Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 NHL Draft Predictions

Now is the time to dream.  Now is the time to hope.  Especially for fans of teams that did not make the playoffs and are starved for young, cheap talent, today is your Hockey Christmas.  Today is the NHL Entry Draft.  The cast of 17-year-olds are projected, quizzed, and fawned over.  Some will work out, others will flame out.  But, this is the day where franchise turning points are made, for better or worse.

Until tonight, a draft pick is an unknown asset, possibly flipped for an actual name.  If the draft pick is made, the player is given the hyperbolic treatment with comments such as "he hits like Dion Phaneuf" or "he has the hands of a John Tavares".  The players have a few years to fill out and find their place in their organizations, but fans acquaint themselves to the newbie from Day One.  One message to the fans, though: Don't fall in love.  No matter how many capsules you read or YouTube highlights you watch, that player you think would make a perfect first-line center or top-pair defenseman might just go to your rival.  The truth is no one really knows whether the talent will ever be realized.  I must admit, as an Islanders fan, I had sleepless nights over Dan Blackburn and Hugh Jessiman.  I'm just sayin'.

The 2012 NHL Entry Draft (Round 1: Friday 7pm, NBC Sports Network; Rounds 2-7: Saturday 10am, NHL Network) has a few aces at the top of the draft list and is supposed to be a relatively shallow pool of talent.  But, they always say that.  This is what scouts are paid for: to find the diamonds in the rough.  The fifth-round pick who turns into an All-Star.  The seventh-round pick who ends up carving out a 10-year NHL career.  They are out there in every draft.

Locally, the Islanders are the first of the five local teams we cover (three New York-area teams plus Boston and Philadelphia) to select and they will go fourth, barring a trade, which is not out of the realm of possibility.  There could be two types of trades with the Isles this year.  One we have seen from GM Garth Snow and one we have not.  If Snow and his scouting department are targeting a below-the-radar type like Josh Bailey was in 2008, Snow could move down and stockpile picks.  But, in 2008, the reason for stockpiling the picks was to kick off the rebuild and fertilize the farm system with talented players.  That is already done.  Bridgeport is looking strong. 

So, my guess is that the more likely scenario is to package that pick with a player or two to get a name with years left on a contract.  During Snow's tenure, it has been proven time and time again that Type A free agents do not list Long Island as a potential destination.  The only way to get a proven top-six forward or top-four defenseman in 2012-13 is through a trade.  Snow has not done this at the draft, a draft parodied by former GM Mike Milbury in past years with his fire sales at the draft table.  I have confidence Snow will take higher percentage gambles, if he gambles at all.  Snow has only pulled off a star-for-asset deal once and while the Ryan Smyth trade did not bring Smyth to Long Island long-term, it did not hurt the franchise as Ryan O'Marra, the key prospect that went to Edmonton in that deadline deal, is an AHL journeyman. 

Any star-for-asset trades would include a player starving for a fresh start and someone who more than a year to go on his deal.  The re-signing of Evgeni Nabokov is huge because it shows a veteran may like it on the Island.  The young talent is also a selling point the Islanders did not have to woo Smyth.  But, the higher percentage play is to get a hungry late 20's, early 30's sniper in a deal with at least three years to go on the contract.  In three seasons, the Coliseum deal will be up and the Islanders will move into a new building, be it Brooklyn or somewhere else inside or outside the New York metro.  They will be good then and ready to pop, so a player would be more likely to re-sign.

The other four teams pick in the final ten picks of the first round, unless a team moves up or down.  The biggest possibility of moving up belongs to the New Jersey Devils, who have the #29 pick in the first round, mainly because the Devils have to pay the NHL back with a draft pick in the next couple of years as reparations for the obscene contract they gave to star Ilya Kovalchuk.  Ironically enough, that same contract may make it tough to sign Zach Parise and keep him in the Garden State.  GM Lou Lamoriello decided against giving this pick away, which is the second-lowest pick you can get in the top round.  So, the prevailing thinking is either Lamoriello will package the pick for a player or move up.

Assuming the teams stay where they are, here are my picks for the top 10 picks of the 1st round and the local 1st round picks:

  1. Edmonton - RW Nail Yakupov - Sarnia
  1. Columbus - RW Filip Forsberg - Leksand
  1. Montreal - D Ryan Murray - Everett
  1. N.Y. Islanders - D Matthew Dumba - Red Deer
  1. Toronto - D Morgan Rielly - Moose Jaw
  2. Anaheim - F Mikhail Grigorenko - Quebec
  3. Minnesota - F Alex Galchenyuk - Sarnia
  4. Carolina - D Cody Ceci - Ottawa
  5. Winnipeg - D Griffin Reinhart - Edmonton
  6. Tampa Bay - F Radek Faksa - Kitchener
  7. Philadelphia - F Thomas Wilson - Plymouth
  8. Boston - D Dalton Thrower - Saskatoon
  9. N.Y. Rangers - F Stefan Matteau - U.S. NTDP
  10. New Jersey - G Malcolm Subban - Belleville

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 7th

We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

CF Coco Crisp OAK: 2-4, HR (1), 4 RBI (10), 3B, R, BB, SB (8) (15 pts)
3B David Freese STL: 2-5, 2 HR (12), 6 RBI (40), 2 R, BB, 3 K (14 pts)
OF Norichika Aoki MIL: 3-5, 2 HR (3), 2 RBI (9), 3 R (14 pts)

SP Clay Buchholz BOS: CG 4-hit shutout (5.77 ERA), BB, 6 K, W (6-2) (40 pts)
SP R.A. Dickey NYM: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (2.44 ERA), 2 BB, 8 K, W (9-1) (32 pts)
SP Matt Cain SFO: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 ER (3 R) (2.41 ERA), BB, 9 K, W (7-2) (30 pts)

BY POSITION (where they played yesterday)
C: Buster Posey SFO (6 pts)
1B: Allen Craig STL/Adrian Gonzalez BOS/Bryan LaHair CHC (7)
2B: Ryan Theriot SFO (9)
3B: David Freese STL (14)
SS: Jose Reyes MIA/Jed Lowrie HOU (8)
OF: Coco Crisp OAK (15)
SP: Clay Buchholz BOS (40)
RP: John Axford MIL (12)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 6th

We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

2B Dan Uggla ATL: 4-5, 2 HR (10), 5 RBI (37), 2B, 3 R (40) (19 pts)
LF Mark Trumbo LAA: 4-4, 2 HR (12), 4 RBI (31), 2B, 2 R (25) (17 pts)
CF Colby Rasmus TOR: 5-5, HR (7), 3 RBI (24), 2B, 4 R (25) (16 pts)

SP Andy Pettitte NYY: 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER (2.78 ERA), 2 BB, 10 K (32), W (3-2) (36 pts)
SP Tim Hudson ATL: CG 5-hit shutout (3.83 ERA), 3 BB, 3 K (31), W (4-2) (36 pts)
SP Ian Kennedy ARZ: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER (3.93 ERA), 1 BB, 12 K (71), W (5-5) (32 pts)

BY POSITION (where they played yesterday)
C: Martin NYY (11 pts)
1B: Adams STL (10)
2B: Uggla ATL (19)
3B: McGehee PIT (10)
SS: Simmons ATL (9)
OF: Trumbo LAA (17)
SP: Pettitte NYY/Hudson ARZ (36)
RP: Hanrahan PIT (14)

And now, a note or two on yesterday's games:

Cleveland (29-25) 4, DETROIT (25-30) 2
NY YANKEES (30-24) 7, Tampa Bay (31-24) 0
Baltimore (31-24) 8, BOSTON (28-27) 6 (10)
KANSAS CITY (24-30) 1, Minnesota (21-34) 0
  • A pitcher's duel was fought in Kansas City last night between two lefties: SP Bruce Chen KCY (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 30 pts) and SP Francisco Liriano MIN (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 17 pts). A C Brayan Pena 2nd-inning single (0 pts) was Liriano's only mistake, but otherwise, it was a pitching night all around. Greg Holland (10 pts) struck out the side in the 8th and Jonathan Broxton (9 pts) earned his 14th save, navigating around a hit and a walk in the 9th.

Toronto (29-26) 9, CHI WHITE SOX (31-24) 5
  • This just in: OF Colby Rasmus TOR is streaky. Rasmus was 5-for-5 last night to break an 0-for-7 mini-slump, but that is small potatoes. Rasmus was 0-for-17 and then 15-for-45 (3 HR, 7 RBI, .689 SLG) before the latest 0-for-7.  Fantasy baseball's enemy is inconsistency and Rasmus has it in spades. But, look a little closer into the splits and you might find some common threads, albeit in small sample sizes. Rasmus hits 40 points better on the road and has an OPS 170 points higher away from Rogers Centre (Home: .224/.302/.365, Road: .267/.325/.514). Rasmus hits .287 in 115 nighttime at-bats and .187 in 75 daytime at-bats. He handles righthanded pitchers a lot better than lefties (vs. RHP: .277/.344/.504, vs. LHP: .170/.237/.302). He is a poster child for daily leagues...and for night games on the road against righties.

LA ANGELS (29-28) 6, Seattle (25-33) 1
  • OF Mark Trumbo LAA had a 1-for-16 start to June, but he homered twice and drove in 4, providing more than enough for Garrett Richards in his first start of the season (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 28 pts). Richards is in the rotation for Jered Weaver, who is on the DL, and he looks to start next over the weekend against the Dodgers. Back to Trumbo, the 4-for-4 day moved him to 17-for-41 over his last 10 games (.414 AVG, .976 SLG, 6 HR, 12 RBI). There is no sophomore jinx for Trumbo, following a .254/.291/.477, 29 HR, 87 RBI season with a more complete first 2 months of this season (.337/.384/.634, 12 HR, 31 RBI).

LA Dodgers (35-21) 2, PHILADELPHIA (28-29) 1
  • Both starters pitched very well, but it was SP Chad Billingsley LAD with his first win in 10 starts (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 22 pts) instead of SP Cliff Lee PHL (7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 21 pts), who is winless in 9 starts this year. Billingsley allowed a run in the first and Lee had a 1-0 lead into the 8th, but Elian Herrera doubled in 2 runs with 2 out, putting Lee on the hook for the loss.
  • Billingsley has walked one or no hitters in each of his 3 wins and has walked at least 2 hitters in each of his 4 losses.  Meanwhile, all that is missing for Lee are the wins. His ERA dipped under 3.00 (2.92), his WHIP shrunk to 1.01, and his K/BB ratio rose to an even 6-to-1 (66 K, 11 BB).

Texas (33-23) 6, OAKLAND (24-32) 3
WASHINGTON (31-22) 7, NY Mets (31-25) 6 (12)
Atlanta (30-25) 11, MIAMI (31-24) 0
Pittsburgh (28-26) 8, CINCINNATI (30-24) 4
HOUSTON (24-31) 9, St. Louis (28-28) 8
Chi Cubs (19-36) 10, MILWAUKEE (24-31) 0
ARIZONA (26-30) 10, Colorado (24-31) 0
SAN DIEGO (19-37) 6, San Francisco (31-25) 5

After last night's pitching display in Philadelphia, SP Chris Capuano LAD (7-2, 2.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) takes the hill looking for his 8th win against SP Kyle Kendrick PHL (in 7 starts: 2-3, 3.27 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 41.1 IP, 26 K), who is now a rotation mainstay.  SP Zack Greinke MIL (6-2, 3.46, 1.32) looks to continue his dominance at Miller Park (20 home starts at Miller Park lifetime: 14-0, 2.64 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 129.2 IP, 159 K), as Greinke and the Brewers face the Cubs and Paul Maholm (4-4, 4.82, 1.32).

Three pitchers in the "are they for real?" category are going tonight. SP Felipe Paulino KCY (3-1, 1.70, 1.22) has pitched "lights-out" for 4 of his 6 starts, only surrendering earned runs in the other 2 starts.  For the season, Paulino has 39 K in 37 innings and 5 of his 6 starts were against above-.500 teams.  The 28-year-old is 13-32, 4.94, 1.51 in his career.  SP Wade Miley ARZ had a 4.30 ERA in the minors last year and a 4.50 ERA in 40 innings with the big club.  This year, though, Miley is 6-2, 2.72, 1.19 and he is 3-1 in his last 4 starts (3-1, 2.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 27 IP, 14 K).  SP Wei-Yin Chen BAL started like a house afire in April (2-0, 2.22, 1.32 in 4 starts), but since then, the league has caught up to Chen, going 0-3, 7.48 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 21.2 IP, 20 K in his last 4 starts.

SP Madison Bumgarner SFO (at SDG)
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia BOS (vs BAL)
CI Mark Trumbo LAA (vs SEA)
MI Jose Altuve HOU (vs STL)
OF Ryan Braun MIL (vs CHC)
RP Aroldis Chapman (vs PIT)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 5th

We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

3B Mike Moustakas KCY: 3-4, HR (9), 2 RBI (27), 2 2B, 3 R (26), K (12 pts)
2B Jamey Carroll MIN: 3-3, 2 RBI (16), 3B, 2 R (20), BB, SB (5) (12 pts)
LF Josh Willingham MIN: 2-3, HR (11), 3 RBI (39), 2 R (32), 2 BB, K (11 pts)

SP Jarrod Parker OAK: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER (2.40 ERA), 3 BB, 6 K (35), W (2-2) (34 pts)
SP Christian Friedrich COL: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (4.50 ERA), 2 BB, 4 K (36), W (4-1) (27 pts)
SP Kyle Lohse STL: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (3.21 ERA), 0 BB, 3 K (42), ND (19 pts)

C: Rosario COL (7 pts)
1B: Craig STL (10)
2B: Galvis PHL (4)
3B: Moustakas KCY/Carroll MIN (12)
SS: Kawasaki SEA (7)
OF: Revere MIN (9)
SP: Parker OAK (34)
RP: Affeldt SFO (16)

And now, a note or two on yesterday's games:

St. Louis (28-27) 5, NY METS (31-24) 4
  • The only issue for OF/1B Allen Craig (2-3, HR (6), 3 RBI (22), 10 pts) is whether he can stay healthy. Otherwise, he gives you average, some pop, and positional eligibility. He is an outfielder, but he has played 11 games at first base. He can play second base in a pinch, evidenced by his 8 games at the position last season. But, he has been limited by knee and hamstring injuries, only playing in 16 of St. Louis's 55 games, totaling 62 at-bats.

OAKLAND (24-31) 12, Texas (32-23) 1
  • SP Jarrod Parker (34 pts) went the other way in the Trevor Cahill deal and Oakland may already have the better of that deal. Parker only had one start in the Majors coming into this year, but the 23-year-old righthander has only allowed more than 2 earned runs once in 8 starts this year (2.40 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .205 BAA). Parker has faced .500 teams in 6 of those starts, going 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in 37 innings.

Colorado (24-30) 4, ARIZONA (25-30) 0
  • Speaking of promising rookie pitchers, SP Christian Friedrich pitches for Colorado, but he has been fantastic on the road and pretty well overall lately. Friedrich won his third straight start, but his home/road splits are night and day. Friedrich, who made his ML debut on May 9th is 1-1, with a 10.64 ERA and a 2.27 WHIP in 2 starts at home, but he is 3-0, 1.80, 1.08 in 4 starts on the road.

LA Dodgers (34-21) 4, PHILADELPHIA (28-28) 3
SAN FRANCISCO (31-24) 3, Chi Cubs (18-36) 2
Minnesota (21-33) 10, KANSAS CITY (23-30) 7
Seattle (25-32) 8, LA ANGELS (28-28) 6

Chris Young makes his season debut tonight for the Mets at the Nationals, who will send out Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). A win by the Mets will knock Washington out of first place in the NL East. Take a close look at Young, who was 1-0, 1.88, 0.96 in only 4 starts last year.  Will Chad Billingsley finally get off the schneid or will it be Cliff Lee?  Billingsley (2-4, 4.09, 1.44) won his first 2 starts, which were stellar starts (1 ER in 14.1 IP, 1 BB, 15 K).  But, they were against the Padres and Pirates.  In the 9 starts since then, Billingsley is 0-4 with only 3 quality starts, a 5.13 ERA, and a 1.69 WHIP.  Meanwhile, Cliff Lee has pitched well, but has not gotten a "W" this year (0-2, 3.00, 1.02). This is a simple case of run support, though in his last 3 starts, Lee has yielded more than a hit an inning (0-1, 4.95, 1.50).

When Andy Pettitte (2-2, 3.49, 1.13) lost his comeback debut against Seattle, some eyes rolled.  But, a 4-hit, no-run performance over eight innings against Cincinnati in the Bronx turned some heads.  The 39-year-old tries to duplicate that second start against a good offense in Tampa. The game will be at home and Pettitte will face James Shields (6-3, 3.95, 1.32), who has struggled in 2 starts against the Yankees (0-1, 9 ER and 13 H in 11 IP) this year.

In other matchups, Jaime Garcia (3-3, 3.78, 1.40) was pushed back from his start over the weekend because of elbow concerns, but he goes tonight at Houston and Lucas Harrell (4-4, 4.71, 1.48), who is 2-0 in his last 3 home starts.  In a battle of unlikely fantasy starters, A.J. Burnett (4-2, 3.60, 1.24) is averaging 7.6 K/9 and his Pirates are in Cincinnati to take on Homer Bailey (4-3, 3.73, 1.26) and the Reds.

SP Jaime Garcia STL (at HOU) (on track to start tonight, has lasted 6 IP in 7 of last 8 starts)
C Wilin Rosario COL (at ARZ) (last 7 games: 9-for-26, .731 SLG, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 2 SB)
CI Joey Votto CIN (vs PIT) (during 10-game hit streak: 19-for-33, .909 SLG, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 10 R)
MI Allen Craig STL (at HOU) (since return from injury: 3-for-11, HR, 3 RBI)
OF Andrew McCutchen PIT (at CIN) (36-for-98, 9 HR, 23 RBI since May 1st, 7-for-20 lifetime vs. Homer Bailey)
RP Ernesto Frieri LAA (vs SEA) (last 6 appearances: 4 SV, 6.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 6 BB, 14 K)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 4th

We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis NYM (vs STL): 3-5, HR (3), 3 RBI (19), 2 R (31) (11 pts)
LF Jose Bautista TOR (vs BOS): 1-3, HR (14), 4 RBI (37), R (34), BB (9 pts)
C Matt Wieters BAL (at TBY): 3-4, HR (9), 2 RBI (24), R (25), BB, K (9 pts)
Honorable mention: CF Nyjer Morgan MIL, RF Bryce Harper WSH, 1B Eric Hosmer KCY, 3B Mark Reynolds BAL (9 pts each)

SP Trevor Cahill ARZ (at SDG): CG 6-hit shutout (3.46 ERA), 6 H, 3 BB, 5 K (47), W (3-5) (37 pts)
SP Phil Hughes NYY (at DET): CG, 4 H, 1 ER (4.96 ERA), 3 BB, 8 K (57), W (5-5) (35 pts)
SP Chris Sale CHW (vs SEA): CG, 5 H, 2 ER (2.30 ERA), 2 BB, 8 K (69), W (7-2) (32 pts)
Honorable mention: SP Barry Zito SFO (32 pts)

C: Wieters BAL (9)
1B: Hosmer KCY (9)
2B: Kinsler/Punto/Uggla (5)
3B: Green MIL (6)
SS: Barmes PIT/Cozart CIN (7)
OF: Nieuwenhuis NYM (11)
SP: Cahill ARZ (37)
RP: Morales BOS (15)

And now, a note or two on yesterday's games:

NY Yankees (29-24) 5, DETROIT (25-29) 1
  • SP Phil Hughes (35 pts) pitched probably the best game of his Yankee career. His only previous complete game was a rain-shortened six-inning cheapie. Hughes was brilliant, keeping his velocity late, striking out 8 and allowing a run and seven baserunners (4 H, 3 BB). Hughes has now had quality starts in 4 of 6 outings (4-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 40 IP, 34 K) and is pitching his best baseball in almost 2 years.
  • SP Justin Verlander (0 pts) has now lost three starts in a row for the first time since he dropped four straight in the middle of his 11-17 season in 2008 (July 26-August 11). Still, you cannot argue with his season numbers and he still pitched a quality start (6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K), for what it is worth.

NY METS (31-23) 6, St. Louis (27-27) 1
  • The great Met pitching continued with SP Jonathon Niese (28 pts), who set a career-high with 10 strikeouts. His previous high was 8, but he has 17 in his last 2 starts. Great for the Mets, right? He experienced a rapid heartbeat earlier in the game, though that was supposedly not the reason he left after 6 innings and 96 pitches. He is still scheduled to pitch on Sunday (at the moment) against the Yankees, but stay tuned because that could change.
  • We are still about a week-and-a-half away from having a decision made, but OF Jason Bay is about to come back and it bears watching from here on out. Bay may return before the weekend, but he will most likely ease back into the lineup because OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (11 pts), OF Andres Torres (8 pts), and OF Lucas Duda (1 pt) are the mainstays. Bay could DH on the road in Interleague Play, which starts again this weekend, but what happens after that? A platoon seems likely.

Miami (31-23) 5, PHILADELPHIA (28-27) 1
  • Miami may have something with SP Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano needed a change of scenery after wearing out his welcome in Chicago. He has found his nirvana in South Florida, calm, cool, and collected. Zambrano is always one of those players whose fantasy owners lobby to include pitchers' hitting stats and he homered yesterday. No matter in fantasy, but the other numbers were fantastic as well (7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 29 pts). His numbers deserve notice, as he has pitched a quality start every time out except twice in his first 11 starts this year. His peripherals (2.81 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .207 BAA) belie his mediocre 4-3 record.

TORONTO (28-26) 5, Boston (28-26) 1
  • Toronto avoids the sweep behind a 3-run shot in the 1st by Jose Bautista, who has hit 14 homers, but has had a tough April and he is only hitting .226. Bautista is starting to come around over his last 13 games (15-for-52, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .288 AVG, .596 SLG).
  • SP Drew Hutchison deserves some notice, setting Boston down with 7 innings of 1-run, 5-hit ball (23 pts). Hutchison has had one clunker in his last 5 starts, going 4-1 in those starts (2.70 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 30 IP, 24 K). For a team that has good young pitching (see Morrow, Alvarez, Romero), Hutchison just adds to the arsenal and should be on your radar.

CHI WHITE SOX (31-23) 4, Seattle (24-32) 2
  • Remember the talk about SP Chris Sale being shifted to the bullpen to protect his elbow? In one month, he has gone from a former starter to a durable arm on a 4-game winning streak (4-0, 1.26 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 36 K). He followed up his 15-strikeout gem with a complete game, scattering 5 hits in the win. He has had 10 starts this year with his single relief outing coming after 5 starts. The concern for his elbow was partly because of his pitch counts, which passed 100 in each of his first 4 starts and averaged 100.2 pitches per start. Since his relief appearance, he has averaged 107.4 pitches per start, including 115 pitches in the 15-strikeout game and 119 yesterday. How much you want to depend on Sale in your starting rotation is up to you, but you have been warned.

Pittsburgh (27-26) 6, MILWAUKEE (24-30) 5
  • James McDonald does it again. This time, he had some backing from the Bucco bats, but his defense let him down somewhat. McDonald allowed three runs, but only one was earned. After completing a sterling May (3-1, 1.54 ERA, 0.89 WHIP), he started June on the right foot, striking out 8 in 6 innings. McDonald gets extra fantasy points because of his ability to miss bats, as his 8 K's gives him 7 strikeouts or more in 7 of 8 starts (71 K in 71.1 IP).

Atlanta (29-25) 3, WASHINGTON (30-22) 2
Texas (32-22) 7, LA ANGELS (28-27) 3
TAMPA BAY (31-23) 8, Baltimore (30-24) 4
KANSAS CITY (23-29) 2, Oakland (23-31) 0
Minnesota (20-33) 6, CLEVELAND (28-25) 3
HOUSTON (23-31) 5, Cincinnati (30-23) 3
COLORADO (23-30) 3, LA Dodgers (33-21) 2
SAN FRANCISCO (30-24) 2, Chi Cubs (18-35) 0
Arizona (25-29) 6, SAN DIEGO (18-37) 0

  • SP Carl Pavano MIN: After allowing 6 earned runs in back-to-back starts, the news is even worse as Pavano has hit the DL with what they are calling a strain on his right anterior capsule. This has a potential to sideline Pavano for much longer (15-day DL, eligible to return on June 16th)
  • RP Javy Guerra LAD: The fall of Guerra continues. Many high draft picks were spent on Guerra and he is now on the DL with right knee inflammation (15-day DL, eligible to return on June 18th)
  • C Joe Mauer MIN: If he is on this list, it is really a bad sign. Mauer was taken out of Sunday's game with a right thumb sprain (day-to-day)
  • C Carlos Santana CLE: He has been sidelined with a concussion, but may come back to start tomorrow against Detroit.
  • OF Desmond Jennings TBY: He may be activated from the DL tomorrow for the Yankees series. He is recovering from a left knee injury.
  • RP Huston Street SDG: He has been out for a month with a strained lat muscle and he might be back in time for tomorrow's game against San Francisco.
  • SP Nick Blackburn MIN: He was activated from the DL and will start on Wednesday. For the year, he is 1-4, 8.37 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and needs to pitch a lot better to be worthy of fantasy consideration.

Seven games on the Monday slate, including one day game in the final game of the 4-game wraparound series. Can SP Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) continue the trend of excellent Met starting pitching? SP Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.36, 1.21) is Gee's opposite number and has had 4 straight no-decisions in a 5.08 ERA, 1.57 WHIP May. SP Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07, 1.34) returns from the DL tonight, but he has a tall order in facing Clayton Kershaw (4-3, 2.42, 1.00) and the first-place Dodgers, albeit minus Matt Kemp. SP Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.09, 1.19) has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 7 straight starts and has impressed since being a full-time reliever last year (career vs. SFO: 5 APP, 5.2 IP, 1 ER).

SP Dan Haren LAA (vs SEA): last time vs. SEA (May 24th) - CG 4-hit shutout with 14 K
C Yadier Molina STL (at NYM): 3-for-8 in series at NYM although STL has only scored 1 run
CI Eric Hosmer KCY (vs MIN): 6-game hitting streak (7-for-22, 2 HR, 4 RBI)
MI Michael Cuddyer COL (at ARZ): last 6 games (8-for-18, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K)
OF Nelson Cruz TEX (at OAK): .316 AVG, .711 SLG, 4 HR, 13 RBI in last 9 games
RP Kenley Jansen LAD (at PHL): .146 BAA this year and 39 K in 25.2 IP

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 3rd

We are starting a new feature on the Random Musings blog.  It will not be very random because it will be a daily entry.  We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

3B Miguel Cabrera DET (vs NYY): 3-4, 2 HR (11), 2 RBI (44), 2 R (31) (14 pts)
3B Hanley Ramirez MIA (at PHL): 2-4, 2 HR (10), 3 RBI (36), 2 R (32) (13 pts)
CF Drew Stubbs CIN (at HOU): 3-5, HR (7), 4 RBI (18), 2B, 3 R (33), K (13 pts)

SP R.A. Dickey NYM (vs STL): CG 7-hit shutout (2.69 ERA), 0 BB, 9 K (70), W (8-1) (43 pts)
SP Stephen Strasburg WSH (vs ATL): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (2.35 ERA), 0 BB, 9 K (79), W (6-1) (34 pts)
SP Brian Matusz BAL (at TBY): 7.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (4.41 ERA), 3 BB, 7 K (50), W (5-5) (29 pts)
Honorable mention: Shaun Marcum MIL (vs PIT), Matt Cain SFO (vs CHC) (29 pts each)

C: Mauer MIN (8 pts)
1B: Votto CIN (11)
2B: Beckham CHW/Punto BOS (11)
3B: Cabrera DET (14)
SS: Lowrie HOU (9)
OF: Stubbs CIN (13)
SP: Dickey NYM (43)
RP: Wilhelmsen SEA (17)

And now, a note or two on yesterday's games:

Boston (28-25) 7, TORONTO (27-26) 4
  • LF Daniel Nava (7 pts) keeps getting his name penciled in for the Sox and keeps reaching base. He has now reached safely in 21 of his 23 games this season and his slash line looks very attractive (.315/.453/.534). In a Red Sox outfield that needs guys to step up because of injuries (see Ellsbury, Ross, McDonald and Sweeney just back from the DL), Nava is a breath of fresh air and could keep getting playing time. Nava is on a 6-game hit streak (9-for-24, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K).
  • 2B Nick Punto (11 pts) had a fantastic game that belies his .175 average. Playing 2B, he was in the middle of the 4-run Sox 2nd with an RBI double and added a solo shot in the 9th for good measure. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Punto, at his best a versatile player who is a fringe bench player in an AL-only league, is much more valuable to a real team than a fantasy team.

DETROIT (25-28) 4, NY Yankees (28-24) 3
  • Let's talk about the Yankee and Tiger bullpens. CL Jose Valverde (1 pt) blew his third save of the year and got the vulture win (3-1), but his 4.64 ERA, especially coming off a brilliant 49-for-49 save year last year and a 2.24 ERA, is brutal by comparison. In his two-year Tiger career prior to 2012, Valverde only had 3 blown saves in 78 opportunities. He is 9-for-12 this season.
  • RP Cory Wade (-1 pt) was called on to preserve a 2-2 tie. Fail. RP David Phelps (-8 pts) only recorded one out in the three batters he faced and LOOGY Boone Logan came in against a righty, inherited first-and-third with one out, and allowed a sacrifice fly to Omir Santos to end the game. Questionable bullpen moves for manager Joe Girardi, but what choices does he have without Mariano Rivera and David Robertson?

NY METS (30-23) 5, St. Louis (27-26) 0
  • SP R.A. Dickey has made a habit of following up Johan Santana wins with great performances of his own, which does a good job in explaining how the Mets are 7 games above .500 while being outscored. Dickey, in an extraordinary second act to his career, spelled the Met bullpen even further with a complete-game 7-hit shutout (43 pts) and has eight quality starts in a row since his only loss of the year at Atlanta on April 18th (6-0, 1.76 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 56.1 IP, 39 H, 11 ER, 10 BB, 55 K). Dickey is now tied with Cole Hamels PHL and his counterpart today, Lance Lynn STL, for the ML lead with 8 wins.  Manager Terry Collins said he might skip Dickey if it looked like rain because that was a reason for his subpar start in Atlanta. You can keep Dickey in the lineup and ignore the weather reports because Collins is doing the work for you.

Miami (30-23) 5, PHILADELPHIA (28-26) 4
  • SP Cole Hamels (0 pts) could not bag his 9th win or hold a 3-0 lead in this one, but he did strike out 8 Marlins, giving him 80 in 77 innings. Hamels fell prey to 2 homers from Hanley Ramirez (13 pts).  SP Ricky Nolasco (9 pts) outpitched Hamels, but allowed six baserunners in the first three innings, so he was ordinary.
  • RP Steve Cishek was once again more impressive than CL Heath Bell, but Bell continues to improve. Cishek walked one but struck out two in the eighth, but Bell had a clean sheet in the ninth. Bell has converted his last 4 save opportunities, allowing no runs and only 3 hits, striking out 6 in those 4 innings.

Baltimore (30-23) 2, TAMPA BAY (30-23) 1
  • Who will bat third in RF Nick Markakis's absence? SS J.J. Hardy got the assignment on Friday (1-for-4, K). Chris Davis hit third last night and was awful (0-for-4, 3 K). That could affect Adam Jones, but you wouldn't know it from this 3-for-8 showing in the series so far.
  • The O's won the game with their pitching as the score suggests, with SP Brian Matusz (29 pts) clocking in 4 1-2-3 innings and permitted a run on a fielder's choice. Matusz filed his 4th straight quality start and moved to 4-0 in his last 5 starts (4-0, 2.87 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 31.1 IP, 25 H, 9 BB, 28 K). With Zach Britton possibly coming back next weekend, Matusz, Jason Hammel, and Wei-Yin Chen look to have their rotation spots safe. If you have Jake Arrieta (2-6, 5.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) or Tommy Hunter (2-3, 5.59, 1.43), keep tabs on where Britton slots in.

LA ANGELS (28-26) 3, Texas (31-22) 2
  • 3B Alberto Callaspo had 2 hits and has hit in 5 of 6 games (6-for-20, HR, 5 RBI). Callaspo has enjoyed the home cooking, hitting .351/.393/.368 at home (57 AB) and a paltry .155/.221/.268 away from Anaheim (71 AB). Speaking of splits, for the year, Callaspo is batting .297 against lefties but only .220 against righties. Unless and until he has middle infield eligibility, don't touch him.
  • SP C.J. Wilson (6 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 18 pts) was brilliant, but of more interest is how the bullpen by committee was arranged in the final three innings. RP Jordan Walden (-1 pt) was the first man out and only recorded a single out while walking 2 and allowing a hit, leaving with the bases loaded. Walden was charged with an earned run as RP Bobby Cassevah allowed a sacrifice fly. In the 8th, RP Scott Downs (6 pts) walked the leadoff hitter, but struck out Josh Hamilton (-1 pt) and Adrian Beltre (-4 pts) before allowing a run on a single by Michael Young (1 pt) and an error by Torii Hunter. RP Ernesto Frieri (13 pts) was brought in to replace Downs and he cashed in a 4-out save, allowing 2 baserunners, but striking out 3.

Minnesota (19-33) 7, CLEVELAND (28-24) 4
Cincinnati (30-22) 12, HOUSTON (22-31) 9
Oakland (23-30) 9, KANSAS CITY (22-29) 3
Seattle (24-31) 10, CHI WHITE SOX (30-23) 8
WASHINGTON (30-21) 2, Atlanta (28-25) 0
LA Dodgers (33-20) 6, COLORADO (22-30) 2
MILWAUKEE (24-29) 5, Pittsburgh (26-26) 1
Arizona (24-29) 4, SAN DIEGO (18-36) 2
SAN FRANCISCO (29-24) 2, Chi Cubs (18-34) 1

  • LF Carlos Lee HOU: He did not start yesterday against the Reds and was placed on the DL. Brett Wallace (.259-5-29 in 2011) was recalled and should see time at first base.
  • SP Juan Nicasio COL: He was taken out of yesterday's start against the Dodgers in the second inning with a left knee strain and was placed on the 15-day DL
  • C Alex Avila DET: He took a foul tip on Thursday against Boston and has not returned yet. But, he has not been placed on the DL yet either. With Gerald Laird out, Omir Santos has started in the interim, but Avila will probably avoid a trip to the DL.
  • RP Jose Contreras PHL: He has a torn UCL and torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. His earlier return to the DL sparked some success out of the Phillies' bullpen, but they will have to look elsewhere for middle relief options (out for season)
  • 3B Aramis Ramirez MIL: He left Saturday's game against Pittsburgh with a left quad strain (day-to-day)
  • C Brian McCann ATL: He left Saturday's game against Washington after taking a foul tip to the left kneecap (day-to-day)

Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.04 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) tries to join Cole Hamels, R.A. Dickey, and Lance Lynn atop the leaderboard for wins in the NL and the Majors against Atlanta and Tommy Hanson (5-4, 3.84, 1.44). The red-hot James McDonald (4-2, 2.20, 0.96) is on the road in Milwaukee, who is sending out Michael Friers (1-0, 1.29, 0.71) in his second ML start. Justin Verlander (5-3, 2.55, 0.89) faces the Yankees at home and has lost to Cleveland and Boston in his last two times out. Phil Hughes (4-5, 5.64, 1.44) goes for the Yankees.

The first-place White Sox send Chris Sale (6-2, 2.34, 1.01) to the mound and the reliever-turned-starter has gone at least seven in back-to-back starts entering this one. Sale will face Seattle and Kevin Millwood (3-4, 3.56, 1.29), who has won three straight starts. In the finale of the Rangers-Angels series, Matt Harrison (6-3, 4.41, 1.37) tries to win his third straight and tries to avenge a loss to Los Angeles on May 12th. Harrison will face Dan Haren (3-5, 3.52, 1.20), who has good peripherals despite a sub-.500 record.  Haren was 0-1 against the Rangers in 3 starts last year.

SP James McDonald PIT (at MIL) (last 3 starts: 2-0, 1.74 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 20.2 IP, 24 K)
C Yadier Molina STL (at NYM) (last 8 games: 15-for-31, .774 SLG, 3 HR, 12 RBI)
CI David Wright NYM (vs STL) (after 0-for-17 slump: 5-for-19, HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K)
MI Hanley Ramirez MIA (at PHL) (4 multi-hit games in last 5: 11-for-19, 3 HR, 5 RBI)
OF Andre Ethier LAD (at COL) (since May 1st: .367 (40-for-109), 4 HR, 22 RBI)
RP Fernando Rodney TBY (vs BAL) (17-for-18 this year, 2-for-2 vs. BAL)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 2nd

We are starting a new feature on the Random Musings blog.  It will not be very random because it will be a daily entry.  We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

Congratulations to Johan Santana, who became the first pitcher in Met history to throw a no-hitter last night against the Cardinals.  In Game number 8,020, Santana did what many Mets fans thought would never happen.  The Mets have pitched 35 one-hitters and the Mets are a franchise built around pitching: Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, David Cone.  Now, the Padres are the only franchise without a no-hitter and the all-time longest no-hitter drought still rests with the Phillies franchise (8,945 games from 1906-1964 - h/t

RF Michael Cuddyer COL: 2-4, HR (7), RBI (36), 4 R, BB, SB (7) (13 pts)
2B Gordon Beckham CHW: 2-5, 2 HR (7), 3 RBI (17), 2 R, K (12 pts)
CF Curtis Granderson NYY: 2-5, HR (17), 4 RBI (33), 2 R, K, SB () (12 pts)
Honorable mention: C Wilin Rosario COL, 2B Jason Kipnis CLE (12 pts each)

SP Johan Santana NYM: No-hitter (1st), shutout (2.38 ERA), 5 BB, 8 K (68), W (3-2) (44 pts)
SP David Price TBY: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (2.44 ERA), 2 BB, 5 K (62), W (7-3) (29 pts)
SP Madison Bumgarner SFO: 8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER (3.04 ERA), 0 BB, 11 K (58), W (6-4) (28 pts)

C: Rosario COL (12)
1B: Cooper TOR (8)
2B: Beckham CHW/Kipnis CLE (12)
3B: Chisenhall CLE (11)
SS: Santiago DET (6)
OF: Cuddyer COL (13)
SP: Santana NYM (44)
RP: Ottavino COL (15)

And now, a note or two on yesterday's games:

NY METS (29-23) 8, St. Louis (27-25) 0
  • SP Johan Santana's scoreless streak has reached 18 innings, but that is not what New York is talking about today. In what may be the best sequel in a long time, Santana followed up his four-hit shutout of San Diego with a no-no against St. Louis.  Santana has had seven quality starts in his last eight tries, striking out at least seven in five of those eight starts.
  • OF Lucas Duda (1-3, HR (8), RBI (30), 8 pts) homered for the second straight game, following his two-homer game against the Phillies on Wednesday with a homer to support Santana's effort.

NY Yankees (28-23) 9, DETROIT (24-28) 4
  • OF Curtis Granderson hit his 3rd homer in 4 games and his third multi-hit game in his last four. The homer was a grand slam against his former team, so there was a little extra on the swing. He is continuing his homer-happy ways that led him to 41 jacks last year, as he is on pace for 54, and his sabermetric slash line for the season is very similar to last year (.263/.360/.561 in 2012, .262/.364/.552 in 2011), but one big difference is his lack of stolen bases.  He has 2 swipes in 5 tries this year after getting into double figures in each of the last five seasons.

Boston (27-25) 7, TORONTO (27-25) 2
  • Is SP Clay Buchholz turning a corner?  He has allowed 4 earned in his last 2 starts, totaling 15 innings. In fact, he has allowed 3 runs or less in 4 of his last 5 starts (2-1, 3.98 ERA, 31.2 IP, 11 BB, 20 K). He has a lot to go to be a dependable starter in any fantasy league, as his season totals are still terrible (5-2, 6.58 ERA, 1.73 WHIP in 11 starts).

PHILADELPHIA (28-25) 6, Miami (29-23) 4
  • OF Hunter Pence was 3-for-4 and homered (12) in the win, pushing his modest hitting streak to 7 games. The performance has given him 10 or more points in five straight fantasy weeks, as the main power bat in the Phillies lineup.
  • C Carlos Ruiz was back in the starting lineup for the Phillies and doubled in his 3-for-4 game. Ruiz is now batting .381 and slugging .626 on the season.

LA ANGELS (27-26) 4, Texas (31-21) 2
  • OF Mike Trout put his mark on the game with a 2-for-4 day including his 3rd triple, 3 RBI (19), and scored a run to play a part in each of the 4 runs for the Angels.
  • SP Jerome Williams has won each of his 5 home starts this year, adding a 2.17 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. His road numbers are at the other extreme (1-2, 5.65, 1.60), but he likes pitching at the Big "A".
  • Does RP Ernesto Frieri have the closer job? Manager Mike Scioscia's blueprint for the late innings had Scott Downs in the eighth (1 H, 1 K) and Frieri to nail down the ninth. Frieri set the Rangers down in order, striking out 2 in the process for his 3rd save.

CLEVELAND (28-23) 7, Minnesota (18-33) 1
  • 2B Jason Kipnis smacked a grand slam to lead the way, hitting his first homer since a 2-dinger outburst last week against the White Sox. He has put up back-to-back 20-point weeks (23, 28) and he is up to .283/.344/.463 for the year.

TAMPA BAY (30-22) 5, Baltimore (29-23) 0
  • Is the worm about to turn for SP Wei-Yin Chen? The Oriole righthander (5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K, L (4-2)) has lost 2 of his last 3 starts, even though the teams he lost to are good teams in Washington and Tampa Bay.  In those 2 starts that were sandwiched around a good start against Kansas City, he allowed 11 runs in 10 innings to put his ERA at 3.75 after his first 10 ML starts.

CHI WHITE SOX (30-22), Seattle (23-31) 4
  • 2B Gordon Beckham (2-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 12 pts) continued his hot hitting, extending his hit streak to 8 games to boost his average from .204 to .229. After the White Sox signed Orlando Hudson, Beckham heard the footsteps, but he is finally producing.

KANSAS CITY (22-28) 2, Oakland (22-30) 0
Cincinnati (29-22) 4, HOUSTON (22-30) 1
Pittsburgh (26-25) 8, MILWAUKEE (23-29) 2
COLORADO (22-29) 13, LA Dodgers (32-20) 3
SAN DIEGO (18-35) 7, Arizona (23-29) 1
SAN FRANCISCO (28-24) 4, Chi Cubs (18-33) 3
Atlanta (28-24) at Washington (29-21) - POSTPONED

Cole Hamels (8-1, 2.43 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) and Lance Lynn (8-1, 2.54, 1.07) try to be the first to 9 wins in separate games. Hamels faces Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins at home while Lynn goes up against the Mets and R.A. Dickey in New York. Dickey (7-1, 3.06, 1.10) will try to join Hamels and Lynn atop the leaderboard in wins. The Braves and Nationals will try again after last night's rainout. Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64, 1.10) will be on the mound for Washington.

In the Rangers-Angels game, C.J. Wilson (6-4, 2.77, 1.11) will face his old mates for the third time already this year and had his worst start of the season against the Rangers on May 11th and faced them again the next night. Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.25, 1.46) goes for Texas and would rather duplicate April (4-0, 2.18 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) than May (3-2, 4.50, 1.50).

SP Shaun Marcum MIL (vs PIT) (last start at LAD: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, W)
C Wilin Rosario COL (vs LAD) (2 HR in last 4 games, HR and 3 RBI last night vs LAD)
CI David Wright NYM (vs STL) (currently .366/.469/.570 despite 3-for-24 slump)
MI Jason Kipnis CLE (vs MIN) (grand slam last night to start June, .295/.351/.459 in May after .256/.330/.436 April)
OF Carlos Gonzalez COL (vs LAD) (6 straight multi-hit games, going 15-for-26, 6 HR, 11 RBI)
RP Francisco Liriano MIN (at CLE) (back in starting rotation after holding A's to 3 hits in 6 innings last time out (2 BB, 9 K))

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fantasy Today: June 1st

We are starting a new feature on the Random Musings blog.  It will not be very random because it will be a daily entry.  We will look at fantasy sports from a daily perspective: the games last night, the games tonight, and the news along the way.  As we settle in and find our rhythm, we'll add new features.  Please send your feedback in the Comments section below on the day in fantasy, what you like or don't like about the column, and any ideas for new features on the blog.

So, let's get started:

LF Carlos Gonzalez COL: 3-4, HR (14), 3 RBI (44), 3 R (44), BB, SB (8) (16 pts)
RF Michael Cuddyer COL: 3-4, 3 RBI (35), 2B, 2 R (27), BB (10 pts)
CF Quintin Berry DET: 3-5, RBI (3), 2 R (9), 2 SB (5) (10 pts)

SP Zach Greinke MIL: 6 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (69), QS, W (6-2) (20 pts)
SP Max Scherzer DET: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (78), QS, W (5-3) (14 pts)
RP Phil Coke DET: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (8 pts)

C: Saltalamacchia BOS (7 pts)
1B: Fielder DET (8)
2B: Scutaro COL (8)
3B: Ramirez MIL (9)
SS: Lowrie HOU (4)
OF: Gonzalez COL (16)
SP: Greinke MIL (20)
RP: Coke DET (8)

There were only three games on the slate last night, so we'll spend a little time on each game.

Detroit (24-27) 7, BOSTON (26-25) 3
  • SP Max Scherzer (14 pts) pitched and won while doing the bare minimum for the quality start (6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K).  Scherzer won his third straight start and the 15-strikeout performance started him on this run (3-0, 3.93 ERA, 18.1 IP, 17 H, 8 ER).  Scherzer has had a fantastic strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10-to-1 over that span (30 K, 3 BB).
  • There were four multi-hit games for the Tigers, led by the relatively unknown OF Quintin Berry (3-for-5, 10 pts), who used his speed (2 SB) to score twice.  Berry is only owned in 1% of leagues, but has 28 fantasy points since his call-up last week (39 AB, .333 AVG).  If you need OF help, he is an AL-only option, but his value could rise quickly until the pitchers adjust.
  • OF Delmon Young (8 pts) matched Berry with a 3-for-5 night and hit his 4th homer for a little insurance.  Young closed with a better May than his April, in more ways than one, hitting .265/.294/.429, 3 HR, 14 RBI in May after a .242/.311/.333 April.  But, he needs to show more before he deserves to get into your lineup.  Leave him alone for now.
  • Boston only managed seven hits, but C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (7 pts) was the only multi-hit player on the Sox.  "Salty" is up to 10 homers and completed a .308/.345/.628 May with 6 HR and 15 RBI.  He is not walking (7 BB, 39 K), but that is just about the only knock on his fantasy record this year.  He is on a solid run, homering five times in his last 10 games (13 days) and he is 5-for-11 over his last three games.  Get his .910 OPS in your lineup.
  • SP Josh Beckett (-5 pts) had pitched better for three starts since getting clocked by Cleveland on May 10th.  In three starts before last night, Beckett was 2-0 with only three earned runs allowed in 21.2 IP (1.25 ERA).  But, he fell back to earth with four earned runs and 10 hits allowed in seven innings of work, bumping his season ERA up from 4.15 to 4.26.

COLORADO (21-29) 11, Houston (22-29) 5
  • SP Bud Norris (-34 pts) was shellacked by the Rockies, as Norris could not get out of the second inning, surrendering nine earned runs on seven hits while only recording five outs.  Yes, it was Coors Field, and Carlos Gonzalez took him deep, but he walked three, allowed three singles and three doubles.  He had his string of five straight quality starts (4-0, 1.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10 BB, 31 K) snapped in his previous start at Dodger Stadium, but his last two starts have ballooned his season ERA from 3.14 to 4.76.  Norris is solid at home (3-0, 1.60 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 33.2 IP), but dreadful away from Minute Maid Park (2-2, 7.80 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 30 IP).
  • OF Carlos Gonzalez (16 pts) followed up his sterling three-homer performance with a dinger in his first at-bat off of Norris.  He was intentionally walked his next time up, but teams may not use that as a blueprint if OF Michael Cuddyer has nights like he did last night (3-for-4, 3 RBI, 10 pts).
  • Despite the blowout loss, Houston were only outhit by the Rockies, 15-14, and the Astros had three-hit games from 2B Jose Altuve (4 pts), who was 8-for-20 in the 4-game set at Coors, and SS Jed Lowrie (4 pts), who capped off a fantastic May (.275/.339/.520, 6 HR, 14 RBI) by hitting safely in 12 of his last 15 games.
  • SP Jeremy Guthrie (0 pts) won his first game since coming back from his bicycle injury.  He only has two quality starts in eight starts this year and even though he has gotten his share of ground balls (1.07 GO/AO), his numbers are indicative of a guy who pitches to contact in a large field like Coors.

Milwaukee (23-28) 6, LA DODGERS (32-19) 2
  • Much has been made of the home/road splits for SP Zach Greinke and, I must admit, I bought into it as well.  The Dodgers were without Matt Kemp, but the Brewers did not have the services of Ryan Braun.  The Brewers got out to a good lead off SP Chad Billingsley (6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 pts) and Greinke held it.  He has pitched well in two of his last three road starts, but he has been a lot better at home (3-0, 1.30 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 34.2 IP).  Greinke has been feast-or-famine on the road, mixing in atrocious outings with really good ones.
  • 3B Aramis Ramirez was the hitting star with two hits, including his 5th home run.  Ramirez is only hitting .246/.318/.436, but his May showed improvement across the board (.274/.364/.484).  Ramirez is hot, hitting .351 (13-for-37) with 3 HR and 11 RBI over his last 9 games, hitting in all but one of those games and getting multiple hits in five of those nine contests.

  • DH Travis Hafner CLE: He had right knee surgery on Thursday (out 4-6 weeks)
  • OF Nick Markakis BAL: He had successful surgery on his hamate bone in his right hand (out 3-4 weeks)
  • OF Ryan Braun MIL: He experienced tightness in his right Achilles' tendon (day-to-day)
  • SP Jaime Garcia STL: He was scheduled to start tonight at the NY Mets, but he is pushed back because of elbow discomfort. An MRI on the elbow came back negative. (day-to-day)
  • 2B Dustin Pedroia BOS: He was not in the lineup again, but he may avoid a trip to the DL and may play through the pain (day-to-day)
  • REHAB - OF Desmond Jennings TBY: Started his rehab assignment for Charlotte (Single-A)
  • RETURNING - OF Allen Craig STL: His second trip to the DL in the last month is over and Craig is ready to return (left hamstring strain)

The highlight games are the Braves at the Nationals with Mike Minor (2-4, 6.98 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) taking on Stephen Strasburg (5-1, 2.64, 1.10) and the Rangers and Angels meet in Southern California with Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.58, 1.16) visiting Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.81, 1.31).  There are aces are on the hill in Queens as Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75, 1.10) hosts Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45, 1.35) in the Cardinals-Mets game as Carlos Beltran (.294/.394/.594, 15 HR, 42 RBI) makes his triumphant return to New York.

Chris Capuano (7-1, 2.14, 1.00) tries to tie for the Major League lead for wins as the Dodgers take on Colorado in Denver.  CC Sabathia (6-2, 3.66, 1.22) has gone six innings in every start this year and faces a Tigers team that sends a pitcher to make his Major League debut tonight in Casey Crosby (NR).  The Yankees normally have a tough time against pitchers they have never seen before.  Derek Lowe (6-3, 3.25, 1.52) takes his unsustainable WHIP and surprising start to the year against the Twins.

SP Madison Bumgarner SFO (vs CHC) (2011 vs. Cubs: 1-1, 1.93 ERA, 14 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 17 K)
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia BOS (at TOR)
CI Mark Trumbo LAA (vs TEX) (.348/.396/.632, 10 HR, 26 RBI in 43 G this year; .451/.459/.732 at home)
MI Ian Kinsler TEX (at LAA) (2011 vs. Angels: .321/.391/.487, HR, 6 RBI)
OF Giancarlo Stanton MIA (at PHL) (.304/.376/.594 for season, .400 AVG and .900 SLG last 11 games)
RP Fernando Rodney TBY (vs BAL) (unscored upon in 21 of 25 appearances, 16 SV, 1.08 ERA, 0.76 WHIP this year)

The Latest from MLB Trade Rumors

Total Pageviews