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:
YESTERDAY'S BEST (June 2nd)
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.
MY PICK 6:
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)