- It was nice of Andy Sonnanstine to show up! Sonnastine worked into the eighth inning, didn't walk a batter, and struck out four. The two runs he gave up still represent a solid outing, and then the bullpen blew it for him.
He's not an every-start guy still, in my opinion, but he did enough to justify more matchup plays.
- The Royals bats are simply hot right now. As bad as they were to start the season, it's the opposite case now. Mark Teahan, Billy Butler, and Mike Jacobs are all riding hot streaks that owners should look to capitalize on in the short term. Even Mike Aviles is swinging a better bat.
- Unreal how teams can do this. Oliver Perez was placed on the disabled list with knee tendinitis. Perez has struggled, and this is just likely a way to get him to regain some focus. Can't say I agree with the move, but whatever works.
- Bronson Arroyo completely imploded last night. Stats can lie, and that's what they did last night. As good as he had been against the Brewers, he was just that bad last night. Everything he threw was hit hard and often.
It's a bump in the road, but this is the chance you take with him. He can have dominant stuff, or he can simply be a WHIP and ERA killer.
- The Giants offense continued to struggle, and Ubaldo Jimenez continued his dominance of them. Jimenez dropped his ERA under 2.50 against the Giants in seven starts and his WHIP is very close to 1.00. Even if you only use him against San Francisco, the matchup is worth the play.
- Both Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury sat last night, recovering from injuries suffered in the series against the Yankees. Youkilis should be back shortly, and Ellsbury was likely held out as much because of the weather as anything else. Neither seem to be long-term issues.
- Justin Upton all of a sudden has a ten-game hitting streak. Upton homered twice last night against San Diego and has four home runs in his last five games. Yes, the strikeouts are still there (five in his last 14 at-bats), but he has raised his average up to .284. Those that dumped him earlier need to turn around and look again.
- Aramis Ramirez is shaking off the rust and looking much better. Ramirez had two hits last night, including a home run. He's still working out the effects of that calf injury, but it's time to make sure he's regularly back in your lineup as you would normally use him.
- I'm still not convinced that Mike Gonzalez is the long-term answer in Atlanta as the closer. Rafael Soriano continues to throw the ball very effectively in the eighth inning, and only lost the job in prior seasons due to injury.
If you're looking for the next closer in waiting, I'd grab Soriano and ride this out.
- Yesterday's Results: Wins-Jimenez, Duke; Losses-Sonnanstine, Arroyo, Masterson (Season: 73-54-2)
Notes for Thursday
- It's another day of some lousy weather in the northeast part of the country. Showers are expected most of the day in Boston, and the weather could be a factor in New York as well. Something to keep an eye on through the day.
- Another night of Dave Delucci in the outfield for Cleveland may be in the making. The Indians outfielder has hit .333 in 18 at-bats against Boston starter Tim Wakefield.
With Victor Martinez hitting well too, it could be that Kelly Shoppach ends up the odd-man out tonight for this one.
- Might be another night for Yorvit Torrealba as well. The Rockies catcher has hit .350 against Matt Cain in 20 at-bats. Keep Todd Helton down, as he's just a .209 hitter.
Brad Hawpe struggles as well. Matt Cain actually is 6-3 against the Rockies in his last 11 starts, but most of his damage has come against them at home, not in Coors.
- Expect to see Jeff Keppinger in the lineup somewhere against Ted Lilly. Keppinger is one of only two Astros hitters (Ivan Rodriguez) above .300 against the Cubs starter. I'd hold back as many others as you can, including Lance Berkman (.105 in 19 at-bats), Miguel Tejada (.194 in 36), and Carlos Lee (.222 in 27).
- Dan Haren has had more trouble than you might expect with the Padres. You obviously still keep a guy pitching this well in your lineup, but I'd make sure to start your Padres. Brian Giles, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Jody Gerut are chief among those to add. In a deep league and need a hit? Luis Rodriguez is 5-for-13.
- With how hot the Royals are, you'll want to get guys that are hitting even better against Jarrod Washburn into your lineups. Willie Bloomquist, Coco Crisp, and David DeJesus all have at least 20 at-bats and are all above .400 against the Mariners starter. Billy Butler and Mike Jacobs both should be started as well.
- Placido Polanco has had success against Mark Buehrle, and Magglio Ordonez checks in at .536 in 28 at-bats against him. While the ERA may not show it (3.98), the Tigers have hit .320 against Buehrle in their last eight shots against him.
- Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Gary Sheffield all have good histories against Jamie Moyer. Moyer, for his part, has pitched well against the Mets on the road.
He's a much different (read: more effective) pitcher on the road than he is at home. He's a deep-league spot start because of the trends, but the Mets do have decent numbers as individuals against him.
- Jack Wilson is 7-for-17 against Todd Wellemeyer, but the rest of the Pirates that are likely to be in the lineup have had nothing but problems.
Wellemeyer's last start was largely encouraging, as he gave up just two runs in seven innings. He may not strike many out, but this is a good spot to use him.
- I wouldn't even want to come near Derrek Lee today. Lee is 3-for-32 against Russ Ortiz. That's good for a .094 average in that time. Lee has struggled for the majority of the early season, and this won't serve to get him on track. Look elsewhere if you can in this one.
- Spot Starts: Braden Looper, Russ Ohlendorf, Jair Jurrjens
- Keep on the Bench: Andy Pettitte, Mark Buehrle
Notes for Friday
- Don't let the stats fool you. Many people will throw out that James Shields has had no luck at Fenway Park. Yes, by the numbers, that's true. Still, Shields gets his data skewed by the fact he had a couple short outings. One ended by ejection, another he was roughed up. Take out those two, and he looks like an All-Star against Boston.
- Justin Verlander broke through against the Indians at home last time out. This time, he gets to throw against them on the road. Against Cliff Lee. Both pitchers have had early-season struggles, but Verlander's road problems outweigh what Lee is going through.
- Ricky Nolasco displayed better control during his last outing, as he didn't walk a batter. This time, though, he travels to the thin air in Colorado. He hasn't pitched well enough for me to consider starting him here. I suggest owners hold him out until we get a good outing.
- Scott Richmond will get to continue to take advantage of easier matchups. While he does have to pitch on the road, he'll get to do it in a big ballpark against a suspect offense in Oakland.
Richmond is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.67. Sure, likely won't stay this way all year, but I like it for one more performance anyway.
- Dave Bush pitches better at home, but he's been very hit or miss. The Cubs numbers against the starter should raise an eyebrow or two, as should his last outing. Many people keep waiting for him to finally break through, I just think that this is still a matchup play. There are better options available than Bush.
- Spot Starts: Richmond, Wandy Rodriguez, Joel Pineiro