You had impressive returns from the DL for Brett Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin. You had Ivan Nova and Ricky Romero seemingly trying to give fantasy owners a reason to cut bait and move on. You had Todd Frazier continuing to rake. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Brett Anderson – Oakland Athletics – Starting Pitcher – Making his first start since June 5, 2011, Anderson looked like he hadn’t missed a beat against the Twins. In 7.0 innings (needing just 86 pitches) he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 6. He has the potential to really make an impact down the stretch, as he is the same pitcher who posted a 2.80 ERA and 1.19 WHIP back in 2010. As long as he has his control, which he clearly did yesterday, there is little reason to think that he can’t excel. He’s a groundball pitcher who limits walks and has the potential to strikeout more than enough batters. There will be some bumps along the way, but he’s worth adding in all deeper formats.
- Chris Tillman – Baltimore Orioles – Starting Pitcher – Taking on a high-powered offense like the Rangers, we learned a lot about Chris Tillman last night. He allowed 3 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 7, over 6.2 innings of work. The damage came courtesy of home runs, as he allowed bombs to Ian Kinsler (1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) and Geovany Soto (1-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R). Tillman has now made 9 starts since returning to Baltimore on July 4 and has posted a 3.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 42 K over 51.0 innings including starts against the Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees. He has shown strikeout potential and good control (2.65 BB/9) while struggling with a 63.4% strand rate. While we would like to see him reduce the line drive rate (24.2%), overall we have to be happy with the numbers. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider him a must start option, he definitely is a viable matchup option at worst.
More Quick Thoughts:
- If you had been looking for a reason to finally give up on Ricky Romero last night should have done it. Over 5.1 innings against the Tigers he allowed 5 ER on 7 H and 8 BB, striking out 0. It’s the fifth time he has allowed at least 5 ER in his past 10 starts. His control has been an issue all season long (entering with a 4.75 BB/9) and doesn’t offer enough strikeout potential. Sure, he had a 65.6% strand rate, but there is hardly enough here to get excited about. At this point he is a matchup play, at best, but even then it’s tough to trust him.
- Jhoulys Chacin returned from the DL and twirled a gem against the Mets, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 0 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 innings. He threw just 73 pitches (51 for strikes). While the pitch limit the Rockies are imposing really handcuff their starters, the important thing with Chacin is his control and generating groundballs (he had 9 groundball outs last night). If he is excelling in those two areas he would be worth owning. It’s a risk, especially with the pitch count, but the upside makes him worth grabbing in deeper formats.
- We all expect good performances from David Price (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K), but did anyone really expect Luke Hochevar to match him pitch for pitch? Hochevar tossed 8.0 shutout innings allowing 1 H and 3 BB, striking out 10. Keep in mind that he entered the day with a 6.55 K/9 this season and 6.06 over his six year career. There is potential, given his 64.9% strand rate, but don’t expect too many days like this one.
- With Carl Crawford’s season over the Red Sox shuffled their lineup. Pedro Ciriaco (1-5) was at the top followed by Dustin Pedroia (1-5) and Jacoby Ellsbury (1-4). It’s interesting to see Ellsbury hitting third, because you have to wonder how many chances he’ll get to steal a base ahead of Adrian Gonzalez. If he sticks there it will certainly hurt his fantasy value so make sure to keep a close eye on the situation.
- Considering the innings limit (at least talk of one) for Stephen Strasburg it was interesting to see him come back out after a rain delay of just under an hour. It clearly didn’t appear to faze him as he allowed just 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 10, over 6.0 innings. It remains to be seen how many more starts you have from him, but enjoy it while you can.
- Todd Frazier just continues to hit of late. He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R last night, putting him at .429 with 4 HR, 7 RBI, 11 R and 2 SB over his past 10 games. In August he is hitting .351 with 6 HR and 18 RBI in 74 AB. Of course, he has also benefited from a .357 BABIP (his second consecutive month above .350) and 25.0% HR/FB. I have always liked Frazier as a player, but he’s not THIS good. Don’t be surprised to see a slump coming, it is almost inevitable.
- Chris Rusin pitched well for the Cubs in his Major League debut, allowing 1 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 innings against the Brewers. Granted, it was in the Pacific Coast League, but prior to his recall he was sporting a 4.59 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 87-to-52 strikeout-to-walk rate over 133.0 innings at Triple-A. He is an extreme groundball pitcher who had shown better control in prior years, so there could be some slight appeal, but in the majority of formats he can easily be ignored for now.
- It was another poor outing for Ivan Nova, who allowed 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 3, over 6.0 innings. The biggest blow was a grand slam from Kevin Youkilis (1-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 R). It’s the fourth start in his past five where he has allowed at least 4 ER. While his 7.03 ERA in August is his worst in any month, he has posted an ERA above 5.00 and WHIP above 1.50 in every month but one this season (1.26 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in June). We can try to justify it with luck (.331 BABIP), but at this point how can we say anything but that he has just been terrible. It’s hard to trust him.
- Yes it was against the Astros, but are we really going to let that make Adam Wainwright’s performance look any less impressive? He tossed a complete game shutout allowing 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 12, to improve to 12-10 with a 3.65 ERA on the year. He has now allowed 2 ER or less in each of his past seven starts lowering his ERA from 4.62. He clearly is back at full strength and can be considered a fantasy ace once again. Hopefully you acquired him while you could.
- Jake Elmore appears primed to get a lot of playing time with the trade of Stephen Drew (at least until Willie Bloomquist returns from the DL). He went 0-4 yesterday and is hitting just .235 with 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 R and 0 SB in 17 AB since being recalled. He has the potential to give you a little speed, but for the most part he can easily be ignored.
- Dale Thayer blew the save for the Padres, allowing 2 ER on 2 H and 0 BB, striking out 1, over his inning of work. Could Luke Gregerson get the next save chance while Huston Street works his way back? Time will tell, but I wouldn’t call it impossible.
- Just when we want to think Pedro Alvarez has turned the corner, he falls into struggles again. He went 0-3 with 1 R and 2 K yesterday and has now struck out 17 times over his past 10 games (and 25 K over 62 AB while hitting just 2 HR in August). He’s streaky, to say the least, but if he isn’t going to make contact he’s just a low-end option.
- John Jaso went 1-2 with 1 RBI and 1 R while hitting cleanup for the Mariners. In fact, in 26 games as the #4 hitter Jaso has hit .284 with 5 HR, 20 RBI, 15 R and 2 SB. Among the Mariners three catchers (along with Jesus Montero and Miguel Olivo), who would’ve projected Jaso settling into that spot? He isn’t a big bat and I wouldn’t expect too much production moving forward, but he’s clearly worth using right now in 2-catcher formats.
- Tim Lincecum allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.2 innings of work. Yes, there have been a bum or two along the way, but he has lowered his ERA from 6.42 on July 8 down to 5.30. We’d like to see a few more strikeouts, as he has struck out 5 or less in each of his past four starts, but at least he is starting to pitch a little bit better. Until the Ks are there as well, however, it’s impossible to consider him “back”.