Bell hit 86 home runs and drove in 309 runs during his five years with the Pirates, and in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game he proved his comfort in the Pittsburgh batters box by hitting a solo home run to extend Washington’s lead to 3-1.
However that lead would not stand up for long: Pirates MLBbro Anthony Alford answered Bell’s bomb with a homer of his own to cut the deficit to one, then later on in the game, their young phenom Ke’Bryan Hayes sent folks home happy with the first walk off hit of his career.
During the weekend series Bell was 3-for-9 with five walks, two runs and that home run as his Nationals could only salvage one win out of the three games.
Bell finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and was named as an All-Star for the Pirates in 2019. That year he hit .277 with career highs in home runs, average, OPS, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and runs.
Josh Bell has hit 25 HRs in a season for the 3rd time in his @MLB career.
That year was also Bell’s second time homering 25 or more times for the Pirates, and with him already passing that mark this season, he became just the second player in Major League history to hit 25 home runs for the Nationals/ Montreal Expos and the Pirates joining former first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Bell is one of the few pieces that stayed in Washington after their fire sale during the trade deadline. His year started off slow as he only hit .113 for the month of April and has been fighting to rise the average ever since.
“I feel good as of late,” said Bell to reporters before Friday night’s game. “I had a really rough start that I had to work my way out of. Thank God it wasn’t a 60-game season again. I kind of turned things around.”
He signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this offseason and is now batting .253 with 26 home runs, a .813 OPS and 81 RBI.
He has definitely earned himself a payday after this season whether he gets it in D.C. or with a new franchise.
Bell is now chasing the 30-homer mark during this final month of the season. Showing those numbers during contract negotiations can only help his cause.
This week he and his Nationals will take on the “Bahamian Blur” Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins.
We are dancing into September, the final month of the regular season and the official beginning of the race for pennants and playoff spots.
It is also the final chance for players to make their cases for MVP considerations, and Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge has put his name atop the ballot with his play and the team’s current hot streak.
For that, he takes the top spot on Week 21 of our #HighFive List.
1. Aaron Judge
We have been saying it all year, and it becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day; Aaron Judge should have his name in every conversation when discussing who should win the American League MVP award.
Even though Judge was named as a starter for the American League All-Star team, he still has gone underappreciated and undervalued on talk shows and other media outlets.
The numbers for Judge over his last 26 games have put the rest of the Majors on notice, as he continues to prove he is a top 10 player in the game. He is slashing .368/.456/.684 with six doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBI and four steals
The Yankees now claim a two-game lead for the top wild card spot and will look to extend it against Cedric Mullins and the Baltimore Orioles.
2. Devin Williams
Last year’s National League Rookie of the Year Devin Williams got off to a slow start to begin his sophomore campaign, but lately he has shown he is one of the top relief pitchers in the game.
Even though the Bros put on a post-All-Star week hitting clinic, the Met’s durag-rockin’ Black Knight from Long Island AKA Marcus “Stro Show” Stroman takes the top spot in Week 15 of our #HighFive list.
1. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman had two very interesting starts this week, but we will start with the one that may be the best of his career:
Wednesday he was both a hit and a walk away from perfection against the Cincinnati Reds. In eight innings he struck out seven batters while only allowing one hit and one walk. What might have been most impressive is he accomplished this in just 90 pitches, on a day the Met’s bullpen needed off in the worst way.
Out of the 26 hitters Stroman faced, he threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of them. He became the first Mets pitcher with an eight-inning shutout allowing just one hit or fewer since Jacob DeGrom in 2016.
His Black Knight partner Taijuan Walker and former Cy Young rotation mate, Jacob DeGrom, got the accolade of being named 2021 All-Stars this season, but Stroman has been the one holding it down with consistency in the rotation.
He is one of 13 pitchers to make 20 starts this season and carries a 2.58 ERA.
Now, to Stroman and the Pittsburgh Pirates executing a classic WWE impression:
"Keep talking shit!" -John Nogowski
"Nobody is fucking talking shit to you!" -Marcus Stroman
After getting Pirates John Nogowski to line out in the fifth inning of Friday night’s game, Stroman pounded his glove and tried to fire up his dugout. Nogowski took exception to that, and after, words were exchanged and the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but it might not be a good idea to have those two in the same room for a while.
In that game, he finished five innings allowing just two runs and striking out three.
2. Mookie Betts
Lately, Mookie Betts has gotten back to being one of the best hitters in all of baseball and before a hip injury caused him to miss a few days this week, he was on an absolute tear.
In his past five games before only appearing only as a pinch-hitter Monday night, Betts was 12-for-16 at the plate for a .750 batting average. Over that stretch, he had three home runs, four doubles, eight RBI and 12 runs. That earned him a spot on Rob Parker’s Home Boi Highlights.
Ever since Tim Anderson saw his name left off of the original All-Star Game Roster, he became a different animal at the plate, showing why he has a batting championship in his trophy case.
Despite having his 16-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, he is batting .323 with three home runs, four RBI, eight runs and two steals. That leaves him currently sitting in 10th place for the league’s batting title.
Baddoo Mania is back, as he has been putting the throttle down on his campaign to win American League Rookie of the Year. Over his last seven games, Baddoo has three home runs, including two during the team’s four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers.
Josh has answered the Bell at the plate lately as he lands the final spot on this week’s #HighFive list. Since June 1st he is one of three National League first baseman to have at least seven home runs and a batting average over .300. The other two being All-Star Starter Freddie Freeman and the Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt.
Bell had a seven-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-4 Wednesday but homered in back-to-back games to begin the week.
The Nationals are trying to tread water while trying to get their team back to full strength, but with Bell along with Josh Harrison and former World Series MVP Juan Soto holding down the lineup (and them only being six games back of the Mets for first place in the NL East) they may be in store for a run.