Originally published 5/22/2009 at www.jelletlambie.wordpress.com
The FBR, or Fantasy Baseball Ramblings segment, appears regularly like Alyssa Milano trading for Grady Sizemore on that ESPN fantasy baseball commercial. Think of it as a friend who comes into your home and spews obscure stats and bold predictions while drinking all your beer. Enjoy.
With Memorial Day weekend afoot let’s examine some players and items of interest over this Matt Holliday weekend.
The Oakland A’s outfielder has rebounded from his slow-motion start. He’s 16-43 (.372) in his last 15 games with 2 home runs, 9 RBI’s, 11 runs scored and a steal. On the season as a whole the former Coors Field Killer is .271/5/26/21/1 over the famous five roto categories. There is reason to believe he’s only going to get better. Since 2006 he’s a .349 hitter in May and boasts a .368 average in June, his two best batting average months of the season. The A’s take on the struggling Diamondbacks for 3 games starting tonight—Holliday is a .301 hitter against them with 20 extra base hits and 25 RBI’s in 183 at-bats (since ‘06). Next up on the schedule—the Mariners and Rangers, teams which Matt is 8-23 against going back to ‘06.
The holiday weekend brings us the first taste of interleague play of this, the 2009 campaign. The Milwaukee Brewers will head to Minnesota, meaning the defensively challenged rookie Mat Gamel should find himself firmly planted in the DH spot. If he hits as well as he can maybe someone will give him that extra T he needs in his first name. Another name to watch in the AL only DH role platoon is Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Be it at first base or in the swingers only spot Howard will square off against A.J. Burnett in the launching pad of New Yankee Stadium. Howard has two hits against A.J. in his career, both home runs. Big Ryan has clubbed four ding dongs in his last seven games and has an excellent chance of adding to that total this weekend.
In turn make sure you get any and every Yankee on your team into your lineup tonight. The Yank’s are on a nine game win streak and will face Brett Myers, who hands out homers like those guys on the Vegas strip hand out stripper coupons, not that I’d know anything about that mind you. I’m predicting a 12-10 final score tonight.
The Cleveland Indians will look to get off the schneid against their interstate rival Reds starting tonight. Nothing cheers up a struggling lineup like seeing the names Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey as the probable startes for the first two games of a series played in a very hitter friendly ballpark. I think Victor Martinez and his pals might hit 11 home runs this weekend, just a hunch.
Zach Duke will bring his 5-3 record and his 2.84 ERA to Chicago to take on the scuffling White Sox. The Sox are fresh off a 20-1 ass whipping and strike out 7.6 times per game, the most of any team in baseball. One of two things will happen tonight—Duke will fan eight or more and the Pirates will take down the Sox, or the pale hose will feed off the Joe Riggins like shower speech Ozzie Guillen probably gave them yesterday and pound young zachary into submission—I’d put the odds at 70/30 for Duke to come out on top.
In the battle of Florida Ricky Nolasco will take the hill against the Rays tonight. Ricky finally showed some signs of life in his last outing, only to have it washed away by rain. Keep a close eye on him tonight and over his next couple of starts. This is a turning point for him to say the least. If he’s back to the form he showed the second half of ‘08 you should get him back into your rotation quickly. If he falters again you might want to prepare yourself for a DL trip soon with a mysterious injury that the Marlins will use as an excuse to send him down and work on his mechanics. He’s allowed 70 baserunners, 12 home runs, and 36 earned runs (most in MLB) in 41 and 2/3 innings this season.
The Texas Rangers couldn’t board the bus out of Detroit fast enough. After a three game shellacking at the hands of the Tigers the Rangers are back in Texas to take on the Houston Astros. The Rangers have scored the eighth most runs in MLB, while the Astros rank 21st overall in team ERA—see where I’m going with this? Teams that just got swept after winning seven straight who then go to a warm weather city to play a poor pitching team in a hitter friendly ballpark are usually good bets to produce a large number of runs. Josh Hamilton may or may not play tonight, tomorrow or ever with his on again off again injuries, but the rest of the Rangers lineup can still hit. My prediction—Chris Davis (Shelton) will go 2-10 with two home runs, three walks, and eight strikeouts in the three game set. Watch Andruw Jones and Marlon Byrd this weekend, I have a hunch.
Those red-hot Tigers will host the Colorado Rockies this weekend. The Tig’s have won six straight, the Rockies are 9-14 on the road and seem to be in a state of general disarray. Miguel Cabrera is a .431 hitter with an OPS of 1.101 against the Rockies since 2006. Magglio Ordonez will be back in the lineup after missing three games to be with his wife while she had surgery in Venezuela. Ordonez has hit in eight straight games and has an extra base hit in three straight. Colorado pitching could be what Maggs needs to extend those streaks and show us all that he is really back after his slow start.
In late breaking news this afternoon, Scott Kazmir will get a two week holiday from his duties with the Rays, as he’s been placed on the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps strain. Troy Percival will also hit the DL with right shoulder tendinitis, which is a little scarier. I’m not surprised, I doubt it’s actually a quad injury and tend to believe this is more of a little break to work on his mechanics and confidence in some rehab appearances—but that’s just the conspiracy theorist in me. The surprising part of the move to me was that Tampa Bay called up two players not named David Price to replace them.
Right-hander Dale Thayer, a right handed reliever, will take the spot of Percival while Reid Brignac will take the spot of Kazmir, Brignac is a shortstop, a position the Rays are already deep at with Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? No word yet on who will close for the Rays in the interim, although Joe Nelson is reported to be the next in line.
And finally today a double dose of good karma:
Tony Gwynn Jr. was acquired by the Padres this week. the little Tony was hitting .309 with a .387 OBP and 15 steals at AAA before the trade. Playing time is a question mark, making his value tough to predict right now, but anybody named Gwynn wearing a Padres uniform is someone I’m going to keep my eyes on. Good Karma to you young man.
And Good Karma and condolences go out to Scott Schoeneweis of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Schoeneweis has been placed on the bereavement list after the tragic and unexpected passing of his wife. Losing someone you love is never easy, and being a major league ballplayer doesn’t make it any less heart-breaking. My sincere best wishes and prayers are with him and his family.
Until next time kiddies….
If you have comments, questions, swarmy outbursts or ideas for a future FBR segment your comments are welcome below. If you prefer the more traditional electronic mail route you can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org