by Will Overton
The big sluggers came out and did their job last night with big shots from Giancarlo Stanton, Curtis Granderson and Josh Hamilton. But there was also plenty of strong pitching as well from Gio Gonzalez’s complete game to Ryan Vogelsong lowering his ERA even further.
All of that and more in the recap of last night’s games:
1. Justin Masterson – SP, Cleveland Indians: Is there a more frustratingly hot and cold pitcher than Justin Masterson this year? In his last two games prior to yesterday he allowed 15 ER in 9.2 IP. Yesterday he allowed 2 R on 3 H in 7 IP with 7 K, though he did walk 4. In his last 10 starts he’s given up four or more runs five times and two or fewer the other five times. And it’s not the team he faces cause two starts ago he faced the Twins and allowed 8 ER, yesterday he was going against the same exact team. At this point Masterson’s good games make him hard to pass up in standard leagues, but when you can’t ever trust him enough to start him what’s the point?
2. Giancarlo Stanton – OF, Miami Marlins: Welcome back to Miami Giancarlo! After a month on the DL Stanton made his triumphant return last night to go 4 – 5 with 2 R, 2 HR and 4 RBI. Stanton may well be one of the best power hitters in all of baseball, if not the best and you should see him hit the ball over the fence plenty more times between now and the end of September. The Marlins are falling apart as a team, but Stanton is a top 15 – 20 player and I have every belief he’s about to show that to the fantasy world.
More Quick Thoughts
- Fantasy owners have been waiting for the April/May version of Josh Hamilton to come back, and who can blame them after he hit .223 and .177 in June and July respectively. Hamilton took a step forward last night going 3 – 5 with a HR and a 3B. He now has five hits in the last two games and might be returning to form again.
- The ball keeps on flying of the bat of Cody Ross who was 3 – 4 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI. Ross is heating up right now going 11 – 25 in his last six games. His owner percentage has actually been trending downwards which means you might be able to snatch him off your waiver wire.
- Things are finally coming together for Mat Latos who allowed one run on three hits in seven innings yesterday. Latos also struck out eight batters. In eight of his last nine starts Latos has allowed two runs or less.
- Going toe-to-toe last night with Latos was Randy Wolf who allowed two runs over six innings yesterday with seven strikeouts. Wolf is known for solid second half’s and he’s pitched well in four of his last five starts. Deep leagues could use Wolf and old timer arm.
- Another strong game for Carlos Gomez who hit a HR and had a SB last night, also scoring 2 R and getting 2 RBI. Gomez ended the month of July on a tear with 4 HR’s in the last week as well as 10 R and 10 RBI. He hasn’t been quite as hot in August so far, but he’s hitting the ball well.
- After going 2 – 3 with 2 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI last night Chris Carter now has 10 HR’s in his first 90 AB’s this season. Carter has always been a big slugger who strikes out a lot on the brink of the majors, but he’s in the bigs now and living up to his billing as a power hitter who swings and misses too much. But he also walks a ton too, and has a .411 OBP so far. I think he’s a must own for deep leagues and a high risk/high reward grab in standard leagues.
- There was another pitcher’s dual between the Cubs and Padres where Jeff Smardzija allowed only one run on four hits in 7 IP. But was outdone by Clayton Richard’s complete game shutout. Richard has only allowed one run in 16 IP in his last two games. Richard is still just a deep league guy because of his lack of K’s.
- The bat is heating up for Matt Wieters who one night after hitting 2 HR’s picked up two hits and drove in five runs. For the month of August Wieters is now hitting .333 and has 8 RBI. Hopefully this is the Wieters from early this season coming back again.
- After posting impressive numbers at Triple-A Steve Johnson got a call-up to start last night and was dominant. Johnson allowed two runs in six innings and struck out nine batters along the way. Johnson was striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings at Triple-A and showing great control. Johnson is at the least a deep league flier.
- Last year Dan Uggla turned his horrible first half around with a massive second half, it’s getting late for that now, but he still has some time to salvage a little. Uggla was 3 – 4 last night with 2 R and 3 RBI. This is now five hits in his last two games for Uggla.
- The Pirates played like a team that needed a win last night and Neil Walker led the charge. Walker went 2 – 4 with a HR and 5 RBI. Walker now has 15 RBI in his last seven games along with 3 HR’s. It’s been quiet, but Walker is having a nice season.
- For the third straight start Alex Cobb turned in a very solid seven inning performance. Cobb allowed one run over seven innings for the second time last night, striking out seven. Cobb has allowed just five runs in his last 21 IP with 16 K’s. He’s a deep league add and standard league spot start.
- After going 1 for his last 17 at the plate, and striking out five times in his last two games, Curtis Granderson went 3 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 4 RBI to break his slump. Despite a .244 average which seems to be about what we should expect from Granderson at this point, he does have 30 HR’s now which also should be expected.
- Strange things happen sometimes in fantasy baseball and that’s the only way to explain Jeremy Guthrie throwing eight shutout innings last night with 6 K’s. Guthrie was decent in Baltimore the last few years, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in him doing a whole lot in Kansas City.
- The control issues have still reared up from time to time for Gio Gonzalez, but Gonzalez has reduced his BB/9 by 0.5 per nine. Gio pitched a complete game allowing three runs last night and had 7 K’s and 2 BB’s. The attention goes to Stephen Strasburg in Washington, but Gio deserves attention.
- How are more people not talking about Ryan Vogelsong and his 2.27 ERA. Vogelsong went seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. He only struck out three batters, but with this ERA you can live with a 6.6 K/9.