John Smoltz returned to the NL and dazzled. Brandon Phillips & Johnny Damon returned to the line-up. Scott Feldman put up the start of the day. Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.
Cleveland 6, Seattle 1
- Felix Hernandez allowed 6 runs (3 earned) on 9 hits and 0 walks, striking out 6, over 6 innings. He clearly didn’t pitch poorly, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings, before his defense betrayed him. He has been spectacular this season, finally fully showing his potential, and has emerged as a fantasy ace at this point. It’ll certainly be interesting to see where he falls on our SP rankings for 2010, but he has about 6 more weeks to cement his spot.
- Jhonny Peralta went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. I know he’s been disappointing this season, with just 10 HR and 67 RBI, but he has actually been on fire at the plate since the All-Star Break, now hitting .324 with 4 HR and 29 RBI. While he hasn’t been among the elite SS (though he’s playing 3B now), he’s still worth using in all deeper formats.
- Fausto Carmona allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 8, over 7 innings. It’s his first win since returning on 7/31, but he really has not been terrible, sporting an ERA of 2.79 over 29 innings. His WHIP, however, has been 1.48, so don’t get too excited quite yet. His next start does come against Baltimore, making him worth considering, but it clearly is a gamble. If you have another usable option, I’d probably still stick with it.
- Vladimir Guerrero went 3-5 with 1 R, giving him a modest 3-game hitting streak. He’s gone 6-14 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 4 R over the stretch and hopefully will be able to continue this stretch and reward his owners for their patience.
- Travis Snider went 3-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R. He had been struggling since returning to the majors, going 3-15 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R prior to this performance. We all know about his potential, so those in deeper leagues clearly need to own him just in case he finally puts it together.
- Ricky Romero got the win, giving up 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2, over 6 innings. He hasn’t really been good of late, and even in this one the WHIP is not what owners are looking for. He wouldn’t be my top choice, and I definitely would have him on my bench for his next start, which comes in Boston (who he has a 10.50 ERA in 3 starts this season).
- Scott Feldman went 7 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 11, over 7 innings to improve to 13-4 with a 3.87 ERA on the season. He hasn’t been lights out of late (had given up 4 earned runs or more in three of his previous five starts) and hadn’t been an electric strikeout performer (entered with 75 K over 137.1 innings). Still, he improved on the 1.27 WHIP that he entered with and you cannot complain with the results that he’s given. His next start comes in Minnesota, who he has a 6.17 ERA against in 2 starts this season.
- David Price was not bad, giving up 3 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4, over 7 innings, but it wasn’t good enough on this day. He continues to pitch great at home, though struggling mightily on the road. At this point, he’s a pitcher that can be used half the time, so make sure you have sufficient depth if you own him.
- Adam Jones went 1-1 with 1 RBI, but was forced from the game due to a stiff back. Those in weekly formats find themselves in quite a dilemma, but if you have a healthy alternative I’d consider going to him.
- Mark Buehrle allowed 5 runs on 11 hits and 0 walks, striking out 4, over 5.1 innings. In six starts since his perfect game, he’s only once allowed less than 4 earned runs in a start. His ERA, which was once 3.28 now stands at 3.92. At this point, he no longer should be considered a must start option, though it is quite likely that he gets himself straightened out. He’s had an ERA under 4.00 each of the past two seasons, a trend that I would expect to continue.
- Brian Roberts, who had his 11-game hitting streak snapped yesterday, wasted no time in getting a new streak started. He went 3-4 with 2 R and 1 SB in the game.
- Michael Cuddyer went 3-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. He’s now hit three home runs in his last two games, going 5-9 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 3 R. Like I’ve said, he’s usable in deeper formats, though I’m not sure this recent power surge can be expected to continue. Still, with 73 R and a solid average, he clearly is helpful.
- Denard Span went 2-5 with 3 RBI and 1 R. That gives him six multi-hit games in his last eight, as he seems to be heating up.
- Brian Bannister allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk, striking out 2, over 6 innings. That’s four straight starts allowing 4 earned runs or more, giving up 24 runs over 23 innings. Considering his lack of strikeout potential, these struggles have basically caused him to become unusable. While his next start would appear favorable against the Mariners, he’s set to square off with Felix Hernandez making it tough to imagine a victory. I’d leave him on your bench if you own him, though he’s more suitable for the waiver wire.
- Rick Porcello allowed 5 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk, striking out 1, over 5.1 innings. There’s been talk of limiting him moving forward, so keep that in mind. He’s only gone more than 5.2 innings once in his last 11 starts, so that is something else that needs to be noted, as it makes it difficult to get wins. Couple that with a lack of strikeout potential and the fact that he’s a young pitcher (meaning he’s likely to be inconsistent) makes him only worth using in the deepest of formats. That’s not to say that keeper league owners shouldn’t keep him stashed away, but he’s best for your bench.
- Jack Cust went 3-3 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R. In his last four games he’s gone 8-11 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 5 R. Think he’s feeling the pressure of Brett Wallace raking at Triple-A?
- Brett Tomko posted his second straight strong start, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 8, over 6 innings. Does anyone really expect him to be able to continue this, though? I wouldn’t consider using him against the Angels his next itme out.
- Johnny Damon returned to the line-up to go 2-4 with 2 R. Owners should feel comfortable returning him to their line-up.
- Hideki Matsui went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. That’s his third 2 HR game in his last 7, though that’s about all he’s done of late. In the four games he hasn’t homered in, he’s gone 2-17 with 1 RBI and 0 R. I wouldn’t let this recent power surge make you change your views on him. He’s only worth using in deeper formats.
- Josh Beckett hung around to go 8 innings giving up 8 runs on 9 hits and 0 walks, striking out 5. I say hung on because he allowed at least one run in each of the first five innings. That’s back-to-back sub par starts, but I would expect him to get things back on track soon enough. He’s too good to bench, so just keep throwing him out there at this point.
- Pedro Martinez improved to 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA after allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, striking out 5, over 6 innings against his former teammates (well, whichever are not on the DL). It was not an overly impressive outing, but he got the job done. He clearly hasn’t been impressive at all since making his debut, and with a match-up against Tommy Hanson and the Braves next on the calendar, he’s better off being on bench at this point. He has the potential to put up some good starts, and clearly should get some wins, but he is a huge gamble and one that is probably not worth taking.
- Oliver Perez allowed 6 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 0, over 0.2 innings. In fact, he was pulled from the game with a 3-0 count against Pedro Martinez. It’s an embarassing move, but one that was deserved. He has been awful this season and continues to prove that the money the Mets spent on him was a huge mistake. He probably shouldn’t be starting for the Mets right now and clearly should not be in your active line-up for any reason.
- Angel Pagan went 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 3 R. Nice game, but he’s only worth using in 5-outfielder formats.
- Luis Castillo went 3-4 with 1 RBI, 2 R and 2 SB. He not only has a 6-game hitting streak going, but every game has been a multi-hit game as well. Over the streak he’s gone 14-23 with 4 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB. Clearly, he’s not providing much in the other categories, but with the way he’s hitting he’s worth using. Just don’t expect it to continue for long, so be prepared to cut bait and move on. He offers no power, little RBI potential and with an anemic Mets offense, not many runs scored.
- Manny Parra allowed 8 runs (5 earned) on 8 hits and 1 walk, striking out 0, over 3.1 innings to fall to 8-10 with a 6.54 ERA on the season. Is there anyone out there who actually trusts him at this point? I certainly don’t and wouldn’t use him in any format.
- Adam Dunn miraculously just keeps hitting. He went 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, raising his average to .288. Is there any possible way he can continue this? As we said recently, he’s been incredibly lucky in August, so I wouldn’t count on it.
- Ryan Zimmerman went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R. That gives him home runs in two of his last three games and he is now hitting .301 with 26 HR and 85 RBI. He really has emerged as one of the top offensive third baseman in the league. How high would you rank him at this point?
- Brandon Phillips was again in the line-up, going 2-5 with 2 RBI and 1 SB. Owners can relax, he appears to be healthy and is a must play in all formats.
- Homer Bailey allowed 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks, striking out 4, over 7 innings. That’s a nice line, but considering how bad he’s been since being recalled it is far from enough to try to convince me to use him. His next start comes against the Dodgers and things could once again get ugly for him.
- Andrew McCutchen went 1-2 with 1 R and 1 SB, giving him a six-game hitting streak. Over the streak he’s gone 6-22 with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R and 2 SB. He’s clearly proven to be a usable option in all five-outfielder formats.
- Ricky Nolasco just didn’t have it, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4, over 4.1 innings. He’s been widly inconsistent of late, lasting just 3.1 innings two starts ago before tossing a complete game with 10 strikeouts last time out. His next start comes against the Padres, so he’s worth using and just hope that he can once again get himself straightened out.
- Brian McCann went 3-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 1 R putting him at .287 with 16 HR and 67 RBI on the season. At least a few catchers have lived up to their billing among the tops in the game this season.
- Derek Lowe allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 9 hits and 1 walk, striking out 3, over 5 innings of work. What happened to the pitcher with a 3.10 April ERA and 3.76 May ERA? He’s really been struggling, but he has the potential to turn it around quickly.
- Ryan Roberts went 4-5 with 1 RBI and 2 R. He’s now hitting .291 with 5 HR, 15 RBI, 28 R and 6 SB. While it was a nice game, he really doesn’t appear to offer much outside of a decent average to be considered usable.
- Miguel Montero went 1-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R as he continues to emerge as a solid catching option in all formats. With the number of top catchers who have severely under-performed this season, he really has been a savior for many owners.
- Bud Norris struggled, giving up 6 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out 1, over 1 innings. After a great start, it’s been continuos struggles in his last three outings, allowing 15 earned runs over his last 11.2 innings. His next start is currently scheduled to be a rematch with the Diamondbacks and considering the results with this start, there’s no way I’d even consider him.
- Tim Lincecum allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks, striking out 7, over 7 innings. You can’t say that he struggled, but he clearly was not at his best for the second consecutive start. Is there anything to worry about? No, I don’t think so. He’s proven that he is among the Top 2 or 3 pitchers in baseball and he should get things back on track very quickly.
- Ubaldo Jimenez allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 9, over 8 innings to improve to 12-9 with a 3.36 ERA. He really has been tremendous of late, allowing 3 earned runs or less in each of his last 9 starts and clearly is a must start pitcher at this point.
- John Smoltz took the mound for the Cardinals with something to prove. We all know he was terrible in Boston, but he went out and tossed 5 shutout innings giving up just 3 hits and 0 walks, striking out 9. It’s easy to point to the fact that he was facing against one of the worst offenses in baseball, but 9 Ks? It’s an amazing turnaround and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue it in his next start against the Nationals. Is he a full-time option? Absolutely not, but the start does at least put him back on the radar as a potential option in all formats. If you need a starter, I could see using him, but if you are not desperate just keep him stashed to be sure he’s turned things around.
- Tony Gwynn Jr. went 1-3 as he continues to struggle of late. Since 8/2, he’s gone 11-61 with 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 R and 2 SB. Needless to say, he’s got no value in any format right now.
- Kyle Blanks didn’t start, but he did enter the game as a pinch hitter, going 0-1. At least he was out there.
- Albert Pujols went 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R on the season putting him at .317 with 40 HR and 106 RBI on the year. He’s simply amazing, isn’t he?
- Carlos Marmol got the opportunity for the save, pitching a perfect ninth with 2 Ks to shut it down. Could being in the ninth help him alleviate his control issues? He threw 16 pitcher, 12 of which were strikes. I wouldn’t go so far to say that he’s found his control, but it certainly is a great outing for him.
- Chad Billingsley allowed 3 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk, striking out 5, over 6 innings to take the loss. Clearly it was too many base runners, but owners have to be relieved with the Ks after only having 4 Ks over his previous 12 innings (two starts). He really wasn’t awful, so just keep using him in all formats as he has emerged as a Top 25 starting pitcher this season.
What do you think? What was the biggest story from yesterday? Was there something I missed?
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