corbin

That in itself is just mouthwatering for any baseball fan. When looking at season-long fWAR produced in 2019, each of these six ranked within the top 15 among qualified starters. Corbin was the only one not in the top 10 with his measly 4.8 fWAR. (Insert sarcasm here.) Interestingly enough, both Houston and Washington looked outside their respective organizations to build these fearsome three-headed monsters — Strasburg is the sole homegrown hurler of the bunch.

If we continue using fWAR as the benchmark, the Nationals (21.4) and Astros (19.4) led the National and American League, respectively, with regard to rotation production. The similarities don’t just stop at fWAR, though.

Houston did lead all of baseball with a 125 team wRC+ throughout the regular season. However, Washington did end up in the top 10 on a season-long basis and within the top-five if when considering just second-half production. So they’re not slouches with the bat, either.

The most striking difference between these two Fall Classic opponents, though, is what they did to reach this point. The Astros spent the majority of regular-season play atop the American League West, while the Nationals’ slow start prevented them from being a first-place team at any point in 2019.

The best way to display the difference in expectations for these clubs is to see their odds of winning their respective league pennants throughout the year (via FanGraphs). As the below graph shows, the Astros are supposed to be here, but not many were expecting the Nats to do the same.

For the Astros, the chances of them becoming American League champs started out just above 25.0 percent and didn’t crest below 40.0 percent after the beginning of August. Washington didn’t start the year much worse, but its odds didn’t even reach 20.0 percent until September 30 — the day after the final regular-season games.

This should be a fun series to watch. The Astros likely have the overall advantage when looking at the entirety of their roster, and they’ve also been a little more battle-tested. The Nats have looked impressive while defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. However, sweeping St. Louis has given Washington a full week off before Game 1 of the World Series. That’s probably good for their pitchers, but who knows what kind of rust needs to get kicked off as they take the field again.

Two teams with some similar strengths, but much different roads taken en route to reaching the same place and chasing after the same goal. This is what baseball is all about.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/astros_nationals_take_very_different_paths_to_the_2019_world_series/s1_12740_30308981

By: Matt Musico

MLB world reacts to Howie Kendrick’s dramatic NLDS-winning grand slam

All the Washington Nationals needed from Howie Kendrick was a fly ball to the outfield in Game 5 of the NLDS. They got that and then some.

Kendrick launched a grand slam over the center field wall to put the Nationals up 7-3 in the top of the 10th and absolutely shock the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fans who had packed Dodger Stadium.

Naturally, Twitter had a big reaction, as well.

Being burned by a former Dodger after having Clayton Kershaw blow a two-run lead (watch here) will certainly be a bitter pill for those in Los Angeles to swallow.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/mlb_world_reacts_to_howie_kendricks_dramatic_nlds_winning_grand_slam/s1_12680_30218951

By: Michael Dixon

10 MLB prospects who will make an impact in 2020

It’s fair to say the 2019 MLB season has been the year of the rookie. All around the league, first-year players have burst onto the scene to make immediate impacts, and in some cases have become instant stars. Just look at what some of these guys have done:

The Mets’ Pete Alonso currently leads the majors with 47 home runs.

Before he got hurt, San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. was hitting .317 with 22 homers and 53 RBI in only 84 games.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez has crushed 22 long balls in only 240 at-bats.

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t quite dominated the way he did in AAA, but he’s shown immense power and potential, and the show he put on at the Home Run Derby will be talked about for years.

Atlanta’s Mike Soroka is a legitimate NL Cy Young candidate.

The Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds is hitting .328 and could well win the batting title.

The list goes on and on. Keston Hiura, Christian Walker, Eloy Jimenez, Austin Riley, among others look like cornerstone everyday players in the big leagues.

This unprecedented wave of talented players making their debuts all around the same time got us thinking. Let’s take a look at 10 players who could make a similar rookie impact in 2020.

1. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox

The White Sox system has been strong for several years now, and while Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and the above-mentioned Jimenez have already thrived in the big leagues, Robert figures to join them in the near future. The native Cuban dominated three separate minor league levels in 2019, hitting .328 with 32 homers and 92 RBI while stealing 36 bases and adding 31 doubles and 11 triples. He was recently named the minor league Player of the Year by USA Today, and it’s a reasonable assumption that he’ll be patrolling center field at Guaranteed Rate Field very early next spring.

2. Gavin Lux, IF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Lux’s status on this list is a bit tenuous, as he was just promoted to the big leagues this week, and it’s likely going to be close whether or not he accumulates 130 at-bats and loses his 2020 rookie status. Provided he doesn’t, he should be the hands-down favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year next season. In the minor leagues this season the 21-year-old slashed an astounding .347/.421/.607 while crushing 26 homers and driving in 76 runs. He’s a natural shortstop who has played second in his early exposure in the big leagues, a position that may become his ultimate home given the presence of Corey Seager. Regardless at what side of the second base bag he lines up defensively, Lux can flat out hit, and it’s no surprise the Dodgers wanted to give him a look down the stretch to see if he can make a push for a postseason roster spot.

3.  Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros

Houston has been waiting for the talented left-handed slugger to go from dominant minor leaguer to dangerous middle-of-the-order bat in the big leagues, and it seems fair to assume that transition will finally occur next season. With AAA Round Rock in 2019, Tucker hit .266 with 34 homers and 97 RBI — the third consecutive minor league season he drove in over 90 runs. Perhaps even more impressive is the 30 stolen bases he racked up, as no matter what level you’re playing in, it’s incredibly difficult to produce 30/30 seasons. Tucker’s blend of power and speed have long made him desirable to other teams in trade discussions, but the Astros have consistently hung up the phone before talks could get off the ground. His organization’s belief in him hasn’t been deterred, however, and it’s time for the 22-year-old to reward its patience.

4. Carter Kieboom, IF, Washington Nationals

The Nationals took Kieboom in the first round out of high school three years ago, and he’s done nothing but shoot through their system since. In 412 at-bats in AAA this year, the young infielder hit an impressive .303 with 16 homers and 79 RBI while also tallying 24 doubles and 203 total bases. Injuries necessitated a brief big league promotion in late April, and while he did hit his first two big league homers during that 39 at-bat stint, Washington shipped him back to Fresno when it got some veterans back. Next season, however, the Nats figure to have an opening at second base, as Brian Dozier signed only a one-year free agent pact last winter, and his performance has not warranted Washington doubling down, especially given the presence of Kieboom, who conceivably will team with shortstop Trea Turner to form this team’s long-term double play combination.

5. Casey Mize, SP, Detroit Tigers

Mountcastle is far from a perfect prospect, but his power potential is simply hard to ignore. In a little over 500 at-bats for Baltimore’s AAA affiliate in Norfolk, the 22-year-old hit .312 with 25 long balls and 35 doubles. His .527 SLG percentage finished sixth in the International League, and it’s easy to see why the Orioles are high on his bat. That said, Mountcastle does have things to work on. For starters, he doesn’t really have a defensive position. He played third base in 2018 and predominantly first this season while also mixing in some work in left field. A future as a big league DH could very well be in the cards. Plate discipline is also of some concern as the big right-handed slugger walked only 24 times all year, making his .344 OBP simply remarkable. All told, while Mountcastle is raw, the O’s are in no position to not take a flier, and if he gets consistent at-bats in 2020 it may just become too difficult to get him out of the line-up.

8. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates

The son of longtime major league third baseman Charlie Hayes, Ke’Bryan has blossomed into quite the hot corner prospect. In 110 games in AAA this season the Pittsburgh’s first-round pick from back in 2015 hit .261 with 10 homers and 55 RBI, but those numbers only tell some of the story. His 31 doubles, 13 steals and renowned defense at an important position help paint the picture of a solid player who can do just about everything on a baseball diamond. The Bucs have started Colin Moran or Jung-Ho Kang most nights at third base this season, and while Kang is no longer in Pittsburgh, Moran is not someone who should block the team’s best position player prospect. Hayes doesn’t profile as a can’t-miss star, but he should be an above-average everyday third baseman for a long time, potentially beginning as soon as next opening day.

9. Justin Dunn, SP, Seattle Mariners

Dunn came to Seattle in the much-discussed winter trade with the Mets that netted the Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, and while that alone would seem to make the deal a heist for the M’s, the righty has the potential to make this one of the most one-sided trades of all time. In 25 starts in AA in ’19, the Boston College product worked to a strong 3.55 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP while punching out 158 hitters in 131.1 innings and limiting the opposition to a .236 batting average. Scouts don’t look at Dunn as a future big league ace or even a No. 2, but a strong showing in spring training would put him in discussion for a rotation spot, and it’s certainly feasible he could become a key cog in Seattle’s starting five sometime in 2020.

10. Nate Pearson, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto is a team to buy stock in, as with youngsters Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio already contributing to the parent club, the organization’s farm system has more talent coming. Pearson paces that group. In 25 minor league starts this season the right-hander posted a 2.30 ERA in 101.2 innings while delivering an 0.89 WHIP and a .176 batting average against. He struck out well over a batter/frame while issuing only 27 free passes all season. And on a team with little to be excited about on the mound, particularly after Marcus Stroman was traded for New York, Pearson is quickly going to become a name to know among baseball fans in Canada.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/10_mlb_prospects_who_will_make_an_impact_in_2020/s1_13132_29960984

By: Justin W Mears

10 MLB players who will make a difference down the stretch

Baseball’s stretch run is in full swing, and while a handful of clubs — the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and Braves — are locks to be playing in October, the remaining playoff spots are very much up for grabs. Every team in the hunt has legitimate stars aiming to lead it to the game’s biggest stage, but here at Yardbarker we’re focusing on guys who are not quite household names but will still have a big impact on the season’s final six weeks.

1. Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers

Hiura had long been the crown jewel in the Brewers system, and since arriving in the big league’s to stay in late June, he’s done nothing but impress. Since July 1, the former first-round pick has hit .307 with 14 home runs, and his emergence has allowed Milwaukee to shift veteran Mike Moustakas back to his natural position of third base and send struggling Travis Shaw to AAA. The Brewers were a trendy pick to dethrone the Dodgers in the National League this season, and while the year has not gone entirely to plan, they’re still right in the thick of not one but two heated races. Entering play tonight, Milwaukee sits just one game back of both the Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central and one game out of an invitation to the NL wild-card game. If they do ultimately get to participate in the postseason, Hiura may well be the primary reason why, as while the rookie has thrived toward the top of the Brewers lineup, several veterans on this team have underperformed.

2. J.D. Davis, IF/OF, New York Mets

The January trade the Mets made with the Astros to bring utility man J.D. Davis to Queens drew few headlines. The right-handed hitter had always crushed minor league pitching during his tenure with Houston but had failed multiple times at the game’s highest level. New York, though, was undeterred, as it felt his struggles with the Astros were a direct result of sporadic at-bats because of a logjam of talented players at the positions he could play. Fast forward seven months, and that bet is paying huge dividends. In the early portion of 2019, Davis was mostly a power threat off the bench for the Mets. But after injuries opened up regular playing time for him, the 26-year-old has become impossible to take out of the lineup. Since the beginning of July, he’s hit an incredible .367 while reaching base at an absurd .428 clip. He’s begun to hit for a little more power in August, as he’s already blasted four homers this month and driven in 11 runs, and his somewhat surprising production is one of the biggest reasons the Mets have been able to climb back into the pennant race.

3. Paul DeJong, SS, St. Louis Cardinals

DeJong is now in his third big league season, but he’s yet to generate much fanfare outside of St. Louis. That’s probably a little bit of an oversight, as while he’s far from being the best shortstop in the league, he’s been a productive and consistent right-handed bat for the duration of his career. After a red-hot start to this season, DeJong went into a terrible slump, but he’s broken out of it big time since the All-Star break. A recent surge that included a three home run game in Pittsburgh has put him in position to set new career highs in homers and RBI, and the Cardinals are certainly hopeful he can continue producing at a high level. Similar to Milwaukee, St. Louis is locked in heated races for both the NL Central crown and a wild-card spot, and DeJong’s bat in the bottom half of the lineup is crucial, as opposing teams are unlikely to let fellow right-handed sluggers Paul Goldschmidt or Marcell Ozuna beat them in a big spot.

4. Zach Plesac, SP, Cleveland Indians

The nephew of longtime big leaguer Dan Plesac, the young right-hander was not considered much of a prospect entering this season. A dominant 10-start beginning to his minor league season opened eyes, however, and with the Indians in need of a starter at Fenway in late May, it was Plesac who got the call. Since then he has been an absolute godsend for a Cleveland rotation that has sustained injuries to Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar as well as a trade of outspoken Trevor Bauer. In 14 starts for the Tribe, Plesac has worked to a 3.27 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 77 innings, bringing a level of consistency to a pitching staff that desperately needed it. His performance has helped Cleveland erase an 11.5 game deficit in the AL Central, as earlier this week it caught Minnesota, and the club is counting on him for continued success as this race is likely headed for a photo finish.

5. Scott Kingery, IF/OF, Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies made headlines in spring training a year ago when they inked Kingery to a long-term pact before he’d ever played in a major league game. The organization obviously believed immensely in the University of Arizona product’s potential, and while it’s hard to call his rookie season much of a success (.226/.267/.338), Kingery has become a much more important Phillie in 2019. Playing all over the diamond, the 25-year-old has hit .275 with 14 homers and 27 doubles in 324 at-bats while serving as an offensive table setter for Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto for most of the season. Philadelphia has underwhelmed following a massive importation of star power last winter, but the Phils are still right in the thick of a chaotic NL wild-card race. Having Kingery on base and wreaking havoc down the stretch will drastically help their chances of reaching October.

6. Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better-run major league baseball operation than the Tampa Bay Rays. Year after year Tampa Bay finds a way to not only compete but also to often triumph over behemoth division rivals in Boston and New York all while operating in one of the smallest markets in the game. The 2019 season has been no different, as despite the Yankees having the AL East all but sewn up, the Rays are positioned to make the postseason as a wild card. Their young right fielder is a huge reason why. Meadows was acquired in the ’18 deal that sent Chris Archer to Pittsburgh, and he has absolutely thrived in his first full season in the big leagues. In just short of 400 at-bats thus far, the left handed slugger has hit .283 with 20 home runs and 25 additional extra-base hits. He was even named an All-Star last month. Moving down the stretch, Tampa will continue riding the young 24-year-old, as he’s already become arguably the focal point of the offense.

7. Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics

Oakland is eerily similar to the aforementioned Rays, as it deals with a lot of the same market challenges but still finds a way to remain a force to be reckoned with. In fact, there’s a reasonable chance the two clubs square off head to head in the AL wild-card game in just a few weeks. The Athletics left-handed-swinging first baseman has flown by under the radar in recent seasons, but his production is soon going to render that impossible. After missing a month-and-a-half early in the season, Olson has rallied to crush 25 home runs since Mother’s Day, putting him just four short of his previous career high. With Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Stephen Piscotty, Mark Canha and most importantly a healthy Khris Davis, the A’s are exceedingly right-handed heavy, making Olson’s left-handed bat imperative to the middle of their lineup.

8. Victor Robles, CF, Washington Nationals

Robles was supposed to be the next big outfielder to come out of the Nationals system last season, but injuries prevented him from making an impact and ultimately contributed to Juan Soto coming up and making a bid for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year. While his young teammate has blossomed into a star, Robles breakout rookie season has not been discussed as much as it should. Yet he’s become a critical player on a team looking to return to October. Playing in almost all of Washington’s games, Robles has launched 15 long balls from the bottom part of the lineup while swiping 18 bases and playing tremendous defense at the premium position of center field. He does strike out too much, as his 110 punch outs in just 397 at-bats are unsightly, but he’s obviously immensely talented. If he can turn it up just a little, Washington should have the inside track on a playoff berth.

9. Josh Taylor, RP, Boston Red Sox

The underlying narrative surrounding the 2019 Red Sox nationally has been a horrific bullpen that consistently blows leads and lets winnable games get out of hand. That’s accurate, but it’s also why few fans outside of New England have been privy to what Taylor, a 26-year-old rookie, has been doing. In 33 contests the southpaw has worked to a strong 3.27 ERA in 33 innings while delivering a 1.18 WHIP and striking out well over a batter/inning. The Arizona native has delivered six scoreless outings in consecutive appearances while becoming the closest thing the Red Sox have had to a reliable relief pitcher. That will have to continue moving forward for Boston to have any chance to make a late surge, as barring a serious run, the defending champs will find themselves on the outside looking in come October.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/10_mlb_players_who_will_make_a_difference_down_the_stretch/s1_13132_29761247

By: Justin W Mears

MLB manager hot seat rankings

With the MLB regular season now about one-third of the way finished, we have a clearer picture of where each team stands. Some managers are already looking over their shoulders as a result of poor team performance. The following gallery is a ranking of MLB manager job security from one (least secure) to 30 (most secure).

1. Dave Martinez, Nationals

Brad Penner / USA Today Sports Images

While the Nats allowed Bryce Harper to walk in free agency, they entered the season with high expectations after signing Patrick Corbin. The roster has its share of stars with Corbin, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon, yet the team was almost out of the playoff race entering June. Washington was also the most disappointing team of 2018, at 82-80, and fired pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in early May. Frankly, it’s surprising Martinez has lasted this long in his second year.

2. Mickey Callaway, Mets

Noah K. Murray / USA Today Sports Images

The Mets sideshow continues. Callaway’s team finished with 77 wins in his first season but seemingly went all in this offseason by adding Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos and also allowed rookie Pete Alonso to stick on the roster out of spring training, thereby losing a year of team control. Yet, New York was below .500 entering June, and the pitching staff (Callaway’s area of expertise) has been disappointing.

3. Don Mattingly, Marlins

Aaron Doster / USA Today Sports Images

It’s hard to believe him, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has insisted he expects the Marlins to win now. Jeter and Mattingly go way back to their days with the Yankees, but if Jeter truly practices what he preaches, Mattingly could be on the chopping block. To the surprise of no one (except maybe Jeter), the Marlins were 21-36 through June 3 and in contention for the worst record in baseball.

4. David Bell, Reds

Brad Penner / USA Today Sports Images

On one hand, the Reds ranked fourth in run differential in the NL through June 1. On the other hand, they were in last place at 27-32 with a lineup that has been a massive disappointment. The Reds’ pitching additions have worked out for the most part, particularly Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark, but the team had much higher expectations in Bell’s first season. It would be surprising if Cincinnati fired Bell in his first year but not unprecedented.

5. Ned Yost, Royals

Jim Cowsert / USA Today Sports Images

Yost gets some leeway for leading the Royals to two World Series, but the organization’s last winning season was its World Series championship 2015 season. K.C. won only 58 games last year and is well on its way to another embarrassing finish. The hiring of former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as a front office assistant opened some eyes, and he would make sense as a replacement if the Royals move on from Yost, whose contract expires after this season.

6. Joe Maddon, Cubs

Jasen Vinlove / USA Today Sports Images

Maddon is in the last year of his contract with the Cubs, and the team has high expectations for 2019 despite making few offseason moves. While they have appeared in four straight playoffs, including their historic World Series win in 2016, their playoff success under Maddon has otherwise been fleeting. The NL Central has never been tougher during Maddon’s tenure than it is this season, but the team might decide to finally move on from him if it doesn’t go further in the playoffs this year.

7. Mike Shildt, Cardinals

Jim Cowsert / USA Today Sports Images

Shildt was the Cardinals savior last season, going 41-28 after the first-time manager was promoted following Mike Matheny’s firing. His start to this season has been more innocuous at 30-28, third place in the loaded NL Central. The Cardinals are desperate to make the playoffs after failing over the last three seasons and trading a significant package for Paul Goldschmidt in the offseason. Shildt can’t be faulted for the team’s starting pitching struggles, but ownership could make changes if the team disappoints again this year.

8. Brad Ausmus, Angels

Jesse Johnson / USA Today Sports Images

You’ve probably heard this one before, but the Angels have been plagued by multiple pitching injuries and have struggled to find hitters around Mike Trout this year. They had the same issue recently under Mike Scioscia, and Ausmus hasn’t been able to buck the trend despite being far more amenable to using openers and defensive shifts. Ausmus should get some slack, but it’s inexcusable for the team to not be competitive for so long. The Angels are at risk of finishing below .500 for the fourth straight season.

9. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

Philip G. Pavely / USA Today Sports Images

The Pirates remain within striking distance in the NL Central, though winning the division doesn’t truly look realistic with Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams injured. Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has been far worse than expected as a result, and their negative-68 run differential through 58 games currently is the third-worst in the league. Hurdle has done a nice job considering the circumstances, but the team has finished above .500 only once in the last three years and could be in for a standings plunge if it doesn’t get healthy quickly.

10. Scott Servais, Mariners

Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports Images

The M’s had a fire sale this offseason despite winning 89 games in 2018 but were able to get off to a hot start anyway. The Jay Bruce trade on June 2 likely was the first domino to fall in a continuing rebuild with the team standing 17 games out of first place. Servais hasn’t done anything wrong, but it remains to be seen whether the front office sees him as the right manager for what will soon become a younger roster.

https://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/mlb_manager_hot_seat_rankings/s1__29249243#slide_10

By: Seth Trachtman

Watch: Bryce Harper blasts cannon shot against former team

Bryce Harper took to the field as a visitor in Washington D.C. for the first time Tuesday night.

Initially, the new Philadelphia Phillies star was treated with boos from fans who had cheered him on for years . After Harper struck against Max Scherzer early on in the game, the Nationals’ Twitter account decided to troll him.

Well, Harper has had the last laugh. With his Phillies up 6-2 in the top of the eighth, Harper hit a no doubt about it 458-foot blast off Jeremy Hellickson. It was an absolute rocket. Better yet? Harper might have put up the best bat flip of his career after the moon shot.

 

Tuesday night at Nationals Park in D.C. was filled with petty on all sides. For his part, Harper made sure his former team knew he was going to be up for the task. Unfortunately for the home fans, that included Harper taking his frustration out on them.

Harper finished the night with three hits in five at-bats while scoring a run and knocking in three.

By: Vincent Frank

Original Article

Phillies unlikely to beat Nationals’ offer to Bryce Harper?

Unless a mystery team emerges and blows Bryce Harper away with an offer, it is sounding more and more likely that the star outfielder could end up back with the Washington Nationals in 2019 and beyond.

Washington’s biggest competition for Harper at this point appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies. And while they have been willing to spend big this offseason, one MLB executive told Michael Duarte of NBC LA that he does not think Philly or any other team will beat the Nationals’ offer.

There have been reports that the Nationals have offered Harper more than $300 million, which can’t be that far off from what the slugger is seeking. Harper’s agent Scott Boras undoubtedly wants the richest deal in MLB history for his client, and the largest in total dollar amount is Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million contract. If that’s the number Harper and Boras have their eye on, Washington can’t be that far off.

The Chicago White Sox have also pursued Harper, but it does not sound like they are willing to spend nearly enough. Although the Nationals made it seem like they would not have a chance to re-sign Harper, that is now a legitimate possibility.

Original Article

By Steve DelVecchio

After holding their cards at deadline, Nationals get what they can for Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams

Matt Adams’s backpack was pulled tight, a hat on backward, as he walked up the dim ramp from the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse to the players’ parking lot Tuesday afternoon. Clubhouse manager Mike Wallace walked alongside him, pushing a cart that contained a Nationals duffel and a bat bag, helping Adams open the door and carry them out to his car and into a final six weeks of the season spent elsewhere. Soon after, Daniel Murphy took the same route, heading out into the light and on to Chicago, his Nationals tenure over because he and his teammates just didn’t play well enough.

The Nationals traded three-time all-star Murphy to the Chicago Cubs and first baseman-left fielder Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. In so doing, they all but waved the white flag on a season that began with World Series hopes and a roster talented enough to fulfill them. This team, under this general manager, has never before given up on a roster this talented.

“These moves allow us financial flexibility going into the 2019 season, to allocate our resources in that direction,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “These are tough decisions. To trade an ultimate professional like Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams is never easy. We feel that this was the best way to facilitate what we’re trying to do not only in 2018 and beyond. We always have the one-, three-, five-year plan in place, and this helps expedite those plans.”

Three weeks ago, at the nonwaiver trade deadline, the Nationals decided against selling off. The front office assembled potential deals, presented them to ownership, then decided to give the team a chance to steady itself. Over the next three weeks, the team did not gain ground. It did not tread water. Instead, Washington lost more games than it won and fell further behind in the National League East standings. On Tuesday morning, it was a game under .500 and 7 1/2 games out in the National League East, coming off an inexplicable and unacceptable 12-1 loss to the last-place Miami Marlins on Sunday.

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By: Chelsea Janes