Fantasy Baseball: Wednesday News and Notes

Collin HagerSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2009

BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 15:  Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 15, 2009 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Rays 3-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

One of the best shows on television was the old Iron Chef shows that were dubbed over in English from the original Japanese. As a guy, it made even cooking competitive, so watching it was not as hard as some of the other stuff the wife picks from time to time. It got to the point where there was actual enjoyment from what these chefs would cook and how they would do it. 

When Food Network went to make an Americanized version, it seemed like a natural fit. Unfortunately, it was much less fun than its Japanese counterpart. The food products were not quite as interesting, and there seemed to be less respect for the elite chefs. The Japan version made the challengers really out-do the incumbent. 

As Americans, we often then take things too far. Competitions for the "next" Iron Chef did not deliver on some of the promise. 

Flipping through the channels early this week, though, suddenly there was the original version on the screen. Complete with bad dubbing and true play-by-play analysis. Is it ridiculous? Absolutely. Still, if you are looking for a good laugh, give this show a shot. Hopefully, you find it as amusing. 

After all, anything that becomes a competition has to be good. We all watch the hot dog eating competitions, after all. 

On to the notes. 

Tuesday Rewind

  • Fair amount to cover out of Boston. Kevin Youkilis missed last night's game with back spasms. Youkilis originally thought he had kidney stones, but doctors revealed nothing more than spasms. The Red Sox do expect him to miss another day or two, so adjust your lineups accordingly. It is certainly not likely he plays tonight.
  • Victor Martinez also missed last night's game, flying back to Cleveland for personal reasons. Martinez is also not expected to be in the lineup tonight. That means Jason Varitek will be behind the plate, Mike Lowell is likely set for third base, and Casey Kotchman will be at first.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched well in his first outing since June 19. Matsuzaka worked into the seventh inning and did not allow a run. More impressive was that his control seemed to be better. He hit 93-94mph with his fastball and only a few times did at-bats get away from him. This is a good sign, but playoff managers should still remain skeptical.
  • Those of you that put Michael Young back into your lineups last night can safely remove him tonight. Young lasted one at-bat before being removed from the game. Young does not plan to play in the game tonight against Oakland, and it is unknown if he will be available for this weekend.
  • Jake Peavy will make his debut on Saturday against the Royals. Not a bad team to make your debut against. Peavy is not expecting to be 100 percent, and at this point there is no indication of a pitch count or innings limit. Still, owners that need strikeouts to close out a week could look here.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff will not play until Friday for the Padres. Kouzmanoff is battling a calf injury that has him sidelined. He has been taking batting practice and seems to only be a few days away from returning to action. Keep him in mind in terms of some cheap power over the weekend.
  • Those of you looking to fill-in for Justin Morneau should look at two players that have frequented this space of late. Billy Butler continues to be owned in only 50 percent of leagues. Butler is hitting .375 in September with a 1.092 OPS. He continues to simply rake, and is a good add. The other is Garrett Jones. Jones struggles against left-handed pitching, as evidenced by his .207 average, but is otherwise delivering in the power categories. He is hitting .321 this month.
  • Anyone paying attention to less-than-20-percent owned Barry Zito? Since the All-Star break, Zito is 4-3 with a 2.34 ERA and .234 BAA. His ERA for the season is now officially under 4.00. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start in his last 10, working into the sixth inning in seven of those appearances.
  • Matt Wieters finally put together an impressive game for owners. Wieters had three hits and drove in five runs against the Rays last night. It has been slow for the super prospect, but he is now hitting .300 over the last two weeks. The power will come, but this should teach us all about over-hyping prospects...again....

Wednesday Notes

  • Nick Blackburn is 1-3 against the Indians in 2009 with a 4.84 ERA. At home, batters are hitting over .300 against him, and he has only been able to post an ERA of 4.41 in 14 starts. He was roughed up by Oakland last time out. Get your Indians in the lineup for this one.
  • He should be only looked at in deeper leagues, but Livan Hernandez has pitched well against the Phillies. Look to avoid the struggles of Jimmy Rollins in this one. He is just 12-for-58 against Hernandez and has not hit well over the last two weeks. Ryan Howard is only 3-for-21, but he does have two home runs against Hernandez.
  • Yes, Joe Blanton has been a nice surprise this season, but he has had a lot of problems pitching against the Nationals. In 20 innings and four starts against them this season, he is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA. He has given up six home runs and 28 hits to go with 14 walks. He was hit hard by Washington last week, and this is just not a good matchup to use.
  • While it is a virtual certainty that Lowell will play for Boston tonight, he is just a .235 hitter in 17 at-bats against Joe Saunders. David Ortiz is not much better. Ortiz has only three hits in 18 at-bats against the starter. While Saunders has been good in his last few outings, but he has a 5.88 ERA on the road.
  • Clint Barnes is 0-for-12 and Brad Hawpe is just 3-for-25 against Matt Cain. Overall, the Rockies are only hitting .231 against Cain in 229 at-bats as a team. Use the Rockies you have no other options for, but outside of the 5-for-12 of Ryan Spilborghs, the numbers just are not good enough to reach.
  • Gavin Floyd has not looked good against the Mariners this season, having gone 0-1 in two starts. In 11.2 innings, he has given up 17 hits. He continues to struggle on the road, posting just a 5-7 record this season in 16 starts. With an ERA of 5.36 in 99 innings of work to go with a .278 BAA, he is not the best start outside of Chicago.
  • Doug Davis has mixed in two bad outings to go with eight respectable ones in his last 10 starts. Largely, you can set your watch to him working at least six innings and giving up three runs. Against San Diego, though, he is 2-0 this season with a 1.38 ERA in three starts. Good spot start in this one, even on the road.
  • Joel Pineiro has pitched very well at home, and could be involved in a pitchers duel tonight. Pineiro is 7-5 at home, but his ERA represents a much better opportunity. His 2.52 number is indicative of more production. Batters are hitting just .244 against him at home.
  • The name of the game for Braden Looper has been run support. He is 8-3 on the road, but has an ERA of 5.00 in 14 starts this season. The Cubs have not pounded him, but certainly look to use them as normal. The best numbers? Kosuke Fukudome is 6-for-19 against Looper in his career.
  • Spot Starts: Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jorge De La Rosa, Doug Davis

Thursday Notes

  • Look to avoid most of your Tigers against Zack Greinke. Greinke is 2-1 against the Tigers in four starts this season, posting a 1.16 ERA. Over his last four starts overall, covering 32 innings, he has given up only three earned runs. The only safe bet? Placido Polanco, who checks in with 13 hits in 38 at-bats.
  • Careful with Derrek Lee against Dave Bush. He is hitting just .148, with just four hits in 27 at-bats. The Cubs this season are hitting only .208 in two starts against him this season. Bush, though, struggles dramatically on the road. His 6.84 road ERA in 10 starts would not make for a decent option even in NL-only formats.
  • Jair Jurrjens is 2-0 against the Mets this season in three starts. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last six starts. While David Wright remains effective against the starter, the rest of the Mets have had no luck. Jurrjens has been on a role, and is very hard to hit at home.
  • While Cole Hamels does not have great numbers against the Nationals this season, his last few starts have showed marked progress from where he was prior to the All-Star break. He has given up only one run at home in his last two starts, covering 15.2 innings. In his last four starts, he has given up more than one earned run just once.
  • The Red Sox may be forced to start Jason Varitek, but fantasy owners are not. Varitek is 0-for-11 against Ervin Santana. Santana has had a better run of success lately, but has given up at least three earned runs in five of his last six road starts. In not one of those starts did he work beyond the sixth inning.
  • Spot Starts: Randy Wells, Justin Masterson

Collin Hager writes The Elmhurst Pub fantasy blog. You can get your questions answered by sending an e-mail to elmhurstpubroundtable@yahoo.com. He's also on Twitter @TheRoundtable.


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