Chase Utley will make his first start of the year on Monday in the Phillies’ 47th game of the season. If only the Yanks would lend out Suzyn Waldman for the occasion…Oh my goodness gracious!…Of all the dramatic things I’ve ever seen! For those of you who carried Utley on your DL since Opening Day, congratulations. The word is that Utley’s knee feels okay. I’ll put the over/under at 90 games for the rest of the regular season. I wouldn’t expect classic Utley this year (as in .300/30/110/15). I think he’s going to look a lot more like last year’s Utley (511/75/16/65/13) for the rest of his career – minus a couple of SBs. Second basemen don’t age gracefully and he’s 33 with a bad knee. If someone will trade a top 50 player for him, take it.
Other fantasy baseball news…..
Asdrubal Cabrera – 5 for 5 with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs. He’s now at .302/32/9/32/6. He managed only 9 HRs over 900 ABs in 2009-2010. Where’d all this power come from? Is he that mad the Indians picked up another Cabrera and he had to add an “A.” to his jersey? If that’s the case, the Indians will win the World Series if they could just find an Orlando-Soo Choo and Orlando Santana to add to the roster.
Felix Hernandez – F-Her has been just so-so this year – paling in comparison to other AL starters who have the luxury of facing the Mariners. Luckily, the schedule rewarded him with a start at Petco against a Padres offense that fell back to reality (5 runs in last 5 games). Given all that, it’s not so surprising that F-Her went 8 IP, 1 ER, and 13 Ks. The surprising part is that the Mariners supported him enough to give the win.
James Shields – A 3-hit shutout over the Marlins with 13 Ks. He’s now K’d 7 or more in 6 of his last 7 starts and is second to F-Her for the K lead in the AL. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. And when it doesn’t look bright anymore, I’m sure the Rays will just trade him to the Angels.
Rick Porcello – One hit the Pirates over 8 scoreless innings. He’s rocking a 3.08 ERA now over almost 50 IP. I have a feeling that ERA is going to mushroom over the next 50 IP unless he starts K-ing more people (5.5 K/9).
Marlon Byrd – On the 15-day DL after an Alfredo Aceves pitch broke his face. Lucky this game wasn’t in Toronto or Aceves would’ve been arrested for hitting a Byrd. In all seriousness, hope Marlon is doing okay. Some players don’t come back the same or have subsequent sight issues from an injury like this (see Dickie Thon and Tony Conigliaro). Two uplifting cases are Ron Santo who came back from a broken cheekbone in 1966 to resume his HOF-quality career and Willie McGee whom I presume took multiple pitches to the face yet persevered and had over 2,000 hits in his career.
Fernando Salas – He’s gotten the last 4 saves for the Cardinals. When asked by the press if he’d named Salas the closer, LaRussa replied, “Why does he need another name? Fernando is a great name. It’s my favorite ABBA song.” The beat writers laughed because they thought it was Kyle Lohse performing another LaRussa impression. Little did they know that LaRussa has already swapped in 4 relief pitchers as his stand-in over the last week.
Jason Heyward – Off to the DL with a sore shoulder. He’ll be replaced by Eric Hinske and Joe Mather. That’s like replacing Hank Aaron with Hank Azaria.
Nate McLouth – Left Sunday’s game early with an oblique injury. No word yet if he’s going on the DL but….really, when does someone injure their oblique and not go on the DL? Really, Nate McLouth, do you have some sort of oxygen chamber that can heal obliques? In any case, McLouth has cooled off (4 for last 32) after showing some signs of life in early May. I’d McLose him from just about any team outside of super deep leagues.
Edinson Volquez – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 11 baserunners against the Indians. Guess he knows how Custer felt. A real letdown for all those (including me) who got excited by his previous start (6 IP, 3 ER, 9 Ks). In 10 starts this year, he’s failed to pitch more than 6 innings and has only two games where he’s given up either less than 3 walks or less than 3 ER. We don’t even start him in our NL-only league – if you’ve got him in a 12-team mixed league, Ay Dios Mio, drop him already.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – HR’d both Friday and Sunday. He’s hitting over .300 in his past 10 games. Who’s ready to jump on the Salty bandwagon? Yeah, me neither. I’m as confident in him as I’m confident in David Ortiz being able to spell his last name.
Juan Miranda – 1 HR and 4 RBIs over the weekend and Russell Branyan got DFA’d. Those are two Miranda rights. But he got hit on the wrist with a pitch in the 8th. That’s the type of wrong that can ans will be used against him in the court of fantasy baseball. If the injury is minor, Miranda suffices as CI or UTIL filler as he should start most of the time (with Nady getting a couple starts a week). If he’s hurt, maybe we see Brandon Allen!
Gio Gonzalez – What’s the difference between Gia and Gio? Both are sexy but Gio is a lot more predictable. In his last 4 starts, he’s pitched between 6 2/3 to 7 innings, 0-2 ERs, and 6-8 Ks. Now if he could only control pitches (over 4 BB/9) as well as he could control the weather.
Brian Fuentes – Lost his 6th (!) game of the year on Sunday when he gave up a run in extra innings. Yet he only has 2 blown saves. He might have a shot at 20 losses if they let him focus on Kazaams when Bailey comes back.
Javier Vazquez – Grey and I drafted this schmohawk on 3 teams this year – including our 13-team NL LABR team. In that league, you cannot bench a player that you drafted unless they are sent to the minors or the DL. So we had to suffer through 8 horrible starts, one more awful than the next. If our ERA/WHIP was in a Lifetime movie, it would be huddled in the back corner of a shower. We’re praying that the Marlins just put him on the Disgraceful List just like the Red Sox did with Dice-K and Lackey. Nope. The Marlins believe in him and he’s supposedly healthy. Next start against Tampa. Jeez, we think, if the NL is crushing him – imagine an AL East team? Since we can’t bench him, we have no recourse but to drop him. So what does the bastard do? Goes 7 shutout innings and strikes out 7. The bastard hadn’t topped 6 IP, 5 Ks, or less than 3 ERs all year! Our only solace will be if someone else in the league picks him up this week because of this start and he starts turding all over their ERA/WHIP.