by Jimmy Hascup
Is Matt Holliday ever going to cool off? Is Wandy Rodriguez showing the baseball world that he’s no fluke? Would Derek Holland show us why the Rangers refused to include him in a Roy Halladay trade? And would the Yankees be able to complete sweep of the Red Sox? Let’s take a look at these stories and the rest from yesterday’s games:
Washington 9, Arizona 2
• Have the Nationals seriously not lost in August yet? Ryan Zimmerman has quiety put up a very solid season as the Nats’ 3B. After going 3-5 today with 3 runs and 3 RBI, Zimmerman has a .302 average, with 24 HR and 75 RBI this season. He has been on a tear since the All-Star break: .355 average, 10 HR, and 23 RBI. With the way the Mets have been playing, the Nats may soon overtake them!
• Elijah Dukes went 2-5 with 3 RBI on the day. He doesn’t really have great numbers this season: .251, 7 HR, 42 RBI, but does have some power upside. He’s not worth owning now, but I’d keep an eye on him.
• Since being called up when Justin Upton went on the DL on August 6th, Trent Oeltjen has filled in admirably, with hits in every start. He also has a .400 average and 2 HR on the year, after today’s HR and 3-4 performance. The Aussie is known more for his speed and doubles prowess, but is hitting quite well right now. Even after Upton returns, he could stay at LF for Chris Young. Only time will tell.
Detroit 8, Twins 7
• Miguel Cabrera is just 26-years-old, yet it feels like he’s been in the league for decades already. In his 7th season, Cabrera is again on pace for over 30 HR and 100 RBI. After going 2-5 today with a HR and 2 RBI, Cabrera has 23 HR and 67 RBI on the year and is batting .330. He’s an elite option at 1B, yet he often gets overlooked with guys like Pujols and Fielder there.
• In his 2nd start with the Tigers, Jarrod Washburn really didn’t live up to his success with the Mariners. He went 6 innings, allowed 10 H, and 5 ER. We knew the regression was bound to occur.
• Michael Cuddyer had the most noteworthy day for the Twins today, going 4-5 with 2 HR and 3 RBI. He has hits in his last six games, and has a .277 BA with 19 HR and 56 RBI on the year. He’ll need to keep this going if the Twins have any hope of making it to the playoffs this season. Morneau and Mauer can’t do it all by themselves.
Toronto 7, Baltimore 3
• Is that Vernon Wells filling up the boxscore? We expected so much more from Wells this season that even his 2-3, HR, and 3 RBI performance can’t even get fantasy owners’ hopes up. After-all, he has just 12 HR, 47 RBI, and a .259 BA for the entire year. If you have other OF options, I’d definitely use them over Wells at this point.
• There’s not much more I can really say about Roy Halladay that everyone doesn’t know already. The guy just knows how to pitch. Even when he gives up more hits than we’d want, he still manages to get the W. He pitched 8 innings, fanned 4, gave up 9 hits, and allowed 2 ER. He has a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 12-5 record on the season. I’d say pretty good numbers, eh?
• Brian Matusz’ second career start wasn’t nearly as impressive as his first. He failed to get out of the 3rd inning, after allowing 5 ER, 7 hits, and 3 HR in the game. Now is the time for the Orioles to get their youngsters some big league action, but owners will have to deal with the growing pains. Matusz will be a great pitcher one day, but it won’t come right away. Look for a write-up on him in the next day or two.
Florida 12, Philadelphia 3
• On a day in which the top six batters accounted for 16 of the 19 hits and 11 RBI, it’s really hard to single out one guy. The 3rd place hitter does it night in and night out… and it was not different today. Hanley Ramirez went 4-6 with 3 R and 3 RBI. He’s batting an NL-leading .348 on the year. And oh yeah, he stole his 20th base today, too. Is there anything he doesn’t do?
• As a Josh Johnson owner, I can’t help but smile about his dominating season. He’s really turned into a top-flight starter this season – and has the power stuff to remain one for the future. He went 6 innings, K’d 6, and allowed 1 ER. He has a 2.92 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 11 wins on the season and has to be considered a huge steal for fantasy owners this year. In ESPN leagues his ADP was 114.3.
• Not much to speak of for the Phillies today. Moyer was okay, allowing 2 ER in 5 IP, to a tune of 11 hits. Rodrigo Lopez, now in the bullpen, blew it though after giving up 6 ER in two-thirds of an inning.
• Jimmy Rollins went 2-4 today and has hit better in the second half than the first half. .287 average and 6 HR to .227 and 7 HR in the first half. He’s still batting .244 and is a ways away from his expected output after being drafted in the first or second rounds of many leagues this year.
St. Louis 7, Pittsburgh 3
• I go on vacation for a week and Matt Holliday continues to show that his best days in Colorado were no fluke. He’s hitting a remarkable .466 with the Cards and has a .515 OBP. He also has 15 RBI in 15 games. I guess batting behind Pujols really does help!
• By the way, Albert Pujols had 3 RBI on the day, and reached the 100-RBI mark for the ninth straight season. Does this shock anybody?
• Steve Pearce went 1-4 with a HR and 2 RBI and has been given a chance in the second half to earn a spot for next year’s Pirates. He’s still just batting .230 with 2 HR and 6 RBI on the year, but does have some power potential: 13 HR and 18 2B in 273 AB with triple-A. He’s still not an option in any league.
• Zach Duke doesn’t throw hard, nor does he strikeout many batters: 78 in 158.2 IP. But he does understand the art of pitching and has a 3.40 ERA and 1.24 WHIP on the season. He went 7.1 innings and allowed 2 ER and 7 H. Sure, he’s put up respectable numbers for a pretty dreadful team. He just doesn’t do enough in the strikeout department to really entice me, though.
Cleveland 8, Chicago (AL) 4
• Everyone in the Indians’ lineup except for Trevor Crowe had a hit on the night. Jamey Carrol had the best night, going 2-5 with a HR and RBI, but he’s not nearly a fantasy option. Asdrubal Cabrera, 1-4 on the night, has a .344 since the break and has really become a decent SS option in many leagues. While he doesn’t have great pop, 5 HR and 46 RBI, he does have a solid .312 BA and 14 steals. You could do worse.
• Alexei Ramirez, batting in the 8-spot, smacked his 12th HR during his 3-4 affair. He’s battled an ankle injury recently, but needs to improve his .196, 0 HR, 5 RBI output since the break if he wants to reach last season’s totals.
Houston 2, Milwaukee 0
• Wandy Rodriguez continues to amaze. With 11 wins, a 2.51 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 131 K/143.2 IP, Rodriguez has been a number one pitcher this year. He threw 7 innings tonight, giving up nothing. He has a 1.13 ERA and 2 wins since the break. Never did I think he’d be this good this season, but he continues to impress.
• Geoff Blum was all the offense Rodriguez needed. He hit his 7th HR and had the only 2 RBI on the game. He’s not a fantasy option.
• Yovani Gallardo allowed 2 ER in 7 IP tonight, but also issued 4 BB. He has a respectable 3.54 ERA on the year, but his 70 BB and 17 HR in 147.1 IP continue to get him in trouble. Still this was a whole lot better than his last start against the Dodges when he gave up 9 ER in 5.1 IP. He’s 10-9 on the year.
Oakland 6, Kansas City 3
• At just 21-years-old, Brett Anderson has already shown glimpses of being a shut-down starter. He went 6 innings and allowed 3 ER on the night, striking out 5. In his last eight starts, he has a 2.21 ERA, courtesy of ESPN. Since the break he has a 2.86 ERA. He’s really improved since a rough beginning to his career.
• Ryan Sweeney swatted his 5th HR and went 1-3 with 3 RBI on the night. He helps you in the average category (.286 last year and .270 this year), but needs to do a bit more before fitting into fantasy lineups. The A’s just don’t offer fantasy owners many options.
• Billy Butler went 2-4 and is batting .341 since the break. He has a .302 BA, with 13 HR, 57 RBI, and an astounding 36 doubles. Imagine if some of those turned into homeruns? He’s a great buy for this year, but certainly one worth monitoring for next year’s drafts.
Colorado 11, Chicago (NL) 5
• Todd Helton, my comeback player of the year nominee, went 3-4 with 2 R and 2 RBI. Tulowitzki has been a key component for the Rockies’ surge, but Helton has been the backbone of the offense. He doesn’t have the power he once possessed, but a .323 BA, 11 HR, 65 RBI line, is still very solid.
• Carlos Gonzalez, 3-5 with a run and an RBI on the night, hasn’t put together the most amazing season, however he is one guy worth watching for the remainder of the year. He has the ability to hit some HR, steal some bases, and bat for a good average. At 23-years-old he could really blossom next season with some more consistent playing time.
• Milton Bradley went 4-5 with and RBI on the night. He’s hit .304 since the All-Star break, but with a .266 BA, 8 HR, and 28 RBI, Bradley is more of a bench option at this point. If he gets hot, then he’ll be worth starting, but there’s so many ifs associated with him right now.
Texas 7, Los Angeles (AL) 0
• If there’s any question as to why the Texas Rangers didn’t obtain Roy Halladay, look no further. It’s their refusal to include Derek Holland that nixed any potential trade. It’s starts like these that show you what the future could hold for the Holland. He sparkled tonight, pitching a complete game shutout, with 8 strikeouts. He’s been up-and-down this season, but is a definite target for keeper league owners. He’s going to be that good.
• Marlon Byrd, 12 HR-56 RBI on the year, went 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI on the night. He’s really been a great depth OFer this season.
• Despite losing, John Lackey tossed another solid game. He threw 6.2 innings, allowed 4 R (2 ER), and struckout 8. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in his last six starts. He also has four wins during that span, so he’s surely shown he’s going to be a solid starter down the stretch for the Angels.
New York (NL) 5, San Diego 1
• Who do you turn to when you’re about to be swept by the San Diego Padres? Your $137.5 million dollar man, Johan Santana, of course! Santana hasn’t been as sharp this season as last one, but he’s still got a 3.00 ERA and 13 wins on the year. He threw 8 quality innings and allowed 5 H and 1 ER, striking out 4. Don’t let the woeful Mets drag you done, Santana is still a top-notch starter despite some rocky outings recently.
• David Murphy went 2-5, and is batting .252 with 7 HR and 38 RBI on the year. He also has a .316 OBP and .378 SLG. As a first basemen, that’s unacceptable. The Mets can’t seriously use him there next year, can they?
• The Professor-endorsed Kyle Blanks went 2-4 on the night, as he continues to show some signs of the life at the plate. He’s going to be given the chance to play, so we’ll see if he can earn an everyday spot in the OF next year for the Padres.
Cincinnati 5, San Francisco 2
• Adam Harang threw 7 quality innings for the Reds, giving up 2 ER and whiffing 7. He’s still far from consistent on the mound, so I can’t really recommend him at this point, especially if you have to pick and choose your guys if you’re reaching the innings limit in your league. Besides, a 4.43 ERA and 1.43 WHIP just doesn’t cut it for me.
• Wladimir Balentien went 2-3 today and has hit in all five games he’s started since being acquired by the Reds. There’s no question he has some pop: he hit 18 HR in 233 AB in triple-A last season. He did hit .202 last season and .213 this year for the Mariners, however. The Reds should give home some playing time, though.
• Eugenio Velez continued his scorching hot play atop the Giants’ lineup. He went 2-4 today and his batting .382 this month. He’s on a 13-game hitting streak. I’d pick him up for now, but understand you’re really only getting him for his stolen bases. He’s had as many as 64 in the minors.
• Allowing 4 ER in his last start and 5 ER in today’s start, Cain has gone through a rough patch. He fanned 7 today and allowed 2 HR. Those problems should come to a halt when he faces the Mets in CitiField during his next start.
Seattle 11, Tampa Bay 2
• The Mariners bats came to play in full force today. Ichiro went 2-5 with an RBI, Gutierrez 3-5 with a HR and 3 RBI; Jose Lopez 3-5, with an RBI; Mike Sweeney 2-3 with an RBI; Adrian Beltre 2-4; and Russel Branyan 1-4 with a grand slam, rounded out the Mariners offense. It’s hard to pick just one guy to talk about!
• This just isn’t going to be Scott Kazmir’s year, is it? He was slammed today, allowing 7 ER and 9 H in 4.1 IP. He has a 6.50 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. Fantasy owners: stay far away at this point.
Atlanta 8, Los Angeles (NL) 2
• Martin Prado has played everyday for a month and a half now, and is really showing he is quite capable of producing. He went 2-5 with RBI, filling in at 3B for the ailing Chipper Jones. He’s hitting .312 on the year, with 7 HR and 33 RBI. He’s played 1B, 2B, and 3B this season, so his versatility makes him a pretty good play at this point in the season.
• Javier Vazquez is really good, in case you haven’t noticed. After today’s brilliant 8-inning start where he allowed 1 ER and K’d 7, Vazquez has a 2.90 ERA 1.04 WHIP. After last season’s 4.67 ERA with the White Sox, Vazquez owners have to be very pleased with what he’s done this year. It’s been nothing short of dominating.
• Manny Ramirez went 3-4 and really hasn’t been his run-producing self lately. He’s batting .218 with 3 HR and 12 RBI since the break. I’d say a hot streak could be in the making in short order.
New York (AL) 5, Boston 2
• A-Rod broke the 0-0 tie in the 7th inning off of John Lester, hitting his 21st HR. He went 1-3 with 2 R and is now batting .259 on the year. A-Rod continues to show the power, but it’d be nice if he boosted that average.
• The middle of the order continues to do what it’s paid to do for the Bronx Bombers. Mark Teixeira broke a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning when he hit his 29th HR off of Daniel Bard. He went 2-4 on the night and is definitely a top option at 1B. He has 83 RBI and a .286 BA on the season.
• Jon Lester was not the reason the Red Sox lost tonight, as he tossed 7 innings, allowing just the HR to A-Rod, while striking out 7. Since a rough April and May, Lester has really turned the corner this year. He now has a 3.67 ERA, along with a 1.27 WHIP. He also has 165 strikeouts in 147 IP.
• Victor Martinez hit his 2nd HR with the Sox, going 1-4 with 2 RBI on the night. He’s going to have to keep hitting with David Ortiz struggling and Jason Bay searching for that first half magic.
What do you guys think? Any big stories you followed? Anything I totally missed?