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Around the Majors: Apr. 17

Eric StashinSenior Writer IApril 18, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 12:  Joba Chamberlain #62 of the New York Yankees delivers the pitch against the Kansas City Royals on April 12, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Joba Chamberlain, Justin Verlander and David Purcey were among the pitchers who had tough outings yesterday.  Jason Kubel was the third player this week to hit for the cycle (isn’t that something that’s tough to do?).  Ryan Ludwick continued to rake.  Let’s take a look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:

Cleveland vs. New York (AL)

  • Joba Chamberlain gave up five runs on six hits and five walks, striking out four, over 4.2 innings of work.  He threw 46 of his 93 pitches for strike.  Let the grumblings of a move back to the bullpen begin, but no one is doing anything off one poor start. His next start comes against the Athletics, keeping him a must start in all formats.

Oakland vs. Toronto

  • The Blue Jays handed David Purcey a 5-1 lead, but he quickly coughed it up. He went 3.2 innings giving up four runs on four hits and four walks, striking out two. I’m still very high on Purcey but he has been far from a reliable option thus far this season.  The control has not been there, with 13 walks in 15.1 innings.  Yes, the strikeouts are nice when he gets them, but they come with great risk.  His next start is scheduled against the Rangers, making him a very tough play for sure.  I know I am going to leave him on my bench.

Baltimore vs. Boston

  • Adam Jones extended his hitting streak to seven games, going 2-for-3 with 1 RBI and two runs.  Five of the games of been multi-hit games and he’s had 9 RBI and scored 10 runs during the streak.  He has a lot of potential, which he had started to show last season before getting hurt, so I’d cash in on him.
  • Brad Penny got rocked for eight runs on six hits and five walks, striking out one, over three innings.  He was a sleeper to begin with and is no guarantee to stay in the rotation all season.  If you are in a deep format I’d leave him on the bench until he proves worthy.  With an 11.00 ERA, he’s not worthy right now.

Chicago (AL) vs. Tampa Bay

  • Carl Crawford went 0-for-4 and has just two hits over his last five games.  With a ,222 average I certainly would not panic.  We all know how much talent he has and sooner rather than later he’s going to show it.

Kansas City vs. Texas

  • Gil Meche stymied the high-powered Rangers lineup, throwing six shutout innings.  He allowed six hits and two walks, striking out six, and now has an impressive 2.25 ERA on the season.  If I had to chose a Royals pitcher I would go with Zack Greinke, but that does not mean that I would be against Meche as well.  Since signing with the Royals he’s proven to be an above average fallout in all formats.
  • Mark Teahen exploded to go 5-for-6 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R.  Despite the .351 average, it is only his second multi-hit game of the season.  He’s only an option in the deepest of formats.

Los Angeles (AL) vs. Minnesota

  • The void caused by Vladimir Guerrero’s injury was very evident last night.  Maicer Izturis was in the DH spot, with Bobby Abreu fourth and Torii Hunter fifth.
  • Jason Kubel hit for the cycle, the third player this week.  He went 4-for-5 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R.

Detroit vs. Seattle

  • Justin Verlander is quickly falling into the enigmatic pitcher category.  He went 7.1 innings giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits and one walk, striking out eight. It’s tough to leave him on the bench, given his potential, but it’s also tough to play him knowing that this is a possibility at any given time.  Basically, at this point I’m just glad I don’t own him.

St. Louis vs. Chicago (NL)

  • As the Cardinals continue to shuffle their OFers, Ryan Ludwick is proving that 2008 was no fluke.  He went 3-for-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  He’s hitting .405 with 5 HR and 13 RBI already this season. It’s just time for La Russa to leave him in the line-up on a daily basis already.
  • Carlos Zambrano had been good over this first two starts, but yesterday was a disaster. He allowed seven runs on nine hits and three walks, striking out seven, over seven innings. Do not read too much into his 5.21 ERA, it’s is all based on this one start and should certainly come back quickly.

Florida vs. Washington

  • Nick Johnson went 2-for-5 and is hitting .355 on the season.  He has just 1 RBI however, certainly not making him your prototypical first baseman.  The Nationals could go a long way in lightning their logjam by either benching him or trading him, if anyone is willing to buy. It’s certainly something to watch, but he should not be used as your first baseman except for in the deepest of formats.

Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh

  • Paul Maholm has been lights out this season, throwing seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.87 on the season. He allowed four hits and three walks, striking out two. He’s certainly a must use pitcher in all formats, but be sure you have a few big strikeout options to offset him.  He’s struck out just six batters over his first 20.2 innings this season.

San Diego vs. Philadelphia

  • Is Heath Bell this year’s breakout closer?  Early on he’s certainly gunning for it, picking up his sixth save of the season and is yet to give up an earned run. He’s struck out seven over 5.2 innings and is sporting an impressive 0.71 WHIP.  Likely drafted as a No. 3 closer, he’s performing like one of the elite.
  • Cole Hamels owners have got to start to be concerned.  Besides the injury scare early on, he has just not performed.  He gave up five runs on eight hits and one walk, striking out four, over six innings of work. Against a line-up not thought to pack much punch, he gave up three home runs and none of them came off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez. Obviously you have to continue to use him if he’s taking the mound, so just hope for the best.

Milwaukee vs. New York (NL)

  • Gary Sheffield hit his 500th career home run.  He’s not going to have a fantasy impact, however.
  • The Mets have just not been a clutch team this season, leaving another 13 runners on base. Sooner or later they are going to get hot as a collective group and start hanging some big numbers on the scoreboard. It’s just a matter of time before the runs start coming in droves.

Cincinnati vs. Houston

  • Johnny Cueto owners have got to be concerned with this start.  He lasted just 4.2 innings, giving up one run on two hits and six walks, striking out three. It was just one game, however, so do not press the panic button.  All pitchers have their starts like this.  His next matchup is a tough one against the Cubs, so hopefully he can bring his A game in that one.

Colorado vs. Los Angeles (NL)

  • The Dodgers shuffled their lineup, with Matt Kemp hitting in the clean-up spot for the first time this season. He went 1-for-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R, having hit safely in all 11 of the teams games. It’s about time that Joe Torre bumped him up, as I never understood while he was hitting seventh to begin with.  Hopefully he continues to hit in the spot, because hitting behind Manny Ramirez will certainly increase his fantasy appeal (if that’s possible).

Arizona vs. San Francisco

  • Dan Haren is 0-3 but has a 1.89 ERA.  Is he this season’s Matt Cain?  Fantasy owners sure hope not.
  • You just continue to never know what you are going to get when Jonathan Sanchez takes the mound. He went 6.2 shutout innings giving up two hits and four walks, striking out four. The walks are obviously a concern, so proceed with caution.  You can’t walk that many and continually get away with it.

So, what does everyone else think?  Anything to add?

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