Can anyone slow down Adam Jones or Albert Pujols right now? How did Nathan Eovaldi fair in his 2012 debut? Which closer imploded this time? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles – Outfielder – It is hard to think of a bigger breakout story in 2012 than Jones. Always touted for his potential, Jones appears to have finally put it all together. He went 3-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R yesterday, putting him at .317 with 16 HR, 34 RBI, 38 R and 8 SB. And also extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Considering that he entered play with believable metrics, including a .315 BABIP, there is little reason to think he’s going to regress. The one thing, obviously, is the power (24.1% HR/FB), but that’s not nearly enough to get us worried. He is entrenching himself as one of the top outfielders in the game.
- Nathan Eovaldi – Los Angeles Dodgers – Starting Pitcher – He didn’t get the victory (Michael Fiers, who was making his first MLB start, got the W), but Eovaldi was impressive. Among the top pitching prospects, Eovaldi allowed 2 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 7.0 innings as he made one mistake in the first inning (two-run home run to Ryan Braun), which cost him. The righty was sporting a 3.09 ERA and 30 K over 35.0 innings of work at Double-A and could have value in all deeper formats while he remains in the rotation. However, he doesn’t bring huge strikeout stuff (7.42 K/9 in the minor leagues) and you would like to see better control (3.67 BB/9). In other words, he’s a much better option for those in keeper formats.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Carlos Quentin has made a seamless return to the field. In his second game back he went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R. He’s now 4-8 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R since coming off the DL. Of course, these games have been played in Wrigley Field and not Petco Park, so time will tell how he is able to perform in his home ballpark. That said, in five-outfielder formats he is worth owning.
- You could argue that there was a little bit of poor luck during Justin Masterson’s performance last night. I know it’s hard, considering he allowed 8 R (7 earned), part of which came courtesy of a home run from Mike Moustakas (2-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R). However, he only allowed 9 H and 0 BB, striking out 8. He also generated 9 groundball outs. In other words he had good control, groundball stuff and a ton of Ks. That’s the perfect mix, so while the results weren’t there I would consider this start a step in the right direction.
- Dayan Viciedo (3-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 RBI) and Alexei Ramirez (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB) continued their recent rampage. Ramirez is now 9-24 in his past 6 games, including 3 SB and 5 RBI. Viciedo, meanwhile, has 4 HR and 12 RBI in his past six games.
- Jake Westbrook allowed 5 R (4 earned) on 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 innings. It’s the fourth time in his past six starts that he’s allowed 4 ER or more (and third time in his past four starts). With Shelby Miller waiting in the wings, how long is it until we start to hear the whispers? Of course, with Miller also struggling (20 BB in 49.1 IP), it’s likely going to be awhile before we see him.
- For the second consecutive day Heath Bell was called upon in a save opportunity and for the second straight day he got the job done. Bell allowed 1 H and picked up 2 K in converting the save. It’s obviously been a rough season, but we can only hope that this is the time that he has truly turned the corner. Time will tell, but for now the Marlins appear to be willing to give him a rather long rope, though one more meltdown could quickly end that.
- Things are turning around for Jay Bruce, who now has a modest 4-game hitting streak. Yesterday was the first real big day, however, going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 3 R. One of the streakiest players in the game, he has just 1 HR since May 9. We’ll have to see if he can get going in the power department, but you need to stick with the highs and the lows.
- Daniel Bard may have beaten the Tigers last night, but are you walking away impressed? He allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.1 innings. The 4 K is his highest total in his past 6 starts. The control is an improvement, but is it really enough? He also has failed to go past 5.1 innings in his past three starts. He does bring win potential, but as I’ve said before you would think that he ultimately returns to the bullpen. He’s just not showing that same electric ability that he has in year’s past when he would strikeout well over 1 batter per inning.
- It was another poor outing for Joe Blanton, who allowed 6 ER on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 innings. It’s the third straight start where he’s allowed at least 6 ER, with 19 ER over 14.2 IP. The problem is, with Vance Worley already on the DL and Roy Halladay now out 4-6 weeks with a strained lat muscle, where else do the Phillies really have to turn? Time will tell, but they can only tolerate a 5+ ERA for so long, especially if they want to keep themselves in the playoff race.
- How long will the A’s wait before making another change to the closer? Brian Fuentes entered with a 2-0 lead, but he quickly coughed it up allowing a walk-off home run to Josh Willingham (1-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R). Fuentes’ final line was 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K. It’s possible they turn back to Grant Balfour, though these are the first runs Fuentes has allowed since May 12 so I wouldn’t expect an immediate reaction. That said, Ryan Cook figures to get a look in the role before the end of the season, so keep a close eye on the situation.
- Now that Albert Pujols is hitting, there doesn’t appear to be any slowing him down. He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, giving him 5 HR in his past 8 games and 8 HR on the season. He still has a long ways to go, and while it’s going to be a tough road to get back to .300 there’s no reason to think he won’t reach 30/100.
- Matt Kemp came off the DL, going 1-4 (the one hit was a double off of John Axford, though that was the only hit Axford allowed in nailing down the save). Get him active in all formats.
- Melky Cabrera just continues to hit, going 3-4 with 2 R yesterday. He’s now 8-11 over his last 3 games and is hitting .524 over his past 10 games. We all know he’s going to slow down, but ride this wave while you can.
- Hideki Matsui made his Tampa Bay debut, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. However, I wouldn’t anticipate him getting enough playing time to be relevant. Outside of those in AL-only or the deepest of mixed formats, he can be ignored.