It was a great day of baseball, as you literally could’ve sat down early and watched games from early in the morning into the late night hours. Who thrived on the holiday? Let’s take a look:
- Chris Tillman – Baltimore Orioles – Starting Pitcher – He was unbelievable in his 2012 debut, allowing 2 runs (both unearned) on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, in 8.1 innings to defeat the Mariners. Yes, we have to take the opponent into account but it was impressive none the less. He had pitched well at Triple-A, going 8-8 with 3.63 ERA and 92 K in 89.1 innings and had been even better lately (2.88 ERA, 66 K in last 59.1 innings). He’s had his struggles with the Orioles before and was bad even at Triple-A in ’11 (5.19 ERA), but has long shown plenty of potential. It’s not impossible that he’s finally figured it all out at 24-years old. We’ll be taking a closer look at him in the near future, but the bottom line is that he is worth grabbing in deeper formats.
- A.J. Griffin – Oakland Athletics – Starting Pitcher – Another tremendous start for Griffin, allowing 2 R (1 earned) on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 innings against the Boston Red Sox. He’s allowed 3 ER in 18.0 innings (3 starts), including facing the Texas Rangers. It’s hard to argue with the results and the tremendous control, and there is still upside for more. He has shown strikeout potential in the minor leagues, including a 7.53 K/9 at Triple-A, though he has yet to show it in the Majors. Obviously it is a small sample size, but we have to point out his .125 BABIP and 90.9% strand rate entering the day. He’s obviously not going to keep posting starts like this, but in deeper formats he is an intriguing option moving forward.
More Quick Thoughts:
- There had been a lot of talk about the lack of extra base power for Pablo Sandoval since coming off the DL, but he clearly has silenced those talks of late. He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday, as well as adding a double. In his past six games he now has 4 doubles and 1 HR and over that span he’s gone 7-19 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. Things are starting to pick up.
- Ryan Zimmerman went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. In his past 10 games he’s now gone 17-44 with 4 HR, 16 RBI and 11 R. He’s also scored 2 R in each of his past three games. It’s safe to say that he’s turned the corner, isn’t it?
- That celebration you are hearing is from Cliff Lee owners as the lefty finally recorded his first win of the season yesterday. He stymied the Mets for 8.0 innings allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 9.
- J.D. Martinez went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday and is now hitting .239 with 11 HR, 48 RBI and 25 R on the season. This was his third multi-hit game in his past five, though there hasn’t been much of a move in his average (he was hitting .235 way back on May 26 and has been between .222 and .244 ever since). He continues to struggle to hit the ball with authority, with a 15.7% line drive rate entering the day (leading to a .277 BABIP). He should still come around, however, so don’t give up hope yet.
- The Indians shelled Ervin Santana, as he allowed 8 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 0, over 1.1 innings of work. Santana had given owners a sense of hope for a little while, but has now allowed 13 ER over his last 6.1 innings and 4 ER or more in six of his past eight starts. It’s hard to write him off completely, but it is impossible to trust him right now. I’d keep him on the bench until he shows signs of hope (in shallower formats it makes sense to move on).
- John Axford did it again, allowing a home run to Gaby Sanchez to blow the save. It’s his fifth blown save of the season and you really have to wonder if the Brewers will make a short-term change. As I’ve said before, I don’t think he’ll be gone from the role for long, so don’t panic.
- Carlos Villanueva was impressive in his start against the Royals, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 7. It was just his second start of the year, as he worked as a reliever earlier in the year. He’s obviously going to be a risk pitching in the AL East, but he does have strikeout potential (8.90 K/9 in the minor leagues). At this point he’s a player that at least should be on your radar, though past performance (4.23 ERA over 5701 IP) tells us that it’ a long-shot. Still, stranger things have happened.
- We now interrupt this program for the daily Anthony Rizzo update. He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, giving him a 5-game hitting streak (and also a 5-game run scored streak). He has hits in 7 of the 8 games he’s played and has homered in 3 of his past 5.
- Adam Wainwright bounced back strong, allowing 1 ER on 8 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 innings against the Rockies. As I’ve said before, he’s still working his way back from Tommy John surgery and is clearly getting things back in order. Throw in the fact that he entered the day with a .326 BABIP and 66.1% strand rate and there is a lot to like in regards to his upside. He’s still showing a good strikeout rate (8.47 K/9), good control (2.61 BB/9) and a good groundball rate (52.6%). In other words, buy him now.
- It was a big day for Miguel Cabrera, going 3-3 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R. He’s now hitting .500 over his past 10 games to go along with 12 RBI. We all know he’ one of the best hitters in the game, so seeing days like this really isn’t a surprise.
- The resurgence of Kevin Youkilis continued yesterday as he went 2-4 with 1 RBI. He is now hitting .306 with 1 HR and 9 RBI in 9 games with the White Sox. It is a very small sample size, so we don’t want to read too much into his .345 BABIP. However, the fact is that his line drive rate has been consistent (20.4% in Boston vs. 20.0% in Chicago) and the potential is there for him to continue to hit. He’s no longer an elite option, but he certainly has potential as a corner infielder.
- Aaron Harang was solid again, allowing 1 ER on 3 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 innings to beat the Reds at home. He has been great at Dodger Stadium, with a 2.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 7 starts (in 10 road starts he’s posted a 4.09 ERA and 1.60 WHIP). He’s one of those guys where you may want to simply play matchups with.
- Wasn’t Yasmani Grandal not supposed to be a power hitter? He it a pinch hit two-run home run, giving him 4 HR in just 19 AB. Keep in mind that all of the AB have come in Colorado and Arizona, both significantly better hitter’s parks than San Diego. I wouldn’t expect this type of power to become common place, but as I’ve always said he should hold plenty of value.