Given the plum matchup of the Nationals for his first Sawx start, John Smoltz turned the opportunity into prunes with a 4-run 1st inning. But then he started shaking off the rust and gave up only 1 ER and 3 hits in the next 4 innings. So what can be expect from Ol’ Smoltzy? His move to the AL is a blessing and a curse – a blessing in that many of the hitters haven’t faced him and a curse in that it’s the tougher league. His velocity was good given it was his first start (hitting 93+ MPH on the fastball) and his slider and split-finger had some bite. If he stays healthy, he’s definitely worth rolling the dice on. But you may want to sit him during bad matchups until he has a couple good starts under his belt. Anyway, here’s what else we saw in fantasy baseball:
Geovany Soto – Was reported that he tested positive for marijuana in the WBC. Going, Going, Ganja! To be blunt, Soto had an awful start. He stunk up the joint. He left his owners hungry. Now, he’s smoking like he’s hitting .420.
Magglio Ordonez – HR yesterday after he shaved his head. Hey, it worked for Bruce Willis.
Ted Lilly – 6 IP, 6 ER. Did show up on the list of pitchers who may be in for a correction. I think he’ll be okay, but he’s not an under 4 ERA pitcher. You knew that, I knew that. Let’s move on, shall we?
Johan Santana – 7 IP, 1 ER. Take that Rick Peterson!
Matt Kemp – 0-for-6 with 4 Ks as he batted 5th. C’mon, Torre, bat him ninth!
Casey McGehee – HR yesterday as he bats .389 in the last week. After the game, Zobrist tossed him his jersey as he cracked open a Coke.
Denard Span – Returned from the Dizzabled List with a 1-for-2 game and 3 runs scored.
Hanley Ramirez – It’s been a tough year for NL East shorstops and Hanley came out of the gates quite slow (9/2/12/3/.289). After a typical Hanley May (21/6/11/5/.359), the first 20 games in June netted 0 HR and 1 SB (despite hitting for average and RBI). So what’s he done in the past 4 games…just 3 HR, 13 RBI, and a SB! Now at .335 and on pace for about 25/25, he’s back to his rightful place as the 2nd best fantasy hitter after Pujols.
Cody Ross – The one where Ross hits his 13th homer.
Wade LeBlanc – 1 1/3 IP, 4 ER. Seattle crushed Joey. Bring in Schwimmer!
Wladimir Balentien – Welcome back to, “Who’s your -laddy!” Vladimir has two homers, but Wladimir hit his third yesterday. Right now, Wladdy is your -laddy!
Lance Berkman – 2 HRs, 4 RBIs and 1 steal. With three hits yesterday, he equaled his total for the last week. Hopefully he has a solid 2nd half. The numbers say he should.
Derek Lowe – 3 IP, 6 ER. Sure would’ve been easier to call this one if he was hit hard against the Red Sox last time out. Since I said two weeks that he hadn’t given up more than 3 runs in over a month, he’s been rocked twice in three starts. Lesson learned? Keep big trap shut.
Antonio Bastardo – 3 2/3 IP, 6 ER. Fitting name.
Johnny Cueto – 6 IP, 5 ER. I’m so done with NL pitchers in AL parks that I benched Cueto yesterday. Missed a Win, but avoided a WHIPing.
Alex Rodriguez – After battling “fatigue” early in the week, he rested for two days. Yesterday, he hit his tenth homer. Now that’s what I call a power nap!
Jordan Zimmermann – 7 IP, 1 ER. You deserved this line if you had the cojones to start him against the Sawx. For those playing at home, and I’m assuming besides our incarcerated readers that’s true of most of you, Zimmermann has 69 Ks and 69 2/3 IP. Hello, beautiful.
Cliff Lee – 7 IP, 2 ER. Not my style to point out the positive with Lee, but all his Win Karma from last year as gone out the window somewhere on I-90.
Eric Byrnes – Out for two months with a fractured hand. The hand must’ve felt guilty for signing those checks the past year and a half.
Mark Reynolds – 2 HRs yesterday. Get on the donkey, donkey!
Joey Votto – 4-for-5, HR, 2 R. 3 RBI. Nothing depressing about that line!