There have been a rash of celebrity deaths that have many shaking their heads.
From Michael Jackson to Farrah Fawcett, from Ed McMahon to Billy Mays, the tragedies seem to just keep coming over the course of the last week or two.
Without reason or explanation, people that impacted the world in a host of ways have been taken.
While plenty will argue that the tragedy of one of the above was greater than others, none hit home more than Steve McNair.
McNair was one of the first quarterbacks I vividly remember being drafted, and can recall the importance of his being invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation.
He carried himself with great dignity, and there were never off the field issues that he had to address. McNair was a warrior in the greatest of sense, playing through pain for the benefit of his team. The community work he performed won him awards, but he did not do it for that.
Whatever the reason behind the shooting death, I hope we find that nothing will tarnish the legacy he left. McNair was a fantastic football player and a solid person to his community.
Let us hope that we all remember him that way.
On to the notes.
- Aramis Ramirez looks like he will be ready to go today for the Cubs. After spending the weekend in Peoria, Ramirez felt he would be ready to go. In daily formats, it still is likely a decent idea to hold off today before activating him. Make sure he moves off the DL before jumping on the train. In weekly leagues, he is a safe add for the week. His return, along with that of Reed Johnson is likely to create some confusion. Jake Fox could be out and Jeff Baker makes the decision tough as well.
- The A's have made a move to acquire Scott Hairston from the Padres in exchange for three minor league players. Hairston was hitting .299 with 10 home runs for San Diego, in what largely was a pitcher's park. The move to Oakland will not impact his stats in that way, but he will likely need time to adjust. Look at the first month's this year for Matt Holliday and even Mark DeRosa.
- There is a level of amazement that this is the same Ricky Nolasco that was seen at the beginning of the season. Nolasco had another good performance yesterday, working eight innings while striking out 12. The Marlins starter allowed only three hits and did not walk a batter. Since his return from the minors, he is averaging better than a strikeout per inning, and his location has been nothing short of impressive.
- Chien-Ming Wang has capped off a nearly lost season with another trip to the DL. The Yankees placed Wang there with a shoulder strain, and indicated they are unsure how long he will be out of the rotation. Do not rush to grab Phil Hughes. Joe Girardi has all but said that Hughes will not be stepping in to replace Wang.
- After expectations that he would rejoin the team over the weekend, the Rangers held back on activating Josh Hamilton. It looks now, though, that they will make the move to start the outfielder on Monday. To make room for Hamilton, the Rangers will send Chris Davis down to AAA to learn to make contact.
- Randy Johnson will go for an MRI on his throwing shoulder. The pitcher suffered the injury after striking out against Roy Oswalt. When he made a throwing error on a ground ball hit back to him, the trainers came out and Johnson was removed. Right now, nothing to report beyond that, but be prepared for him to miss a start.
- It looks like Alex Gordon will be ready to rejoin the Royals just after the All-Star break. Gordon is doing rehab work in Triple-A right now, and has yet to suffer a setback. For owners that had clung to Chris Davis for dear life, Gordon is only now about a week away (Thanks to Michael Sylvie for the tip on Gordon).
- Geovany Soto had a rough weekend against the Brewers, but his performances of late should have owners giving him another look. The NL is plagued with some poor catching, and even a moderately effective Soto is better than most. He is hitting .286 over the last week, and his power numbers are coming back a bit.
- After his first start in June, John Danks had a 5.10 ERA and looked to be on his way out of fantasy relevance. Since that point, he has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last five starts. The line? Six runs over his last 35.2 innings pitched. That has pushed his ERA down under 4.00 to 3.76.
- It is rare to say that a visiting team has an advantage, but the Orioles may have just that over Seattle. The Mariners spent the day playing in Boston, then had to fly back to the West Coast to play at home tonight. The Orioles played a day game against the Angels at Anaheim before heading up the coast to Washington. With how well Brad Bergesen has been pitching, the matchup for him is that much more favorable here.
- Look to avoid Lyle Overbay against the Yankees today. Overbay is only 2-for-24 against Andy Pettitte. Both Rod Barajas and Aaron Hill have struggled as well, and if you have other options it would be best to use them. Other Blue Jays starters fit the bill and should be in lineups.
- While some may expect a correction in the stats of Jason Marquis, that is not going to happen tonight against the Nationals. Marquis has ten wins, and it is time for owners to believe a bit more in what they are seeing. Especially against a weak-hitting offense, Marquis is worth the start.
- Ian Kinsler is only 5-for-24 against Jered Weaver, and Josh Hamilton has checked in at just 1-for-9. No concerns on any other Rangers in this one, but know what you could be getting in starting Kinsler here. He is hitless in his last four games, and is just tw for his last 26.
- Tough to start Armando Galarraga in this one. While he looked good in his only outing against the Royals this season, he also has allowed at least three earned runs in nine of his last ten starts. Figuring that he has only worked into the seventh four times in that span, the numbers are not solid.
- Gil Meche may have given up just one unearned run last time out, but his day was spent getting out of trouble with baserunners. Meche has some injury concerns, and the Tigers have hit him well. With the potential exception of Placido Polanco, all your Tigers make good plays in this one.
- Jon Garland has had a hard time this season, and some of it has to do with run support. For certain, he still struggles with control and command, but he deserved a win last time out. In four of his last ten starts he has given up zero or one runs, but has just one win in those outings. At home, he has been roughed up, going 2-4 with an ERA well over 7.00. Avoid him here.
- John Smoltz looked good in his last outing before the rain came in Baltimore. Smoltz had a sharp slider working and kept his velocity in the low-90s. With an Oakland lineup coming in without much pop, he is a decent option as a starter in deeper formats.
- Cole Hamels is coming off two bad outings that saw him unable to get out of the fifth inning either time. The Reds are a different animal though. Avoid Brandon Phillips and his 2-for-15 stats against Hamels. The Phillies starter should be fine in this one.
- Spot Starts: Bergesen, Marquis, and Ricky Romero
- Nothing pretty about the Minnesota numbers against C.C. Sabathia. From top to bottom, the lineup has struggled dramatically against the starter for New York. Look to avoid as many as you can, including your regular stars. Justin Morneau is only 6-for-36, and Michael Cuddyer is 10-for-49. No good news here.
- Justin Verlander has been pitching well, and historically is strong against the Royals. Outside of an 8-for-20 of Billy Butler, look to avoid most Royals that you would be keeping in lineups otherwise. David DeJesus, Mark Teahan, and Jose Guillen have some rough numbers.
- While Mark Buehrle has been strong of late, the Indians have some good power numbers against him. The team has hit 12 home runs in 270 at-bats, good for about one a game. With Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez, the numbers warrant keeping them started. Ryan Garko is a solid play in this one, as he is 11-for-22. Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, though, are both hovering very close to .200 against the White Sox starter.
- Just when owners started to rely on Kevin Correia, he blew up to allow six runs in his last outing against Houston. This one, though, has some better numbers. Against Arizona, Correia has been strong. While you will want to keep Mark Reynolds in the lineup with his .313 average, your other Diamondbacks have struggled. No other decent starts available here.
- Batters are hitting .304 against Paul Maholm on the road, and there are rumors that he has been bothered by knee and groin issues this season. Lance Berkman is only 3-for-23 against Maholm, and Carlos Lee is 6-for-29. The numbers there are not good, but the Pirates starter needs to be held back in this one.
- Spot Starts: Correia, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeremy Guthrie