June 30, 2009
Fundamentals. Baseball has plenty of them, and the professionals are doing a decent job ignoring them for the most part. Last night, another pop-up was dropped as a player looked to catch it with one hand. This on the heels of the disaster that happened in New York not more than a week and a half ago.
In the same game last night, an outfielder catches a fly ball one-handed and nearly does not throw a pitcher out trying to score from third. Now, these guys are good. No doubt about that. Still, even they need a push once in a while that the game is not as easy as they might want it to be.
These mental lapses come before we talk about some of the awful throws we have seen in the last week, and the one that the Twins gave us last night. Maybe it is nice to know that these guys can make the same mistakes as a little league ball player. Or, we could just point and laugh.
The second option is more fun. Especially since it will get re-lived on SportsCenter and YouTube for a long time.
On to the notes.
- Carlos Beltran has gone to seek a second opinion on the knee injury that has landed him on the DL. Nearly everyone that talked about the injury last night mentioned that Beltran never really talks about being hurt, so the second opinion should be a bit of a concern. More than that, the doctor he has gone to see in Colorado has been known for microfracture surgery. Not saying that is the route we are heading down, but be aware.
- Mike Lowell will not play in the Baltimore series. The Red Sox starter received an injection in his hip and now the team will wait to see what the impact is. There is still a chance he ends up on the DL. If Lowell cannot go on Friday, that will likely be the case. Mark Kotsay will get the time at first base in the short-term.
- Another solid start by Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins pitcher worked eight innings last night, giving up just two runs on four hits without walking a batter. He has struck out 33 batters in his last 33 innings, and has walked just two in his last four starts. His ownership is jumping again, but he is still available in 20 to 25 percent of all leagues. Grab him if you still can.
- Mark DeRosa likely will now be penciled in at third base for the time being, as the Cardinals have placed Khalil Greene back on the DL with anxiety. It is nice to see that DeRosa could have a regular position to get comfortable, but best wishes to Greene. This cannot be an easy situation for him.
- Roy Halladay picked up the loss last night, but largely only because of one mistake. Halladay threw 88 pitches and struck out seven batters in working through six innings. He was slightly inconsistent with his location, causing some runners to get on base early. Still, he settled down and pitched well. Good sign going forward.
- J.J. Hardy has given owners much of the same disappointment early in the season that he gave them in 2008. Still, the Brewers shortstop is starting to come alive. He has raised his average 16 points in his last 10 games, and has six multi-hit games in his last 12. His BABIP is way down for the season, sitting at .259. With some better luck, this is going to recover.
- No one needs to tell owners how dominant Tim Lincecum has been. Last night, though, was decidedly impressive. Lincecum allowed just two hits in his complete game effort against the Cardinals. He needed just 95 pitches to accomplish the task. Lincecum is throwing around 105-110 pitches a game, but he has done this before. Wear and tear should only be a limited concern later in the season.
- Manny Ramirez has completed his rehab work. The outfielder can rejoin the team on Friday, and is likely to be ready to start at that point. The Dodgers are not going to keep him out long beyond that, if at all. Be ready to get him in there for the weekend.
- Two other players could be ready to return to their teams by the weekend as well. Ervin Santana has been working in the Arizona league, and looks to be set to join the Angels rotation this weekend. His fastball has been in the 91-93 range, very close to where he was last season. Sean O'Sullivan, who got the win last night, is the most likely candidate to be sent down. Josh Hamilton began his rehab work as well, and could return to the Rangers as early as Saturday.
- It is all about riding the hot hand, and that is what Edgar Renteria is right now. The Giants shortstop has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats and a five-game hitting streak. Three of those five games have been multi-hit efforts. He is not a trendy shortstop, but he is swinging well right now, and the Giants are playing some good ball.
- Though limited, the Diamondbacks have enjoyed playing against Bronson Arroyo. Look to Felipe Lopez today for a few hits, as he is 9-for-21 against Arroyo. While the Reds starter is 4-2 at home, his ERA is 5.82 in seven starts. In June, he is 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA. Look to avoid him here and start all your Diamondbacks.
- Joe Saunders is 0-4 with a double-digit ERA in his last four starts at Rangers Ballpark. The Angels starter has had a lot of trouble with Texas on the road, and you should look to avoid using him in this one because of these recent numbers. Texas has hit close to .320 against him in their home ballpark. Nothing adds up for Saunders in this one.
- Lyle Overbay is the only Blue Jays regular with an average over .300 against Matt Garza. The Blue Jays starters that have recorded at least 11 at-bats top out at .273 other wise, and that's just the 3-for-11 of Adam Lind and Vernon Wells. Keep Garza active, as he has a good start to build on, but do not look to Toronto to help the offense here. Only use as you normally would, and substitute where you have options.
- Paul Konerko and Scott Podsednik are necessities in your lineup against Cliff Lee. Konerko is 16-for-45 with five home runs against the Cleveland starter. Podsednik has hit .348 in 23 at-bats against Lee. Lee has pitched very well over most of the season, and has a 2.21 ERA at home. He just has simply received no run support. Without DeRosa, that is not going to get much better.
- Scott Baker has been lights out against the Royals. While Mark Teahan still is a decent play based on his .308 average in 26 at-bats, the rest of the Royals all hover around the .200 mark. Billy Butler is just 1-for-16, with David DeJesus and Jose Guillen at 3-for-14 and 4-for-17 respectively. Baker has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last five starts.
- There is no happier person to see the end of interleague play than Derek Lowe. Lowe was roughed up by the AL East, but now gets a more comfortable opponent in the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins will be back in the lineup, and he has hit .304 in 23 at-bats against Lowe. Ryan Howard is just 2-for-19 and Pedro Feliz is only 5-for-26 against Lowe.
- Something has to give in the Garrett Atkins vs. Chad Billingsley scenario tonight. Atkins has been swinging very well, to the point that he should see an increase in playing time at third base. Still, he is just 1-for-17 against Billingsley. Look to keep your other Rockies active. Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki, and Todd Helton are all good starts tonight.
- If a team is going to get to Ted Lilly it will happen on the road. Lilly is 3-4 with a 4.96 ERA in eight road starts this season. Adam LaRoche is 5-for-12 against the Cubs starter, but no other Pirate is going to pose an initial credible threat against Lilly. While the numbers are tough, there just is not enough offense in Pittsburgh to make his start a concern.
- Randy Johnson has been up and down this season, but has had good success against the Cardinals that are likely to be in the lineup. Johnson has been pitching much better, so do not let the road numbers fool you. He is 3-1 in June, with a 2.93 ERA in five starts. Two of his three wins have come on the road.
- FYI, Jordan Zimmermann's start has been moved to Wednesday.
- Spot Starts: Scott Feldman (Joe Saunders Corollary, deep leagues only), Ross Ohlendorf, and (gulp) Jason Marquis
- Look to see Ty Wiggington stay in the lineup against Josh Beckett. Wiggington is 8-for-25 with three home runs against the Boston starter. Most Orioles will still be fine in this one, at least as you would normally use them. Brian Roberts checks in at .300, while Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis both are right around .300 as well.
- Jarrod Washburn could be auditioning for the Yankees with his start against them. Largely, the Yankees have performed well against him. Look to avoid Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui, and Robinson Cano, but otherwise your regulars are going to be in decent shape for this one.
- Kevin Millwood continues to amaze. He has gone 3-1 in June with a sub-1.50 ERA. At home, the starter has been almost unhittable. He is 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his starts in Arlington. Still, the Angels have hit him well. Vladimir Guerrero is a .333 hitter with four home runs, and Torii Hunter has pounded the ball as well, sitting at 13-for-32. Bobby Abreu has been strong too. Millwood is 3-4 against the Angels going back the last three seasons and ten starts.
- Casey Kotchman is 4-for-11 against Cole Hamels, and three of those hits have gone for home runs. Look to your normal Braves in this one, but do not reach beyond that. Matt Diaz and Jeff Francoeur, for example, have combined to go 11-for-54 against the Phillies' ace.
- Be careful using Gil Meche. While the Royals starter has been cleared to go tomorrow, he had a lot of problems with velocity in his last start, according to multiple sources. After an impressive six start run, Meche has given up 13 runs in his last 8.1 innings. The Twins have struggled some against Meche, and this would be a good opportunity otherwise. Still, avoid this situation.
- Spot Starts: Washburn, Brad Bergesen, Glen Perkins
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