The way the schedule is constructed in baseball is baffling. How it ended up that there were only two games on the schedule last night does not make a lot of sense.
With baseball only able to take Monday and Thursday off (in general), the idea that 26 teams get to catch their breath while four keep playing makes little sense, especially given the television ratings that drive most decisions.
Being a married guy, the fact that I was not able to see the West Coast game between the Angels and Giants was especially rough. Sure, one might argue that I should have upgraded my package to be able to see it. Another discussion, though.
Instead, the wife ran the TV. Between The Bachelorette and Here Comes The Newlyweds, I cannot wait for the Red Sox to take the field tonight.
What happened to ESPN doing baseball doubleheaders? Married guys everywhere need to unite to get this action back!
On to the notes.
- The Angels were all over the news yesterday. Ervin Santana will miss his next start due to forearm soreness. Santana has struggled since his return from the DL, and this missed turn will give him more time to get his motion in line and bring his velocity up.
This is a different injury than the one that cost him the first six weeks of the season. Sean O'Sullivan will be called up from AAA to make the start for Santana.
- Unfortunately, because Santana will not be hitting the DL, a roster move needs to be made. The Angels have determined that Kelvim Escobar will be placed on the disabled list.
This seems like a move strictly designed for the roster flexibility. Mike Scioscia says he anticipates Escobar in the bullpen as soon as he is made active early next week.
- And sticking with the Angels, Torii Hunter left last night's game after crashing into the wall. Hunter was diagnosed with bruised ribs and will be evaluated today. Plan to be without him in your lineup today. Gary Matthews, Jr., will get starts in his place.
- An MRI on Grady Sizemore's ailing right elbow came back clean, and much of the inflammation has subsided.
The Indians are hesitant to put a timetable on his return, as there are still concerns that there could be some additional discomfort. Still, manager Eric Wedge said that a seven-to-ten day window is likely.
- So about those spot starters yesterday...Apparently no one wanted to really take the ball. Carl Pavano looked bad and Barry Zito looked to rival him pitch for pitch. While owners should not quite jump ship on either, their recent starts should make them far from automatic plays.
Look to use them when matchups benefit. That will be easier to see with Zito more because he has a track record over the last three years that can be followed.
- J.J. Hardy continues to struggle at the plate, checking in with only one hit in his last 33 at-bats after last night's 1-for-5 performance. He's hit .118 in June and his average has fallen all the way down to .207. This is much worse than what we saw Hardy do last season, where he hit just .244 in April and .264 in May.
- The Rays activated Jason Barlett from the DL and he will be back with the team for their series against the Rockies. Bartlett was one of the more pleasant fantasy surprises to start the season before the ankle injury sidelined him for about three weeks.
If you have daily lineups, hold him out tonight to make sure that everything is as it should be, especially if you can deal with the player that was in there already.
- Look for the Red Sox to be in decision-making mode today. With John Smoltz basically ready to go, Clay Buchholz itching to have a decision made, poor performance by Daisuke Matsuzaka, and continued interest in Brad Penny, something has to give.
Do not look for an immediate trade, as Boston will want to make sure Smoltz is healthy. A skipped turn in the rotation for Matsuzaka may be the best short-term solution to buy Boston time.
- Talk about a guy that still does not get the love he probably deserves. Pablo Sandoval knocked two home runs last night, and is now hitting over .500 in his last seven games.
Sandoval is still available in about 15 percent of all ESPN leagues, and is hitting .332 for the season. For June, he is hitting .417 overall, and simply has raked at home to the tune of .389. The eight home runs could use a boost, but if he settled around 20 for the season, that would be decent production in most formats.
- There are some concerns out of Kansas City that Mike Jacobs could be relegated to hitting only against righties. The Royals first baseman is hitting just .229 on the season and has one hit in his last 13. He has had success against Doug Davis, going 6-for-8 with two home runs. He needs this game to get on track.
- In his last 28.2 innings, Felix Hernandez has given up just three earned runs. He has been nothing short of dominant, and gets to throw in a pitcher's park against the Padres. With the struggles of Adrian Gonzalez, as he is one for his last 14 at-bats, the Padres offense does not pose much of a threat.
Gonzalez, though, could get on track tonight. He is 6-for-17 against Hernandez. If Hernandez pitches to him, that is.
- Tim Wakefield has enjoyed more success at Fenway Park than he has almost anywhere. Wakefield has been somewhat inconsistent this season, but still has managed to work eight wins already, and is 5-0 at home with a 3.27 ERA. By the way, the Red Sox starter would tie Kevin Slowey for second in wins with nine should he pull this game out. Hopefully, Joe Maddon recognizes this, and the fact that the veteran has never been to an All-Star game.
- It can be hard to ignore the results of a given month, but that may be the best way to look at Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez has had major issues pitching on the road, and both of his June starts have been away from home. He draws the Angels at home, where he is 2-0 in five starts this season.
- John Danks has had trouble on the road this season. Despite a 3-2 record, Danks has given up at least three runs in each of his last four starts, twice giving up five or more.
He looked good in his last outing against the Tigers, but that was at home. He is also walking batters more frequently, giving up at least two in each of his last five starts.
- The Astros have seen a fair amount of Kevin Millwood, but the only starter with decent numbers is Lance Berkman. He checks in at 8-for-24 with a home run against the Rangers starter.
Otherwise, many Astros hover around the Mendoza line. If you can avoid Miguel Tejada and Ivan Rodriguez, look to do so. Neither is hitting above .200.
- Dumping on C.C. Sabathia seems to be the cool thing to do, but his trouble last time out was a result of a manager that was afraid of his bullpen. Three of the runs Sabathia allowed to Boston came after his 120th pitch or after he left the game.
Do not expect the Nationals to even be that lucky. Sabathia has owned Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns. The two are a combined 6-for-34 against the lefty.
- While you may not see Jim Thome against the Cubs this week, Paul Konerko does have decent numbers against Carlos Zambrano. Konerko checks in with four home runs in 22 at-bats to go with a .318 average.
He could provide an early power boost for owners in deeper leagues. Otherwise, look to avoid Jermaine Dye if possible, who checks in at .200, and Scott Podsednik, who is only 6-for-26 against Zambrano.
- Brian McCann has destroyed Aaron Harang, having gone 7-for-13 in his career against him. Look to avoid Nate McLouth, as McLouth checks in at just 1-for-20. For his part, Harang has gone 4-2 at home with a 2.84 ERA in six starts.
Harang does not seem to have problems pitching in that ballpark like many other pitchers have, and looks to be an overall decent start in this one.
- Spot Starts: Gil Meche, Kevin Millwood, Paul Maholm
- Brad Penny could be pitching for his job, again. It has seemed to largely agree with him. Penny has allowed three or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, including six shutout innings during his last start.
Penny needs to continue to pitch well to increase his current value and potential value to any future team, and continues to make a decent spot start against the offensively challenged Marlins.
- When Edwin Jackson has struggled on the road, it has mainly been because of errors. The Tigers starter has had five unearned runs score in his last five road starts.
In two of those starts, Jackson did not allow a run, so this adds up to five in three starts. His road ERA is under 2.00 for the season, and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
- Mark DeRosa continues to raise his value for fantasy owners. He put together a solid night on Monday and has had good success against Jeff Suppan, who he will face on Wednesday. DeRosa is 4-for-11 against the Brewers starter in his career.
For his part, Suppan is 4-1 on the road this season, posting a 3.89 ERA in eight games. He gives up hits, but has been able to strand runners effectively. As always, it remains playing with fire.
- Look to keep your Reds active against Javier Vazquez. While the Braves starter has pitched very well this season, Alex Gonzalez has hit .382 in 34 at-bats against him. Others over .300 are Jerry Hairston and Willy Taveras. Do not sleep on Ramon Hernandez either, given that he is 6-for-21 against Vazquez.
- Avoid Jamie Moyer against Toronto. Moyer has been pounded by every Blue Jays regular. The team as a whole has hit .364 against the lefty, and has performed well offensively this season against nearly everyone.
With Vernon Wells, Marco Scutaro, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, Alex Rios, and even John McDonald all hitting over .340 in at least 13 at-bats, Moyer could be in trouble.
- Spot Starts: Scott Richmond, Penny, and Russ Ortiz