July 1, 2009
Have you ever had one of those moments where you thought something was just a joke?
Last night, the Boston Red Sox were up 9-1 before a rain delay forced John Smoltz out of the game. They took a 10-1 lead before the implosion happened.
This morning, sports radio says the Red Sox lost 11-10.
Confusion is only one word that could be used to describe the reaction of the majority in the Boston area. Personally, the TV had been changed at my house.
Of course, should this have been all that unexpected? The last two days, ESPN and NESN have done nothing, but throw graphics up, as to how the Red Sox had beaten the Orioles eight straight times dating back to last September.
There was talk of the dominance over Baltimore since 1999. Moreso, there was the stat that Jonathan Papelbon had not blown a save against Baltimore in 21 chances.
Everything came together last night into one big mess for the Red Sox bullpen. Fundamentals were the lead in yesterday. Today, it has to all be about, how anything is possible. Strange things seem to happen.
On to the notes:
- Smoltz did look solid before the rain came down in Baltimore. He worked both sides of the plate well, and his slider was much sharper than it was in his opening outing. Smoltz's fastball was consistently 91-93, and he had the Orioles off-balance for all four innings. This is a good sign. AL-only leagues should take note of this performance.
- The Padres won the game, but could lose Adrian Gonzalez for a few days. The Padres first baseman was taken out of the game after straining his knee. Gonzalez was hurt sliding into third base, and is being treated as day-to-day. The break might do him some good, since the beginning of June, Gonzalez is hitting just .221.
- Mark DeRosa also left the game last night after tweaking his wrist while swinging. DeRosa said the wrist immediately did not feel right, and he expects to have some tests run on Wednesday to determine if there is anything structural wrong. Expect him to miss at least tonight's game.
- The Red Sox did place Mike Lowell on the DL yesterday with his hip injury. The team recalled Jeff Bailey from AAA to take his place on the roster. Bailey and Mark Kotsay will both see some time at first base over this span, and neither have much bearing outside of deeper AL-only leagues.
- The Pirates sent Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals in exchange for Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge. The Pirates certainly bought low on Hanrahan, and he could push Matt Capps out. It will definitely make the end of that bullpen more interesting. Milledge is still hurting, so the Pirates will have to wait on that piece.
- Alright, who had Jason Marquis with ten wins all season? That makes no one. Marquis threw a complete game shutout last night against one of the best teams in baseball. The Dodgers could only manage two hits against the starter. It's getting ridiculous, and he is available in about 70 percent of all leagues.
- Carlos Beltran received a second opinion on his knee. The doctor here gave him a more encouraging report, and indicated that surgery is not likely necessary. He will still be held out until the All-Star break, but it has become a matter of rest and healing time than anything else.
- The pitcher's duel last night between Scott Baker and Brian Bannister was largely unexpected. Yes, both had been pitching well, but neither had given indications that this was coming. Bannister looked better than Baker. He worked seven innings and took the loss, but gave up just one earned run on six hits and a walk. Baker needed 111 pitches to get through five innings. He only walked two, but was in deep counts most of the night.
- It was pointed out yesterday, and then it came true last night. Joe Saunders cannot pitch in Texas. Each outing over the last few seasons, Saunders has been roughed up, and last night was no exception. He is fine against the Rangers at home, but there is something about the ballpark in Arlington that does him in.
- Expect Kevin Millar to find his way into the lineup tonight, as he is 11-for-30 against James Shields. Lyle Overbay remains a strong play as well, but look to avoid most other Blue Jays. Marco Scutaro is hitting just .136, and Alex Rios checks in at .227, while Vernon Wells has had major issues as well.
- Look to see Ty Wiggington stay in the lineup against Josh Beckett. Wiggington is 8-for-25 with three home runs against the Boston ace. Most Orioles will still be fine in this one, at least the players you would normally use. Brian Roberts checks in at .300, while Aubrey Huff and Nick Markakis both are right around .300 as well.
- Andy Pettitte has given up at least four earned runs in five of his last six home starts, and sits with an ERA of 5.77 in New York. The Mariners have simply just hit him hard, registering a .339 average as a team. Do not hesitate to use any of them in this matchup, as they all are good plays. Pettitte has been giving up a fair number of fly balls this season, something that does not play well in the new stadium.
- Jarrod Washburn could be auditioning for the Yankees with his start against them tonight. 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 matchup.
- Jose Contreras is up and down, but he owns Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner. The two are 3-for-25 and 3-for-24 respectively against Contreras. Grady Sizemore has solid numbers, hitting .310 with three home runs. Contreras is a tough start on the road at just 1-4, but the Indians' offense has lacked some punch.
- 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 has gone 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his starts in Arlington. The Angels, though, have had his number. Vladimir Guerrero is a .333 hitter with four home runs, and Torii Hunter has pounded the ball as well with a 13-for-32 mark. Millwood is 3-4 against the Angels dating back the last three seasons and ten starts.
- Ryan Spilborghs has gone 4-for-7 in limited at-bats against Clayton Kershaw, but two of those hits are home runs. Kershaw did not allow a home run in all of June, looking dominant at times. Still, his command is spotty at best and he needs a lot of pitches to get through an inning. He is a good play at home, and has given up just two earned runs in his last 18.2 innings.
- 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 aginst him, but this is a situation to avoid.
- Expect Chris Duncan in the lineup against Matt Cain. Duncan is 3-for-7 with a home run, and has the best track record of anyone not named Albert Pujols against Cain. Any other Cardinal will be a reach, as the team has hit just .229 against Cain. He has been strong all season, and his 4-1 record on the road is impressive.
- Spot Starts: Washburn, Brad Bergesen, and Glen Perkins.
- As strong as Mark Buehrle has been against the Royals, there are some good numbers against him. Billy Butler has hit .308 and Mark Teahan has gone 20-for-47. Even Willie Bloomquist is 11-for-22. Look to avoid David DeJesus, as he is just a .153 hitter in 59 at-bats, and John Buck is no better, 6-for-33.
- You have to appreciate the love being given to Chad Gaudin, but do not sleep on Kevin Correia. He has two bad starts in his last ten outings, but has been solid for his last five in a row, going 4-1. In that time, he has struck out 29 batters in 33.2 innings and given up only nine earned runs. In deeper leagues, he is a solid play.
- When evaluating Paul Maholm, do not believe the numbers in most cases. Maholm has been awful on the road, and it seems nearly every start he had in both May and June was away from Pittsburgh. At home, he has been lights out. Even against the Mets, his home stats (3-1, 1.96 ERA) make him a good spot start.
- Avoid J.J. Hardy at all costs, as he is only 2-for-23 against Ryan Dempster. The surprise? Jason Kendall is a .419 hitter against the Cubs' starter. Corey Hart has struggles as well, coming in with a .100 average in 20 at-bats. Reaching for Brewers in this game is not likely going to help your offensive numbers.
- Barry Zito struggled in his last outing against the Cardinals, but has decent numbers against them overall. Keep Ryan Ludwick and Yadier Molina in lineups, as both have solid numbers against Zito. Otherwise, Zito has pitched well enough to be started in this one.
- Spot Starts: Correia, Maholm, and Zito.
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