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Around the Majors: May 6: Teixeira, Santana, Martinez, and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IMay 7, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 04:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees watches the flight of his eighth-inning home run against the Boston Red Sox on May 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Did Mark Teixeira finally earn his Yankees pinstripes?  Johan Santana certainly continued to prove his critics wrong.  Victor Martinez continues to excel.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.

Tampa Bay vs. New York (AL)

  • Carlos Pena hadn’t hit a home run in three games so if almost felt like he was due, right?  He went 1-for-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, his twelfth home run of the season, was the game winner in the 10th inning.  Last season he didn’t hit home run No. 12 until July (he did miss the bulk of June).
  • Was this Mark Teixeira’s “Yankee moment”?  He went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI, with the big hit being a three-run double in the pouring rain to tie the game.  Unfortunately for the team it was all for naught, as they still ended up taking the loss.  We all know Teixeira is a notorious slow starter, though hitting just .209 is very extreme even for him.  This could easily be the moment that turns things around for him.

Minnesota vs. Baltimore

  • The rain shortened this game to just six innings.  The rain also cost Mark Hendrickson a chance to get a win, as he was lifted after three shutout innings due to an extended delay.
  • Kevin Slowey went three innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 0 walks, striking out 2.  He’s given up 8 ER over his past 8 IP and has just two solid starts in his first six.  He has managed to go 4-1, so he is helping there.  Also, he just isn’t getting lucky, with a BABIP of .380.  He is walking no one (two over 34.1 innings) and his strikeout rate is right around his career mark.  Things are going to get better, they almost have to, so if you’ve been throwing him out there at this point I think I would continue.  It really is all about the luck for him at this point.
  • With Alexi Casilla sent down to Triple-A, Matt Tolbert started at 2B and hitting No. 2, going 0-for-3.  I don’t really see him as a viable option in any format.

Cleveland vs. Boston

  • Victor Martinez went 3-5 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .398 with 6 HR, 19 RBI and 22 R.  That’s a tremendous rebound given his struggles last season and it is obvious safe to once again include him among the elite catchers in the league.  He’s now on a 15-game hitting streak and has RBI in seven of his last eight games.  The most impressive number, though?  In his last 17 games, he’s struck out just twice.  By consistently putting the ball in play he’s giving himself a chance for success, and that’s certainly a good thing.
  • It was a second straight subpar start for Justin Masterson, who gave up 6 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6, over 6.1 innings.  He’s now given up 12 earned runs over his past 12.1 innings.  Not exactly what owners want to be seeing out of him.

Seattle vs. Kansas City

  • The Kansas City Royals picked up 17 hits, lead by Mike Teahen (3-for-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R), Billy Butler (3-for-4, 2 R) and Mike Jacobs (3-for-4, 3 RBI).  Teahen is now on a modest 4-game hitting streak and has been a solid option for those in deeper formats in the early going.  Does he have a huge upside?  Probably not, but in five OFer formats he has definite value hitting third in the Royals' lineup with Butler, Jacobs and Jose Guillen hitting behind him.  He’s already scored 18 R, something that he should be able to continue.
  • It was nice to see Ken Griffey Jr. back in the line-up, going 1-for-3 to raise his average to .197.  He has struggled in the early going and is only usable in the deepest of formats (and AL-only leagues), until he proves otherwise.

Toronto vs. Los Angeles (AL)

  • The Blue Jays scored early and often led by Aaron Hill, who went 3-for-5 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R.  We’ve discussed him in the past, but it really is worth mentioning. The guy is off to a blazing start and certainly has put his disastrous 2008 behind him.  One of the brightest numbers of late has bee the runs, scoring at least once in eight of his past nine games to put him at 26 on the season.
  • Roy Halladay went eight innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6.  It’s just the status quo for one of the best, putting him at 6-1 with a 3.29 ERA.
  • If you are in need of runs scored, Marco Scutaro is a great find if he has some how gone unnoticed in your league.  After going 1-for-4 with 1 RBI and 2 R he’s scored 33 R for the season and six times over the past three games.  The line-up is really hitting on all cylinders and he continues to find his way on base.  I know he doesn’t bring the prototypical speed (just two stolen bases), but I wouldn’t hesitate in using him.

Texas vs. Oakland

  • Chris Davis went 1-for-3 with 1 RBI, raising his average to .198.  When do we start putting him in the same class as Jack Cust?  There is hope in sight, because I find it extremely difficult to believe he is going to maintain his 47.3 percent strikeout rate in the early going.  His 295 AB last season is not a tiny sample size, and he “only” struck out 29.8 percent of the time.
  • Speaking of Cust, he went 3-4 to raise his average to .299 on the season. He’s struck out just 29.9 percent of the time, after posting rates of 41.5 percent and 41.0 percent the past two seasons.  I wouldn’t get too used to this.
  • Derek Holland tossed two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  He’s now posted a 2.16 ERA in a relief role.  As one of the team’s prized pitching prospects, just how long do they plan on continuing to use him there?  He deserves a chance in the rotation, and hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.  If you need help in your rotation, you need to be monitoring him.

Milwaukee vs. Cincinnati

  • Bronson Arroyo has become prone to this type of performance, which certainly should not sit well with owners.  He went 1 inning giving up 9 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 0.  He had two similar starts last season, giving up 7 runs over 1.1 innings on 5/4 and 10 runs over 1 inning on 6/24.  Before you completely write him off, remember he did post a 3.47 ERA over the second half in ‘08, so he certainly can have value.  It is tough for me to take a chance on him, however, knowing that one of these complete blow-ups can show up at any time.
  • The Brewers saw signs of life from Prince Fielder, who went 2-for-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R.  That gives him two home runs over his past four games.  I know, that’s nothing to make a big deal about, but it could be signaling an impending breakout.  Keep your fingers crossed.
  • Speaking of breakouts, it’s safe to say that Brandon Phillips has righted the ship after a disastrous start.  He went 2-for-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, giving him 11 RBI over his past six games (he has three home runs over that stretch as well).

Atlanta vs. Florida

  • Is there any player hotter then Jorge Cantu?  He went 3-for-4 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R, giving him 8 HR and 30 RBI on the season.  Did anyone really expect him to post this type of early season follow-up to last seasons success?
  • Jeff Francoeur extended his hitting streak to seven games, going 2-for-5 with 2 R. Over that streak he’s gone 8-30 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 7 R.  Yeah, we’d like to see more RBI from someone hitting in the middle of the Braves line-up, especially when he’s as hot as he is, but we can’t expect everything, can we?  He’s rebounded nicely from last season’s struggles and is certainly a solid option in five OFer formats.

Philadelphia vs. New York (NL)

  • With very little offense, this game was simply about Johan Santana.  He tossed 7 shutout innings giving up 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 10.  He’s now 4-1 on the season with a spectacular 0.91 ERA and 54 Ks over 39.2 innings.  I know a lot of people liked to point to certain aspects of his peripherals and call for his demise, but is anyone still claiming that now?  Remember, this is a pitcher that is classified as a second half stud.  The numbers could potentially be scary this season,  though time will tell.
  • David Wright got caught stealing for the fifth time this season.  Really?  I know owners don’t want to hear it, but don’t be surprised to see him start running a little bit less.

Chicago (NL) vs. Houston

  • Rich Harden improved to 3-1 after giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4, over 7 innings.  It certainly was not his best start, but a win is a win is a win.  Still, with just six Ks over his last 10.2 innings, owners have to be a bit disappointed.  You drafted him for strikeouts, so hopefully he gets things back on track against the light hitting Padres his next time out.
  • It was a nice story early on, but Mike Hampton just doesn’t have much fantasy appeal.  He went 5.1 innings giving up 5 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out 4.  He’s now sporting a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP.  It’s time to move on.

Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis

  • It certainly was not Zach Duke’s best start of the season, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2, over 5.1 innings.  He has been stellar thus far this season, so I wouldn’t let this one start cause you to cut bait quite yet.  However, with his next start scheduled as a rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals, his third time taking them on this season, you may want to slide him on the bench if you have a solid alternative.
  • Albert Pujols went 4-for-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R.  The guy is easily one of the Top Three hitters in the league right now and I’d love to hear someone disagree.

San Francisco vs. Colorado

  • Randy Johnson went 5.2 innings giving up 7 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks, striking out 0.  He’s been incredibly shaky thus far this season, with two spectacular starts, three really bad starts and one in the middle.  His next start comes against the Nationals, and is a two-start pitcher for the week.  He’s proven that he can still rack up the strikeouts on any given night (besides last night), so I would say he still is worth using, though if you have better alternatives I wouldn’t hesitate sliding him on the bench either.
  • It was a good game for Ubaldo Jimenez, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out 6, over 7 innings, lowering his ERA to 5.45.  Don’t let his last two starts, which both came against the light hitting Giants, fool you into think he’s a great play.  He is incredibly inconsistent, which is enough for me to not want to use him at all, since you really never know what you are going to get.  I wouldn’t release him, but if you could find someone ready to trade for him coming off two strong starts, I’d see what you could get.

Arizona vs. San Diego

  • Justin Upton has raised his average all the way to .284 after a 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R performance.  He’s got his hitting streak up to 13 games.  It seems like forever ago that he was struggling with a .167 average.  Now he’s an entrenched as a fixture in the Diamondbacks line-up.
  • Jake Peavy was dominant, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 12, over 7 innings but still took the loss, falling to 2-4.  He’s struck out 20 batters over 15 innings over his last two starts, giving up just two earned runs, yet doesn’t have a win to show for it.  Unfortunately, that goes along with the territory of being an ace pitcher for an anemic offense. 

Washington vs. Los Angeles (NL)

  • It’s nice to see Clayton Kershaw finally get a notch in the win column.  He went 5 innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5.  No, it wasn’t his pretty performance of the season, but I know fantasy owners will certainly take it.  He’s seemingly righted the ship after a little rough patch, but keep in mind that those starts came against the Padres and Nationals.  Next on the schedule is the Phillies in Philadelphia.  Certainly a tall order for any pitcher.  This one will be the true test for him, but it is a dangerous start.  I’m leaning towards leaving him in my line-up, but it is a huge risk.  Proceed with caution.
  • Rafael Furcal went 3-for-5 with 1 RBI and 3 R, raising his season average to .264.  With only three stolen bases he certainly hasn’t been everything fantasy owners had hoped for, but he has scored 21 runs.  Give him time and the steals will come.

Anyone have any thoughts?  Anything to add?

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