Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in 18 chances last night. He gave up two absolute bombs in the ninth inning last night that destroyed a solid performance by the Boston offense against the best pitcher in baseball. The Red Sox rocked Jimenez for six runs, the most he has given up in an outing all season.
There are many that are still rightly skeptical about Daniel Nava, but this is a player that has simply hit everywhere he has gone. Nava has 13 hits and 10 RBI in 34 at-bats this season, good for a .382 average. This is the same guy that left tickets every night he was in Triple-A for Erin Andrews, so you know he does not lack confidence (no joke). With the Boston outfield situation, Nava will continue to get some at-bats as long as he hits.
To paraphrase the great Harry Doyle, good news ChiSox fans, Carlos Quentin is showing signs of life for the first time in weeks. Quentin homered twice last night and is now nine for his last 22 with three home runs and eight RBI in that stretch. He is only 62 percent owned, so now might be the right time to grab him.
Another solid performance by Stephen Strasburg last night, though he took the loss. Strasburg scattered nine hits but also struck out nine batters in the process but took a 1-0 loss against the Royals. He did throw 95 pitches in just six innings, which is not exactly stellar. This aspect to his game still needs refinement.
I hate recommending a guy like R.A. Dickey, but he has won in six straight starts and has been one of the more consistent Mets' pitchers in that stretch. Dickey worked eight innings last night and allowed just four hits and two walks in the process. He has allowed only three earned runs in his last three starts, covering 21 innings.
Carlos Lee is 5-for-11 against Matt Cain and has a home run to show for it as well. The rest of the Astros do not have a lot of pleasant memories. Hunter Pence is just 2-for-10 and Geoff Blum is 6-for-25. Cain has allowed more than two earned runs just once since May 12th and has one four of his last five starts.
Wandy Rodriguez has been far from the darling he was last season given the 3-10 record and ERA over 6.00. To boot, Edgar Renteria and Freddy Sanchez have both been solid against the starter. Renteria has limited at-bats, but is 4-for-7 with two home runs. Sanchez is 10-for-23 with a home run himself, good for a .435 mark.
Ichiro has some solid numbers against Ted Lilly. The outfielder is 10-for-32 against him lifetime. He is about it though. Chone Figgins is 3-for-19 and Milton Bradley is 3-for-15. Jack Wilson is not much better at just 4-for-17. Lilly was roughed up in his last outing and is just 1-3 on the road this season. Still, he has just a 2.62 ERA and batters are hitting only .226 against him on the road and .192 for the month.
Jhonny Peralta did not come through for me against Jamie Moyer, but his numbers against Joe Blanton are just as good. Peralta is 9-for-23 against Blanton lifetime and is still swinging a good enough bat in his last few games to be worth the start in this one for those that need the bat.
Nick Markakis has some ugly numbers against Nate Robertson. Markakis is only 3-for-17 against the Florida starter. Look to use Miguel Tejada if you can here. Tejada is 8-for-19 with two home runs when Robertson is on the hill. Robertson is still largely an NL-only option, but he could prove out for a win here against a sub-par lineup.
Has Gavin Floyd turned the corner? The White Sox pitcher has given up a total of three runs in his last three starts. Those 22 innings have seen him surrender 13 hits and six walks, keeping his WHIP well under 1.00. While he has not been able to get a win, he has been the victim of some rough luck in terms of run support. Not a bad start here.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to the mound against the Rockies tonight. Matsuzaka was placed on the DL with a forearm injury that forced him to miss two starts. He has been up and down for certain, but has won three of his last four starts and produced well in all of them. A risky start in Colorado, but not a bad one if you need him.
Nick Blackburn's last three road starts have been hideous. In not one has he been able to complete the fourth inning. Blackburn has worked 8 innings and allowed 18 runs on 26 hits. Overall away from home he is 2-4 with a 9.09 ERA with batters hitting better than .400 against him in seven starts. Ryan Braun is 6-for-10 against Blackburn while Prince Fielder is just 1-for-10.
Manny Ramirez has had major struggles against Scott Kazmir. Ramirez is only 7-for-44 with one home run against the lefty, good for a .159 average. Kazmir is 4-0 in June with a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings of work.
Spot Starts: LeBlanc, Hammel, Lowe
Nick Swisher is just 1-for-15 against Vicente Padilla and Alex Rodriguez is only 2-for-12. Good numbers come in the 4-for-11 of Robinson Cano and the 4-for-10 of Derek Jeter. Not much to note on Padilla overall, as this is just his second start since April 22nd. Avoid him against the New York offense.
Derrek Lee and Ryan Theriot have really struggled against Jake Peavy. Lee is just 3-for-20 while Theriot is 2-for-14. Alfonso Soriano is 7-for-19 with three home runs and Kosuke Fukudome is 4-for-10 in his trips to the plate as well. Peavy is coming off a solid performance and is 2-1 in June. In his three starts, he has allowed a total of four runs in 23 innings.
Andy Oliver will get the ball for Detroit in place of Rick Porcello. Oliver is not as highly touted as his draft class mate Stephen Strasburg, but he has been fast tracked to the majors just as quickly. Oliver has the ability and with no one knowing how he can pitch holds a decided advantage in this one. Great sleeper pickup in deeper leagues.
It seems that every time I put this together I get to say something nice about Jhonny Peralta. Unfortunately, I am probably the only one thinking anything nice about him, and that includes most Tribe fans. Peralta is a .300 hitter in 20 at-bats against Aarong Harang. Look for him to continue the hot streak in this matchup.
Three decent numbers against Jeff Suppan for the Royals. Jose Guillen is 10-for-27 with seven RBI and Scott Podsednik is 6-for-16. Even Jason Kendall checks in at .292 in 24 at-bats with a home run. Suppan's numbers have been ugly this season, and the Royals know him pretty well. Look for them to take advantage of that with Greinke on the mound.