Despite Rick Sutcliffe’s rantings about it last night (J.A. Happ, who is 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA should go to the pen, Rick? Really?), I think the Phillies made the right move in taking Jamie Moyer out of the rotation. According to Phil Sheridan, Jamie Moyer, despite his complaints yesterday, felt the same way about it, at least theoretically speaking, back in February:
“It was really hurtful to watch Steve Carlton finish his career the way
that he did,” Moyer said that day. “I’m not questioning why he was
playing. But . . . to see him kind of hanging on the last couple of
years – maybe he thought he could still pitch. But he struggled. I hope
I don’t have to go through that.”
Well, Charlie Manuel is trying to save him from that, isn’t he? Beyond that, I still don’t get the “I was miseld” line Moyer was peddling yesterday. Using that logic couldn’t the Phillies, on some level, say they were “misled” too? I mean, I’m sure Moyer told them that he still had a lot left in the tank when he signed that two-year deal, and he obviously doesn’t.
In reality, no one misleads anyone with this stuff. People hope for the best when fortysomething starters are involved. It often doesn’t pan out. When it doesn’t, the team has to make the moves that are best for the team. Ask Tom Glavine. Ask John Smoltz.
Ask the February 2009 version of Jamie Moyer.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.