It was a day highlighted by dominant performances by Cy Young candidates (Gio Gonzalez & R.A. Dickey), though those were far from the only stories. Both Josh Reddick and Kendrys Morales continued to roll. Mark Rogers ended his season on a high note. Roy Halladay had another sub par outing. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
- Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays – Starting Pitcher – Both Brandon Morrow (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 K, W) and Hellickson (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 K) pitched well last night. I continue to wait for the other shoe to drop with Hellickson, yet he continues to get the job done (the following numbers are all entering last night’s start). He’s not striking out a ton of batters (5.88 K/9) and is getting hit relatively hard (21.1%), yet he has a below average BABIP (.259) and strand rate (80.7%). It’s the second straight season so do we consider it luck or skill? At this point it’s hard to call it luck, considering it’s been going on for two years, but I still have my reservations.
More Quick Thoughts:
- The Cubs may have won, led by Anthony Rizzo (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) and Alfonso Soriano (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R), but it wasn’t all positive. Josh Vitters went 0-4 with 1 K, leaving him at .086 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in 58 AB since being recalled. He is now hitless in his past 17 AB and, while there is still upside, there is no guarantee he is going to get much upside going forward. Granted, the Cubs have no reason not to give him a chance, but they also don’t want to kill his confidence. He’s worth stashing, but I wouldn’t plan on using him in any format over the final month.
- Miguel Gonzalez dominated the Yankees, tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, to improve to 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA. He had shown signs of regressing recently, having allowed 4+ ER in three of his previous six starts. He also entered with a .268 BABIP and 83.1% strand rate. He’s a great story, but I wouldn’t expect it to continue for too long.
- The resurgence of Ike Davis continued last night, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. He’s now hitting .224, which may not sound like much but remember he was hitting under .160 as recently as June 8. In 160 AB since the All-Star Break he has hit 13 HR with 25 RBI and is hitting over .260. In other words, he’s finally performing as we would’ve expected. Whether it was rust from missing the bulk of 2011, the effects of Valley Fever or just a historic slump, it’s safe to say Davis should be a viable option moving forward.
- R.A. Dickey continues his Cy Young bid, tossing a complete game shutout against the Marlins allowing 5 H and 3 BB, striking out 7. Who would’ve predicted him entering September with 17 W and a 2.63 ERA?
- It has been a very successful bounce back campaign for Alex Rios, though things weren’t quite as positive in August. He finishes the month hitting .255 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. Hopefully he can get things turned back around, but it is hard to consider it a lock to happen. That said, he’s showed way too much good to turn your back on him now.
- While the Washington Nationals scored 10 runs (torching Adam Wainwright, who allowed 6 ER on 9 H and 3 BB in just 2.2 innings), the story of the game was Gio Gonzalez. He tossed a complete game shutout, allowing 5 H and 3 BB while striking out 8. It is not a surprise that his strikeouts have improved with the jump to the NL (9.41 K/9), but the fact that he has improved his control is the key (3.37 BB/9). If he can continue with the latter he is going to be one of the elite pitchers in the game.
- I know the Indians have struggled with their offense this season, but Michael Brantley is not the answer in the cleanup spot. He went 0-3 yesterday and is now hitting .285 with 6 HR and 55 RBI in 485 AB. I know he does have 35 doubles and 4 triples, but it’s not enough. Unless Carlos Santana picks it up (which he should), the team needs to find a legitimate thumper for 2013 to work out their lineup.
- Craig Kimbrel blew a save… It happens so rarely that it is notable, but it’s going to happen. Obviously, there is no reason to panic.
- Roy Halladay is having a down season. It’s a pretty obvious statement, as all you need to do is look at the numbers. Last night he allowed 4 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 4.2 innings of work. It’s the second time this season he has walked 4 batters in a start. From 2009-2011 he walked that many batters in a start just once (in September of ’11). How much more do you need to know about his year? He’s still one of the elite, as he is sporting a 1.13 WHIP despite a 4.02 ERA.
- Zack Cozart capped one of his better months of the season by going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, closing out August hitting .267 with 5 HR, 11 RBI, 15 R and 1 SB. The problem is he is still not getting on base enough, with a .288 OBP for the month. The fact is that the Reds have him hitting leadoff, where he doesn’t really belong. The key number is his 100 K in 511 AB. He’ll need to cut that down if he wants to succeed, otherwise he is going to be another version of Drew Stubbs (though with fewer SB).
- It’s always nice to end your season on a high note, isn’t it? Mark Rogers allowed 1 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 5.1 innings to win his final three starts (it was revealed that he would be shut down due to an innings limit). He finishes by posting a 3.92 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 39.0 innings for the Brewers. Once a top prospect, he showed his strikeout stuff (9.46 K/9) along with better control than anticipated (3.23 BB/9). Obviously, unless you are in an extremely deep format it is safe to cut bait for the rest of this season. While the control may regress in 2013, he’s going to be a low-end pitcher worth having on your radar as he should open the year in the Brewers’ rotation. We’ll obviously talk about him a lot more in the coming months.
- Carlos Quentin went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R last night. In 255 AB for the Padres he is now hitting .267 with 15 HR. However, the splits are telling for him as he is hitting .293 with 9 HR on the road and .231 with 6 HR at Petco Park. Considering his 49.3% fly ball rate, that’s not a huge surprise. He’s going to hit some balls out of his home ballpark, but the more he puts in the air the worse his BABIP is likely to be (currently at .257).
- The Oakland A’s torched the Red Sox for 20 runs on 19 hits last night. Leading the charge was a rejuvenated Josh Reddick, who went 2-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. He now has 2 HR and 7 RBI in his past two games and is 14-28 with 3 HR, 9 RBI and 6 R over his current six game hitting streak. Also worth mentioning is George Kottaras, who went 3-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R. It’s a big game for him, but I would still consider Derek Norris the top catcher in Oakland. However, if Kottaras gets hot don’t think the A’s won’t start to give him more playing time (of course, he is a career .221 hitter).
- It is nice to see Kendrys Morales producing, isn’t it? He went 2-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R yesterday, giving him home runs in back-to-back games (4-9, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R). In 149 AB since the All-Star Break he has 10 HR and 29 RBI (he had 8 HR and 33 RBI in 246 AB in the first half). He may never be the same player he was, but he clearly still has the potential to be productive. Ride him while he’s hot.