Thoughts on Bryce Harper

I really hadn’t seen much of Bryce Harper until last year’s playoffs.  After seeing him compete against the Giants in the 2014 National League Division Series, although in a losing effort, it was hard not to be impressed.  He was the only one to come through for the Nationals and he was only 21 years old.

While Harper was hitting clutch home runs his more seasoned counterparts, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche, did nothing.  Werth and LaRoche hit .059 and .056 respectively and neither had an RBI.  Meanwhile, at 21 years of age, Bryce Harper hit .294 with three homers and four RBIs.

In past seasons Harper had a hard time staying healthy but he has this year and he’s putting up MVP type numbers.  Last night he hit his 40th home run of the season, making him only the seventh player in MLB history to hit 40 in the season in which he was twenty-two.  The previous six players to accomplish the feat are Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Johnny Bench, Eddie Mathews (twice), Joe DiMaggio and Mel Ott.

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TIgers 7 Red Sox 3

The Puppet Master pulled the right strings tonight.  In an unconventional, but much needed move, Jim Leyland shook up the lineup in hopes of waking up this pathetic offense.

It worked.  At least for today.

Leyland moved the first 7 batters up a spot and put the struggling Austin Jackson in the 8th slot.  The revamped lineup scored 7 runs.

Importantly, Austin Jackson seemed comfortable hitting down in the lineup.  He was on base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks.

The only Tiger not to reach base tonight was Prince Fielder.

Victor Martinez continues to rake with two more hits tonight and Alex Avila, although he didn’t get a hit, walked twice and got hit by a pitch.

It was nice to see Iggy chip in today with a hit, an RBI, and flashin serious leather.

Fister pitched well.  He went 6 complete, allowed 1 run on 8 hits, struck out 7 and walked only 1.  He turned it over to the pen, they got the job done, and the Tigers evened the 2013 ALCS at 2 games apiece.

Even with a 7 run lead, after Sunday’s disaster, the bull pen makes me nervous.

The one move I have to take exception with is bringing Benoit in for the 9th.  Smyly retired the last two outs in 7th and got the Red Sox 1-2-3 in the 8th.  He was, in a phrase, ‘”smokin balls”.  I was hoping he’d come out for the 9th.  But Jim Leyland didn’t agree with me.

Apparently, Jimmy was trying to give Benoit a chance to regain his confidence by bringing him in with a 5 run lead.  In my humble opinion, this is not the time to worry about a player’s confidence, it’s time to win ball games.  That being said, it worked out and the series is even.  Kudos in Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

I’d like to extend a Happy Flashin Leather birthday to regular reader Al, who shares a Birthday with former Tiger Juan Gonzalez and FOX broadcaster, Tim McCarver.

Sanchez against Lester tomorrow.

“God I love baseball.” -Roy Hobbs | The Natural