Will Cliff Lee every be able to win a game? Just how good is Jason Kipnis, as he is one of four players who are already 10/10 (Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen & Hanley Ramirez)? Is Jon Lester turning things around? Let’s answer these questions and all the rest from yesterday’s action:
- Jonathan Niese – New York Mets – Starting Pitcher – Lost in the Yankees’ sweep of the Mets was Niese’s continued success. He allowed 2 R (0 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 6, over 7.0 innings against one of the most prolific offenses in the game. In his last two starts he has not allowed an earned run, striking out 16 in 13.0 innings. He has always been a favorite of mine with solid control, good strikeout potential and an above average groundball rate. If he’s available in your league I wouldn’t hesitate to grab him in all formats.
- Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians – Second Baseman – I was one of Kipnis’ biggest supporters prior to the season, but even I couldn’t have imagined him posting the numbers he currently is. He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, putting him at .285 with 10 HR, 39 RBI, 43 R and 15 SB. He entered play with a .298 BABIP and 23.1% line drive rate, so there is actually room for the average to improve. Considering he also has a 13.4% HR/FB, there’s nothing unrealistic there either. He has entrenched himself among the elite 2B in the game and needs to be valued as such.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Russell Martin had the big game for the Yankees, who completed a three-game sweep of the Mets. Martin went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R, giving him 4 HR in his past six games. He appears to be proving that his 18 HR performance in 2011 was no aberration, isn’t he? That said, he’s struggling in the average department for the fourth straight season and is a low-end option.
- It’s nice to see Gaby Sanchez return for the Marlins and immediately be inserted back into the lineup. He went 1-4 with 1 RBI yesterday, but he had been raking at Triple-A (.310, 3 HR in 58 AB). He’s worth stashing in deeper formats, but until he proves he can deliver he should not be in any starting lineup.
- Alex Gordon is quietly starting to get things going in the right direction. He went 2-5 with 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, giving him a SB in back-to-back games. In his past 10 games he’s now hitting .306 with 1 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R and 2 SB. Overall he is still a disappointment, with just 4 HR and 3 SB but do not write him off. He’s heating up and easily could still be a 20/20 option by year’s end.
- Cliff Lee allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 innings. Obviously it’s not his best start, but how amazing is it that he still hasn’t won a game yet this season? With a 3.18 ERA, he’s the best example of why you don’t chase victories because you just never know.
- It is not that it has been an awful season for Brett Lawrie, it’s just that he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Still, the potential is definitely there. He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .275 with 5 HR, 24 RBI 29 R and 8 SB. We’ll be taking a much closer look at him in the coming days.
- Jon Lester gave us hope yesterday, allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 innings. The strikeouts are the key, as he entered the day with a 6.48 K/9 and hadn’t struck out more than 7 in any game this season. This is the type of potential he has, however, and I would expect the numbers to climb as we move forward. If someone in your league has grown frustrated, I’d look to buy.
- It was a nice run while it lasted for Francisco Liriano, wasn’t it? He allowed 4 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 5.2 IP against the Cubs. Are we going to write him off after how good he looked after returning to the rotation? No, but it would be hard to trust him against the Brewers.
- Remember when Dayan Viciedo was raging hot? Well, he’s not anymore. He went 0-3 with 1 R yesterday and is now 3-29 with 1 HR and 1 RBI over his past 8 games. He is a streaky player, so we are just going to have to deal with the good and the bad.
- Martin Maldonado was not supposed to be a source of offense for the Brewers, but he has stepped up in Jonathan Lucroy’s absence. He went 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him 3 HR on the season. However, in 1,702 minor league AB he has a .236 average and just 31 HR. However, he is swinging a hot bat and has 19 HR in 447 AB at Triple-A (albeit in the Pacific Coast League). Still, in two-catcher formats you may catch lightning in a bottle and if you are desperate I’d roll the dice on him.
- The Angels battered Christian Friedrich (8 ER on 10 H and 3 BB, striking out 5, over 4.0 IP), and Mark Trumbo led the way. Trumbo went 2-3 with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 2 R, giving him 14 HR and 39 RBI on the season. There were concerns regarding his playing time heading into the year, but the Angels clearly will continue to be creative to keep him in the lineup.
- Once again Tim Lincecum struggled, this time allowing 5 ER on 9 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 5.2 IP. We can look at all the metrics we want, but the fact of the matter is that Lincecum has allowed at least 4 ER in six of his past seven outings. It doesn’t matter what it is, the numbers are ugly and it is nearly impossible to trust him.
- Chad Billingsley allowed 1 R on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 innings against the Mariners. It’s back-to-back strong outings, with 2 ER over his last 14.0 IP and 8 K in three of his past four. He’s had his down moments, but is a viable option in most formats.
- For the first time this season Aroldis Chapman is struggling. He was asked to get six outs last night against the Tigers, but couldn’t get it done. He ended up staying in for just one inning, as he coughed up the lead allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 1.0 IP. In his last two outings he’s now allowed 3 ER, the only runs he’s allowed this season. It was going to happen sooner or later, so don’t get too worked up about it.