The Phillies should not have gone for two last night against the Reds, that was just rubbing it in.
It is always amazing when you see a score like that (22-1) come across the bottom of the television screen. Even more so when you realize that one of the pitchers involved decided to give up nine runs without even getting out of the first inning.
The other major story last night took place in Boston. Regardless of how he left, the return of Nomar Garciaparra to Boston was impressive. The Boston fans did exactly what they should have done, and he responded in kind.
You could tell that this was not Johnny Damon coming back, or Roger Clemens for that matter. Nomar was always different in Boston, and his reception felt that way. Kudos to the Red Sox fans in attendance for doing it up right.
On to the notes.
- Stop me if you have heard this before. Red Sox face a pitcher for the first time. Said pitcher is also left-handed. Red Sox get impatient. Pitcher throws a gem. This is basically how Boston ends up looking against nearly every young pitcher, but it is particularly bad when the guy is a lefty. Brett Anderson was dominant, and not having to work very hard to get the win and giving up just two hits. He struck out nine, a new career high.
- John Smoltz continued to show some inconsistency in his performance. While there is something to be said for wanting to do well in his first home start, Smoltz had almost no command last night. His breaking pitches were up in the zone, causing him to get hit pretty hard. His fastball was ok, but his secondary pitches created the runs for Oakland.
- Jason Marquis now leads all of baseball in wins, recording his 11th of the season last night by beating the Nationals. His key has been keeping the ball on the ground, as he has recorded double-digit ground balls in nine of 10 starts. He has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings. Many of his peripherals suggest this pace cannot be maintained. If the right offer comes along, sell high.
- Take it for what you will, but Jimmy Rollins now has a five-game hitting streak, and multiple hits in four of his last five. In those games, Rollins is hitting 10-for-18 and has scored six runs. He looks better, there is no doubt about that. Owners should ride it out, but remain skeptical.
- The Giants placed Randy Johnson on the DL with a strain in his rotator cuff. Johnson felt discomfort during his last start, and needed to be removed early. It is likely that Jonathan Sanchez takes Johnson's spot in the rotation on Friday, according to initial reports.
- Dallas Braden will not make the start for the A's in Boston tonight. He has been placed on the bereavement list and Dana Eveland will make the start in his place. Eveland was roughed up in his last visit to Fenway Park, and has not made a good start on the road at all in his time in the majors.
- Raul Ibanez began his rehab assignment last night for the Phillies. He went hitless in two at-bats for Double-A, and will move to Lehigh Valley to get a couple games in at the Triple-A level. Ibanez reported no issues with the groin that has sidelined him since the middle of June. He is looking to return before the All-Star break.
- Simply amazing is the best way to describe the game thrown by Jarrod Washburn last night. The Mariners' pitcher threw a complete game shutout against the Orioles, allowing just one hit and not walking a batter. According to ESPN, the major change in Washburn has been the addition of a sinker to his pitch selection. It has helped him keep the ball in the park more effectively, and is shown in his 3.08 season ERA.
- Aramis Ramirez did indeed return to the Cubs' lineup last night. The third baseman was unable to record a hit, going 0-for-4, but his presence alone will help the Cubs' offense. He made contact in each at-bat, which is a good thing. Still, he is likely to be spelled here and there as he gets back in to game shape. Just be aware.
- As bad as Oakland has been offensively, they are worse against Josh Beckett. Beckett has owned nearly every regular with a track record against him. The only exception is Matt Holliday, as he checks in at 6-for-14 against Beckett with a home run. Otherwise, avoid this situation.
- 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.
- Surprising to see that Hanley Ramirez is only 1-for-10 against Barry Zito. Ramirez is expected to be able to start today, but if owners were looking to hold him out one more, this would not be a bad call based on the numbers. Cody Ross remains a strong play with his recent power numbers.
- 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.
- Both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have been strong against the Braves starter tonight, Javier Vazquez. Reaching beyond these two is going to be tough, as many of the Cubs regulars are below .200 against Vazquez. Factor in his 3.15 road ERA and .233 BAA away from home, and the Cubs could be in for a long night.
- 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.
- While Lyle Overbay has struggled over the last week, he is a .304 hitter with two home runs against James Shields. Kevin Millar has also had decent success. Otherwise, Shields has performed very well against the Blue Jays. Keep him active and avoid most of the Toronto lineup in this one.
- 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.
- With David Eckstein on the DL, the only Padres starter to grab outside of Adrian Gonzalez is Chase Headley. Headley is 5-for-15 against Arizona starter Doug Davis. With the Padres offense only getting worse with the trade of Scott Hairston, there are even fewer reasons to go digging in this cesspool.
- Spot Starts: Correia, Jordan Zimmermann, and Davis
- Look to use Mark Ellis and Jack Cust against Tim Wakefield. The two are hitting .348 and .313 respectively, and are the only Oakland starters above .300 against Wakefield. Jason Giambi has four home runs in 92 at-bats, but has hit just .163 against the Boston starter.
- While their time is limited, the heart of the Yankees lineup has done well against Glen Perkins. Alex Rodriguez is 5-for-9, as is Melky Cabrera. Robinson Cano has added a 5-for-8 figure against Perkins as well. Normally, Perkins is a decent play at home, but these numbers should have owners taking pause and looking elsewhere.
- Ryan Sadowski has put up two good outings to start his career, and will get a chance to face the Marlins on Wednesday. His command was much better during his second start, and in 13 innings, he has allowed only seven hits. Players do not have much of a book on him yet, and he could steal another win in this one.
- Jeff Suppan has been roughed up by the Cardinals lineup, and has fallen to 1-5 at home on the season with an ERA sitting at 6.08 in Miller Park. In nearly 200 at-bats, the Cardinals check in at .332 against Suppan. Start as many as you can, as there are no red flags. Keep Suppan down.
- Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton have not hit well against Ervin Santana. The Angels starter has held Cruz to a 3-for-16 mark, and Hamilton to 2-for-13. The rest of the Rangers are good to go in this one. Michael Young, Hank Blalock, and Ian Kinsler all have hit north of .350 in at least 22 at-bats.
- Spot Starts: Sadowski and Chad Gaudin