Recently, there has been a run of good questions being sent over. Keep them coming, as some will turn in to bonus posts (if the day-job thing can ever get under control). If you have a question you need answered, certainly send an email and it will be answered.
Last night, aces took the hill around baseball and all came out with wins. For owners, it is always a good thing when the pitchers you drafted highly do exactly what you expect them to do. Few do it better than the trio of stars last night.
Better still, Mets fans came through for all of baseball with their booing of Manny Ramirez. It is rare to thank New York for much here in Boston, but that was needed and deserved. Maybe it was just one night, but it was nice to know that there is a set of fans out there that was not going to just welcome him back with open arms.
Little things can make the day that much better.
On to the notes.
- Ryan Dempster will be shelved after breaking his right big toe. Dempster's injury happened while trying to jump a dugout railing in Milwaukee over the weekend. The injury likely will not have much long-term ramifications, but is a short-term issue for owners. There is some talent available, and Jason Marquis should lead the way for those owners looking to fill the spot. Beyond him, look to his teammate Ubaldo Jimenez.
- Mark DeRosa also will miss some time, being placed on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. DeRosa will miss through the All-Star break with the injury, and this hurts owners in terms of position flexibility as well as offense output. There are some middle infield solutions available. Start with Gordon Beckham, as he gives third and short eligibility in most leagues. Another name to look at is Casey McGehee. He is hitting .417 in July, and .341 overall this season. He will help at both second and third.
- After just returning to the outfield, it looks like Vladimir Guerrero will be back at either the DH spot or on the bench. Guerrero left last night's game after straining a muscle in his right knee going after a ball. His injury history has started to make him a more risky play, as even a healthy Vlad has seen his power numbers come way down. With the depth the Angels have, his missing a few days would not be a surprise.
- Sticking with the Angels, Juan Rivera's ownership (or lack there of) continues to amaze. Last night, Rivera knocked two solo home runs. That increased his total to 16 this season to go with 52 RBI. In addition, all his split stats are impressive. He hits .299 against righties, .321 at home, .313 away, and .381 against lefties. His BABIP is 10 percent higher than his career average, so his luck may come down, but the contact percentages and home run rates make sense based on the type of contact he makes.
- Another young player hitting the ball well is Franklin Gutierrez. Gutierrez has a 10-game hitting streak after hitting a home run last night. The outfielder is taking nearly all reps in center, and is hitting .295 for the season. Those looking for some outfield help should look him up.
- Paul Konerko hit his home runs for the month all in one game. Konerko knocked three out last night and drove in seven runs. This was the first time in his career that he has hit three home runs and the most RBI he has had in a single game as well. His average is now up to .301, an area he has not been in since 2006.
- Barry Zito threw a gem for the Giants last night against the Marlins. Zito worked into the ninth inning and allowing only four hits. The Giants pitching, overall, has been among the best surprises in baseball. They lead the league with 12 shutouts on the season. Zito is now 2-0 against Florida with a 0.68 ERA.
- The fact that the Blue Jays are considering a trade of Roy Halladay is an overall good thing for fantasy owners. Still, this season, because of Toronto's offense Halladay was not being hurt in terms of wins. He is one of the best in the game, and his numbers after the break are very similar to those before. Toronto just fizzles as a team in the second half, and has for the last three years, thus impacting his wins.
- With many teams watching Pedro Martinez work out, the question comes up as to if he is fantasy viable. If he were to sign with a National League team, he has more value than with an AL team. The lineups are more friendly, and the style of baseball makes it a more suitable matchup. In mixed leagues, it would have to be pretty deep to make him an immediate add. He will be back in the game in the second half, there should not be much doubt there.
- Jason Kubel has struggled of late, and is only 3-for-14 against A.J. Burnett. If you have other options in this one, best to use them. Use all other Twins as you normally would in this one. Burnett's last four starts (since the Boston disaster) have all been very strong, and he has allowed only three earned runs in his last 27.1 innings.
- 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.
- Wandy Rodriguez is always a good play at home, but do not hesitate to use your normal Pirates (is there such a thing?). Jack Wilson is 8-for-22, and Adam LaRoche is hitting .417 against him. Freddy Sanchez is a .435 hitter, but is likely out of the lineup with back issues.
- 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.
- Scott Kazmir continues to need 100 pitches to get through five innings, as has been the case his last two starts. He had a nice outing against Texas, but struggled with efficiency. Still, he has always pitched well in that park. Toronto's offense could be a different story. Four of the Toronto likely starters are over .300 against Kazmir. Aaron Hill, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay are certain plays, as is Marco Scutaro. Alex Rios has struggled to just 7-for-30.
- 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.
- Jose Contreras has thrown four solid outings in his last five, one of those against tonight's opponent in Cleveland. He has worked into the eighth inning four times since his return, and has allowed only nine earned runs in 37.1 innings. The Indians lineup has largely struggled against him, and he is a decent spot play tonight.
- 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.
- Get all your Angels into the lineup tonight against Vicente Padilla. The only two the pitcher seems to be able to contain are Torii Hunter (3-for-19) and Mike Napoli (4-for-21). Otherwise, not a problem to be found, and you likely are starting Hunter in this one anyway based on options.
- Spot Starts: Sadowski, Contreras, and Chad Gaudin
- Not a bad team for Halladay's first outing since trade rumors started swirling. While owners should keep regulars like Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton active, do not hesitate to hold off on Carlos Pena. He has just one home run in 46 at-bats, and is hitting just .239 against the Blue Jays starter.
- It would not be entirely surprising to see David Murphy in the lineup against the Mariners and Felix Hernandez. Murphy has hit .318 against Hernandez with a home run. Not much else good in the Rangers lineup beyond Michael Young. Any Ranger with at least 15 at-bats is hovering around .200, including Blalock, Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Hamilton.
- As sharp as Tommy Hanson has been, Aaron Cook has been just as good of late. The concern for Cook this time out is that he left his last start with tightness in his back. If the Rockies deem him good to go, this would still be a situation to avoid. He was leaving a lot up in the zone last time out, and the Braves are hitting well.
- In any decent outing Randy Wolf has had over his last ten, he has received no run support. He is just 3-3 in 18 starts, but has pitched much better than that record. He has allowed eight hits over his last 12 innings, and only one walk. On the road, batters are hitting only .224 against him.
- Joel Pineiro is another pitcher with better stats than his record. Pineiro has had some rough luck, and his road stats are skewed based on a couple early outings. Look to him in a pinch today, as his 3.39 ERA is a nice number to run out there. He will not help in strikeouts, but his WHIP and contact numbers can boost owners in other categories.
- Spot Starts: Wolf, Pineiro, Brad Penny