I just want to say that this is dedication people.
We are in Mystic, Connecticut, for the weekend to go to the aquarium with the kids. Not only am I writing while I am on vacation with the family, but everyone is now asleep, and I am in the bathroom of our hotel sitting on the toilet (cover down) with the laptop on the sink. So I'm sorry if this update is crappy.
Our trip did not get off to a great start as I was almost in a car accident before I left my own street. There is another street that connects to ours, and a car was coming off of that road at the same time I was approaching. Figuring she would eventually stop, I didn't slow down too much. I soon noticed that she never even looked my way and continued out into my road.Complicating matters, there was another car coming the other way.
Brakes slammed, horns blared, and we avoided a collision.
Thankfully for the other driver, my little kids were in the car, so I couldn't tell her exactly what I thought of her driving. So, again, this update is coming to you from a Mystic, Conn., bathroom. I hope you enjoy—where else do you find this kind of dedication?
Kyle Lohse finally broke out of his three-start slump today as he shut down the Royals over eight innings. He had given up 17 runs over his last three starts after allowing just seven over his first five with a record of 3-0. For the season, Lohse will be much more good than bad. He can win 14 games. He won't wow you with his strikeouts (38 in 54 innings in '09), but he's not the worst. He is a reasonable guy to have as your fifth starter. I don't expect another horrendous streak like the one he just broke out of.
Speaking of streaky, Nelson Cruz is hot again. After starting the season with six bombs in the first 15 days, Cruz connected on only one from April 22-May 20. With his two dingers today, that is now four in the last four days along with eight RBI. Needless to say, he is the kind of player who gets crazy hot—and frustratingly cold. But once the weather gets hot in Texas, the homers should come more often. He is up to 11 now and should challenge 35 for the year.
Brad Lidge is tearing out the hearts of his fantasy owners and spitting on them. After not blowing a save all last year with a sensational 1.95 ERA, he has now blown three and his ERA has ballooned to 9.16. He gave up three runs to the Yankees in the ninth inning on Saturday. He has allowed one run or more in seven of his last 10 appearances. That has got to be killing some fantasy teams. I don't even know what to tell you to do with him. I don't think you can drop him, and I can't imagine his trade value is anywhere near getting something acceptable back. Try to shop him around and hope you have someone in your league who remembers last season. If not, I think you just have to suffer with him.
Dan Uggla's season is on the mend. Five days ago he was batting in the .190s with four home runs. Since then he has connected on four homers and has driven in nine runs. His average is still bad at .208, but you can't turn .191 into .275 overnight. Uggla will still give you the most power at second base, and his bad start only means that this hot streak had to be coming. Expect him to top 30 homers for the third consecutive season.
J.A. Happ was the poor pitcher who had his victory blown by Brad Lidge. In his first start of the season, Happ pitched six scoreless innings, didn't walk a batter, and whiffed four. He should have won the fifth starter's job out of spring training, but it was given to Chan Ho Park. He had a pretty solid minor-league career and could be a decent addition to your pitching staff. Don't drop an experienced veteran, but if you are just trying to find a guy to stick, Happ could be a nice find.
Ross Detwiler had another pretty decent start for the Nationals. He pitched six innings, allowed just one run, and struck out four. He did walk four, which is a concern, but he is throwing pretty well. He had a decent amount of hype when he came to Washington, but that has since faded. I don't think I would be picking him up just yet unless you are in an NL-only league. But he is worth keeping your eye on to see if he can continue this nice start to his career.
Clayton Richard picked up his first win this season for the White Sox in his second start of the year, and he is making a case to stay in the rotation. Richard threw six scoreless innings and struck out eight a few days after he was nearly dealt for Jake Peavy. He has been great since being added to the rotation, but I don't know how excited you should get. He had a nice minor-league career but isn't a top prospect or a guy who will get you a ton of strikeouts. Like Happ, he could help you in the right situation, but don't get rid of someone who is pitching well or is capable of pitching well.
Rafael Soriano had to come in to bail out closer Mike Gonzalez again, and you have to wonder if a change might be in the works in the not-so-distant future. Gonzalez has blown a couple of saves, and the opportunity was given to Soriano a couple of times over the past couple of weeks, so this couldn't have helped. Gonzalez came in and got only one out before giving up a run, allowing two hits and two walks. Bobby Cox yanked him before he blew the whole game, and Soriano cleaned it up for him. Keep an eye on this situation, but if you own Gonzalez or need saves, I would consider looking at Soriano.
Mike Pelfrey continues to pitch ugly but effectively, and although he didn't get the win, he pitched well enough to earn it against the Red Sox on Saturday. Pelfrey allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out six. Considering he had just 11 strikeouts all season heading into today, I wouldn't expect to see those K numbers again. I own Pelfrey in two leagues but rarely start him. He is very inconsistent, but at the end of the day he always comes out looking OK. At the end of your rotation, Pelfrey carries some value, just don't put too much stock in him.
Josh Beckett might have had a win blown by a rare hiccup by Jonathan Papelbon, but this is now four straight good ones for Beckett, and my confidence in him has returned. He had a few starts in which he was not going deep into games and allowing too many runs, but tonight he allowed no earned runs over eight innings and sent five guys back to the dugout with a bat in their hands. He has had his ups and downs since coming to Boston, but it is looking like he has found his groove in 2009. Continue to start Beckett with confidence.
Welcome back, Joey Votto! After missing a handful of games with what was finally diagnosed as an ear infection, Votto came back in a big way, hitting his sixth and seventh homers of the year. The guy is a total stud. Get him back in your lineups immediately.
Homer Bailey is the worst! Called up again, Bailey continues to fall on his face in the majors as he got shelled again. Bailey allowed six runs over just 4.1 innings and walked six guys. He will probably get one more start before Edinson Volquez returns from his back spasms. I URGE YOU to write this guy off as a bust. Every big-time prospect can't hit it big, and Bailey certainly falls into that category.
Anthony Swarzak made his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins with pretty good results. Swarzak pitched seven innings, allowed no runs, and struck out three for his first win. He is in the rotation for the injured Glen Perkins who isn't expected to be out too long. Swarzak is a middle-of-the-road prospect, and you shouldn't get too excited over this start. But the Twins have a history of pumping out good pitching, so if you need a short-term fix, perhaps Swarzak is your guy.
David Price was supposed to pitch today in the minors but was held out of his start, which nearly guarantees that he will be pitching on Monday for the Rays. The team has not confirmed it yet, but there is no other reason he would not have pitched tonight.
One of the Orioles's big-time pitching prospects, Chris Tillman, was pulled from his start tonight after just two innings, which is fueling speculation that he will be called up to take the rotation spot of Adam Eaton. Tillman was great at AA last year with an 11-4 record, a 3.18 ERA, and 154 Ks in 135 innings. At AAA this season, he has been even better. Tillman is currently 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 42 Ks in 36 innings. If you are in a deep league or AL-only, you might want to make a move hoping that this happens.
Other than that, watch the rumors, and those of you on the mailing list will hear about it as soon as I do. Hopefully it won't be announced while I am at the aquarium tomorrow.
For those of you who are regular readers, I am offering a new service, 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 an email to email@example.com 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 immediately.
Also, you can now follow me on Twitter for more updates. Go to www.twitter.com/fightingchance.
Attention League Commissioners! If you are looking to spice up your league, visit Fantasy Sports Trophies. Tom Harkins has put together a great site with all kinds of 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 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. Yesterday he had a great post about the five most frustrating players to own in fantasy baseball. Go vent your frustrations on the message board.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week, Monday-Thursday. The Big Show on Wednesday is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com, and me, Ryan Hallam, at fightingchancefantasy.com. To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru. You can also hear me weekly on the Tuesday Night show. Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Eastern for all the news, free agent pickups, minor leaguers, and injuries. A can’t-miss if you plan on winning your league.