It's time to check in on the peasant workers of the league and those trouble making, late inning relievers; the Ugueth Urbina Pen Pals. I'd introduce what we're about to get into, but I already forgot what I wrote. It's 4/20 and my short term memory is that bad. Meet me after the jump B and we'll go through this together.
Sean Rodriguez (20% owned) went 2 for 3 with a RBI triple. Of course Tampa faced a Lefty in John Danks, the only pitchers Sean Rod has success against. His troubles versus RHP continue (.372 OPS in '10).
James Shields (63%) dominated the White Sox today [9 IP, 4 H, BB, ER, 9 K]. The complete game was nice, but the bigger news is he didn't allow a home run. He served up three helpings of mashed potatoes less than two weeks ago against the Pale Hose (Beckham, Ramirez, Teahen). There is no hope for Shields to limit home run damage over the course of the season, but we can hold out hope that he limits line drives like he did in '07 and '08. I'm not ready to go down that road quite yet.
Justin Morneau was out with the flu. An Australian played first base and the Twins were shutout by Baltimore.
Jake Arrieta (2%) benefited from the malnourished Twinkies lineup [6 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K]. I still think the young trio of Zach Britton, Chris Tillman and Arrieta are overrated (for this season) and should be left alone for AL-only leagues. I need more strikeouts from such raw talents before jumping in with the sharks of the AL East.
Speaking of overrated pitching prospects, Kyle Drabek (66%) allowed ten batters to reach base against the Yankees. That is usually a bad thing. His WHIP now stands at 1.42 and he has a 19-15 K-BB ratio. I hope you sold high after his start against the lifeless Twins.
J.R. Towles (0%) is playing much better than he did last season. My '10 Blog Wars team log displayed an 0 for 20 skid from Towles before I dropped him. That barren stretch of plate appearances made me a lifetime hater of all catchers with red hair. Anyway, the sample size is very small, but he is making more AND better contact in the early goings. Just saying.
Brett Wallace (5%) went 2 for 4 with two runs.
Josh Johnson took advantage of a matchup with the Pirates [7 IP, 2 H, BB, 9 K]. If I owned "Double J" Josh Johnson I'd look to sell high, especially in h2h leagues. The ERA and WHIP are magical, the shoulder hasn't given him any troubles (yet) and no one remembers that whole lip syncing fiasco. Lie to your league and tell everyone you're selling Johnson to the highest bidder, see what happens.
Ryan Roberts + Arizona Diamondbacks = a Jake the Snake Roberts joke.
Too easy for me. Let's just pretend I put a lot of thought into a Jake the Snake joke and move along. Apologies to all the Mor-a-maniacs out there eating your vitamins and saying your prayers, but Ryan Roberts (5%) is on fire. He launched his third and fourth home runs of the season (off Sam LeClure) at Cincy. In 34 at bats Ryan is hitting .384 with four homers and two stolen bases. That qualifies as a hot streak. The pace is unsustainable, but the well traveled utility man could hit .260-.270 with 12 HR and upwards of 15 stolen bases if given 500 at bats. Chase Headley approves.
The Angels waged holy war on the Rangers, defeating the Texan infidels 15-4. Maicer Izturis (2), Mark Trumbo (3) and Peter Bourjos (2) each hit a home run. Trumbo drove in four runs and Alberto Callaspo (2 for 3, hitting .339) crossed the plate four times. Even Vernon Wells (2 for 5, run, RBI) and Hank Conger (2 for 3, two runs, two RBI) got in on the action.
Colby Lewis hasn't looked himself (the 2010 version of himself I should say) this season. His velocity is down a couple mph and the strikeouts have regressed with the fastball. Colby Lew sat around 88 mph and topped out at 89.5 mph on Tuesday, he averaged 90 mph in '10. It looks like he lost some movement on the fastball too, it's easy to see why he's throwing it less often.
Bruce Chen (10%) is awesome. He looks like a human bobblehead in his Y! profile pic and he's thrown three straight quality starts. Bruce Chen is now 3-0 after stopping the red hot Cleveland Indians. OK, maybe Bruce Chen is not awesome, but you have to like the early results. He's walking less than 2.5 per nine and few are making solid contact against him (13.6% LD%). Three of four of his starts have been at home and he's faced the Angels, Tigers, Mariners and Indians. He's ranked inside the top 100 players now (scary thought), but he's AL-only material.
Michael Brantley (8%) went 3 for 5. He's hitting .328 atop the Indians batting order. It doesn't matter how many OF you own, pick up Brantley and trade one of your better options. Michael Brantley should not be doing laps in your player pool.
Alcides Escobar (19%) went 2 for 4 with a run, RBI and his fourth SB. He's having BABIP troubles again (.258 BABIP), but this time it's not bad luck. His 13% LD% is just sad. He'll heat up, I'm not worried. Alcides is my shortstop in Blog Wars and I've had zero thoughts of dropping him. Zero.
Would you hold onto a player just to spite another manager? I need to clear space soon for Brandon Morrow, Corey Hart and Rajai Davis and the departure candidates are all relievers. Long shot closers (Crain, Melancon, Peralta) and Sergio Romo. Aaron Murray from RotoSavants and TradeBashers won't give me what I want for Romo (he has Brian Wilson) and says he thinks I'm going to drop him. That evoked the evil eye, yes it did. I may end up dropping a chance for some saves just to spite Aaron. How dare he!
Dexter Fowler (39%) went 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI.
Holy shit. Jed Lowrie is owned in 47% of Y! leagues already? Red Sox nation is very supportive of their kind. Who else would have Dice-K's back? I like Lowrie over Scutaro, he's already a much better hitter. I had him ranked inside my Top Ten or Top Twelve shortstops before the team named Scutaro the starter. Lowrie went hitless today (four at bats), his AVG fell all the way down to .457.
Coco Crisp (37%) stole his seventh base of the season.
Doug Fister (2%) eased it in before ramming it home against the Tigers [6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 7 K]. He's doing his usual low K, sub-1.30 WHIP thing. He should be reserved for very deep mixers and AL-only leagues.
Freddie Freeman (25%) went 2 for 4 with two runs. He hit his second home run of the season (off Hiroki Kuroda). Freddie is showing decent power, but he isn't hitting enough Fly Balls to take advantage. He is Ground Ball heavy (53.5% GB%) thus far.
Jerry Sands (0%) hit his second double today, he went 1 for 4.
Brandon Beachy (17%) bounced back to form and shut down the Dodgers on Tuesday [6 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K]. His K/9 is back up to 9.26 and his BB/9 is back down to 3.47. Beachy should be owned in at least 60% of Y! leagues, starting pitchers with a 9.26 K/9 without serious walk issues don't grow on trees.
and now for those trouble making, late inning relievers...
Call up Jonah Falcon, it's time to talk Yankees. Mariano Rivera blew the save tonight. This is the 68th blown save of his career, sound the sirens. I can handle 67 blown saves, but not 68. Give Mo the hook! Oh alright, this was Rivera's 10th appearance in 15 games. He's overworked. Moving along...
Jon Rauch worked around two walks in the 10th inning to pick up the OT Win against the Yanks. He is expected to get more work as the closer even with Frank Francisco rejoining the team. We'll see how long this lasts. I give it two weeks.
Joe Nathan pitched the 8th inning of a meaningless game. His fastball sat at 90 mph, maxing out at 91 mph. The results: single by Andino, walk by Markakis, HR Vladi Guerrero. Not good. The Matt Capps show will go on (the tour is just starting).
Joakim Soria gave up an unearned run before locking up his fifth save of the season. He allowed a Michael Brantley single, hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch and walked in a run, but if it wasn't for a Wilson Betemit throwing error, no one would have been on base. The search for the missing velocity is over, but now the search is on for the person who told Soria to throw a 87 mph cutter.