Around the Majors, May 9: Zack Greinke, Brandon Phillips, and More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IMay 10, 2009

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo day on February 18, 2009 at the Cincinnati Reds training facility in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Zack Greinke continued his unbelievable start to 2009 despite taking the loss. Carlos Quentin maintained a homer-less streak that dates back to April 21. Brandon Phillips returned to the lineup and picked up right where he left off. Let’s take a look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games...

Tampa Bay vs. Boston

  • Carl Crawford extended his hitting streak to five games, going 3-4 with one RBI and three runs.  He’s now hitting .331 with a homer, 14 RBI, 24 runs and 21 stolen bases.  Do I remember people being concerned about him heading into the year?  He’s certainly making them look silly, isn’t he?
  • It has been a very disappointing season for Jon Lester, who had shown signs of life against the Yankees his last time out.  Those images were yanked away by giving up eight runs on ten hits and a walk, striking out six, over 4.1 innings.  He’s now sporting a very ugly 6.31 ERA.  His next start is against the Mariners, a start I’d still use him for, but it’s getting tough to call him a must start against the better offenses in the league.

Toronto vs. Oakland

  • Alex Rios went 0-4 with a run, which isn’t the least of the concerns for him.  Since 4/25 he has just two RBI.  For a hitter that fantasy owners expected big things from, that just doesn’t cut it.  He should improve, you’d think, but it’s amazing that considering how the Blue Jays offense has been going he has not yet started to contribute.
  • Matt Holliday went 1-4 and is now hitting .234 on the season.  He has shown signs of life so I can overlook this performance.  The talent is there, we all know it.

New York (AL) vs. Baltimore

  • Alex Rodriguez went 0-3 and hasn’t had a hit since a home run in his first at bat.  You knew it would likely take time for him to get back into shape so give it some time.
  • All the good Phil Hughes had shown in his first start got wiped away in one fell swoop (though a little was taken away in his second start against the Red Sox), giving up eight runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out none, over 1.2 innings.  If he gets another start (and with the Yankees who knows), it would come against the Twins.  I couldn’t trust him for that one.
  • Luis Montanez went 2-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs.  That’s his first multi-hit game of the season and hopefully is the start of better things to come.

Detroit vs. Cleveland

  • I really have to question what the point of recalling Matt LaPorta was?  He needs to be playing every day, not sitting on the bench.  Maybe it was just a day off, but at 24-years-old he is certainly capable of taking the field day in and day out.
  • Edwin Jackson went seven shutout innings giving up five hits and one walk, striking out seven.  He has been tremendous overall and with his next start coming against the A’s I definitely would consider using him in all formats.

Texas vs. Chicago (AL)

  • Carlos Quentin went 2-3 with one RBI and two runs, raising his average to .245.  He has yet to hit a home in May, and has only one since April 21.  Is anyone concerned yet?
  • John Danks was impressive, despite taking a no-decision.  He went six innings giving up a run on four hits and a walk, striking out ten.  He has now struck out 31 batters on the season, but 18 came in two of his six starts.  It’s nice to see, but obviously he should not be considered among the league's elite there.  What this start really did was stop his personal slump (he had allowed twn earned runs over his previous 9.1 innings).  His next start comes in Toronto, which certainly will be a tough one.

Seattle vs. Minnesota

  • Finally!  Adrian Beltre went 3-4 with a homer, two RBI and two runs.  That is his first home run of the season, a year which has been a terrible struggle for him at every turn.  He’s still hitting just .226 with 14 RBI, but better days should certainly be ahead.  Hopefully this is the start of significantly better things.
  • Justin Morneau went 2-2 with a home run, one RBI, and two runs.  He is now hitting .322 with eight HR and 25 RBI on the season.  After hitting just 23 home runs last season, he is showing the power of 2006 and 2007, when he hit 34 and 31 home runs, respectively.  Entering the game he had a flyball rate of 43 percent and a HR/FB of 16.3 percent, both very believable numbers so I wouldn’t simply write off his early surge.  While he could regress, I wouldn’t call it a certainty.

Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Angels

  • Zack Greinke took the loss, but it certainly had nothing to do with his performance.  He went the distance (eight innings) giving up just one run on four hits and no walks, striking out five, raising his ERA to a horrendous 0.51.  He’s now 6-1 on the season and continues to just dazzle each and every time he takes the mound.  It’s been an amazing early season performance to say the least.
  • Joe Saunders was the man to slay the beast, beating Greinke by throwing a complete game shutout.  He allowed five hits and a walk, striking out six.  He’s gone a bit overlooked, but with the rest of the Angels rotation in shambles he really has stepped up and performed.  He’s now 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA and clearly is a must use in all formats.

Pittsburgh vs. New York (NL)

  • Paul Maholm had a terrible start, giving up seven runs on ten hits and a walk, striking out two, over five innings to fall to 3-1 on the season.  He’s had some good starts, but he’s also had some pretty bad ones as well.  If he’s only going to produce well 50 percent of the time with a lack of strikeout potential, is he really worth using?
  • John Maine had his third straight positive start, giving up a run on three hits and two walks, striking out three, over six innings.  That’s three straight wins, but is anyone else a little concerned that he hasn’t gone more than six innings in a start yet this season?  That certainly is something worth watching, but he continues to be a useful option in all formats.

San Francisco vs. Los Angeles (NL)

  • Jonathan Sanchez went five innings giving up five runs on six hits and four walks, striking out four.  There is just no way I’m going to even consider using him at this point.  He just struggles with his control too often and you never really know what you are going to get.
  • Even with James Loney back in the line-up the Dodgers used Matt Kemp as the clean-up hitter.  He went 1-4 with one RBI and one stolen base in what I hope is his new permanent spot in the lineup.
  • With Rafael Furcal given a day off, Juan Pierre batted lead-off, going 3-5 with three RBI and a run.  The Dodgers really could use him consistently hitting like this, couldn’t they?  I’m not holding my breath however.

Atlanta vs. Philadelphia

  • Brian McCann continued to show no ill effects from his stint on the DL, going 3-4 with a homer, two RBI and a run.  The guy is simply an amazing hitter, catcher or not.
  • Pitching in a very tough ballpark, Javier Vazquez looked great.  He went 7.2 innings giving up two runs on four hits and no walks, striking out seven, to even his record at 3-3 with a 3.88 ERA.  He had been coming off two sub par starts, so it was great to see him turn it around, especially in that park.  With the Diamondbacks next on the schedule he’s obviously a no-brainer.
  • When will Jimmy Rollins finally start hitting consistently?  An 0-4 day dropped him to a .203 average on the season.  It’s just a matter of time, rest assured.

Chicago (NL) vs. Milwaukee

  • It was Bobby Scales playing third base for the injured Aramis Ramirez…  Wow, do they need Geovany Soto to finally wake up and start contributing.  He went 2-5, but there was no run production at all.  For the season he has just four RBI and five runs.  He needs to start producing, for both the Cubs and fantasy owners.
  • The Brewers scored 12 runs, yet Prince Fielder went 0-2 with an RBI and two runs.  He’s another one that you just have to wonder when the good stuff is going to come.
  • Yovanni Gallardo struggled with his control, but limited the damage and improved to 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA.  He went five innings giving up two runs on five hits and four walks, striking out eight.  You’d like to see him go longer, but with all the walks and strikeouts, it took 102 pitched for him to even get that far.

San Diego vs. Houston

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff went 0-3, putting him .226 with just eight RBI and eight runs.  For any everyday player those are bad numbers, but for a third baseman they are unusable.  If you haven’t given up on him yet, it may be getting to be that time.  At the least he should be moved to your bench until he shows signs of life.
  • J.R. Towles went 0-3 and is now hitting .182 on the season.  Is this guy ever going to actually hit at the major league level?

St. Louis vs. Cincinnati

  • The strong start of Kyle Lohse has been completely washed away.  He gave up seven runs on nine hits and three walks, striking out four, over six innings to raise his ERA to 4.25 on the season.  These last two starts have been disastrous and with the Brewers on the schedule next it has come to the point that he may be better suited to be on your bench, especially considering that he will be squaring off with Yovanni Gallardo.
  • Brandon Phillips returned to the line-up, going 2-4 with a run scored.  At least the time missed due to illness did not stop his hot streak in it’s tracks.

Florida vs. Colorado

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  • Interesting that Chris Coghlan was not in the lineup, with Alfredo Amezaga manning CF instead.  We’ll have to see how this plays out.
  • Josh Johnson went eight innings giving up one run on seven hits and no walks, striking out five.  He has had only one start this season where he gave up more than three earned runs and that came against the Nationals of all teams.  He’s 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 43 Ks over 50.0 innings.  He’s gone at least six innings in every start.  I think it’s safe to say that he has emerged as a No. 2 fantasy starter, at worst, wouldn’t you?
  • Jorge De La Rosa went eight innings allowing two runs on four hits and a walk, striking out 12.  He has not yet won a game this season, but does have a 3.53 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.  Entering the game he hadn’t had more than six strikeouts in a start, so don’t let this one big game deceive you.  The Marlins are not the most disciplined of teams, leading the league with 267 strikeouts in just 31 games.

Washington vs. Arizona

  • Ryan Zimmerman went 1-4 with a home, one RBI, and a run scored.  All he does is continue to hit, huh?  The hitting streak is up to 27 games.
  • Josh Whitesell went 0-3 with two walks, dropping his average to .077.  Like I said yesterday, the fact that he keeps putting the ball in play is a positive sign.  Sooner or later something has to give.
  • Eric Byrnes was in the starting line-up, going 2-5 to raise his average to .177.  That’s four hits in two days.  Could things be turning around for him?

Anyone have any thoughts? Anything to add?