Around the Majors: July 15: Carlos Marmol, Colby Lewis, Freddie Freeman & More

It was another great day around the league, so let’s take a look at all the stories from yesterday’s games:

  • The Chicago Cubs handed Carlos Marmol a two-run leading heading into the top of the ninth inning and for the second straight night he fumbled badly.  While he didn’t blow the save, he was pulled before he was given the opportunity.  Over 0.2 innings he allowed 1 R on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 0.  Sean Marshall was summoned out of the bullpen to clean up the mess, registering a strikeout to earn the save.  While he likely won’t be out of the role for long, there are reports that he has been removed from the closers role (courtesy of MLB Network).  It’s important to note that it was Marshall, and not Kerry Wood, who was summoned.  If you are desperate for saves, grabbing Marshall certainly makes sense.
  • Ricky Nolasco was a tough luck loser, being outpitched by Ryan Dempster (8.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K).  Nolasco went 7.0 innings allowing 2 R (0 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 7.  While he’s 2-2 in his last four starts, he’s allowed just 2 ER over 32.0 innings.  He’s clearly over his struggles and back to being a good play in all formats.  His next start comes against the Padres.
  • With Vladimir Guerrero out of the lineup the Orioles used Matt Wieters in the cleanup spot and he responded by going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  Could this be the start of a nice streak for him?
  • Remember when Mark Reynolds was one of the hottest players in baseball?  He went 0-4 yesterday and is now 3-28 over his last 8 games without an home run or an RBI.  It’s amazing how quickly things turn, isn’t it?
  • The Chicago White Sox got to Justin Verlander (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K), but Alex Rios didn’t get in on the fun going 0-5, dropping his average to .209 to go with 6 HR and just 21 RBI on the year.  Since June 20 (19 games) he has just 1 RBI.  Really?!?!  Many people have probably moved him to their bench already, but if you haven’t yet you have to think it’s just about time.  He really has too much talent to be this bad, and if you’ve endured it for this long it would really hurt to move him to the bench only to see him erupt.  Still, how much more can you endure?
  • Brandon Morrow stymied the Yankees, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 IP.  Starts like this (as well as the strikeouts) certainly make him alluring, but we’ve seen him get blown up a little too often (especially against the Red Sox) to consider him a must use option every time out.  Of course, when he gets the Mariners, like he does in his next start, he is a good play in all formats.  In general, however, he’s a little too inconsistent to consider a top-level option for 2011.
  • For the first time in what feels like a month, it was the Reds who scored a walkoff victory (as opposed to watching Francisco Cordero blow a save).  The Cardinals’ Fernando Salas instead did the honors, allowing 2 ER on 2 H (a home run to Brandon Phillips) to blow the save and take the loss.  Considering he hadn’t allowed an earned run since June 24 (9.2 IP), there is nothing to worry about job security.
  • Speaking of Cordero, Aroldis Chapman couldn’t record an out, allowing 2 ER on 1 H and 2 BB before being yanked from the game.  For those people who had been calling for Chapman to supplant Cordero, it’s not going to happen quite yet.
  • It was a big day for John Mayberry, going 2-4 with 5 RBI.  Since July 6 (five games) he has gone 8-22 with 2 HR, 12 RBI and 3 R.  He certainly is playing himself into viability and, even when Shane Victorino returns, could find himself playing regularly in RF (or in a platoon with Domonic Brown, barring an acquisition).  Before we get too excited, however, let’s keep in mind that he hit just .265 with 4 HR and 15 RBI in 113 AB at Triple-A in ’11 (and .267 with 15 HR in 495 AB in ’11).  In other words, don’t look towards him as your savior.
  • Jeff Karstens was masterful, tossing a complete game five-hit shutout, walking no one and striking out 2.  Amazingly, it took him just 83 pitches to shut down Brett Myers (who was impressive himself allowing 3 ER on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 11, over 6.0 IP).  Karstens is now sporting a 2.34 ERA and 1.03 WHIP on the season, though he’s enjoying a lot of luck (he entered the day with a .240 BABIP and 88.0% strand rate) and offers little in the way of strikeouts (5.29 K/9).  In other words, sooner or later the bottom is going to drop out.  Cash in while you can, because it’s hard to imagine this lasting.
  • Freddie Freeman continued his hot streak, going 2-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R against the Nationals last night.  That marks the third time in his last eight games that he’s logged at least 3 RBI.  He certainly appears to have found himself in the Majors, though I wouldn’t fully buy into the power he’s shown quite yet (13 HR).  While he is still young and could add power, he did hit just 18 HR in 461 AB at Triple-A in ’10.  Realizing his full power potential could still be a year or two away.
  • When Ben Zobrist delivers, he does it in bunches, doesn’t he?  He went 1-3 yesterday, but with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.  The home run (a grand slam) came off of Andrew Miller, who got torched for 7 ER on 5 H and 5 BB, striking out 0, over just 2.2 IP.  While he entered the day with a 3.57 ERA, it had come with a lot of luck considering his 1.59 WHP.  Pitching for the Red Sox helps to hide a lot of problems (he was 3-0), but he is a pitcher that should be avoided in all formats.
  • Matt Capps was at it again last night.  He walked the leadoff hitter and, when he got the next two outs and it looked like he may be able to escape the problem, he allowed a 2-run bomb to Eric Hosmer.  Has the time come for Joe Nathan to step into the closers role?  It certainly appears so and he should certainly be owned in all formats.  Since June 28 he has gone 6.1 innings allowing 0 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 7.
  • Welcome back to the Majors Dexter Fowler, who was hitting leadoff and went 1-3 with 2 R and 1 SB.  While it isn’t a huge night, it’s a continuation of what he was doing prior to his recall from Triple-A.  In his last 10 games he had gone .385 with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 10 R and 2 SB.  In five-outfielder formats, he certainly does have value (though we will have to wait and see where he hits once Carlos Gonzalez returns to the lineup).
  • Clayton Kershaw (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K, W) and the Dodgers handed Hong-Chih Kuo a two-run lead heading into the ninth inning.  Kuo didn’t pitch poorly, going 0.2 innings allowing 1 BB and picking up 1 K before he was pulled in favor of Javy Guerrera (0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, SV), who finished off the game and got the save.  The moral of the story?  In save situations the Dodgers appear primed to play matchups, at least for now, making this an extremely frustrating situation for fantasy owners.
  • There have been plenty of rumors about Josh Willingham being dealt from Oakland as the trading deadline approaches.  That should be music to fantasy owners ears, especially the way he’s been producing in a poor hitter’s park.  He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him 12 HR and 46 RBI in 249 AB on the season.  In five games since coming off the DL he has gone 9-20 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  If you need help in the power department, consider him a nice low-end option, especially if he lands in a favorable situation.
  • Why is it that people are always seem to be concerned about Tim Lincecum?  He improved to 8-7 with a 2.99 ERA after allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 innings last night.  He’s now allowed 3 ER or less in each of his last six starts (1 ER or less four times over that stretch).
  • The good times continued to roll for Colby Lewis last night, going 8.2 innings allowing 0 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 8.  Over his past six starts he has now gone 4-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.  At the start of this stretch (which came after he had allowed 15 ER over 4.2 innings in two starts) he had a 4.97 ERA, but he’s now at 4.07 with a 1.20 WHIP.  Clearly, he’s back on track and is a good play in all formats.  This is a good example of why you don’t run away from a pitcher due to a poor start or two, as you lose the chance to benefit form any potential rebound.

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