Roy Halladay was solid in his return from the DL. Jon Lester & Ricky Nolasco continued their impressive turnarounds. A few days off did not help Nelson Cruz get things going again. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.
Chicago (AL) 6, Cleveland 3
- Gavin Floyd continued his tremendous stretch, tossing 7.2 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He hasn’t allowed more than 1 earned run in each of his past five starts. Over his past 8, he’s gone 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA. On 5/17 his ERA was a robust 7.71, but now it is at 4.12. Needless to say, he’s one of the hottest pitchers in baseball and is a must play in all formats right now.
- It has become clear that Gordon Beckham is currently the White Sox starting 3B. He went 3-3 with 2 RBI and now has hits in his last four games. If you own Josh Fields, slide him to your bench.
- Victor Martinez went 0-4, dropping him to 3-31 over his last eight games. Everyone is going to go through cold streaks, so don’t get too worried quite yet. He’s had a remarkable bounce back season and remains a must start in all formats.
Boston 4, Baltimore 0
- Jon Lester tossed 7 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits and 0 walks, striking out 8. He had an ERA of 6.07 on 5/26, but now it is sitting at 4.35. That tells you all you need to know about how he’s pitching right now. Needless to say, he’s a must start option.
- The Red Sox utilized J.D. Drew as the leadoff hitter for the second time this season and he responded, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. If he stays there for any length of time, his fantasy value is going to greatly increase thanks to the improved runs potential. If you are in a five outfielder format and he’s available, I’d certainly grab him immediately.
- Matt Wieters went 1-4 and is now hitting .235. Is anyone concerned yet?
Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 1
- Roy Halladay returned from the DL to pitch well, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7, over 6 innings of work. Like I said when I discussed the potential 2-start pitchers late last week, he’s one of the few exceptions when it comes to pitchers I’d start immediately off the DL. He proved it with this one and of course is a must start in all formats. This was a tough-luck lost, but that’s going to happen.
- Scott Rolen went 1-4, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Any guess as to when it will end?
- Jeff Niemann was tremendous, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 1, over 7.1 innings to improve to 7-4 with a 3.95 ERA on the season. His WHIP is still an unusable number (he entered with a 1.47), and he is a low-end strikeout option at best, with 45 K over 79.2 innings. That makes him only a real option for the deepest of formats and AL-only leagues.
- Carl Crawford has been on fire of late. He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday. He’s now on an 8-game hitting streak, going 15-32 with 1 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R and 3 SB. Do I really need to say that he’s a must use option?
- Kendry Morales now has a modest 4-game hitting streak, after going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. Over that stretch he’s 7-15 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R. Since June 12 he’s gone 18-49 with 5 HR, 9 RBI and 10 R. He hasn’t been the model of consistency, but while he’s hitting like this he’s clearly worth using in all formats, especially as a short-term fill-in. Be prepared to replace him once things start to turn, however.
- What happened to all the Nelson Cruz talk? He returned to the line-up after a few days off to go 1-3. Since 6/8 he’s gone just 8-61 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 8 R. He’s seen his average drop from .292 all the way down to .259. Obviously, all players are going to struggle from time-to-time, so be patient at this point and hope it doesn’t stretch much longer.
- Vicente Padilla allowed 5 runs on 10 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5, over 5 innings to take the loss. He had been pitching well, but did anyone really want to trust him? He’s one of those pitchers not to bother with.
- Joe Mauer went 0-4, dropping his average to .386. It was less then two weeks ago that he went 4-4 to raise his average to .429. Obviously, he’s a catcher, and no one could really expect him to be sitting that high forever, right?
- Miguel Olivo went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. He’s now at .262 with 12 HR and 32 RBI on the season, clearly emerging as a catching option in all 2-catcher formats.
- Luke Hochevar tossed 7 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits and 4 walks, striking out 2, to even his record at 3-3 on the season. Since returning from the minor leagues he’s been great in four of his five starts, compiling an ERA of 2.98 while going 3-1. It’s that one terrible start that has to have you worried, because it shows how inconsistent he can be. He’s also struggled with strikeouts, with 4 Ks being his major league season high. He may be usable in the absolute deepest of formats, but he’s probably better suited for AL-only leagues until he proves to be a consistent option. His next start is a tough match-up with Gavin Floyd.
- Is the blook off the rose for Rick Porcello? He allowed 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, striking out 0, over 4.1 innings. It’s one start, so obviously I wouldn’t panic, as he definitely has been solid all season long. His biggest issue is the lack of Ks, only twice striking out 5 batters in a game and never more than that. That’s the biggest reason why he hasn’t emerged as a top option and is more of a lower-end guy in shallower formats.
- Brett Anderson allowed 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 7, over 5.1 innings to improve to 4-7. The result was good, but the WHIP was terrible. Considering his 5.45 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, is there any questioning how usable he is? There are certainly better options that are available to you.
- Rich Harden allowed 1 run on 9 hits and 1 walk, striking out 9, over 7 innings of work. Obviously, the hits are a bit on the high side, but you can’t get everything, can you? It’s his first win since 5/12, but don’t forget he missed some time due to injury (shocking, I know). Starts like this show you why he is a must start option when he’s actually healthy and takes the mound.
- Freddy Sanchez went 0-4. I know he’s hitting .308 on the season, but a #3 hitter? Really? He has just 6 HR and 31 RBI on the season, so I wouldn’t call him your prototypical bat for that spot. He also has little speed, with just 4 SB. The 40 runs are nice, but without the power or speed, he’s still just a low-end option in all formats.
- Another quality start for Zach Duke, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, striking out 3, over 7 innings. He’s just 8-6, but has done so with a 3.13 ERA. How many wins do you think he’d have on another team? I know the strikeouts are borderline, with 54 in 112 innings, but with the ERA and WHIP (he entered at 1.19), he’s a usable pitcher in all formats.
- The unbelievable streak of Fernando Nieve came to a crashing halt in this one. He lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up 3 runs on 11 hits and 1 walk, striking out 1. Did anyone really expect him to continue the way he had? With his next start coming in Philadelphia, it’s definitely possible that the decline continues. You never know, but I wouldn’t recommend using him.
- Gary Sheffield went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. He is the only big bat in the Mets line-up, and while he’s going to get an occassional day of rest, he really is a must use option in five outfielder formats. He’s proven that he still has plenty left in the tank, now with 10 HR and 30 RBI on the season.
- David Wright went 1-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R. That’s snaps a 9-game RBI drought. The Mets desperately need someone else in the line-up to get scorching hot, forcing teams to pitch more to Wright.
- J.J. Hardy went 4-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R. He’s gone 8-17 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R over his last four games. Is this the breakout we’ve been waiting for? I’d get him in my line-up, especially in deeper formats, just in case.
- Scott Olsen returned from the DL to allow 2 runs on 6 hits and 0 walks, striking out 7, over 7 innings. That’s a great return, but he has never proven to be a very dependable option. It’s going to take a lot more than this to convince me that he is a usable option.
- Ricky Nolasco continues his hot streak, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 0 walks, striking out 8, over 8 innings to win his third consecutive start. Since returning from the minors he’s allowed just 7 earned runs over 33 innings. Needless to say, if you stayed patient with him, you are receiving a nice return right now.
- Dan Meyer started the ninth, getting two outs but also giving up two hits. The team then called on Leo Nunez, who recorded the final out to record the save. Who is going to get the bulk of the save opportunities? Stay tuned.
- What a shock, the major story for the Giants was Tim Lincecum, who tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just 2 hits and 0 walks, striking out 8. He’s now 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA on the season. He’s won 4 of his last 5 starts and has struck out 29 over his last three starts. I can go on for hours about all the positives, so let’s stop there. I’m sure in five says, we’ll be going through something similar again.
- Mark DeRosa started at 3B, but shifted to 1B as they gave Albert Pujols a little time off. He also batted second. This seems to be the situation we’ll see him in most moving forward.
- Hunter Pence went 1-4, hitting sixth in the line-up. Over his past seven games he’s gone 6-28 (.214 average) without an multi-hit game. His average was down to .315, though a dip was something that was too be expected. He’s a must use option in all formats and definitely should be getting hot again soon.
- Roy Oswalt went the distance, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 8. He’s finally strung together back-to-back good starts, arguably for the first time all season. He’s a solid option in all formats, though a second straight win could be tough to come by. His next start is a match-up with Tim Lincecum.
- Kyle Blanks was not in the Padres line-up, with Tony Gwynn Jr. in RF, Scott Hairston in CF and Chase Headley in LF. Don’t give up on him yet. If he gets the chance to play and hits, he’s going to be in the line-up every day. Just keep him stashed in all formats.
- Garrett Atkins was back in the Rockies line-up, playing 3B and batting clean-up. Of course, he went 0-3.
- Ubaldo Jimenez went 7 strong innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4. He’s been up-and-down over his past seven starts, allowing 4 earned runs three times while going 3-2. Readers of the site know my overall feelings on him, though I will admit he’s proven to be a usable option at this point. I’d be skeptical and proceed carefully, however. His next start is a tough one against Dan Haren.
- Andre Ethier went 2-6 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, with the big hit coming in the 13th inning to win the game. He had been 0-7 since his big, three home run game, so seeing him get a few hits is definitely a good sign. With Manny Ramirez on the verge of returning to the line-up, Ethier could be primed for a huge stretch once again. He was a must own before that, this is just a little something extra for him.
Anyone have any thoughts? Anything to add?
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