Fantasy Baseball Tonight 5/4: Stars Getting Back on Track?

Todd Farino@truegurufarinoCorrespondent IMay 5, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Pitcher Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the New York Yankees during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 28, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Francisco Liriano has now been good in three of his last four starts, and Monday was his best outing of the year.

He allowed just two runs over 7.1 innings, and struck out nine to get his first win of the year. It was his most strikeouts in 2009, and in three of his last four starts—he has allowed two runs or less.

He has been one of my favorite pitchers since his rookie season, so I am hoping that he can continue this success.

Good to see Hanley Ramirez is hitting again after his hand injury. After not getting a hit in his first five at bats, Hanley got a hit on Sunday and now hit a homer on Monday.

I have to admit that I was just a TOUCH concerned that the hand injury could be something that lingered and affected him for a while, but it appears he will be just fine.

Matt LaPorta gave his owners what they were looking for in his second start.

After going 0-4 with two Ks in his first game, LaPorta connected on his first career home run on Monday; a two run shot off of Brian Tallet. To be fair to LaPorta, his first game was against Justin Verlander who was absolutely dealing yesterday.

The future should be very, very bright for LaPorta.

Aaron Harang continues his up and down season following his pattern of good start/bad start. He didn't figure in the decision, but Harang allowed just two runs over seven innings, walked three, and struck out nine.

For the season, his ERA is now 3.00, but he has rotated between allowing zero runs, then five, back to zero, five again, and now two. That can be a frustrating kind of player to own.

Harang's strikeout numbers have gone down some this season, as he now has 30 Ks in 39 innings pitched.

It's not bad, but during his good years he was near a strikeout an inning.

Matt Capps blew his first save of the season tonight, but he has now allowed at least one run in three straight outings.

He has allowed seven runs in those three appearances, and his ERA is now north of 7.56. Capps has been a fairly consistent closer over the past few seasons, so I think this is just a hiccup and nothing to be overly concerned about.

You just hate to see Capps blow a save when the opportunities can be few and far between.

It seems every day I bad mouth the Pirates pitching staff, and every day the next starter in line goes out and has another great outing.

Today it was Paul Maholm again, who lasted 7.1 innings, allowed just two runs, and struck out seven. The Pirates have lost five of six, so it appears even good starting pitching isn't enough for the Bucs to win games.

I would still try to sell high on Maholm.

After a rough start to the season, John Maine had his second consecutive quality start.

Maine allowed just three runs over six innings, and struck out seven. Control was a problem for Maine tonight as he walked six guys, but was able to keep them from crossing the plate.

He is so important to the 2009 success of the New York Mets, and as a late round pick, he could be the kind of player that helps you separate yourself from the competition if he's able to stay healthy.

Not only was the pitching good for the Mets tonight, but some of their slumping offensive stars might have gotten well.

Carlos Beltran hit two home runs, David Wright connected on one, and Jose Reyes was able to steal two bases. Given the dearth of power that has been going on in Citi Field, it is good to see these players getting their numbers while they are on the road.

Yesterday, we spoke about Mike Fontenot being hot for the Cubs...today it is another middle infielder for Lou Pinella's team, as Ryan Theriot hit his third home run in the last four games.

Considering his career high in homers is three, you can't expect this kind of hitting to continue. The Riot could get up to double digits this season.

Mark Teixeira had a two homer game tonight against the Red Sox...is this the start of something big?

I would say not so fast, but it is possible.

Big Tex had a horrendous April, and hadn't had a hit in early May. The guy will have his stats when the season is over; it is just a matter of how and when.

Injury News

It has been reported today that Cole Hamels is "on track" to make his next start on Friday, rather than his next turn that was scheduled for Tuesday.

He was able to pass a test of the injured ankle by running in the outfield, and as of now, he should be out there to start the weekend.

Kevin Youkilis left the game tonight with some sort of soreness in his lower back or lower rib cage.

Apparently, this has been something that has been bothering him for a little while. Not sure if this will affect him for tomorrow or in the future, but I would be surprised if he missed a Yankee game.

Ryan Braun was able to come in and pinch hit today (and even drove in two runs), but this is not the sign that he will be back in the lineup tomorrow. He has still been declared "day to day," so be careful of putting him in your lineup.

Alex Rodriguez could be back with the team on Friday, or early next week. He is playing in extended Spring Training games, and has been playing the field for seven innings.

Keep an eye on the news for when he will be back for the Bombers.

Rick Ankiel had to be carted off the field with his neck stabilized after a scary collision with the centerfield wall.

Ankiel looked like he ran into the wall with a near full head of steam as he stumbled, and his neck jerked at an unnatural angle. He flashed the thumbs up to the crowd to show that he could move his extremities, but, at the hospital, they said he had signs of whiplash and puffiness in his face.

Honestly, if that is all that happens, he is pretty lucky. Not to downplay the importance of his health, but needless to say you can take Ankiel out of your lineups.

Carlos Zambrano was placed on the 15 day DL after injuring his hamstring, and looks like he will miss three weeks or so.

Stash him away until he is ready to return.

Jorge Posada was seen holding and massaging his hamstring late in the game for the Yankees, and then was replaced in the eighth inning for a pinch hitter. Way to soon to know if anything is serious, but something to watch for an update.

I have noticed that a lot of you guys have taken the opportunity to go check out The Fantasy Windup.

Steve Gardner, who has been with USA Today for over 15 years, has started a pretty cool new blog, and he updates it at least two or three times a day. He has the fantasy hero and goat of the day, among other good posts.

I especially liked the post from early in the week in which he was good enough to mention my site and link to my article from 4/26.

Thanks Steve!

I invite all of you to check out the Fantasy Windup and to get involved in the comments and forums with some of his great readers.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome at fightingchancefantasy@gmail.com.

I guarantee a response within 18 hours.

Also, don’t miss “The Fantasy Baseball Gurus Show” every Wednesday night at 10pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

The show is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com.

To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru.

The Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report is also back! Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10pm EST for all the news, free agent pickups, minor leaguers, and injuries.

A can’t miss if you plan on winning your league. I also just met the people over at Baseball Trade Rumors and I invite you to visit their site. They have a page for rumors for every major league team, constant updates on the latest rumors, interactive polls, and overall some great content.


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