"Yo MDS, I think I figured it out. Check out my new throwing motion."
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. The fat guy blew a save tonight and the fat lady is warming up her voice. It might not be much longer until Jonathan Broxton is removed from the closer role (again). Let's take a look at the Dodgers bullpen after I try to apologize to A.J. Burnett. The jump awaits.
In his first game with the Buccos, Brandon Wood (1% owned) went 1 for 4 with a double and two RBI. The man who once hit over 100 extra-base hits in one season (2005) has been a complete bust since his promotion to the majors. I don't see any reason for hope. Wood swings at anything and makes poor contact when he does manage to hit the ball. He's a mess at the plate, but I'm still in awe of those 101 extra-base hits (53 doubles, 5 triples, 43 home runs). Wow.
Phil Humber (1%) took a no-hitter into the 7th Inning against the vaunted Yankees lineup. He lowered his WHIP to 1.07 and his ERA to 3.20 in the process, but there's really no need to pick up the jewel shiny turd of the Johan Santana trade. Humber would need to display impeccable control to post respectable stats because of his below-average strikeout totals and uninspiring batting average against numbers. He'll likely be out of a job when/if Jake Peavy returns. The bigger news from the game came when the White Sox actually recorded a save.
I don't want to acknowledge A.J. Burnett's good game [8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, ER, 2K]. He pitched against a struggling White Sox lineup. I don't want to do it. No. Oh alright fine. I guess I'd feel a bit guilty if I didn't link to this article that describes Larry Rothschild's attempts to fix Burnett's mechanics. I should also point out the early returns regarding Burnett's release point have been good. Visual aid:
You should be able to click and view the full image if you want, but you only need to notice how much smaller this year's cluster is compared to last season's release points. This consistency should allow Burnett to pitch more efficiently and gain back the confidence he lost. I can't believe I just said something nice about A.J. Burnett. I feel dirty. I'm going to feel even dirtier if Cheeks accepts my Kevin Gregg for A.J. Burnett trade offer. Don't ask.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 19% owned Chris Coghlan. The Marlins leadoff hitter hit two home runs on Monday, he is in the middle of a hot streak. The three hits from Monday pushed his AVG up to .301. Coghlan has decent pop in his bat, but he hits a lot of ground balls. It'll be tough for him to hit 15 HR without upping the Fly Ball percentage. Speed is his game, but that has slowed down a bit as he's attempted only two stolen bases since returning from knee surgery. Coghlan has shown the ability to extend hot streaks, his .321 AVG from '09 proves that to be true. Take him for a spin, see what happens.
Jerry Sands (6%) hit the ball today! He actually went 3 for 4 with a RBI-single. He also stole his second base of the season too. His AVG is still hovering around .230 though.
Please don't make me talk about Jon Garland [7 IP, 4 H, BB, 2 ER, 4 K].
Colby Lewis (62%) is a mess on the mound. He's missing velocity and movement on his fastball, curveball and changeup. This may be a mechanical issue, I'm hoping this is the case. He could either be a good buy-low target or he could end up on the DL. I need to see/read more on this situation before making a judgement call.
Kosuke Fukudome (3%) hit leadoff and went 5 for 5, raising his AVG up to .478 through 46 AB.
Chris Narveson (41%) got his ass kicked by the Reds [2.1 IP, 8 H, BB, 7 ER, 2 K]. This was the correction in BABIP and HR/FB% that was due. Feel free to drop Narvin Gaye before he makes you say, "Mercy Mercy Me".
Ian Kennedy (51%) shut down the Phillies lineup, going the full nine innings while out-dueling Cliff Lee. Kennedy allowed only three base hits and struck out ten. Bravo sir. Kennedy landed on only one of my teams despite me labeling him one of the league's better pitchers at limiting base hits. If the D-Backs decide to use a humidor at Chase Field in the future, Kennedy's numbers would benefit greatly. Here is an interesting article about the effects of the humidor at Coors and the potential effects at Chase. Just a heads up for keeper leagues.
Ryan Ludwick (1%) hit two HR against the Braves, the second (the game winner) came in the bottom of the 13th. I'd still hate to be the guy who owns any San Diego positional players. That lineup is awful.
Coco Crisp (43%) went 3 for 4, but was caught stealing for the first time this season. Covelli has raised his AVG from .233 to .281 in the past two weeks. He was ranked the 15th best player on a per-game basis in '10. I don't know what people are waiting for, pick him up.
introducing the Ugueth Urbina Pen Pals
Jonathan Broxton surrendered two hits, two walks and blew a save for the first time this season. His ERA is now equal to his weight (435 lbs). Broxton is set up to lose the job, he's walking over four per nine, he gets hit hard by batsmiths (career 21.5% LD%) and the defense behind him is spotty at best. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have the worst combined range of any two Outfielders in the game. If you're chasing saves in L.A. you'll want to pick up Hong-Chih Kuo (currently on the DL with a case of the yips). Matt Guerrier isn't really a closer, but he's been a good reliever for awhile now. He specializes in limiting base hits by keep batters off balance. Kenley Jansen isn't quite ready to take over at this point (9.58 ERA, 1.84 WHIP).
Sergio Santos finally got an opportunity to close a game and record a save. It's been awhile since we've seen a converted save from Chicago (April 9th, Chris Sale). For some strange reason Sergio is available in 75% of Y! leagues even though we've known for a short while that Sergio was getting the next save opportunity. Even though he's walked five batters through 11 IP and batters have a 25% LD% against him (coming into the game), he has yet to allow a run to cross the plate. The 14 strikeouts help in that regard. Santos can run away with the job, but I do expect him to run into a rough patch like he did last season. The job could change hands once again.
Chris Sale made an appearance and got two outs (one K, no hits or walks). I've seen managers drop Sale in a couple leagues and I made the move to grab him. A reliever does not have to record saves to help your team. Ignore the current 1.38 WHIP and 5.79 ERA, his 10 K/9, 2 BB/9 and 11% LD% are superb. It wouldn't surprise me to see him tally 10-20 saves this season.
Jon Rauch served up a solo shot to Nelson Cruz, but he was working with a three-run lead and recorded the save (his fourth) without anymore hiccups.
Mike Adams has allowed only two base hits through 12 IP (no walks). He's pushing a 0.17 WHIP and 0.75 ERA.
*UPDATE* Broxton was removed from the closers role after one blown save. The team will use Vincente Padilla, Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo. Kuo is currently on the DL so Vincente Padilla is the add for immediate save opportunities.