Around the Majors: July 18: Francisco Liriano Strikes Out 10, Carlos Santana Finally Homers & More

Has the time come to give up on Ricky Romero?  Has Francisco Liriano returned to ace status?  How should Mat Latos owners feel?  Let’s answer those questions and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

  1. Ricky Romero – Starting Pitcher – Toronto Blue Jays – It was a rain shortened game, but Ricky Romero owners wish the weather stopped things a little sooner.  It was another ugly outing, allowing 6 ER on 12 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP against the New York Yankees.  It had appeared like he had righted the ship (3 ER over his previous 12.0 IP), but he’s now allowed 6+ ER in three of his past five outings and 4+ ER in five of his past seven.  Yes, the opponent has something to do with it, but that’s not enough.  He entered the day with a .272 BABIP and 69.2% strand rate, so it’s far from a lock that he improves.  With his control also wavering (4.64 BB/9), I would be willing to try him for pennies on the dollar but nothing more.
  2. Jeff Samardzija – Chicago Cubs – Starting Pitcher – pitched alright, but it wasn’t spectacular either.  He allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 5.0 IP.  The strikeouts are nice, keeping them off the scoreboard is better, but that’s a lot of base runners.  He has been somewhat hit or miss of late and is sporting a 4.57 ERA and 1.38 WHP overall.  We would hope that he could reduce his .324 BABIP, but he is sporting a 23.2% line drive rate, so it is no guarantee.  The rest of the numbers are believable, however, and if he can maintain his solid control (3.39 BB/9) and generate groundballs (46.3%), you would think the other numbers will fall into line.  I would look for improvements going forward.
  3. Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins – Starting Pitcher – Liriano was impressive again, allowing 2 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 IP.  He has now struck out 25 over his past 14.0 innings and has a 2.84 ERA in his past 10 starts (63.1 IP).  In fact, when he returned to the rotation on May 30 his ERA was 8.47, now it is down to 4.81.  He clearly is living up to the sleeper many thought he would be coming out of spring training, though with a lot of bumps along the way.  Trade rumors are swirling, so time will tell, but he has proven to be a viable option in all formats once again.

More Quick Thoughts:

  • Corey Hart extended his hitting streak to 12 games, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  Over the streak he’s gone 18-49 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 9 R.
  • It was an unimpressive outing for Tyler Thornburg, starting in place of Zack Greinke.  He allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 4 BB, striking out 5, over 4.2 IP.  He was burned by a pair of home runs, having now allowed 6 HR in his two starts and 7 HR over 12.0 IP in the Majors.  He has upside, but it’s hard to imagine him living up to it at this point.  That said, with the Brewers fading, he easily could get a few more starts later in the year.  In deeper formats he is worth keeping an eye on.
  • Shane Victorino appears to be turning the corner, doesn’t it?  He went 3-5 with 1 R and 2 SB yesterday.  Over his past five games he’s now gone 9-20 with 1 RBI, 5 R and 2 SB.  It may not be a lot, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Time will tell where he ultimately lands (if he’s even traded), but I would anticipate him continuing to improve as the second half rolls on.
  • Josh Rutledge continues to impress, going 2-4 with 1 R.  He’s now hitting .300 over his first six games, with hits in four of them.  He’s also added 4 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB despite hitting in the eighth spot.  He brings power (despite not hitting one out yet) and speed to the table and, even when Troy Tulowitzki returns, could potentially step in as the starting 2B.  In other words, in all keeper leagues it is worth trying to grab him.
  • While the Astros lost to the Padres, it wasn’t because of Matt Downs, who provided all of the offense.  He went 3-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R giving him 7 HR and 13 RBI on the season.  No, that’s not a typo, he’s averaging less than 2 RBI per HR and also is hitting a paltry .191.  A career .226 hitter in 460 AB, there’s not much here.
  • Colby Lewis made his return from the DL against the A’s, allowing 1 R on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 innings.  However, before we get too excited about his return, according to Jeff Wilson via Twitter, “Colby Lewis said his forearm started to tighten on him some, so he was removed as a precaution. Says it’s nothing to worry about.”  It sounds like nothing, but we’ll want to monitor it.
  • Doug Fister was impressive, completely stymying the Angels.  He allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 10, over 8.0 IP.  That’s back-to-back impressive outings, allowing 2 ER with 18 K over his last 15.0 innings of work.  We all knew he was better than he had shown, so it’s nice to see him back on track.  While he’s not this good, especially in the strikeout department, he is worth owning in all formats.
  • Jordan Zimmermann was impressive again, tossing 6.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 4.  He has allowed 1 ER or less in five straight outings and three earned runs or less in nine straight.  He did enter the day with an 82.3% strand rate, so there is room for regression.  That said, he has elite control and the upside to improve his strikeouts (he entered the day with a 6.19 K/9).  He is locked in and a must own in all formats.
  • The long ball once again plagued Mat Latos, who allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 4.2 IP.  It was a pair of home runs from Jason Kubel (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) that did the bulk of the damage.  I am still a believer in Latos, who entered the day pitching better at home (3.48) than on the road (5.00).  However, he has now allowed 19 ER on the year, a number that is impossible to overcome.  Unless he can limit that damage, he is going to continue to be a roller coaster ride.
  • The resurgence of Adrian Gonzalez continued, as he went 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R last night.  He now has RBI in four straight games (all of which have been multi-hit games), going 9-16 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 3 R.  Is it really a surprise?  He was always a must own option, so hopefully you didn’t give up on him.
  • Desmond Jennings went 3-4 with 2 RBI and 1 R.  He now has hits in four of his past five games (7-16 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB).  He also has scored a run in three straight games.  It’s not much, but maybe he’s finally starting to show signs.  Obviously, stick with him.
  • Finally, a home run for Carlos Santana who had gone over two months without a long ball.  He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  Hopefully this is just the start of things to come.
  • Over the past two games the San Francisco Giants have scored 18 R.  You would think that Pablo Sandoval owners would be happy, wouldn’t you?  Nope, as he has gone 1-9 with 0 RBI and 0 R over the two games.  In fact, he has just 2 HR in his past 9 games.  You have to think that he’ll get going sooner rather than later, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
  • Casper Wells is on fire.  He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday.  Over the past three games he’s gone 6-15 with 2 HR, 7 RBI and 5 R.  Hitting third in the Mariners lineup, he is worth owning in all five-outfielder formats while he is hot.  However, before we get too excited, his 28.4% strikeout rate and .367 BABIP tell us that he’s not a .279 hitter.  Keep that in mind, despite offering a little bit of pop.

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