Tampa is no South Beach. His Wade-in-crime (Davis) isn’t quite as stellar. But James Shields is looking a lot more Kingly than LeBron these days. Facing the red-hot Red Sox (9 straight wins @ 9+ runs scored per game), Shields threw a 5-hit, 3-walk shutout. That’s Shields’ 6th win with a 2.60 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and 98 Ks in 103.2 IP. His ERA is almost half of last year’s 5.18 debacle. Sure, he’s playing slightly above the talents he brought to Tampa (.269 BABIP, 82% strand rate) but his peripherals (K/BB) are as solid as anyone in the AL (including Verlander). Hold him if you got ’em. Be confident to trade for him if you don’t. Just watch out when he starts against the Tigers – that Dirks is clutch.
Elsewhere in fantasy baseballdom….
Justin Verlander – A 12 K, 2 hit shutout with the Indians’ first hit coming with one out in the 8th inning. Clearly, Verlander was pissed that Francisco Liriano flirted with a 2nd 2011 no-hitter the other night. He is Verlander, there can only be one.
Aaron Hill – 3 for 5 with a double and his 2nd HR of the year. Not what I was expecting when I paid $18 for him in my AL-league. Seems like an off year for a number of HR + high-K guys (Dunn, Reynolds, Hill, Uggla). Reminds me of the mid-1980’s when suddenly all the coked up, slap-hitting SB guys all fell to the floor – or should I say LeFlore!
Cole Hamels – Another great start (7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners) but left with a sore back. Musta picked it up from ol’ balky-back Roy Oswalt. Next thing you know, Hamels will be riding to games in a John Deere or strapping a V8 onto Cliff Lee and painting a Confederate flag on both his sides.
Domonic Brown – Two solo HRs for Domonic that both were no-doubters. I’m starting to give him the googly eyes I usually reserve for Mike Stanton. Homers just seem easier to hit when you’re 6’5″. Well, except when you’re Michael Jordan. (last basketball reference, i promise)
Jered Weaver – A 5-hit shutout just like Shields’ except it was against the Mariners vs. the Red Sox. His other two shutouts this year were against Minnesota and Oakland. Next time an ace throws a gem against a crappy offense, we should just write “He went to Jered’s!”.
Yovani Gallardo – Gallardo rebounded from an off start against the Mets (10 hits in 4 IP) with a 7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K performance against the Cubs. He got the no decision as the Brewers bullpen blew the lead. Congrats to everyone in Quality Starts leagues!
Josh Johnson – Now officially out through the All-Star break. Even worse for the Marlins, Javier Vazquez is still healthy.
Chase Utley – 2nd HR in 3 games and 3rd straight multi-hit game. He’s also got 3 SBs so far. That’s how you play hurt, Heyward!
Ryan Zimmerman – Returned from the DL after a 2-month break with an abdomen injury. Now if only the Nats had 5-7 more Zimmerman(n)s, I think they could make a run at a 90 win season. If only 1912 near-Triple Crown winner Heinie Zimmerman was 105 years younger and alive.
Pablo Sandoval – Returned from the DL as well. Guess it was a good day for DL’d 3Bs not named Pedro Alvarez.
Lance Berkman – Another day, another HR for Berkman. He leads Pujols in all the Triple Crown categories. Feel free to gloat if you have Berkman or puke if you have Pujols.
Yuniesky Maya – 4 2/3 IP, 6 ER. This Cuban got smoked.
Jaime Garcia – A solid start (6 ER, 7 Ks, 2 ERs) but the bullpen blew the win. The thing with Garcia is that you either catch him early for an 11-run outburst or he gets into a rhythm.
Roger Bernadina – Rick Ankiel has the health yips again (came out in 2nd inning) which can only help Bernadina’s playing time. With 9 SBs in 122 ABs, he’s a worthwhile catch off SAGNOF Harbor.
Philip Hughes – Had a successful side session throwing in the low 90’s. If he’s available in your league and you’ve got DL space, I’d give him a flier. Probably not back until early July but he’s got solid starter potential if he can pitch at that speed. He’s got Cy Young potential if they’d inject some Colon fat into this arm.
Alexi Ogando – Alexi had his owners (who started him) saying ‘Oh God no’ with 6 ER in 1 2/3 IP at Yankee Stadium. And that’s why you bench almost every pitcher @NYY outside of H2H leagues and AL-only.
Charles Blackmon – Another SB. He’s making Dexter’s baserunning look fouler by the minute.
Trevor Cahill – 4 ER in 4 1/3 IP isn’t pretty but here’s the ugly stat. 0 Ks and 7 BBs. Against the Royals. And two of those walks were to Francouer. Ain’t that a kick in the Cahill! Brett Anderson threw up a clunker like this and he turned out to be hurt. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case here too. Damn you Moneyball movie. You’re a worse curse than the Madden cover.
Jon Niese – Had his 4th straight quality start albeit over a 16 game stretch for the Mets because he needs time to rest. His ERA is 2.76 in home games and 4.22 in away games which makes sense but….his WHIP is lower on the road (1.20) than home (1.44). That doesn’t make sense but…..I’m still going to call him an East Coast Hodgepadre. Start him at home and favorable away games.
Freddie Freeman – Scratched with a mild oblique strain. I didn’t realize that oblique strains make one itchy.
Adam LaRoche – Out for the season with a torn labrum. He tried to play through it until a clubhouse attendant pointed out that the labrum is in the shoulder. You mean all those weeks of icing my LaNutsack after games was for nothing!