On a day when Justin Verlander flirted with another no-hitter, there were more than enough other stories to keep us busy. Let’s take a look at everything we need to know from yesterday’s games:
- Jonathan Niese – New York Mets – Starting Pitcher – He was a popular sleeper choice among many, though he has not lived up to the hype thus far. Last night a debacle, as the Blue Jays teed off on him for 8 ER on 8 H and 2 BB over just 3.0 innings of work. He did strike out 6, but he also allowed 4 HR (including a pair to J.P. Arencibia, who went 3-6 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R). It’s the third time in his last four starts where he has gone just 3.0 innings. However, his other six starts have not been bad, allowing 3 ER or less in all of them. Don’t get frustrated due to these two poor starts. The stuff is there and he should bounceback strong.
- Daniel Bard – Boston Red Sox – Starting Pitcher – The problem for Bard is his control, as he has now walked at least 4 batters in each of his past three starts. He also has had a problem generating strikeouts, as he entered play with a 5.50 K/9 (he had been over 9.00 working out of the bullpen the past three years). The velocity is down, with a 93.6 mph average fastball (97.0 for his career), which helps explain it. It was all on display yesterday, allowing 5 ER on 3 H and 5 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. It would appear like the Red Sox would be much better served to move Bard back to the bullpen, where he has already proven capable of flourishing. Time will tell if they come to that conclusion, however.
- Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – Starting Pitcher – He allowed 4 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 6.0 innings to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday. He’s now allowed 7 ER over his last two outings (12.0 IP), seeing his ERA rise from 1.40 to 2.31. This could simply be the “equalizer” stretch for him, but keep in mind that he is still benefitting from an 81.6% strand rate and .254 BABIP. While the numbers are more realistic, there still could be further regression in store for him. That said, he is displaying the perfect trifecta (8.70 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, 50.8% groundball rate), so the upside is certainly there.
Other Quick Thoughts:
- For the third straight game David DeJesus led off with a double (he finished going 2-4 with 1 R) and for the fourth straight he led off with a hit. Overall he has an eleven game hitting streak, going 18-45 with 1 HR, 5 RBI (all in one game) and 9 R. Obviously, it would be better if he provided some power or speed, but right now he’s getting on base and scoring runs. In five-outfielder formats, that has plenty of appeal.
- Do you think the Yankees are happy that Andy Pettitte is back? He was fantastic last night against the Reds, tossing 8.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 9. Can we expect that type of performance often? Of course not, but he clearly has the potential to be a usable fantasy option, especially with the Yankees offense (which you know will come around) behind him.
- Justin Verlander flirted with his third career no hitter, losing it with one out in the ninth inning. He finished the complete game shutout allowing 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 12.
- It was a good outing for Justin Masterson, though not spectacular. He allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 innings against the Marlins. The problem is the walks, as it is already the sixth time this season that he has walked at least 3 batters in a game. He’s the type of pitcher that needs to avoid free passes and generate groundballs to be successful. If he can’t stop walking people, it is going to be tough for him to excel.
- Freddie Freeman has settled into the third spot of the Braves order, a spot he could fill for the next few years. He went 2-5 with 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, putting him at .275 with 7 HR, 32 RBI and 28 R on the year. It’s safe to say that he’s emerged as one of the better 1B options in the league, wouldn’t you think?
- Chris Young returned from the DL a few days earlier than expected, going 1-4 with 2 RBI as he DH’ed and hit fifth in the lineup. Since they are playing in an AL park it is still unknown how the Diamondbacks will setup their lineup, but keep in mind that Paul Goldschmidt went 0-4 with 3 K and has struck out 10 times in his last 5 games (3-19). With 36 K in 112 AB, would it really be a surprise to see Jason Kubel shifted to 1B and Goldschmidt sent back down?
- The top of the Twins’ lineup led the way to an 11 run outburst, and Denard Span was right in the middle of things (4-5, 3 RBI, 3 R). It’s great that he’s hitting .310 and he should score some runs if everyone is healthy (big if), but he has 0 HR and 4 SB. With not much upside in either category, there are other options I’d prefer to use.
- Kevin Millwood was impressive, tossing a complete game shutout allowing 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 7. That said, does anyone really have any faith in him?
- Mike Trout is on fire hitting atop the Angels lineup. He went 3-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday. In his last 10 games he’s hitting .421 with 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R and 3 SB. We are finally seeing the potential we’ve heard so much about, and, when Albert Pujols and co. fully get going, things could get even better.
- It was a night to forget for Jarrod Parker, who allowed 6 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 0, over 2.0 innings of work. While he has pitched well, he has also walked 13 batters over his last three starts (14.2 IP). If he can’t correct that issue, he’s destined to be returned to the minors. He’s worth stashing, but until he shows off better control there is too big of a risk.