New York Yankees at Atlanta Braves: What is this? The late 1990s? I guess not, as Andruw Jones was starting for the wrong squad. Anyway, I tuned in to check out Mike Minor (and I own several Yankees) and was impressed. It looked like he took advantage of a wide strike zone, but also wasn’t afraid to come inside with his heater. Minor has been bamboozled a bit by bad luck (62.8% strand rate, 16.5% HR/FB rate), but even with that has a 5.52 FIP and 4.56 xFIP. In a league where most every viable starter is owned (Ubaldo, Alex Cobb, Zach Britton, etc.), Minor is definitely worth a grab to see if he has reclaimed some of his mojo. If so, you’re looking at a strong match-ups type who can post a 4.10 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 100 K’s ROTW. Brian McCann had a great game, helping the Braves build a four-run lead with a pair of doubles. You should probably be trying to acquire McCann unless you are set at catcher. The minute I turn off the game, the Yankees load the bases and AROD hits a bomb. Nick Swisher followed a few batters later with another homer. Swish should be near universally owned. I own both AROD and Swish a lot of places, but would still like to see the Yanks lose. Sometimes life is hard!
An aside, Andrelton Simmons’ first base hit went through the hole between short and third…man Yankees’ pitchers must cringe when a soft grounder finds its way to the outfield that way. BABIP’d. (Of course, two batters later, Jeter appeared to make a pretty good play on a hard shot by Michael Bourn).
Cleveland Indians at Cincinnati Reds: Aside from platting the first run of the game, the Indians had little going on here. Shin-soo Choo scored the run, Jason Kipnis the RBI, ho hum. Johnny Cueto cruised to a complete game victory, lowering his ERA to 2.47. Not including last night’s start, Cueto has a 2.42 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 2.36 K:BB rate over 234.2 IPs since 2010. Joey Votto went off and has a ridiculous slash line. He is, perhaps, the best hitter in baseball right now. Hey, what do you know? Todd Frazier collected another extra base hit – deep leaguers, you best be grabbing him.
Washington Nationals at Toronto Blue Jays: Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper. He went 3/4 with a homer that went so far and so fast it broke something (or should have). Danny Espinosa also hit a homer and collected two RBIs. Brett Lawrie, again batting leadoff, walked, singled and scored a run – it’s time to trade for him. Jose Bautista doubled and homered – it was time to trade for him awhile ago. That was all the offense the Jays could muster, though as a variety of Nats’ pitchers allowed base runners. Henderson Alvarez continued to be exasperating, as he didn’t walk a batter and got a bunch of grounders, but allowed three homers in seven innings.
Boston Red Sox at Miami Marlins: Clay Buchholz toed the rubber for the Red Sox and turned in a solid outing (seven IPs, one run and nine K’s). Over his last six starts, Buchholz has a 3.10 ERA and has allowed just 40 base runners in 40.2 IPs and K’ed 26. Kelly Shoppach, lefty killer, provided the offense for the Sox off Mark Buehrle, who was pretty good. Logan Morrison scored the only run and collected the only RBI for the Marlins. Jose Reyes continued his hot hitting with a triple. The vaunted back of the Sox bull pen (Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves) shut down the Fish pretty easily. I was going to ask if anyone remembered the Padilla Flotilla, but the announcers mentioned it, so, good for them.
New York Mets at Tampa Bay Rays: Chris Young was victimized by some funky outfield defense and the Trop’s bizarre roof, as he gave up a few more base runners than he should have. On the other side of the diamond, Alex Cobb also got nickeled and dimed by his defense, ultimately surrendering five earned runs in 6.2 IPs, with the bulk of the damage coming during a six run seventh. Cobb’s numbers might not look great at the moment, but he’s a good buy in deep leagues. For a game with 13 runs, there were few extra base hits: Ike Davis homered (and collected three RBIs), Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled (and scored three runs) and Sean Rodriguez doubled. Jordany Valdespin, who has an .184/.205/.421 line on the year, for some reason, served as the DH, and, of course, spun his way to four RBIs. What the what? Baseball is cra-cra. B.J. Upton collected two singles and has a .287/.332/.431 line.
Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles: A welcome sight for baseball fans: Brian Roberts batted lead-off for the Orioles. He went 3/4 with an RBI. If he’s healthy, that’s a heck of an offense the Orioles have. Adam Jones has broken out of his min-slump in a real way, continuing his hot hitting with a double and homer last night. Chris Davis also homered and is batting .301/.353/.589 on the year. I’m happy as heck that Davis is crushing it right now, but he’s no better than a .260 hitter (he has a .371 BABIP). That said, the power is legit and he could realistically hit 27-30 HRs this year. Andrew McCutchen scored a run, collected an RBI and stole a base. Just another day at the ball game. Neil Walker chipped in three RBIs for the Pirates and is batting at his career norm now. Jim Johnson had to come on to close the game out as Kevin Gregg is useless.
Milwaukee Brewers at Kansas City Royals: Ryan Braun misplayed an Alex Gordon “double” in the bottom of the eighth to help the Royals to their second run of the game. Gordon also homered and is batting .248/.347/.391. Gordon is walking more and striking out and swinging and missing less, i.e., if you need OF help, Gordon would be a nice get. Zack Greinke was straight dealing and is probably the most locked in pitcher in the National League right now. The Brewers got nothing going for the first eight innings, scraping just three hits together and one run. Rickie Weeks collected the RBI and went 2/3 with a walk. Weeks has a miserable .213 BABIP, yet appears to be hitting the ball at the same rates as ever. In addition, while his K% is elevated, he isn’t swinging and missing anymore and is actually posting a phenomenal walk rate. A lot of indicators point to Weeks rebounding, say to a .245 average with 14 HRs and eight SBs ROTW. Jonathan Broxton got into a bit of trouble in the ninth. Aramis Ramirez singled to the outfield. Carlos Gomez pinch ran for him and stole second. Then Weeks collected an infield hit on a slow chopper up the middle. Broxton made George Kottaras look foolish on a strike out and got a ground out from Brooks Conrad to finish the game. For many reasons, Broxton scares me a bit and I’m trying to unload him.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy did not enjoy life back in the AL, as the Rangers touched him up for six runs in 5.2 IPs. David Murphy homered and doubled, Ian Kinsler added another double and Mitch Moreland collected a couple of RBIs. Meanwhile, Colby Lewis shutdown the Diamondbacks, throwing a complete game one-run, seven K gem. The d’Backs lone run came off a Miguel Montero homer in eighth. While it looks like Lewis has been a tad lucky (.274 BABIP), that number is totally in line with what he has done the previous two years and he is using his curveball more, which should hopefully keep the ball on the ground over the summer in Texas.
Chicago White Sox at St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals somehow scattered 10 hits in 5.2 innings against Jose Quintana, yet plated just one run. Adam Wainwright was just as good (seven K’s, two runs in seven IPs), but the bullpen let him down. Mitchell Boggs, possibly the handcuff to Jason Motte, gave up two runs in 0.2 IPs. Another entry for the cra-cra-ness of baseball: A.J. Pierzynski hit his 11th homer of the year. Adam Dunn also popped one and Paul Konerko went 3/4. The White Sox continue to roll.
Detroit Tigers at Chicago Cubs: Max Scherzer was effective and wild, with eight K’s and five walks through six innings. Meanwhile Paul Maholm pitched an absolute gem: seven K’s over six innings, this will likely be the best outing of the year for Maholm. There wasn’t much offense in this game, as the winning run scored on an error. Steve Clevenger went 1/3 with a run and walk; he’s a solid catcher that should be owned a lot more than he is. However, Geovany Soto has started his rehab and is about a week away from returning to the Cubs. If Clevenger keeps hitting, it’ll be hard to bench him though. The Cubs bullpen was darn impressive in the victory, as Carlos Marmol, James Russell and Shawn Camp threw 2.2 scoreless innings. Marmol got the win and Camp earned his first save of his season. Aside from a beneficial strand rate, Camp looks like a solid reliever, although his K rate and swinging strike rate seems to have come a bit out of nowhere. Camp, so far, has doubled the usage of his slider his slider this year, which could account for increased K’s.
Philadelphia Phillies at Minnesota Twins: Two horrific pitchers, Nick Blackburn and Kyle Kendrick, combined to really benefit the offense. I believe there was only one 1-2-3 inning in the entire ball game and it was thrown by Matt Capps of all people. Carlos Ruiz collected two hits and two runs – there’s still time to sell high. Jimmy Rollins went 4/5 and pushed his OBP to an even .300. For the Twins, Denard Span continually set the table: 1/2 with three runs and three walks. Ben Revere, Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit had three hits each. Carroll has a low BABIP for him and is still walking at a good clip. If you’re hurting at MI, Carol should be a target as he is capable of batting .270/.345/.312 with seven SBs ROTW. In losing, the Phillies are now nine games behind the Nationals.
Oakland Athletics at Colorado Rockies: After four first-inning runs off Bartolo Colon, this one seemed to be an easy wing for the Rockies. However, Jeremy Guthrie gave back six runs in the top of the third and Colon settled down. Poor Guthrie, if he can’t get the A’s out… The A’s hit four HRs and Josh Reddick didn’t hit any of them. Tyler Colvin batted lead-off and played center for the Rockies. He went 1/2 with a run, RBI and two walks. Colvin isn’t a .300 hitter (hello .370 BABIP), but he could bat .255 with 10+ HRs ROTW. He’s a sneaky addition in deeper formats. Picking up for Colon, the A’s bullpen was phenomenal. Grant Balfour threw two innings, didn’t allow a base runner and struck out three. Ryan Cook came on to close the game. While he has had a ton of success this year, his walk rate and .119 BABIP suggest he’s going to be in for some major regression. When that happens, expect Balfour to get a chance at reclaiming the role. And, sure enough, Cook walked Colvin to start the ninth. Marco Scutaro followed with a single, but Cook struck CarGo and Michael Cuddyer out before getting Todd Helton to ground out.
Houston Astros at San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner was on his game in this one, shutting down a helpless Astros offense. After 7.2 IPs, Bumgarner had 12 K’s, no walks and only six hits. Santiago Casilla got one of the easier saves there are after Javier Lopez and Clay Hensley screwed up a four-run lead. Unfortunately, things didn’t go smoothly for Bud Norris. He gave up three runs in 3.1 IPs. He did register five K’s, but had to leave in the fourth with a left knee sprain (no word on severity of injury). Before he left, he gave up a homer to Bumgarner – go figure. Gregor Blanco went 0/4, but walked and scored a run. Of course, he also stole a base. He’s a great addition for OBP leagues.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Los Angeles Dodgers: Aaron Harang went seven and only allowed two unearned runs to lower his ERA to 3.59. Quietly, he has put together another solid season and has upped his K’s a bit, but without an increase in his swinging strike rate. Jerome Williams was phenomenal through seven, but came back out for the eighth and was tagged for four runs. Up until that point he had shut down the Dodgers. The majority of the offense came from A.J. Ellis (he scored twice), Andre Ethier (two hits) and Juan River (a homer and four RBIs). Mike Trout proved he was human, going hitless, but he did walk. Albert Pujols was the only Angel who had more hits than Williams.
San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners: Clayton Richard v Felix Hernandez was the beat down you’d expect, but on the wrong side of the ledger. Richard went seven strong and allowed one run. Hernandez gave up five runs to the PADRES in six innings. While he hasn’t been “kingly”, aside from a drop in velocity and whispers of injuries, Felix has been pretty similar to past seasons: his BABIP is high (which could be a product of his velo dip) and his strand rate is a bit inflated. If healthy, Hernandez is a big buy in my book. Michael Saunders kept mashing, going 3/4 with a homer and double. I’ve been burned by Saunders in the past and certainly his .354 BABIP seems unrealistic. In addition, while he has cut down on his K’s, he hasn’t cut down on his swinging and missing. I want to be optimistic, but I just can’t. I’d take the under on him batting .245 ROTW, but he will add decent power/speed. For the Padres, Chris Denorfia went 2/4 with a triple; I’d rather have him than Saunders. Everth Cabrera stole three bases. He won’t hit for a good average, but you can’t find that kind of speed on the waiver wire in an MI.
In case you missed it, Happy Dock Ellis Day, via Hard Ball Talk: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/06/12/happy-dock-ellis-day/
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Written by Albert Lang exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com
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