Is there any arguing that Johan Santana has returned to being a Top 20 starting pitcher? Has Jason Kipnis emerged as a Top 5 second baseman? Is Rafael Dolis the worst “closer” in baseball? Let’s look at these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – First Baseman – We mentioned in yesterday’s that he could be finally starting to turn the corner. His performance yesterday cemented the deal as he went 4-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. He’s now gone 6-10 with 3 HR and 7 RBI in his first two games in Oakland. Isn’t that supposed to be a pitcher’s park? Things are definitely starting to turn around for the player who is a notoriously slow starter. Hopefully he can keep things rolling, but don’t be surprised if he reaches his typical 35 HR, 110 RBI line by year’s end.
- Johan Santana – New York Mets – Starting Pitcher – It was a spectacular performance from him, as he tossed a complete game shutout allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 7. While he’s had some ups and downs, Santana has definitely shown that he is still one of the better starting pitcher options in the game with a 2.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 60 K over 59.0 IP (despite a drop in velocity). Having entered play with a .301 BABIP and 74.0% strand rate, despite a 26.3% line drive rate, there is no reason to think anything is going to change. In fact, he should reduce the line drives allowed which should improve his overall numbers even further (assuming he can maintain the strikeouts).
More Quick Thoughts:
- Max Scherzer followed up his 15 K performance by allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 9, over 5.1 innings. He’s now struck out at least 9 batters in four of his past five starts. Obviously they all aren’t perfect outings (3 ER in 5.1 innings is nothing to get excited about), but at least the strikeouts are there. Now, hopefully he’s going to fully turn the corner.
- With both Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana out of the lineup, Jason Kipnis was slotted into the third spot of the order and delivered in a big way as he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He’s now hitting .272 with 8 HR, 28 RBI, 31 R and 8 SB. Is it safe to call him one of the better 2B options in the league? I would definitely say so.
- Alex Rios continued his hot stretch, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. He’s now on a four game hitting streak, going 7-18 with 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R and 1 SB. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that he can keep it going, but definitely ride it while you can.
- Mitch Moreland doesn’t play every day, as the Rangers keep him on the bench against southpaws. However, when he plays against righties he’s absolutely raking. He entered play hitting .318 with 6 HR in 88 AB against righties and added to it yesterday, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. In a week when the Rangers are primarily facing right-handed pitchers, he’s a must start option.
- Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to five games by going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 1 R. Over the streak he’s gone 9-19 with 4 RBI and 2 R. It’s not much, but it’s definitely a start. We all know things should get better, so don’t give up on him yet.
- For his third straight appearance Tyler Clippard got an opportunity for a save, and for the third straight time he converted it. In fact, he’s been perfect in those three chances, striking out 4 in 2.2 IP (he’s actually gone 4 straight appearances without allowing a hit or walk). The last time he issued a walk was on May 12. He’s going to continue to see save chances until Drew Storen returns, as he’s seized his opportunity.
- For the second straight day Heath Bell was lifted prematurely from a save opportunity. Entering with a 3 R lead, Bell’s final line was 0.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 0 K. This time it was Randy Choate who came in, nailing down the final two outs to earn the save. How much longer can the Marlins really stick with Bell? While they will probably keep going back to him, he may have earned another brief stint away from the ninth inning.
- Kyle Kendrick tossed a gem against the Cardinals, with a complete game shutout. He allowed 7 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, picking up 12 groundball outs in the process. It was a great outing, but does anyone really expect him to be able to replicate it over and over again? I wouldn’t get too excited.
- Fernando Rodney blew his first save of the season, allowing a pinch hit, walk-off home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Obviously there’s no risk in Rodney losing his job off this one performance, as long as he can get things back on track. As for Saltalamacchia, he’s now hit 3 HR in his past six games and is sporting a .274 average to go along with 8 HR and 21 RBI. There’s definitely room for regression, but in two-catcher formats he’s proven worth using.
- It was another poor outing for Rafael Dolis, who allowed 1 R on 1 H and 2 BB (as well as delivering a HBP to score the winning room), striking out 1, over 0.2 IP. He’s now 2-4 with a 4.97 ERA and has allowed at least 1 ER in five of his past six outings and each of his last four. Can the Cubs really trust him as a closer moving forward? At the time they talked about James Russell also getting an opportunity, so maybe he gets a chance? Maybe Shawn Camp, who has been pitching well? Wherever they go, it can no longer be Dolis.
- Albert Pujols did it again, going 2-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. He has now homered in three straight games and four of his past five. He’s also on a six-game hitting streak, going 9-24 with 4 HR, 8 RBI and 5 R. Is anyone really surprised he’s heated up?
- Devin Mesoraco homered in his second straight game, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. Could he finally be heating up? Time will tell, but there’s a good chance of it. In two-catcher formats, he’s worth stashing if someone gave up on him.
- Hitting at the bottom of the Dodgers order, Dee Gordon has started to get things going with a 4-game hitting streak. He went 2-4 with 1 R yesterday, putting him at 6-16 with 1 RBI and 2 R. What may be more impressive to me is that he hasn’t struck out (though he also hasn’t walked), as with the pitcher hitting behind him opposing pitchers don’t have to give him something to hit. He should be moved back up to the top shortly, and then the SB and overall production should return. Don’t give up on him yet.
- Zack Greinke just didn’t have it against the Diamondbacks, allowing 7 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 2.1 innings of work. It happens to the best of them, so obviously don’t read anything into it. I’d expect him to bounce back strong in his next outing.