It was another great day around the league, so let’s take a look at all the stories from yesterday’s games:
Austin Jackson Hitting the Skids
Austin Jackson went 0-4 with 1 RBI and is now hitting just .170 on the year with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R and 2 SB. In fact, he his hitless in his last three starts (0-11). He only has one multi-hit game on the season and only three extra base hits (1 double and 1 triple to go with the home run).
However, the most disturbing number is the strikeouts, with 17 K in his first 53 AB. That’s good for a 32.1% strikeout rate, the 13th worst mark in the league.
How long can the Tigers go with that atop their lineup? Yes, he is walking a little bit (6 walks), and he is suffering from some bad luck (.229). That’s the extreme opposite of his incredible luck in ’10 (.396), though we all knew that number couldn’t possibly continue.
The Tigers are a team vying to win in 2011 and it’s hard to imagine them sticking with Jackson for long if the struggles continue. This really shouldn’t come as a major surprise, considering the luck last season. He shouldn’t be in starting lineups until he proves otherwise.
- It appears that Matt LaPorta is beginning to put things together at the plate. He had his second consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-4 with 2 RBI. While he hasn’t come close to expectations, there still is plenty of talent there. Keep an eye on him in all deeper mixed league formats, as he certainly has the potential. He is still hitting .250 but with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R and 1 SB.
- Mark Teixeira has certainly given owners a lot to be happy about in the month of April. Yes, after a blazing hot start he cooled down for a bit (1 RBI from 4/7-4/15), but considering what you probably expected out of him early you have to be thrilled. He may just be turning the dial back up again now too. He went 2-3 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, giving him 5 R in his last 4 games. Obviously he’s a must play in all formats regardless, though.
- It was not a good start for Derek Holland, allowing 5 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 5, over 7.2 innings of work. Then again, despite the hot start, did anyone really expect him to silence the Yankees? His next start comes against the Royals and he’s a decent lower-end option in deeper formats.
- Jed Lowrie appears to be making his case to become the Red Sox everyday shortstop, isn’t he? Starting at SS and batting leadoff, he went 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. He now has a five-game hitting streak, going 10-15 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 4 R. If he keeps producing he is going to get more playing time, so continue monitoring the situation.
- It appears that Josh Beckett is back, doesn’t it? He was spectacular for his second straight start, giving up 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP. He now has 19 K in his past two starts and is sitting with a 1.80 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. His next start comes in Los Angeles against the Angels and he is a must start in all formats.
- Alex Gordon continues to hit. He went 3-4 with 2 RBI and 3 R yesterday, putting him at .373 with 1 HR, 11 RBI and 14 R. He also is on a 10-game hitting streak. Is this finally the year?! So far, so good.
- Is it time to be concerned about Felix Hernandez? He allowed 5 R (2 earned) on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5 innings to fall to 1-2 with a 4.33 ERA. It certainly isn’t an ideal start, but it’s too early to push the panic button. While we all knew wins could be tough to come by, we also know he’s one of the elite in the game.
- Hank Conger went 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R yesterday and is now hitting .286 with 2 HR and 5 RBI on the year. Will a good bat earn him more time behind the plate? Not from what we’ve learned about Mike Sciossca in the past, but one can hope. If you are in an AL-only or two-catcher format, you certainly should be monitoring the situation.
- It was another horrendous outing for Joe Nathan, allowing 2 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out none, in just 0.1 innings to blow his second save and take the loss. He’s now allowed 4 ER over his last 1.1 innings and is sporting an 8.44 ERA and 2.06 WHIP, striking out just 3 batters while walking 5 in 5.1 innings of work. It’s not like Matt Capps has been pitching great, but if you are desperate for saves he is certainly worth grabbing. The Twins will have to look to make a change sooner or later.
- If you were concerned about Brian Wilson, it certainly would seem like you no longer need to be. He pitched a perfect ninth, striking out 1, and now has four saves in his last four appearances (3.1 IP). Over that span he’s allowed just 1 H and 0 BB while striking out 5. Clearly, he’s returned to form and is one of the elite closers in the game.
- James McDonald just didn’t have it again, allowing 7 R (6 earned) on 9 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 4.1 innings of work. While it was his first loss, he has a 7.47 ERA and 1.79 WHIP while striking out 9 over 15.2 innings. A popular preseason sleeper, McDonald still has potential but if you are in a shallower format there is no reason to hold onto him. If he shows promise you should be able to scoop him right back up off the waiver wire.
- Jonny Gomes went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday. Over his past seven games he’s gone 9-26 with 4 HR, 10 RBI, 6 R and 1 SB. He’s not a great option, but he’s certainly usable in five-outfielder formats while he’s hot. Don’t grow too attached, however.
- Mat Latos fell to 0-2 by allowing 5 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.1 innings of work. He is still rounding into shape and there clearly was a little bit of bad luck at play considering he posted a WHIP under 1.00 in this start. Don’t get too worked up. His next start comes against the Phillies, but it is in Petco Park. I would still consider him a usable option for that outing.
- It was a big day for Starlin Castro, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. The one thing Castro can continue working on is drawing walks. While he has just four strikeouts, he also has only two walks. Hitting atop the order, you’d like to see more than that. Otherwise, what exactly can you complain about? He’s hitting .397 with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 12 R and 2 SB. He continues to be a strong play in all formats, though he obviously won’t continue to hit for such a high average.
- What is going on with Alfonso Soriano? He went 3-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R and is now hitting .283 with 5 HR, 12 RBI and 8 R on the young season. Does anyone actually expect this type of production to continue? I certainly wouldn’t expect it. While he should provide 20-25 HR for the year, he’s not the hitter that he once was. He hasn’t hit better than .260 each of the past two years and, without the speed he once had, he is not the best option outside of deeper formats.
- It just wasn’t Clayton Kershaw’s day, allowing 5 ER on 6 H and 5 BB, striking out 5, over 4.2 innings. Days like this are going to happen, so don’t read much into it. He just didn’t have his control, something that he had corrected. Look for him to bounce back strong in his next start against the Braves.
- Allen Craig has played well, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday to put him at .313 with 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R and 3 SB for the season. The problem is playing time. He could see time at 3B, but David Freese (.370, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R). He also could give Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman a few random days off, but he obviously isn’t going to overtake them. Unless full-time AB present themselves, Craig will remain a player who you can’t start.
- It was another disappointing day for Mike Pelfrey, allowing 4 R on 11 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 innings of work. With a 9.72 ERA and 2.34 WHIP in his first four starts, he should be nowhere near your starting lineup. On the year he has 10 walks vs. 9 strikeouts. That should really tell you all you need to know.
- Freddie Freeman went 1-2 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R in the first game of yesterday’s double header. While he has an 8-game hitting streak, he doesn’t have a single multi-hit game in the streak. On the year he is hitting .227 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 6 R on the year, so it is easy to call him a disappointment. However, he’s just 21-years old and you have to give him time to settle into his role and adjust to Major League pitching. Just keep him stashed on your bench for now.