Speaking to the media as All-Star Game festivities were under way in Miami, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper dropped a bombshell. Per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, he said that Phillies fans were not as rude as fans of the Mets and Braves.
There are several possible explanations Philly fans haven’t been as rude to Harper. Perhaps the reputation of Philly fans has been greatly exaggerated. (It has.) The Phillies have been terrible since 2013, so enthusiasm is at its lowest since the early 2000’s. While the Braves haven’t been anything to write home about recently, they have been competitive in the recent past, so there’s just a bit more animus at relevant Nats players. Maybe most importantly, Philly fans may also be aware that Harper can become a free agent after the 2018 season. The Phillies will have tons of money to spend, so Philly fans don’t want to do anything to sour Harper on a potential move up I-95.
It’s not like Harper hasn’t had beef with the Phillies and the fans. Then-Phillie Cole Hamels hit Harper with a pitch in May 2012. After the game, Hamels straight up admitted he was trying to hit Harper intentionally. Hamels was suspended five games. Harper took a jab at Philly fans a couple weeks later, saying, “Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”
That wasn’t the only thing Harper had to say on Monday, though. He also suggested a potential alteration to the All-Star Game in which two captains draft teams. He imagined Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw potentially pitching to teammate Justin Turner. Interesting.
Newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier spent his first five games with the Yankees on the road, playing once in Minnesota and four games in Seattle. He was set to take his first at-bat as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night against the Reds. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go how he likely expected them.
The Yankees quickly loaded the bases on consecutive singles from Matt Holliday, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley to lead off the bottom of the second inning. That brought up Frazier in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium. He got ahead in the count 3-1 against Luis Castillo before hitting a sharp grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza. Gregorius went back to second base because he thought the ball had a chance to be caught on a line. Peraza stepped on the second base bag, then fired to first base for the double play. Votto then threw across the diamond to Eugenio Suarez at third base, catching Gregorius out in no man’s land. Holliday scored in the meantime, breaking a 0-0 tie, but Gregorius was eventually called out for running out of the base line in a run down.
Frazier entered the evening with just two hits (both singles) and one walk in 18 plate appearances as a Yankee.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Brewers have agreed to a deal with the White Sox for reliever Anthony Swarzak. The White Sox will receive 3B/OF Ryan Cordell in return.
It’s no secret that the 53-48 first-place Brewers are on the hunt for relief help. While closer Corey Knebel has been great, the Brewers have been shaky leading up to the ninth inning as Carlos Torres owns a 4.65 ERA and Oliver Drake 5.05.
Swarzak, 31, has posted a 2.23 ERA with a 52/13 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings this season. He can become a free agent after the season.
Cordell, 25, hit .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He’s the Brewers’ No. 17 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.