Yesterday was a day that could’ve turned some fantasy seasons. Did Jon Lester help sink your pitching staff? Did the hot streaks of Jason Kubel, Ryan Zimmerman or Brenn Boesch help carry your offense? How did Dan Haren perform in his first start off the DL? Let’s look at their performances and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox – Starting Pitcher – I am at a loss for words when it comes to Lester at this point. The Red Sox left him in to take some lumps yesterday and boy did he. His final line was 4.0 IP, 11 ER, 9 H, 5 BB and 2 K. He was just beaten to a pulp, allowing 4 HR (Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia, Rajai Davis & Travis Snider) on the day. His ERA is now at 5.46 and has allowed 4 ER or more in four of his past five outings (including 15 in his past 8.0 IP). He was supposed to be the anchor of your staff, but that clearly hasn’t been the case. It’s hard to recommend sitting him, but with his next outing scheduled to come in Yankee Stadium and the way he’s been pitching it is way too big of a risk.
- Jason Kubel – Arizona Diamondbacks – Outfielder – Is there anyone hotter than Kubel right now? He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R, giving him 4 HR over his past two games, 6 HR in his past five games and 7 HR in his past nine games. He now has 10 HR in July and 17 HR since June 5. Can he actually keep up this type of pace? Who knows, but we are going on nearly two months of dominating performances. He has done the majority of his damage at home, with 16 HR and 51 RBI there (5 HR and 20 RBI on the road). Obviously he’s a must use option, but when he’s loaded with home games he’s a no-brainer.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Brennan Boesch has suddenly come to life. He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday giving him home runs in back-to-back games, 12 RBI in his past 10 games and 4 HR with 16 RBI in July. He’s gotten his average up to .254 with 11 HR 43 RBI on the season. The power is right where we’d have expected, though he has yet to get an elevated line drive rate going (entered the day at 15.8% in July). While he’s been hot, he’s still more of a low-end option.
- It has been a great stretch for Mike Fiers. While he lost to Johnny Cueto (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 9K, W), Fiers was impressive allowing just 2 R (1 earned) on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 4, over 6.0 IP. Over his past seven appearances (six starts) Fiers has allowed 4 ER over 41.1 IP. I wouldn’t get too excited, given his 26.2% line drive rate entering the day (though just a .293 BABIP). While there could be a regression, he has a minor league K/9 of 9.61 vs. BB/9 of 2.36. He deserves a much closer look in the next few days.
- Does anyone remember when Ryan Zimmerman was slumping anymore? He went 3-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R yesterday putting him at .273 with 14 HR and 50 RBI on the season. He has 5 HR in his past 5 games and 9 HR with 19 RBI in July. The question with Zimmerman has always been his health and this recent hot streak dates back to a cortisone shot in his shoulder. At this point fantasy owners are just hoping that the Nationals can keep him healthy the rest of the way.
- Jeff Karstens shut down the Marlins, allowing 0 R on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 7.0 IP. Karstens has a 3.52 ERA on the season, but does it with control and little strikeout upside. That certainly caps his fantasy appeal, especially considering his career 4.86 K/9 entering the day.
- Interesting the see the Mariners use Casper Wells in the leadoff spot yesterday, especially given how hot he has been. He went 1-4, but for the week went 8-32 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 6 R. However, over that same stretch he struck out 11 times. In other words he is not an ideal leadoff hitter and is an incredible liability in the average department. Despite the impressive numbers earlier in the week, he’s best left for those in the deepest of formats.
- Ryan Doumit posted a big day for the Twins, going 3-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R. He’s hitting .291 with 9 HR and 45 RBI on the season, with yesterday’s home runs being his first since June 22. Health has always been the biggest question mark with Doumit, something that hasn’t been an issue this season. A lot of that has to do with him spending a lot of time at DH, but that just makes him more attractive to fantasy owners. He’s worth using as a low-end catching option in all formats.
- It would appear that Lance Lynn has righted the ship of late, wouldn’t it? He tossed 6.0 shutout innings yesterday, allowing 4 H and 3 BB with 5 K. He’s now allowed 1 ER over his last 19.0 IP and is a good play in all formats.
- Jon Jay went 4-4 with 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him 4 RBI over his past two games. Nice day, but he’s a low-end option right now as he doesn’t play every day.
- The game between the Phillies and Giants was definitely an entertaining one, highlighted by a pair of 2 HR games from unexpected sources. For the Phillies it was John Mayberry, who went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. He has become a forgotten man now that Ryan Howard is back, though if Shane Victorino is traded within the next week he figures to be the biggest benefactor. As for the Giants, it was Nate Schierholtz who went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.
- Daniel Murphy posted his second four-hit game in the past three days going 4-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R. He has his average back up over .300, but he brings little power and speed to the table. That certainly limits his fantasy appeal, doesn’t it?
- J.J. Hardy went 2-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday. It has been a struggle this season, though he still has 14 HR. While his average currently sits at .220, he entered the day with a 15.3% strikeout rate and a .228 BABIP. In other words, there’s a lot of hope. Don’t give up on him.
- Carlos Santana went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. He had gone 1-5 with 4 BB in his previous three games (the prior game he went 2-4 with 1 HR). Clearly he is seeing the ball better and could be on the verge of a major hot streak. He’s a must own in all formats.
- Since July 4 Derek Norris had been 0-29 but he came up big yesterday, entering the game late but delivering a single in the twelfth and then scoring the game winning run. He offers speed and power from the catching position, so don’t write him off due to his recent struggles. This hit could easily get him going in the right direction.
- Dan Haren got ample support in his first start off the DL and he made it stand up as he allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 IP. Haren has been a disappointment this season, but if he’s healthy he should enjoy a solid second half. If someone in your league grew frustrated in the first half, I’d definitely kick the tires and see what you can do to acquire him.