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

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