1. New York Mets. What a wacky night at Citi Field. First, Bartolo Colon had another awful game. He's hurting the Mets' playoff chances more these days than the offense, as he's 0-6 in his past seven starts with a 6.16 ERA and .335 average allowed. The San Diego Padres were belting line drives all over the place against him in knocking him out in the third inning.
Anyway, during the game it leaked out on Twitter that the Mets had traded Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez. Fans at the game gave Flores a standing ovation. Flores, who had signed with the Mets when he was 16 years old, learned from the fans that he had reportedly been traded, started tearing up in the field, caught up in the emotion of leaving his teammates and the only organization he has ever known. Twitter went nuts, of course, because it's Twitter.
Wilmer Flores crying is a good reminder that baseball players are human beings... With feelings... And emotions... And... 😭😭😭— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 30, 2015
Then it came out that the trade hadn't actually gone through.
Here's Adam Rubin's full report of what the heck happened.
2. Cole Hamels traded to Texas Rangers. And so ends the career of the Philadelphia Phillies left-hander. So ends the never-ending saga of whether Hamels will be traded and to whom. Here's Keith Law's analysis. He likes the deal for both teams. The top two players the Phillies received were catcher Jorge Alfaro, the No. 49 prospect on Law's midseason update, and pitcher Jake Thompson, who just missed the top 50. Veteran starter Matt Harrison also goes to the Phillies. Alfaro is a boom-or-bust guy, as he has big power and 80 grade throwing arm, but his poor plate discipline (nine walks and 61 strikeouts in Double-A) sort of make him the Mike Zunino of the minor leagues.
For the Rangers, the deal is much about 2016 as 2015. Yes, they're still barely in that crowded race for the second wild card -- four games behind the Minnesota Twins, but with five other teams ahead of them and five games under .500 -- but think of the potential rotation they could run out next season: Hamels, Yu Darvish (back from Tommy John surgery), Martin Perez (just back from his own TJ surgery), Derek Holland (about to begin a rehab assignment) and Chi Chi Gonzalez, who has made seven starts this year in the majors. Given good health, that could be a really nice group.
3. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals. Harper hadn't homered in nine games -- tied for his longest stretch of the season -- but blasted two home runs in a 7-2 victory. Of course he did. Tom Koehler was pitching for the Marlins and Harper had already hit three home runs off him this season. His three-run shot off Koehler in the fifth gave the Nationals a 5-2 lead and went into the upper deck at Marlins Park but the second one in the eighth off Sam Dyson was an even more of a monstrous blast, wayyyyyyy back in the upper deck ... although my friends at ESPN Stats & Information say it was only 420 feet as the upper deck at Marlins Park is deceivingly close to the field. It did, however, reach an apex of 139 feet, the second-highest of his career. So there's that. I still would like another measurement.
By the way, somebody asked me the other day, "What would Harper be hitting if he had somebody to protect him?" True, he hasn't had much production behind him. Ryan Zimmerman hit fifth Wednesday and is batting .211 with a .269 OBP; Ian Desmond hit sixth and is having a miserable season at .220 with a .267 OBP; Michael Taylor and his .242 average and .286 OBP hit seventh. That's a bad lineup. Anyway, Harper is second to Paul Goldschmidt in the majors in walks, but that's a credit to Harper's improved patience at the plate as much as the lack of protection behind him. Many, many studies have shown that the protection isn't really valid, other than you may get more intentional walks. Harper does have 11 of those (Goldschmidt, on the other hand, has 22). What really helps a hitter is having runners on base in front of him; that's what makes it a little more difficult to pitch around a hitter. Harper came up in the fifth two on and two outs. Even with two outs, it's hard to just walk Harper there; you don't want to load the bases, even if the next hitter is batting .211.
Of course, in retrospect, Koehler may have wished he'd done that.
The Nats should randomly pull Bryce Harper from the game and have him hug everyone in the dugout— Bobby Big Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) July 30, 2015
5. Chicago White Sox. Our committee gives the nod to the White Sox for their seventh straight win over Jon Lester, who struck out 14 for the Chicago Cubs. Yes, this White Sox team -- so horrible all season -- is just a game under .500 now and just 2.5 behind the Twins. Ahh, second wild card fever!
Honorable mention: Yasiel Puig homers on Yasiel Puig bobblehead day; trade rumors.