There's no bitterness in this Boston fan. Orlando flat-out played better this entire series to beat the Celtics. Last night was case in point. The Celtics didn't move on offense and showed poor defensive rotation most of the night.
Orlando took advantage, and to top it off shot the ball as well as any team I've watched. Regardless of what team won last night, neither has a prayer of beating Cleveland.
Even if I thought otherwise, the NBA has other plans. You don't hype LeBron and Kobe in commercials then not get a Finals matchup with them.
Not in that league anyway. It's why baseball is better.
Let's get to the notes.
- Chris Carpenter is slated to make his return to the rotation on Wednesday against the Cubs. Carpenter has been rehabbing from an oblique injury that has held him out of action since early April. I'm always concerned over these, and more concerned with injury-prone pitchers. I'd look for him on waivers, but wouldn't be against holding him out a start to be certain he was healthy. Unless you've already fallen grossly behind in weekly categories.
- The rain in St. Louis has forced the Brewers to shuffle their rotation around. Yovani Gallardo will be held off until Friday, essentially missing a turn in the rotation. This is strictly due to his innings load already, according to Ken Macha. At nearly 47, he's leading the staff. No short-term injury concern or anything like that here.
- David Ortiz is expected back in the lineup against the Blue Jays this week. Look for him to get into the action on Tuesday, but not hitting in the number three spot. There are reports surfacing that Terry Francona intends to drop him in the batting order to take some pressure off the struggling hitter.
- John Lackey was ejected this weekend for throwing behind Ian Kinsler just two pitches into his start. The ejection allows him to take the ball again today against the Mariners. Lackey should be in for a decent start, despite the Mariners having taken two of three from Boston. They didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball in the process.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to take his next turn in the rotation, which would come on Friday night. Matsuzaka has been on a rehab assignment in Pawtucket, and pitching well enough to move back to Boston. He did look good on Friday, striking out nine in five innings. The move would send Justin Masterson back to the bullpen.
- Weekly owners should be looking at Kevin Youkilis this week. It's expected that he will rejoin the Red Sox on Wednesday, after getting a couple rehab starts in at AAA. Youkilis is working back from a strained oblique as well, a tough injury for a hitter just as much as a pitcher. Still, he's been hot and I'd expect him to get right back on track.
- Carlos Zambrano is expected to throw on Friday against San Diego after a rough rehab start with single-A Daytona. His hamstring was fine, but he gave up four runs in not even four full innings of work. He's certainly a pitcher I would reserve this week until we see an outing. Rehab starts aren't all the same, but this was not an encouraging sign.
- Be careful with Clayton Kershaw's next outing. Because he was working on a no-hit bid in the eighth inning yesterday, Joe Torre let the young pitcher stay in the game. He threw 112 pitches working into that eighth inning, walking four and striking out nine. Just saying to be careful more than anything.
- Armando Galrraga is now 0-4 in the month of May. He's allowed 21 runs, 24 hits, and 12 walks in his last 17.1 innings pitched. I'm not saying to drop the guy at this point, but I'm certainly saying that it's time to sit him a start, and "sell high" isn't in the cards right now.
- Results: Wins-Jackson, Cecil, Porcello, Masterson, Jimenez, Duke; Losses-Vazquez, Oswalt, Myers Push-Davies, Davis (Season: 96-70-6)
- In four outings at home this season, Andy Pettitte has allowed opponents to hit .346 against him, and he's given up five runs to both the Rays and Angels. Minnesota has been able to hang around in the games over the weekend, and Perkins could keep them in this game. The home stats in this one color me concerned. I'd get my Twins into the lineup.
- Two of my favorite spot-start plays get the ball today. Ross Ohlendorf takes it against Washington and first-time starter Ross Detwiler. Detwiler was a top-ten pick in 2007, and owns a 2.96 ERA in AA. Sure, the young pitcher may have some jitters, but is at home to make the appearance. Ohlendorf should be able to contain struggling Nats bats, but always be wary about teams that have never seen a pitcher before.
- The other guy throwing will be Scott Richmond. Richmond has had two rough outings in a row, giving up ten runs in his last 9.2 innings pitched. Still, he draws the White Sox at home against a pitcher (Clayton Richard) that is hittable. With how well Toronto's offense has been hitting, getting a win is a greater possibility here than in most games.
- Robb Quinlan is 10-for-29 against Jarrod Washburn, and he represents the best play of the day for the Angels. Chone Figgins is 3-for-29, and Torii Hunter is 11-for48 (.229) against the Mariners starter. Howie Kendrick and Bobby Abreu are both below .200 in over 20 at-bats. Washburn has already recorded a win against the Angels at home this year, and has been tough all season at home.
- Might want to avoid Adrian Beltre against John Lackey. Beltre is 7-for-43 against Lackey. Your other Mariners have decent enough numbers to keep in the lineup. No concerns on the regular starters otherwise, and no reaches here.
- At home, Kyle Lohse is a decent start here. He threw without any discomfort prior to the rain out on Friday, and there should be no concerns today based on what we got there. The Brewers don't hit Lohse all that well, and Bill Hall especially has struggled (1-for-15).
- Braden Looper has had three rough outings in a row, and hasn't been successful thus far this season on the road. Looper has had batters hitting .333 against him away from home, and righties specifically are over .300 for the season. Not the greatest matchup if you're looking for a jump start on your pitching categories this week.
- Ricky Nolasco keeps getting the ball for the Marlins, but that doesn't mean he needs to keep getting it in your fantasy rotation. I'm not sold and won't be until we see marked improvement over his current numbers. There hasn't been anything encouraging to convince a person to start him yet.
- The Rockies big bats have had decent success against Derek Lowe. When he was with the Dodgers, Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton saw plenty of him to know they liked facing the guy, as both are above .350. Lowe is 4-6 in his last 11 starts against Colorado, posting a 5.10 ERA in 65 innings of work.
- Spot Starts: Ohlendorf, Richmond, Lohse
- Keep on the Bench: Lowe, Nolasco
- Barry Zito gets the first of two starts this week, and will go against the Padres here. Still odd to see lefties hitting .324 against him to this point in the season. He did struggle against them on the road once this season, but has been pitching well of late. The numbers against San Diego are good enough to consider him a spot play here. Yea, you probably should re-read that.
- Matt Palmer is just five percent owned, but is 4-0 with a sub-4.00 ERA. That's a pretty rare commodity in the pitching world, and owners need to take advantage of hot streaks when they can. Will a 30-year old rookie keep this up all season? Not likely, but guys like Aaron Sele were able to go 7-0 before suffering a defeat. With a BABIP below .200, you know that something will give eventually. Not against Seattle though.
- Jermaine Dye is 1-for-14 and Jim Thome just 3-for-17 against Scott Baker. I'm not normally a fan of any Twins starter on the road, but Baker is one of the exceptions. Keep him active against the White Sox and hold back these two if you can.
- Brian Bannister is slated to make his start tomorrow, despite leaving with a sore shoulder last time out. He does make a decent option in deeper leagues, as he's 2-0 at home this season with an ERA under 1.00. He's pitched reasonably well against most of the Indians as individuals, and I'd hold back Jhonny Peralta (.118) and Kelly Shoppach (0-for-9) specifically.
- Ted Lilly has simply owned every Cardinal not named Albert Pujols. Even factoring in the .321 of Pujols against Lilly, the Cardinals are still under .200 as a team. Lilly is 5-2 against them since 2006, and 3-0 on the road at Busch Stadium with a 2.38 ERA.
- Spot Starts: Martis, Zito, Palmer (with Bannister at the four spot)