Around the Majors: Apr. 30

Eric StashinSenior Writer IMay 1, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 30: Pitcher  Matt Garza  #22 of  the Tampa Bay Rays throws a one-hitter against the Boston Red Sox April 30, 2009 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Matt Holliday showed signs of life.  Billy Butler continued to rake. Matt Garza had the performance of the night.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.

Oakland vs. Texas

  • Matt Holliday finally hit his first home run of the season, going 1-for-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  He’s now hitting .240 with 1 HR, 12 RBI, 5 R and 0 SB.  While people were expecting a decline from his Coors Field aided numbers, no one expected him to be this bad in the seasons first month.  Where’s the player who stole 28 bases last season?  Yes, that seemed to be an anomaly, but you’d have expected him to get one by now, right?  Coors Field certainly didn’t make him faster.  He’s a better player then he’s shown so far, so just continue to wait it out.
  • Hank Blalock extended his hitting streak to six games, going 1-for-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R.  Over the streak he’s hitting 9-26 with 3 HR, 5 RBI and 6 R.  Would you like to see a few more RBI?  Yeah, but his six home runs are more then most expected to this point in the season.  He’s emerging as a potential corner infielder in deeper formats, but I still wouldn’t rely on him in shallower formats.

Toronto vs. Kansas City

  • Everyone watch out, Billy Butler seems to be heating up.  He went 2-for-3 with 1 RBI and 2 R, putting him at 6-7 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 6 R over the past two games.  That’s certainly a lot of runs to be scoring, a big reward for owners who have stuck with him.  He’s got his average up to .262.  Given the struggles he’s had, here’s to hoping he can continue what he’s shown the past two days and maybe live up to the expectations.
  • Joakim Soria was obviously still unavailable, with Juan Cruz getting the save opportunity.  Hopefully he’s ready to return this weekend.
  • John Buck went 3-for-3 with 5 RBI?  With two triples?  Really?  That’s music to the ears of those in two-catcher formats, but I wouldn’t get too excited.  He is a career .234 hitter.

Los Angeles (AL) vs. New York (AL)

  • A.J. Burnett was alright, but far from spectacular.  He gave up four runs on eight hits and one walk, striking out five, over seven innings.  He’s gone three straight starts without a win (though he hasn’t lost either).  This was a significantly better start then his last time out against the Red Sox, who he happens to be set to face again in his next outing.
  • Howie Kendrick had not been running much, with just 1 SB heading into the game, but he went 2-for-3 with 1 R and 2 SB in this one.  He has the speed to swipe 20-25 bases this season if he stays healthy, and I’d expect him to start picking them up a bit more frequently.

Boston vs. Tampa Bay

  • Matt Garza was clearly the story of this game.  He went 7.2 shutout inning giving up 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 10, to improve to 2-2 with a 3.82 ERA.  Coming off tough starts against the White Sox and Athletics, it was hard to see this type of performance coming.  He’s a pitcher that should be used in all formats.
  • What is going on with Josh Beckett?  This marks his second consecutive rough outing, giving up seven runs on 10 hits and three walks, striking out eight, over 4.2 innings. You have to love the strikeouts, but he’s now given up 15 runs over 9.2 innings in his last two starts.  With a career 1.23 WHIP (his worst year was 1.32), an improvement is going to come, so do not lose hope.  He’s still a must use, though that should go without saying.

St. Louis vs. Washington

  • A day after picking up his first save, the Nationals used Julian Tavarez in the ninth inning of a tie game.  At home, that’s what teams do.  Tavarez proceeded to get beat up for five runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks over 0.1 innings.  Does any Nationals reliever want to step up and secure a back-end spot in this bullpen?  Joe Beimel can’t get back soon enough.
  • Rick Ankiel went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and 1 R, giving him at least one RBI in four of his last five games.  While you want to see more power out of him, at least he is starting to produce.  In five OFer formats, just keep running him out there at this point, unless he loses his playing time.

Florida vs. Chicago (NL)

  • Jorge Cantu extended his hitting streak to four games after going 2-for-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R.  The streak is nice.  The four home runs in his past three games are better.  The most impressive, though?  his 11 RBI in the past four games and 14 RBI in his past six games.
  • It was another nice start for Chris Volstad, giving up two runs on three hits and zero walks, striking out five, over seven innings. He’s just another quality young pitcher for the Florida Marlins.
  • Sean Marshall went seven innings giving up one run on six hits and two walks, striking out six. His control has been great, walking just five batters in his 18 innings as a starting pitcher.  With his next start coming against the San Francisco Giants, he could be worth considering, at the least in a pitch or ditch manner.  He’s a solid pitcher who, with the Cubs behind him, gives you a chance to get some wins.

Arizona vs. Milwaukee

  • Max Scherzer had his best start of 2009, throwing six shutout innings giving up five hits and one walk, striking out seven. In his major league career this marks just the fourth time he’s gone six innings, having never thrown more then that.  That gives the bullpen too many chances to blow leads, which is exactly what happened in this one.  I know we always say not to draft or take pitchers based on wins, but you like your pitchers to at least be giving you a chance.  I’m not suggesting not using him, as with his strikeout upside he’s a great play, but this has to be a concern.  What does everyone else think?
  • Rickie Weeks had his hitting streak snapped, but he quickly went to work at the next.  He went 3-for-4 with 1 RBI and 1 R, raising his average to .281 with 5 HR, 15 RBI, 16 R and 1 SB.  Not to be picky or anything, but where are the SBs?

San Francisco vs. Los Angeles (NL)

  • Russell Martin went 0-for-4, leaving him hitless in his last three games and 2-20 over his last five games.  I feel like a broken record, but remind me again why he is still hitting above Matt Kemp, who is hitting .325 on the season?  Sorry Martin owners, I just don’t get it.
  • Could John McDonald’s time in the rotation be quickly coming to an end?  After giving up 3 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks, without a strikeout, over 1.2 innings, he’s sporting an ERA of 8.16.  With Jeff Weaver relieving him and throwing 4 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4, let the controversy begin.

Anyone have any thoughts?

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