by Will Overton
Yesterday’s slate of games was dominated by some really good hitting displays and a lot of run scoring, but there were still some good pitching performances including Jon Lester, Roy Oswalt, Jonathon Niese and more.
Here is a rundown of the top performances of the day:
- 1. Chris Young – OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: It has been a horrible season so far for Chris Young who is coming off of back-to-back 20/20 seasons and doesn’t look like he’ll come anywhere near matching those numbers. Young still has a little time to partly redeem himself to owners and is coming off a nice couple of days. Young went 4 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. This was the second HR for Young in his last three games and he has 5 RBI in those games. If Young can get himself into a hot streak he can earn his way back into the good graces of the Diamondbacks and fantasy owners. I don’t know how much the average is going to change, but the power can and may already be coming around.
- 2. Jonathon Niese – SP, New York Mets: There are still bumps in the road for Jonathon Niese from time to time, but those are coming fewer and farther between this season as Niese is turning the corner towards potentially being a top end starter in fantasy leagues. Niese threw 7.1 shutout innings last night allowing five hits and not walking anyone with seven strikeouts. Niese has already started four games so far in August and in those four games he has a 1.91 ERA so far. Niese has now lowered his ERA to 3.49 and his WHIP to 1.15 as he has moved into the territory of being an every start guy in every format.
More Quick Thoughts
- While he looked good allowing just one run on two hits in 4.2 IP and striking out five Roy Oswalt is still set to return to the pen after filling in for Ryan Dempster who was off for personal reasons. If Oswalt gets a spot back in the rotation he could still have value, but not until then.
- It is really amazing sometimes what a change of scenery can do for a guy, and for Hanley Ramirez it has brought him back to his old form. Ramirez was 2 – 4 last night with 2 R, 2 HR and 4 RBI. Ramirez is hitting .330 in 23 games with the Dodgers with 16 R, 4 HR and 27 RBI. With just a change of uniform he has gone back to being a first round talent.
- Can we start talking about Johnny Cueto as a top ten pitcher now? Cueto picked up his 16th win of the season last night allowing two runs over eight innings, striking out eight. This is Cueto’s fourth time in six starts getting at least 8 K’s.
- What a resurgence it’s been for Ryan Ludwick who keeps knocking the ball out of the park. Ludwick went deep twice yesterday in the one game of the doubleheader he played in, bringing his total to 25. He now has 4 HR’s in his last 3 starts and 6 in his last 9.
- Back-to-Back good starts for Jon Lester hasn’t happened often this season, but it happened with last night’s seven inning outing allowing one run against a hot Yankee team. Lester scattered five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in the outing.
- The upside of Zach Britton still shines through occasionally, including last night when he threw seven shutout innings with six hits and three walks, striking out five. Britton doesn’t show that upside nearly enough though to make him worth using on a regular basis.
- August has not been kind to Mike Moustakas, but it’s gotten better these last three games. Moustakas went 2 – 4 yesterday with a HR and 4 RBI. Moustakas now is 4 – 9 in his last three games and has three HR’s in his last ten games.
- The power in the bat of Ryan Braun is incredible as he homered again last night and has four HR’s in his last three games. Braun remains one of the most consistently impressive performers in the league.
- Sometimes a guy gets a new contract and takes his foot off the gas, sometimes it takes the pressure off and he gets even better, Cole Hamels has gotten better. Hamels struck out 10 last night on his way to his 14th win of the season. With his three runs allowed in 7.2 IP last night Hamels has a 1.38 ERA in four August starts.
- He’s not playing every day, but he’s close to it as Tyler Colvin continues to excel in Colorado. Colvin picked up three hits last night and knocked in three runs. Colvin is 12 – 30 in his last eight games with eight RBI. When everyone gets healthy it might be difficult for Colvin to find regular playing time, but right now he’s proving his worth.
- This month just gets better and better for Chase Headley who was 2 – 4 last night with yet another HR. Headley now has 8 HR’s so far this month and with 3 RBI last night he has 24 RBI. Headley now has 20 HR’s and 76 RBI, his season highs were 12 and 64 before this season.
- For the fourth time in five starts Bartolo Colon picked up a win and allowed one run or fewer. Colon allowed the one run over 8 IP to lower his ERA to 3.43 when it was 3.97 just one month ago. He’s not striking many out, but he’s still useful.
- It’s still not really sinking into me I don’t think what we’re witnessing with 21 year old Mike Trout and the season he is having. Trout was 3 – 4 last night with 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 SB. Trout now has 23 HR’s and 39 SB’s this season.