Fantasy Baseball Tonight: May 17, Rollins, Pierre, Starting Pitching

Todd Farino@truegurufarinoCorrespondent IMay 18, 2009

Starting Pitching

Clayton Kershaw bucked the trend of being nearly unstartable on the road as he shut down the Marlins today over seven innings. Kershaw allowed just one run and struck out nine as he pushed his record to 2-3 with an ERA of 4.60.

That number is a little misleading because he has been bad in a few starts where he gave up nine runs in one and six in another. Other than that Kershaw has been more than I had hoped for this season, allowing one or less runs in five starts.

To me is a must start against any team, as he can already shut down any team on any night. He will still have his rough patches, but Kershaw is starting to show that he is worth the hype.

Jake Peavy had one of his best outings of what has been an up and down season for him. He has been pitching well enough most nights to get the win, but since he is on the San Diego Alimony Payments he tends not to get enough run support. Not too many 3-5 pitchers have an ERA under 4.00.

Today though, Peavy left none of that to chance. He went the entire nine innings, allowed just one run, and struck out nine. He might not be that top two or three option at the position, but he is still inside the top ten, and is valuable for his strikeout numbers.

Justin Masterson made what is likely to be made his last start in the Red Sox rotation for a little while, but he pretty much made the best of it. He didn't get the win, but he allowed only two runs over 6.1 innings and struck out six.

He was great in all of his starts but two, and he will certainly be available for the Red Sox if they were to suffer another short term injury in the rotation.

After his "short" outing over the weekend, John Lackey will now start again on Monday, which makes him a two-start pitcher for this coming week. Lackey was ejected after just two pitches at Ian Kinsler in his first start after being on the DL. Get him activated for the start tomorrow.

After his slow start, Kevin Slowey continues to pitch very well. He had his way with the Yankees for seven innings before allowing two across in the eighth. His strikeout numbers (eight in 7.2 innings) were way better than they have been in recent starts, and his control is impeccable. In eight starts, Slowey has walked just four batters.

He is your WHIPs best friend. I know he isn't the most popular pitcher in the world, but he is one of the more effective.

David Huff made his major league debut for the Cleveland Indians today with terrible results. Huff was ranked the eighth best prospect in the Indians' organization by Baseball America, but hopefully his first start is not an indication of how things will go. Huff allowed seven runs over just 3.2 innings, walked four and struck out only two.

Last year in the minors he was 11-5 over two levels with an ERA around 2.00, but this season it had ballooned to 4.52. He isn't the kind of prospect I would go running out to grab, but he is worth keeping an eye on to see if he progresses.

Armando Galarraga needs to be dropped. He allowed five earned runs or more for the fourth straight starts, and today he couldn't even get out of the first inning. He gave up four hits, walked three, and didn't strike anyone out.

As good as his first four starts were, his last four have been worse. He could turn it around, but I wouldn't want to have him on my roster while he is working out his troubles. In four starts his ERA went from 1.85 to 5.62. That is not easy to do.

Gavin Floyd is another pitcher that looks like he isn't worth being on your team. He won 17 games last season, but with an ERA that was pretty close to 4.00. This year it is even worse. Floyd allowed six runs or more for his third straight start, and for the fourth time this season.

His ERA is now 7.71 and his WHIP is hovering close to 2.00. Again, he might get hot again and be worth a roster spot, but right now it is time to let Floyd go and pick up someone else that can help you. He is only bringing all of your stats down.

Ubaldo Jimenez was very good again, but it was the bullpen that blew it for him. Baldy allowed only one run over six innings and struck out seven. That is now three straight starts that he allowed only one run, and he has 22 Ks in the month of May.

He was always supposed to be a good pitcher, and it looks like he is starting to live up to that potential. If he's available, I would evaluate my pitching staff to see if he can help you.

Luke Hochevar needs to be gone from your team. He might have lasted longer than the two innings he pitched in his first outing, but he couldn't get out of the fourth inning on Sunday. He did allow only three runs (two earned), but he walked three, and struck out only one.

Until he can show any kind of consistency whatsoever, I don't see a need to keep him on your roster.

Manny Parra won his third start in a row after starting the season 0-4. He has allowed three runs or less in five straight starts, and his ERA has been cut nearly in half over those starts. He only struck out three batters in his six innings, but he had been very close to one an inning for the season.

Parra is worth adding in your league if he is still available, but it is somewhat unlikely. He needs to get his 1.61 WHIP under control, but other than that, he is pretty solid.

Rich Harden continues to be less than the guy we knew last year. Even with the loss he took on Sunday his record is still 4-2, but he just isn't as dominant. Last year he was putting up zeros in bunches on scoreboards all over the National League.

Today he gave up four runs over six innings. He did strikeout seven, but he also walked four. He is still a worthwhile pitcher, but his ERA is over 4.50 and his WHIP is at 1.35.

The Rest

Juan Pierre has been sensational since taking over for the suspended Manny Ramirez. In the last 10 games he has 20 hits, including seven doubles, nine RBI, and five stolen bases. I have picked him up in a number of leagues, and he has been worth the addition, but you have to remember one thing, at the end of the Ramirez suspension he goes back to the bench.

I would try to maximize his value and see if you can get another owner to buy into this hot streak and try trade him away for something worthwhile

Cody Ross had a grand slam, and homered for the second time this weekend. In the three days he had four hits, seven RBI to go with the two home runs. This is a very streaky hitter and one I would stay away from.

He doesn't give you a very good average, but will bring you decent pop. Even with this great weekend he is still hitting just .213, so unless you are in need of some power, I would try to find another option.

Jimmy Rollins is coming around now, and his owners are perhaps coming down off the bridge. He had his third straight two-hit game, and has one hit in seven straight games. He also has a homer, four RBI, and three stolen bases over that time frame.

I'm still not 100 percent sold that he will be what he was last year, but some of my concerns are starting to ease.

Injury News

Josh Hamilton left the game after crashing into the wall in the seventh inning. He was able to finish the inning, but left in the eighth. Hopefully he is OK, as he just came off the DL earlier this week. The fact that he didn't come right out is a good sign, chances are the Rangers were just being precautious.

Rickie Weeks left the game on Sunday and will see a specialist after experiencing pain in the wrist that he had surgically repaired in the offseaosn. Stay tuned to see what becomes of this, but it is a concern seeing that it was this wrist that cost him the final two months of the season.

Carlos Zambrano was horrible in his final rehab start, but he will be back for the Cubs on Friday versus San Diego. Zambrano allowed four runs in just 3.2 innings and walked three. I would be willing to bet he won't try to bunt for a base hit again this season.

Carlos Quentin won't be back for the White Sox until Tuesday at the earliest, and it could be later than that. Quentin has been dealing with pain in his heel that has also moved to the middle of his foot. A trip to the DL still could be a possibility, so sit him until you hear future news.

Elijah Dukes re-aggravated his hamstring injury in the first inning and was removed from the game. Dukes also had a tweak of the hammy on Friday, and this one was apparently a little more severe. He has been declared day to day, so I would probably sit him tomorrow.

New Feature

For those of you who are regular readers, I would like to offer a new service. I am starting a mailing list. Sometimes I see news during the day, but I wait until this nightly article to pass it along to you guys.

Prospects coming up, injury news, closer movement, etc. Just send me an email to with “Mailing List” in the subject line and I will add you to the list. Then, whenever I find news that I feel is breaking and important, I will send it to you as soon as I find out about it.

Hopefully this is something that you all will find valuable to make a possible move before your competition.

Also, you can now follow me on Twitter for more updates. Go to

Attention League Commissioners! If you are looking to spice up your league some, go and visit Fantasy Sports Trophies. Tom Harkins has put together a great site with all kinds of different trophies to give the winner of your league something besides just bragging rights. There are trophies for fantasy baseball, football (check out the Beer League Fantasy Football Trophy), basketball, hockey, and auto racing. I invite you to take a look at the site and try them out.

I’m also going to start mentioning the Fantasy Windup with Steve Gardner over at the USA Today again. His blog is updated many times each day, and is always covering the stories you are talking about when it comes to fantasy baseball. Go check out the blog and be sure to leave him some feedback.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome at I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week from Monday-Thursday.

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