It has been a rough first half of the season for B

#1 von panxing18 , 18.03.2019 04:44

ryce Harper Christian Vazquez Jersey , as the superstar from the Washington Nationals has struggled at the plate.Harper has shown the ability to hit the long ball with 23 home runs and 54 runs batted in, but he is hitting just .214 and the Nationals are flailing in the National League East.As disappointing as things have been for Harper, he is starting for the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday and competing in the Home Run Derby on Monday. A win in the long ball contest could be the first step for Harper to get back on track as he approaches free agency at the end of the season.Harper is one of seven National Leaguers competing in the Derby, and he is the second seed in the event. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros is the lone American Leaguer taking part in the contest, which will be held at Nationals Park at 8 p.m. ET. The Home Run Derby will be televised by ESPN.FOX Sports: MLB MLBONFOXThe bracket for the 2018 MLB Home Run Derby! tai9MAU4yGHere's how the competition breaks down:Bracket 1(1) Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers vs. (8) Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies(4) Alex Bregman, Houston Astros vs. (5) Kyle Schwarber, Chicago CubsBracket 2(2) Harper, Washington Nationals vs. (7) Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves(3) Max Muncy , Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (6) Javier Baez, Chicago CubsAguilar has come into his own this season and reached the All-Star break with 24 home runs and 70 RBI. Aguilar has a .298/.373/.621 slash line. In addition to providing power in the middle of the Brewers lineup, Aguilar has an outgoing personality and is often demonstrative after he hits a long ball. He is likely to be quite animated in the Derby and has an excellent chance to become a crowd favorite.Aguilar will battle Hoskins in the first round, and the Phillies slugger is capable of getting on a hot streak. Hoskins has hit 14 home runs, but if he gets started early, he should be able to challenge Aguilar.Houston Astros astrosHes in DC to make some noise.ABREG_1 is headed to the Home Run Derby! 4hB71fMOW7Bregman has hit 20 home runs for the Astros, and that's one more than he had all of last season. He has a .288/.389/.539 slash line and is clearly a key performer for the defending world champions. Bregman will start at third base for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.The 24-year-old will have an uphill fight on his hands against Schwarber, who is one of the game's most explosive sluggers. Schwarber has hammered 18 homers to this point, and he has an excellent chance to hit the longest home runs of the night, based on the distance of some of his longest blasts.While Harper has been struggling this year, Freeman has been one of the most consistent hitters in either league. Freeman has 16 home runs and 61 RBI to go with a .315/.405/.533 slash line Wade Boggs Jersey , but he is more of a line-drive hitter than a long-ball one.Freeman makes it a point to hit nothing but line drives when he takes batting practice, but he should turn it on for the Derby.Muncy is one of the top stories of the season, as he has earned a regular spot in the Dodgers lineup and has played a key role in the team's turnaround following a brutal start. Muncy has hit 22 home runs with a .604 slugging percentage.Muncy will face one of the game's hottest and most explosive hitters in Baez. The Cubs' slick-fielding second baseman has belted 19 home runs and knocked in 72 runs, and he has two homers and seven RBI in his last six games.Harper is the +225 favorite to win the event in front of his home fans, according to OddsShark. A $100 bet on Harper will give the bettor a $225 profit if he is successful. Schwarber is the +350 second choice, while Baez and Aguilar are listed at +500. Bregman is the outsider in the field at +1000. PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks opened the season with the NL’s best record in April and stayed near the top of the NL West most of the season, leading the division at the beginning of every month.A September swoon knocked them quickly out of contention.Plagued by bullpen blowups, untimely hitting slumps and a bit of trying too hard, the Diamondbacks finished a once-promising season 82-80. Arizona had a winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08, but finishing nine games back in the NL West was not what the Diamondbacks had in mind after ending a five-year playoff-less streak last season.“We’re not where we need to be right now, clearly ,” Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen said Monday. “There were certainly some good things that happened this season, but it wasn’t what we envisioned in terms of what our goals were. Our goal was to go out and compete for a World Series championship and we didn’t do that.”Despite a string of injuries to key players and a couple of summer slumps, Arizona entered September with a one-game lead in the NL West. The Diamondbacks opened the month with three straight losses and finished it 8-19 to drop out of playoff contention.Arizona’s bullpen, reliable most of the season, went into a funk in September, blowing numerous leads. The Diamondbacks’ lineup went flat, producing most of its runs in early innings before going quiet late in games.And, as the pressure built, the Diamondbacks seemed to try too hard to get that big hit or out, often digging the hole even deeper.“When you try so hard to get something and you can’t reach it, it just ends up backing up on you Pedro Martinez Jersey ,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.Now the Diamondbacks face a decision: Rebuild or retool slightly.Arizona certainly needs to make changes and could potentially lose two key players in left-hander Patrick Corbin and outfield A.J. Pollock to free agency. The Diamondbacks have to decide if they’re only a couple players away from being contenders again or overhaul the roster.“We need to objectively look at what our circumstances are, what the landscape’s going to be, where we feel like the talent is going to be on our roster, what we can do conceivably to make moves to improve our roster,” Hazen said. “Clearly, we need to improve our roster.”Other things to know about the Diamondbacks’ season:MAGADAN OUTThe Diamondbacks mutually agreed to part ways with hitting coach Dave Magadan on Monday, ending his three-year stint in the desert. Arizona was one of baseball’s worst-hitting teams at .235 this season and has dropped its average each of the past three seasons. The rest of Lovullo’s staff will remain.INJURIESThe Diamondbacks had more than their fair share of injuries.Right-hander Taijuan Walker, a member of the opening day rotation, made three starts before needing season-ending Tommy John surgery. Starting third baseman Jake Lamb had season-ending shoulder surgery in early August. Pollock, fellow outfield Steven Souza Jr. and left-hander Robbie Ray each had stints on the DL.CORBIN AND POLLOCKCorbin was an All-Star and Pollock has put up big numbers when he’s been healthy. The Diamondbacks may not be able to afford either. Corbin is coming off his best season, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA while logging 200 innings for the second time in his career. He will be one of the top free-agent targets for teams this offseason. Pollock hit 21 home runs in an injury-plagued 2018 season and was an All-Star in 2015. Arizona will have two big holes to fill if both leave.GOLDSCHMIDT’S SEASONAll-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had another productive season , finishing with 33 homers and 83 RBIs while hitting .290. But the year didn’t start or end well for him. Goldschmidt had an abysmal first two months of the season and, after a big rebound, closed with a thud, going 7 for 41 with 18 strikeouts over the final 12 games. Goldschmidt, Arizona’s best and most popular player, enters the final year of his contract in 2019, so the Diamondbacks face a big decision.

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