Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen was around the plate a lot and made a mistake to Brooks Conrad that turned into a two-run homer. Since his brilliant start to the season, Chen has posted ERAs above 4.20 in May and June. Looks like baseball might be catching up to him. Adam Jones did the damage for the Orioles, hitting a homer that accounted for the squad’s only run. Fernando Rodney walked two batters but got the save, his 28th, my lord. In non-on-the-field news, the Rays acquired Ryan Roberts. For his career he has hit lefties really well. Look for the Rays to use him a bit more than that, but he and Jeff Keppinger will make the team lethal against lefties.
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians: Another low scoring affair as Doug Fister looked good but, somehow, Ubaldo Jimenez looked better (no runs over six IPs). Carlos Santana did a bulk of the work for the Indians, going 2/3 with a double and RBI. Santana has suffered another injury-plagued year and hasn’t come close to duplicating last year’s power. Still, you have to think his 9.2% HR/FB rate is a tad low. This makes it a unique opportunity in keeper/dynasty leagues to grab Santana cheaply. His average likely won’t ever be a world beater, but the power could be tops at the position.
Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies: As news spread that the Phils had locked up Cole Hamels for six years ($144 million), they stormed back against the wretched Brewers pen – John Axford and Francisco Cordero were not involved in the massacre. It was mostly Manny Parra’s fault (isn’t everything?). While the Brewers scored via the long ball (Ryan Braun, Zack Greinke, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez), the Phils turned seven hits into seven runs. Not surprising, yet surprising, Carlos Ruiz hit a key double and collected three RBIs.
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates: Ryan Dempster is still a Cub, but, apparently, he has nothing on Paul Maholm. I’ve been dubious on Maholm’s future prospects for some time, but, in his last six appearances, he has a 2.41 ERA and 20 K’s against seven BBs. He has a solid 2.53 K:BB rate on the season and is generating a few more K’s than we’re use to, despite a pretty normal swinging strike rate. For his career, he has thrown his slider 13.4% of the time. This year? 30.5%. Perhaps that’s the secret to his success. Of course, we’ll have to see if he can stay healthy throwing that many sliders and whether hitters will make adjustments. I’m still a tad dubious. The Pirates, who traded for Wandy Rodriguez (which should help his numbers, as righties have a tougher time in Pittsburgh than at Houston), got an “aight” outing from James McDonald. Drew Sutton batted lead-off for the Pirates – 'cause they have to have no one on base for Andrew McCutchen. Of course, Neil Walker was the only starter with an OBP above .306 (other than Cutch of course).
Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays: Travis Snider and J.P. Arencibia homered, but those solo shots were the only offense the Jays could muster against Travis Blackley. Blackley, a one-time Giants prospect, has a 4.00 K:BB rate for the A’s in 63.2 IPs this year. He has a .267 BABIP, 70.3% strand rate and 3.3% HR/FB rate. He is also getting a solid 9.2% swinging strike rate. The Australian is 29 and has been part of the Mariners, Phillies, Diamondbacks, A’s (three times), Mets and Giants organization. He even pitched in the Mexican League. Could we have this year’s Ryan Vogelsong? If you’re looking for pitching, it might be worth grabbing him from the waiver wire. Sometimes you wonder how the A’s score, then you look at their line-up and they have four guys with OBPs above .350. Coco Crisp stole his 20th base and Yoenis Cespedes, hitting .298/.356/.525, collected three RBIs.
Washington Nationals at New York Mets: Despite seven K’s, three of Bryce Harper, R.A. Dickey wasn’t overly successful against the Nats. Gio Gonzalez, on the other hand, was masterful in shutting down the Mets. Of course, because I’m writing this, Jordany Valdespin homered. What’s his deal? Drew Storen didn’t appear in the game and Tyler Clippard was near perfect in closing the door on the victory.
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins: Likely the last game for Hanley Ramirez in Miami, as rumors have him going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Nathan Eovaldi (who could pitch decent in Miami). However, Jose Reyes was the offensive star, hitting his sixth homer (one behind Carlos Gomez) and driving in two. Mark Buehrle pitched well but couldn’t solve Jason Heyward, who was batting third. In a non-save chance, Heath Bell pitched a clean frame to lower his ERA to 5.90.
Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers: Another low scoring affair as Clay Buchholz and Martin Perez allowed just one run. Joe Nathan, who has been fantastic this season, was horrible in the top of the ninth, ultimately surrendering the winning run. Ian Kinsler was ejected in the first and Adrian Beltre was hit in the head. Reports are that Beltre just has a bruise and did not suffer a concussion.
Cincinnati Reds at Houston Astros: Somewhere I wrote that Jason Maxwell would hit double digit HRs this year. Of course he’s pairing the power with a .230 average, so there’s that. But if you don’t need average and could use some power, Maxwell should get at bats ROTW and could hit a handful more dingers. The Astros, who have shed some talented veterans lately, took a lead into the ninth. Of course, Francisco Cordero was there to blow it (spectacularly). Cordero seems to be washed up. I hate that I own him somewhere. Rid yourself of the plague if you can and pick up Wilton Lopez.
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox: Every single Twins pitcher gave up at least two runs. Cole DeVries wasn’t that bad, but the bullpen gave up nine runs in two innings. Paul Konerko had four hits and a homer and Adam Dunn had three hits and a homer. In the losing effort, Josh Willingham went deep twice.
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals: Clayton Kershaw was all over the place in a bad way. He hit Lance Berkman in the third causing him to leave the game. Ultimately, Kershaw was tagged for eight runs. Adam Wainwright was all over the score sheet (in a good way): he doubled, sacrificed, collected two RBIs and pitched 7.1 IPs. Looks like he’s back (or never left), folks.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks: The Rockies are just god awful. What a terrible season. Joe Saunders shut them down last night and recorded nine K’s. JOE SAUNDERS, what? Chris Young hit a homer, his 11th of the year, and stole a base. He looks like a decent pick-up places. When healthy, Young was mashing earlier in the season. Justin Upton went 0/1 with three walks and two runs. Yesterday the d’Backs owner said they likely won’t trade Upton – go figure.
Kansas City Royals at Los Angles Angels of Anaheim: Garret Richards wasn’t any good…not surprising: he’s on his downward trajectory. Lorenzo Cain homered and stole a base. He is worth a pick-up. Eric Hosmer went 1/3 with a walk to eek his OBP to .302, otherwise known as .022 above Jeff Francoeur. Mike Trout didn’t get a hit or steal a base, no word on whether refunds were given.
New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners: In the top of the eighth inning, AROD was hit in the hand. It looks like it’s broken. That’s a shame (I’m not being sarcastic). He also collected his 2,000th career strike-out – so there’s that? Felix Hernandez was fantastic against the Yanks and Tom Wilhelmsen further strengthened his stranglehold on Mariner saves. Curtis Granderson did hit a homer for the Yanks—shocking, I know.
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants: Edison Volquez and Madison Bumgarner were exceptional in this one – ultimately leaving the game up to the bullpens. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla > Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher, so the Giants got the win. After doubling in the first, Pablo Sandoval left the game in the third with an apparent injury. Third basemen and corners are falling! Go get Ryan Roberts or Chase Headley, Chris Davis, Chipper Jones, Daniel Murphy, Todd Frazier, Pedro Alvarez, or Wilson Betemit.
In case you missed it, you have to check out this play from Angel Pagan: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/25/angel-pagan-makes-his-play-of-the-year-bid/. I don’t want to call it a Web Gem because I’ll probably be sued, but let’s just say there was serious “WebGemmage” there.
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Written by Albert Lang exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com
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