Gavin Floyd, Yovani Gallardo & Johan Santana were among those who dazzled on the mound. Michael Young continued to turn back the clock at the plate. Corey Hart has finally gotten things going. Let’s look at these stores and all the rest from yesterday’s games:
Baltimore 7, Kansas City 3
- Luke Hochevar got bombed for 7 runs on 11 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4, over 6 innings. He had won four straight starts, including his 13 K performance, but he’s certainly had plenty of bad moments. In fact, in his last four starts he’s allowed four or more runs three times. He’s been way to sporadic to be considered usable in mixed leagues.
- Aubrey Huff went 2-4 with 3 RBI. He hadn’t had an RBI in 9 games, but now has four over his past two. While he’s struggling with a .250 average, he does have 11 HR and more importantly 61 RBI, which certainly helps keep him as a usable option as a corner infielder in deeper formats.
- Gio Gonzalez allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks, striking out 8, over 5.1 innings. While the Ks are nice, do you really like any of those other numbers? He has just not yet put it together and while he has upside, isn’t worth using at this point.
- David Ortiz went 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. He had been 1-13 over his past four games and while he’s certainly better then he was earlier in the season, it’s not like he is playing like the Ortiz of old at this point. He came into the game hitting just .238 since the All-Star Break with 1 HR and 8 RBI.
- What happened to Jon Lester the strikeout artist? He went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 2. In fact, this was his worst strikeout performance of the season, as his previous low had been 4 (three times). He had struck out at least 8 in each of his last four starts.
- Derek Holland finally showed the talent he has. He went 8.2 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 1 walk, striking out 10. He threw 118 pitches, 82 of which for strikes. Remember, despite his struggles this season (6.13 ERA, 1.62 WHIP), he was one of the best pitching prospects in the game prior to the season. Last season he compiled a 13-1 record with a 2.27 ERA across three levels, including a 0.69 ERA at Double-A. He has the potential to completely turn things around, so certainly keep an eye on him. Of course, one start against the Mariners isn’t enough to bank on, but it’s something he can build upon. His next start comes in Oakland.
- Michael Young went 3-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R. Will he ever slow down? He has far exceeded all expectations, now hitting .326 with 16 HR and 47 RBI. Who’d have thought it possible, considering he has already exceeded his home run totals for the past three seasons.
- Gavin Floyd deserved a win. There’s no other way to say it. He left with a 2-1 lead, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 10, over 7.2 innings, but the bullpen let it slip away in the top of the ninth. As an owner of him (and of Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday), this certainly is extremely frustrating, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s just part of the game. Floyd is clearly a solid play in all options at this point.
- It wasn’t Bobby Jenks who let the game go, as he was unavailable due to kidney stones. It was Matt Thornton, who ultimately got credited with the win. Jenks should return to the closer’s role shortly.
- Johan Santana clearly was the story in this one, tossing 7 shutout innings allowing 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 8. There had been a lot of concern regarding him, as he hadn’t had more than 5 Ks in a start since whiffing 11 on May 27 (10 starts). Over that span he had gone 4-6 while allowing 32 earned runs over 61 innings (4.72 ERA). He’s long proven to be one of the best second half pitchers in baseball, so I certainly wouldn’t entertain selling low on him. His next start is scheduled against the Cardinals.
- Will Jorge De La Rosa ever lose again? He was solid once again, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5, over 6.1 innings to improve to 9-7. He’s won his last seven starts (with a one inning relief appearance sandwiched in). Owners appear skeptical, as he’s still only owned in 65% of CBS leagues, but by now he should’ve proven that he’s worthy in all formats. Forget about the wins, he’s now struck out 117 batters in 117.1 innings. A starting pitcher, who is pitching well, with the ability to strikeout a batter per inning is a must own. That’s the bottom line.
- Jonathan Niese pitched well for a while, but ultimately gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks, striking out 3, over 6.1 innings. He’s a risk, but he clearly is pitching better then he was earlier in the season. He has the potential to be usable, so deeper formats can take the flier on him.
- Will Venable was the big bat for the Padres, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R. This could earn him a bit more playing time, but time will tell. He had just 2 AB over the past two games and was 2-21 since July 18. If he’s playing he could prove to have value in five outfielder formats, but at this point he’s not close.
- Tim Stauffer allowed 1 run on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4, over 7 innings to improve to 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA. Don’t be fooled by the numbers. From 2005-2007 he posted ERAs of 5.15, 5.35 & 4.35 at Triple-A before missing all of 2008. I know he’s pitching well, but he appears to be a ticking time bomb.
- Johnny Cueto’s struggles continue, allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3, over 5 innings. His ERA, which was 2.69 on 7/1, now is sitting at 4.06. Needless to say, no matter what the format, your other options will determine if Cueto is still usable or if he should be slotted on your bench.
- Nyjer Morgan just continues to produce, going 3-4 with 1 R and 1 SB. With a .310 average, 32 SB and 58 R, he’s a usable speed option in all formats.
- Corey Hart went 2-4 with 1 R, giving him a 5-game hitting streak and a 6-game runs scored streak. Over the hitting streak he’s gone 7-20 with 2 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R and 1 SB. He may finally be coming around so make sure he is active in all formats. Despite his struggles, he still could be at least a 20/15 player, currently at 11 HR and 8 SB.
- Yovani Gallardo allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 11, over 7 innings to improve to 10-7 with a 3.13 ERA. I’ll keep saying it, he has emerged as one of the elite.
- Kosuke Fukudome had the biggest day for the Cubs, going 3-3 with 4 RBI and 2 R, falling a home run shy of the cycle. He’s obviously not a great option in shallower formats, but in five outfielder leagues he certainly could be used. He had been struggling, but since 7/17 he’s gone 19-44 with 0 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R and 0 SB. Granted, that isn’t the greatest production, but if you need a fill-in you could do worse.
- Kevin Hart allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4, over 6 innings to improve to 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA. His reward? Being traded to the Pirates as part of the deal that brought John Grabow and tom Gorzelanny to Chicago. If Hart had any fantasy value (and it was minimal given an expected regression), it is even lower today.
- Javier Vazquez allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 8, over 7.1 innings. That makes 158 Ks over 140.1 innings as he continues to excel. His next start comes in San Diego, so another big outing could be in his future.
- Brian McCann went 3-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R to put him at .303 with 12 HR and 52 RBI on the season. He continues to prove that he is among the top two catchers in baseball, doesn’t he. Would anyone argue that?
- Rafael Soriano bounced back from a tough outing, giving up 2 runs over 0.1 innings in a loss, to allow 1 hit and strikeout 3 to notch his 15th save. Use him as a #2 closer in all formats with confidence.
- Matt Kemp went 3-5 with 3 RBI. He’s now on a five-game hitting streak, going 8-22 with 4 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB. Obviously, you’d like to see more production, but given his .316, 13 HR, 59 RBI, 57 R and 22 SB line, he’s been tremendous all year long. It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned it, but why is he still batting near the bottom of the order? Anyone have an explanation?
- Rick Ankiel went 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. He’s certainly been heating up, going 14-34 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 6 R since 7/20. Slowly but surely, he’s proving that he will once again have value in five outfielder formats, so if he’s available I’d grab him if you need a boost in power.
- Rodrigo Lopez allowed 7 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2, over 4 innings. I know the earned runs weren’t plentiful, but it still was not a pretty start. His days in the rotation should be numbered, anyways, with Cliff Lee & Pedro Martinez in the mix now, so disregard him in all formats.
- Jonathan Sanchez had one of his good starts, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7, over 5.2 innings. It’s too hard to trust him, knowing he could get blown up at any time.
- Eugenio Velez is trying to earn additional playing time. He went 3-5 with 3 RBI and 2 R. Since returning to the team he’s gone 8-15 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R. That’s certainly a great way to do it, but it’s still unlikely he gets to continue to start. See what happens, but he’s not likely to be worth using.
What do you think? What was the biggest story from yesterday? Was there something I missed?
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