Overheard conventional wisdom from baseball fans: “Ryan Braun can’t hit without the juice and his thumb is all messed up.” “Prince Fielder is breaking down and his best days are behind him.”
Both sentiments could be filed under “non-crazy,” and perhaps ultimately they will be borne out. But for now Braun and Fielder are partying like it’s 2009, with the former hitting 272/.349/.543 with 12 homers and 36 driven in and the latter hitting .365/.417/.575 with nine homers and 35 driven in.
Braun certainly isn’t helping the Brewers compete for a title and, unless he keeps up this kind of production through his mid-30s, his contract gets fairly ugly starting next year. Fielder’s Rangers could be more interesting as the season wears on given how poorly Oakland and Seattle have been playing in the early going. Of course his contract is even more pricey between 2016 and 2020 than Braun’s is. There are no promises that these rebounds will mean much if anything for Braun and Fielder’s clubs or their contracts.
But it sure is neat to see guys some had written off turning it back on again.
As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.
We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:
“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.
“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”
For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.