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Matt Cain had a no-hitter through eight innings until an infield single by Jay Payton (who I believe runs with a cane, ironically enough) broke it up.  Final line for Cain was 9 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks to bring his season ERA to 2.95.  (Fancy metric alert!)  Last year, Cain’s xFIP was almost a run and a half greater than his ERA.  Or if Joe Morgan’s reading, gibberish gobbledygook > meaningful stat.  This year, more of the same.  So my question to you is, does Matt Cain want the Fangraphs Database to commit seppuku?  Leave FD alone, it’s still trying to figure out Austin Jackson’s BABIP!  Personally, I’m done fighting Matt Cain and his lucky ways.  I’ve overthought enough.  (Overthinked?  Overthunked?  Am I overthinking this?)  He’s in a pitchers’ park and he doesn’t give up homers.  Are they associated?  Probably.  He strikes out a fair amount and his walks have been in check this year.  Looks like a number #2 starter.  Wrap it up, I’ll take it.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Freddy Sanchez – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs.  Now hitting over .400 in the last week with homers in back-to-back games.  If it wasn’t the last week, I wouldn’t even mention him.  But right now, it’s not a bad time to ride Dirty Sanchez.

Cody Ross – 2-for-4 and 3 homers this week.  Andres Torres returned for a second and pushed Ross to the bench, but now the Giants think Torres might’ve been rushed, so Ross could see time.

Melvin Mora – Hit his third homer in the last 8 days (which is a week if you count Muesday).  Mora’s family has a hard time speaking positive about him, so let’s leave it at he’s hot.

David Aardsma – DA has been charged with an oblique strain.  As soon as they find out where and what the oblique is Aardsma should return.  I’m thinking next year, the M’s say in a few days.  Makes no sense to me.  Why run your not-at-hundred-percent closer out there?  To avoid loss number 100?  I grabbed Brandon League in, uh, leagues where I needed saves.  My suggestion is you do the same then when you ring me up in the offseason we’ll have something to talk about.

Miguel Cabrera – Hit his 38th homer and, according to ESPN, he got an MVP chant.  This is news?  They were in Detroit.  They ain’t chanting “Ford was a Nazi,” that’s for sure.

Rick Porcello – 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks vs. the Twins B squad.  Porcello gets the Suckie-O’s next.  Not a huge fan of Porcello, but that’s not a terrible matchup.

Jose Valverde – Pitched an inning on Sunday and should be safe for the final week.  I’d lose Coke.  Ron Washington, “What are you losing?!”

Brian Duensing – 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER.  The music finally skipped a beat on The Duensing Machine.  I’d lose him in all leagues.  It was smoke and mirrors before and that went poof.  You don’t want to run him out there again.

Delmon Young – Hit his 19th homer.  I’m still on board with Delmon in keepers, but I’m wondering if he might be overrated next year like Sandoval and Butler were this year.  Doode’s definitely got girth, but I like 30+ homer potential from my outfielders.  December Grey will have to examine this Rubik’s moobs.

Jason Frasor – Recorded the four out save as Gregg sat on the bench.  *shrugs*  Honestly, not sure why.  If you’re totally desperate for saves, I’d grab Frasor.

Alfredo Simon – Got thrown out the game for throwing at Bautista.  Unsurprisingly, the ball plunked off Bautista’s forearm and went for a homer.

Mike Aviles – 2-for-5 with a slam & legs.  Jeff Feenuttle who?!  Actually, that’s a made-up name, but Aviles has been good even if you compare him to someone who’s real.  Aviles has 4 homers in the last ten games and is batting over .300.

Billy Butler – 3-for-3, raising his average to .320.  Butler has always been terrific in Spring Training to earn the nickname, Mr. Grapefruit.  He’s now proving he just hits well when there’s nothing on the line.  Assuming that’s not a buffet line.

James Shields – 6 IP, 5 ER vs. the M’s.  Here’s what I said in February (!) when I was mocking ESPN’s mock draft, “(The pick of Shields at 152) is not a pick I would make, but this isn’t so much about the time when Shields was drafted.  The real knee to the balls is in the comments where (ESPN) wrote, “Becquey takes James Shields with pick No. 152, and many lament that Shields is off the board.”  Why? Because of his mediocre K-rate?  Is it his increasing walk rate?  Is it his inability to pitch in away games?  Is it his division?  Are they using a new definition of lament?  Seriously, I have to stop before I get an aneurysm.”  Schadenfreude, snitches!

Paul Maholm – 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 7 Ks vs. the Astros, who he owns.  Don’t press your luck with Maholm for another start and get whammied.

Pedro Alvarez – 3-for-5, hitting over .300 in the last week with 2 homers.  As I said last week (or think I said), Alvarez has been very streaky in his short career, right now it’s the good kind of streaky.

J.A. Happ – 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 4 Ks.  Though there were some unearned runs for the ticker shock.  He gets the Cubs for his final start, which isn’t terrible.

Brandon Beachy – 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 9 Ks.  Beachy is shore doing well.  (Clever with a capital K!)  Might be an interesting name to look at next year, but I wouldn’t mess with him in his final start vs. the Phils.

Ryan Braun – 2-for-4 with his 24th and 25th homers.  I don’t care when they come, just get to 30.  Stats!

Carlos Beltran – 3-for-5, 3 RBIs and 2 homers.  As long as none of my direct competitors this final week have Beltran, I kinda hope he hits 25 homers in the last week so some ESPN rubes draft him crazy early next year.  ESPN, you are my fodder!

Chase Utley – 1-for-4 with his 16th homer.  What’s that, Martin Prado had a better season?  I will now eat an apple laced with cyanide.

Clayton Richard – 5 IP, 6 ER.  Holy heffin’ hey, is this the most runs ever given up in Petco?  Did they play with the Rock ‘n Jock short fences?  What are you doing to me, Richard?  It’s the final effin’ week.  You better look over your shoulder next time you’re alone in the Gaslamp, you schmohawk.

Chad Billingsley – 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks.  Sonavabench!  (BTW, of course he didn’t get the win.  If he were throwing a perfect game, they’d still be playing because no pitchers I own can get a win.  I’m cursed.  Stupid Zoltar!)

Danny Espinosa – 2-for-3.  Another streaky youngster who has 3 homers in the last week.  (Look at me, I’m an oldster, saying things like youngster.  Now get off my lawn!)

Matt Thornton – Got the 2 inning save yesterday.  Chris Sale was used on Saturday but he only threw 9 pitches so he couldn’t have been tired.  Ozzie probably just forgot he said Sale was the closer.  Between alleged racism and Twitter, it’s a lot for Ozzie to keep straight.

Trevor Cahill – 4 IP, 7 ER.  I told you he was getting lucky (probably three months too early)!

Mitch Moreland – 3-for-6, 5 RBIs with 2 homers.  Moreland was hitting below .100 in the last week before this game, so I’m not sure yet if this is a sign or a freak occurrence.  BTW,  yesterday there were 5 homers in Petco and 6 homers in the Oakland Coliseum… Speaking of freak occurrences, Lincecum would’ve sent those juiced balls back.

Jeff Francoeur – 4-for-6, 4 RBIs and his 2nd homer in the last three games.  With Hamilton out and Vlad resting his Ron Kovic knees, I’d see if Frenchy can hit a few more freedom flies.

Chris Perez – The mulleted closer was out Sunday as his wife was giving birth.  Here’s a Razzball exclusive look at the baby boy.

  1. ruah says:
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    Which 3B to finish up the season: Betemit, Valencia or Mora. I own Betemit but Valencia and Mora come of waivers tonight(don’t know why they were released in the first place). They all seem to have nice schedules to finish up the season and are all playing well.

  2. MrHappyTime says:
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    Which two start pitchers do you like this week, pick 2 please. Ervin Santana, Tim Stauffer, Edinson Volquez, Dallas Braden? Thanks

  3. Vic Damone Jr. says:
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    I need some help on who to start this week for the finals of my H2H league. It’s a little tricky because my opponent has three 2-start pitchers.

    Opponent:
    Felix Hernandez (TEX-Lee, OAK-Braden)
    Cliff Lee (SEA-Hernandez, LAA-Haren)
    Mike Pelfrey (MIL-Bush, WAS-Hernandez)
    Tim Lincecum (ARI-Enright)
    John Danks (BOS-Lester)
    Tommy Hunter (SEA-Vargas)

    My options:

    Ubaldo Jiminez (LAD-Lilly, STL-Westbrook)
    Cole Hamels (ATL-Hudson)
    Clayton Kershaw (COL-Chacin)
    Jhoulys Chacin (LAD-Kershaw)
    Daniel Hudson (LAD-Ely)
    Madison Bumgarner (ARI-Kennedy)
    Bronson Arroyo (HOU-Myers)
    Scott Baker (KC-Hochevar)
    Edinson Volquez (HOU-Rodriguez, MIL-Bush?)
    Dallas Braden (LAA-Haren, SEA-Hernandez)
    Carlos Carrasco (DET-Galaragga, CWS-?)

    Right now I’m thinking

    1. Ubaldo-2
    2. Hamels
    3. Hudson
    4. Bumgarner
    5. Kershaw
    6. Volquez-2

    That would give me 8 starts against 9.

  4. Sean says:
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    Hey Grey– Need some advice. I’m already thinking ahead to next year. I’m in a 5×5 mixed roto league that uses OBP instead of AVG and QS instead of W. We can keep 6 players for 2011. Of this group, who would you hold on to? Thanks…

    M-Cab
    D. Wright
    Jose Reyes
    J. Upton
    B.J. Upton
    A-Gonz
    Kemp
    Kershaw
    Josh Johnson

  5. Neil says:
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    @Sean: If it were me, I would keep:

    Miggy
    Wright
    A-Gonz
    Kemp
    JJ
    either Reyes or J. Upton

  6. Earl Battey says:
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    @Vic Damone Jr.:

    Vic,
    Cliff Lee will skip that last start so he can start game one of the playoffs. The M’s have also said that Felix might only make one more start this year.

    If you want an extra start, you could consider Carrasco over Kershaw (the Rox have cooled recently, but Tulo alone could keep Kershaw from a win), but you’d be taking on the risk of getting roofied by the rookie.

  7. Vince says:
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    Hi Grey! How would you rank these pitchers for Wednesday?

    Cueto vs. Hou
    Beckett @ CWS
    Chris Young @ ChC
    Hunter vs. Sea

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @ruah: Valencia

    @MrHappyTime: Ervin, Edinson…

    @Vic Damone Jr.: Agree with Earl, except I could see sitting Hamels for Carrasco. Phillies are clinching before that start. Hamels won’t be pushed.

    @Sean: Miggy, Wright, Kemp, J. Upton, A-Gon, Reyes…

    @Vince: Beckett, Young…

  9. Barry Heanbag says:
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    Hey Grey –

    I currently have a 5 point lead in first place in my roto league. I am tied with the 2nd place team in WHIP and can potentially lose a couple points in ERA with a bad night. I am three wins ahead of the team behind me and I have 6 starts remaining before I hit 180.

    My thought is that it might be smart to sacrifice getting to the maximum if it will keep my ERA and WHIP in check. Here are my pitching options for the week:

    Felix @ TEX, OAK
    Weaver @ TEX
    Lester @ CWS
    Hudson @ LAD
    Volquez vs HOU, MIL
    Blackburn @ KC

    I like Felix for both games (he may not throw against Oakland), Lester and Hudson. Do you think I should start Weaver or either of the other two?

    Thanks

  10. MC1 says:
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    Great analysis on this site – I started reading last year and came 2nd last but made the finals H2H this season…

    Pick 8:
    Ryan Doumit
    Asdrubal Cabrera
    Jose Bautista
    Mike Napoli
    Neil Walker
    Chase Headley
    Andrew McCutchen
    Jason Heyward
    JP Arencibia
    Austin Jackson
    Cameron Maybin

    Thanks!

  11. MC1 says:
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    (sorry, pick 8 keepers*)

  12. bonk says:
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    Okay, love the site, but gonna dissent on Shields here. He’s had a bad 2010 for sure, but it’s actually pretty complicated:

    “…his mediocre K-rate?”

    He’s struck out 8.45/9 IP this year, by far the highest rate of his career, and basically identical to that of noted striker-outer Felix Hernandez.

    “…his increasing walk rate?”

    An extremely fine rate of 2.22 per 9 IP, down in Wainwright/Oswalt territory. (In fact, Shields’ K and BB rates are pretty similar to both of those gentlemen).

    “…his inability to pitch in away games?”

    Yep, he’s been worse on the road, with a 4.05 away xFIP vs. a 3.35 home xFIP. However, there are some mitigating factors – his opp BA (.280 home, .305 away) and strand rates (71.8% HOME, 67.2% AWAY) were both worse on the road, and I’m not sure whether he can be faulted for that.

    But Shields’ big home/road split is K rate: 9.68/9 home vs. 7.14/9 away. I have no idea why this would be the case, and the other guys in the Rays’ rotation have mixed results: Garza’s split is similar to Shields’, Price is similar but less severe, Wade Davis actually strikes out more people on the road.

    “Is it his division?”

    Okay, well, yes, he is in the AL East, and the other teams are very good. I can’t argue with that.

    Anyways, I think Shields is having an interesting year (like, as in “ancient Chinese curse” interesting). I mean, he has a 3.69 xFIP and a 3.81 K/BB ratio, for God’s sake, but a .349 BABIP and 14.2 HR/FB (plus the aforementioned crappy splits) have resulted in a 5.02 Real Life ERA and a strong perception that he’s sucking. He may be a really good sleeper next year as a result. Then again, he may be a Ricky Nolasco/Javier Vazquez-circa-2007-type of pitcher, where the excellent peripherals aren’t reflected in the actual, you know, results. But IMO he’s worth looking at more closely for sure.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @MC1: Thanks for the kind words! McCutchen, Heyward, Bautista, Walker, Jackson, JP, Asdrubal, Maybin…

    @bonk: Hmm… I think we’re having some confusion here. I said those things about his K-rate and walk rate in February, so they were talking about his 2008 compared to 2009. It was the reason why I was staying away from Shields for 2010. So the reasons may have changed but the result panned out.

  14. Tony says:
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    @MC1: This site is awesome, dont get me wrong, great insight, keeps you coming back for more with its humor, but i think its just the STAYING ON TOP OF YOUR TEAM that helps more managers than anything coupled with solid info it = a recipe for success.

    If you stay active in ANY league you should compete. You let up YOU LOSE.

  15. Black Beard says:
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    Do you think the Rangers limit Feliz this week? I could start Lyon instead…thanks!

  16. MC1 says:
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    @Grey, thanks – same question (pick 8 keepers) with Pitchers this time – are any of the relievers worth keeping over the SPs? League counts RAPPs, HLDs and has several RP slots, I usually punt saves in favor of holds…

    Madison Bumgarner
    Ricky Romero
    Kyle Drabek
    Johnny Cueto
    Mat Latos
    CC Sabathia
    John Danks
    Josh Johnson
    Evan Meek
    John Axford
    Sergio Romo
    Jason Frasor

    @Tony – 100% agree, although being repeatedly told SAGNOF has made me a better Fantasy manager

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @MC1: Bumgarner, Romero, Cueto, Latos, CC, Johnson, Danks, Drabek… i.e., all the SPs.

  18. Vince says:
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    @Grey: Thanks!

  19. MC1 says:
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    Thanks.

  20. Nuke LaDouche says:
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    @Grey: Good morning Grey. You would throw Zambrano at SD and Anderson against the Angels today right?

  21. Eddy says:
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    So it seems I celebrated a championship prematurely.

    Woke up this morning expecting to see the top 6 of the league only to realize that Yahoo default leagues have 2 week championships.

    And I’m left with no moves (luckily my opponent has none either.)

    I hope Lowe, Raburn, and Valencia enjoy their extended stay because I’m depending on them to defend my 7-3 lead!

    And sitting Hamels yesterday proved to be more crucial than ever.

    I hope I don’t look like a fool with his pants on the ground because I kind of gloated in the smack talk already…

  22. Bob says:
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    Any word on Hanley?

  23. herschel says:
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    @grey: pick any two of the following in weekly roto league. need avg, sbs and runs.

    kemp, tabata, betemit, dyson and venable.

  24. daniel p says:
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    Need a two-start pitcher for the final week of my championship matchup.

    Slowey @KC/Tor.
    or
    Volquez Hou/Mil.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    ********THERE’S A NEW POST FOR FOLLOWUPS.*******

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