Around the Majors: April 23

Eric StashinSenior Writer IApril 24, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses during photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 21, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Felix Hernandez outpitched James Shields, but barely. Chad Billingsley improved to 4-0.  Will Geovanny Soto ever start to hit? Let’s take a look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.

Kansas City vs. Cleveland

  • Grady Sizemore went 1-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. That gives him 4 HR over his past seven games. He has just 3 SB in the early going, but that’s the one part of his game that I am confident will be there by season’s end.  He certainly is proving that the power is also very much for real.
  • The Royals got a well pitched game out of Gil Meche, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits and 0 walks, striking out 7, over 7.1 innings. He’s got 25 Ks over 27.1 innings to go along with an ERA of 2.63. If you aren’t sold on Meche at this point you really should be.  He’s worth using in all formats as he should post his third consecutive sub-4 ERA season.

Tampa Bay vs. Seattle

  • Talk about a tremendous pitcher’s dual. Felix Hernandez outpitched James Shields to pick up a 1-0 victory in one of the better match-ups thus far this season. Hernandez tossed 7 shutout innings giving up 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7, to improve his record to 3-0. 
  • Shields was a very tough luck loser, giving up a leadoff home run to Ichiro Suzuki before shutting the door the rest of the way. He tossed 7.1 innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4. I know there were some concerns with his slow start, but those are gone from my mind. He’s one of the elite pitchers in the game and should be in your line-up every week regardless of the match-up.

Chicago White Sox (AL) vs. Baltimore

  • Bartolo Colon gave up 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks over 3 innings, raising his ERA to a robust 6.14 (OK, not so robust on Chien-Ming Wang standards, but still).  Could Aaron Poreda be far at this point?
  • Chris Getz went 2-4 with 1 R and 1 SB. That’s now five multi-hit games in his last six. I wouldn’t expect this to last, so get something out of him while you can. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him out of a job at some point.

Texas vs. Toronto

  • Chris Davis broke a mini-five game homerless streak, going 1-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. Unfortunately he just can’t seem to get more then one hit a game. He has hits in six of his last seven games, all of them with just a single hit. 
  • Alex Rios finally hit his first home run of the season, going 1-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. Is that a collective sigh of relief I hear from fantasy owners? It’s just one, but it certainly is a start.

Detroit vs. Los Angeles (AL)

  • Bobby Abreu went 2-5 with 2 RBI and 1 SB. While the 0 HR and 8 RBI may not impressive, his 8 SB certainly are. He hasn’t stolen 30 bases since 2006, but he’s certainly put himself in a great position to do so this season. 
  • Coming off a dazzling performance against the Mariners, Edwin Jackson was far from impressive in this one. He went 5 innings giving up 6 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks, striking out 4.  His next start comes against the Yankees, certainly a risky proposition. Last season Jackson posted a 5.76 ERA in six starts against New York.

Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia

  • Ryan Braun went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. That puts him at 8-10 with 3 HR, 6 RBI and 5 R over the past three games. Can I smell the early favorite for player of the week?
  • Cole Hamels left the game after 3.1 innings due to injury after finally looking like he had righted the ship. He had struck out 6 while giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 0 walks.
  • Dave Bush carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, ultimately giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4, over 7.2 innings. Nice start and nice season thus far, but he’s still far from a top level option.

New York (NL) vs. St. Louis

  • Rick Ankiel is certainly heating up, and likely just in time for fantasy owners. He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, his first long ball of the season. It had appeared that he could find his way to the bench more often then not in the Cardinals four man rotation, but with his bat warming Tony LaRussa will be forced to keep him in the line-up, which means he certainly should remain in your line-up as well.
  • Another outfielder who hit his first long ball of the season was Ryan Church, who went 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R. He’s hitting .333 on the season and it is certainly noteworthy that it was Daniel Murphy on the bench to make room for Gary Sheffield. As long as Church is hitting, that coupled with his glove should certainly keep him in the line-up, especially with the blunders of Murphy of late. That makes him a good gamble for all owners in five outfielders formats.

Cincinnati vs. Chicago (NL)

  • Aaron Harang went 7 innings giving up 1 unearned run on 7 hits and 1 walk, striking out 2. You’d like to see more Ks from him, but at least it appears like his struggles from 2008 are behind him. He’s 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA on the season. 
  • Geovanny Soto continues to struggle, going 0-3 and dropping his average to .103 on the season. Unfortunately all we can do is sit tight and wait.
  • Joey Votto is quickly emerging as an elite 1B option, going 4-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. He’s now hitting .373 with 3 HR and 15 RBI on the season.

Los Angeles (NL) vs. Houston

  • Chad Billingsley is now 4-0, after tossing 7.1 shutout innings. He allowed 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5, and now is sporting an ERA of 2.05 to go along with 26 Ks over 26.1 innings. That’s a stud performance to say the least.
  • Wandy Rodriguez pitched well at home (big shock, right?), though he was a tough luck loser. He dropped his ERA to 1.80 with a 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K over 6 inning performance. Unfortunately he’s 1-2 on the season.

What does everyone think? Anything you want to add?