Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight 4/14: Ryan Theriot Leads Chicago Cubs Comeback
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Game No. 11: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Randy Wells was the story of the first half of this game, striking out six through four innings, all against the Brewers’ 1 through 3 batters (Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun ).
With two outs in the fifth, Weeks worked a nine-pitch at-bat, forcing Wells to labor for the first time all day. After fouling off three pitches and running the count full, Weeks delivered the Brewers’ first runs of the day, whacking a two-run double into the left-field corner that tied the game.
Wells then allowed three straight singles to Braun, Prince Fielder, and Casey McGehee to begin the sixth. He retired the next three Brewers, however, escaping the inning with just one run allowed.
Wells was yanked in the seventh after allowing an RBI double to Hart. His final line (6 1/3, 10 hits, four runs, one walk, seven strikeouts) doesn’t impress, but make no mistake—coming from a Wells nonbeliever—the 27-year-old was on his game.
LaTroy Hawkins entered in the bottom half of the inning and quickly retired Marlon Byrd and pinch hitter Chad Tracy. The Milwaukee reliever then allowed a single, two walks, then consecutive two-run singles to Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome to surrender a three-run lead.
Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the ninth to record his third save of the young season.
Theriot led the Cubs with four hits and two steals. Fukudome added two hits and three RBI. The soon-to-be 33-year-old right fielder is now batting .417 (10-for-24).
While it’s easy to get hyped up over Fukudome’s early success, consider this: The former Chunichi Dragon has a .331 career batting average in April, and he bats just .243 from May to September. As a Cubs fan it pains me to say this, but now is probably a good time to unload Fukudome for anything of value.
Every Brewers position player had at least one hit, and Alcides Escobar led the team with three.
Dave Bush pitched a respectable seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks. The 30-year-old is worth a spot start given the right matchup.
Other notes from around the league:
Hitter of the day: Shane Victorino (4-for-5, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI)
Shane Victorino went 4-for-5 with three runs, a HR, and five RBI in the leadoff spot for the Phillies Wednesday night. In doing this, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” raised his batting average from .161 to .250.
Teammate Chase Utley went 2-for-4 with three runs, two HRs and four RBI. The Phillies are averaging eight runs a game through the first week-and-a-half.
Jose Guillen hit another HR on Wednesday, his fifth in four games. Oh by the way, he also went 3-for-4. The Royals’ DH is now batting .361 (13-for-36) through nine games. As I mentioned last night , Guillen hit 20 HRs with 97 RBI as recently as 2008. While his current 90 HR pace is obviously unsustainable, he may actually be a decent contributor in 14-team leagues.
Jorge Cantu continued his ridiculous streak Wednesday night, going 1-for-4 with a solo HR. The 28-year-old Marlin has at least one hit and one RBI in each of the first nine games.
Delmon Young went 3-for-4 with a run scored against the Red Sox on Wednesday. The 24-year-old is now batting .346 (9-for-26) through eight games. For an in-depth look at Young’s 2010 prospects, click here .
B.J. Upton is back! The 25-year-old went 2-for-5 with with two runs, two HRs, and four RBI against the Orioles on Wednesday. Now batting .273 (9-for-33) with four bombs and two steals through nine games, the elder Upton brother is on his way to a bounce-back 2010 season, just as I predicted .
“Hard-hittin” Carlos Quentin went 2-for-5 with two runs, a HR, and six RBI against the Blue Jays Wednesday night.
Jose Reyes stole his first base of the season Wednesday night, though he finished the game 0-for-5. Teammate Jeff Francoeur hit his third bomb of the season and is now batting .429 (12-for-28). The 26-year-old has even walked six times in eight games, an unlikely accomplishment for a guy with a career walk rate of 4.8 percent.
Rafael Furcal went 3-for-6 while stealing his fourth base of the season. Teammate Matt Kemp went 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs, a HR, three RBI, and a stolen base in the Dodgers’ 11-inning loss to the Diamondbacks Wednesday night.
Pitcher of the day: Jonathan Sanchez (W, 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K)
Jonathan Sanchez tossed a gem against the Pirates Wednesday night, allowing just three hits and three walks through eight scoreless innings. He also struck out 11. Keep in mind the 27-year-old southpaw posted a 3.83 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with a 10.4 K/9 in the second half of 2009. If he can limit his walks (career 4.65 BB/9), Sanchez could open eyes in 2010.
Javier Vazquez was roughed up again on Wednesday, surrendering four runs on six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.
As I mentioned last Friday night , Vazquez owners are in for a disappointing season. After posting a career-best 2.87 ERA and 1.03 WHIP last year with Atlanta, the 33-year-old now calls Yankee Stadium home. While there’s a good chance he’ll rack up 200 strikeouts for the fourth consecutive season, it’s going to come with a 4.00 ERA.
David Price pitched seven strong innings against Baltimore on Wednesday, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks. He also struck out seven. With a 2.45 ERA through two starts, the 24-year-old southpaw is on the verge of fantasy stardom.
Colby Lewis posted his second consecutive eye-popping start Wednesday night, punching out 10 while allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Prior to 2010, the 30-year-old starter hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2007.
During the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Lewis posted a sub-3.00 ERA with the Hiroshima Toyo Carps in the Japanese Central League . While his two starts this season have come against Seattle and Cleveland, they’re still worth mentioning. It’s too early to tell, but Lewis may become one of the great stories of 2010.
Justin Masterson was the tough-luck loser against the Rangers Wednesday night. In six innings, the 25-year-old allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits and zero walks, while striking out nine. A key piece of the Victor Martinez deal last season, Masterson now has a 2.45 ERA and and 14 strikeouts in 11 innings.
John Danks shut down the Blue Jays one day before his 25th birthday, allowing just one run on two hits and three walks in seven innings.
Brad Penny dominated the helpless Astros Wednesday night, allowing one unearned run on three hits in seven innings. Penny now has a 0.64 ERA through two starts.
Fernando Rodney pitched a spotless ninth inning for the Angels on Wednesday to record his first save of the season in Brian Fuentes’ absence. Fuentes was placed on the DL Wednesday with a strained back. Because the move is retroactive to April 6, he’ll be eligible to return next week.
Rodney will serve as the Angels’ closer until Fuentes returns. Though Rodney converted 37 of his 38 save opportunities last season with Detroit, he posted a 4.40 ERA. Darn those non-save situations. He should be added in all leagues.
Franklin Morales was charged with a blown save against the Mets Wednesday night, as he allowed one unearned run on one hit. He remains the ninth-inning favorite while Huston Street recovers from a shoulder injury.
Chad Qualls blew his first save of the season against the Dodgers Wednesday night. Arizona’s closer remains safe for now.
Jacoby Ellsbury missed his second consecutive game on Wednesday with bruised ribs. Red Sox manager Terry Francona expects Ellsbury to be back in the lineup this weekend.
Brad Hawpe missed Wednesday night’s game with tightness in his left quadriceps, an injury that forced him out of the game early Tuesday night. He should be back in the lineup Thursday.
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