It appears that James McDonald and Ubaldo Jimenez are having a competition on who could pitch worse (would anyone have expected that a few weeks ago). Anthony Rizzo is proving that he belongs. Zack Greinke made his debut in LA. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- James McDonald – Pittsburgh Pirates – Starting Pitcher – After such a strong start to the season it is almost shocking to see McDonald struggle the way he is right now. Taking on the Astros he allowed 5 ER on 6 H and 7 BB, striking out 5, over 5.0 IP. It’s the fourth straight start where he has allowed at least 4 ER (and third straight of at least 5 ER). The control has been a problem throughout July, with 24 BB over 34.2 IP (helping lead to a 1.73 WHIP). If he can’t correct that problem, he’s not going to be successful. We’ll have to keep a close eye, but that had always been among his problems heading into the year. Hopefully he can right the ship.
- Wei-Yin Chen – Baltimore Orioles – Starting Pitcher – He was dominant against the A’s yesterday allowing 1 unearned run on 3 H and 4 BB, striking out 12, over 5.2 IP. This game was a bit of an aberration for him, however, considering he entered play with a 6.82 K/9 and 2.86 BB/9. While there is room for regression (he entered with a .259 BABIP) and is always a risk playing in the AL East he has proven to be a viable option in all formats. I would still consider him a low-end one, even despite this outing. Don’t start to expect these types of performances very often.
More Quick Thoughts:
- Jhonny Peralta exploded to go 2-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R yesterday for the Tigers. He had gone 7 games without an RBI and 13 games without a HR. He appears to be trading good and bad months, as he now has 8 HR on the season (4 in May and 4 in July). He has proven to have power in the past, including hitting 21 HR last season. He entered the day with a 25.9% line drive rate and just a 6.7% HR/FB, so there is a lot of hope for a strong final two months of the season.
- Should we be concerned about Roy Halladay? He was definitely better, allowing 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.0 innings of work. However, he’s now allowed 11 ER in 17.0 innings since returning from the DL, including 3 HR (2 yesterday). Obviously you stick with him, but he’s someone we are going to have to keep a close eye on.
- It was another poor outing for Ubaldo Jimenez, allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 IP. It was the third time in his past four outings that he has allowed at least 5 ER and the tenth time this season he has allowed at least 4 ER. The strikeouts overall are down (he entered the day with a 6.83 K/9), thanks in part to a fastball that is down a mph (92.5) from ’11 and over 3.5 mph from 2010. Throw in terrible control (5.35 BB/9) and the fact that he’s getting hammered (23.2% line drive rate) and is it really a surprise that the year has been a struggle? It’s impossible to trust him at this point.
- In an 11-10 game there are going to be a lot of impressive offensive performance. You had Mike Morse of the Nationals going 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. You had Corey Hart of the Brewers going 4-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 R and 1 SB. However the most impressive performance may have been that of Brewers’ starting pitcher Mark Rogers, who allowed 2 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP. He had been struggling at Triple-A, with a 4.72 ERA 49 BB over 95.1 IP, so I wouldn’t get too excited quite yet. He was once considered a high-upside option, so he’s worth monitoring, but at this point he should be left for those in the deepest off formats.
- This time around Anthony Rizzo is definitely living up to the hype. He went 3-4 with 1 HR (a walkoff), 2 RBI and 1 R. In 105 AB he is now hitting .333 with 7 HR, 17 RBI and 14 R. While his 11.3% strikeout entering the day may not be maintainable and the 20.7% HR/FB could regress a little bit, he is proving time and time again that he is the real deal.
- Drew Stubbs went 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R and 1 SB, giving him home runs in back-to-back games. He’s actually been scorching hot for his past six games going 10-27 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R and 3 SB. Of course, he has also struck out 9 times over that span. That is going to keep him as a low average option, though one with power and speed. Just keep in mind that his value is capped because he’s not likely to hit above .250 (currently at .231).
- Zack Greinke pitched well in his debut for the Los Angeles Angels, allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 8, over 7.0 innings of work. However, that was no match for Jeremy Hellickson who tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, to earn the victory. Hellickson continues to get the job done, so it is tough to point to the luck metrics and scream that a regression is likely. However, with a 20.5% line drive rate, .246 BABIP and 81.9% strand rate entering the day, it is hard to imagine him continuing this pace. If he ever improved his strikeout rate than it would be a different story, but I would remain skeptical.
- The Dodgers used Juan Rivera as their #2 hitter where he went 1-5 with 1 R. While he plays almost every day it is becoming obvious that he is a virtually useless fantasy option at this point. In 226 AB he is hitting just .257 with 5 HR, 34 RBI and 22 R. Feel free to move on to other options until he proves otherwise.
- Mike Carp went 3-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday and has now driven in a run in five consecutive games. Since coming off the DL he has gone 8-21 with 1 HR, 6 RBI and 3 R while batting primarily seventh. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved up in the lineup, which would only improve his potential. He’s not going to be a superstar option, but as an under-the-radar source of power he is well worth rolling the dice on in deeper formats.
- How much longer can the Mets realistically stick with Jason Bay? He went 0-3 yesterday dropping him to .105 with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 38 AB since coming off the DL. If it was just that stretch than maybe they’d stick with him, but he’s hitting .159 on the year and has been a disaster since coming to New York. Not only does he have no fantasy value, would it really be surprising if he was released?
- How long can Gavin Floyd walk the ballpark and get away with it? He allowed 2 R (1 earned) on 7 H and 5 BB, striking out 1, over 6.2 IP. Over his last two starts (12.2 IP) he has now allowed 13 H and 11 BB, striking out 2, but has allowed just 3 ER. Clearly there is a lot of luck involved, though it hasn’t been an issue all season long. His walk rate (3.27 BB/9), BABIP (.288) and strand rate (76.0%) are all believable, so it’s hard to get excited about his 4.28 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. We’ve long heard about the potential, but the performance rarely matches it. He’s a low-end option, at best.
- Pedro Ciriaco went 1-4 with 1 RBI and is now 6-13 with 1 RBI, 3 R and 2 SB in his past three games. It’s a nice stretch, but with Dustin Pedroia back, Mike Aviles playing when healthy and David Ortiz likely back this week there may not be enough playing time. He’s better left for the desperate in mixed formats.