Happy Hump Day fantasy baseball players! It is a great day across much of the fantasy baseball landscape, for once we actually have more players coming back from injury than we have going out because of injury. We have the best player on the planet coming back to the lineup, Boston's favorite son returned to their lineup, and in the Bronx a much needed starting pitcher found his way back to the mound. Unfortunately while the Sox gained a hitter, they lost another pitcher, and in Cleveland one of April's star seemed to be back on track. My pitch streamer choices earlier in the week were my worst since I started doing this, but don't lose faith yet, I will be back. I don't want to ruin all of the fun news of the night, so now I am forcing you to read the rest of Rounding The Bases.
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The Boston Red Sox have placed their ace Jon Lester on the DL with a lat strain, an injury that will cost him two to four weeks. These kind of injuries are tough because they tend to linger and are hard to tell when they are completely healed. Hopefully that won't be the case for Lester and he will be good to go before too long. The Sox are in trouble or pitching right now as two of their three best are on the Disabled List and John Lackey looks like he belongs in AA. Stash Lester until he is able to return to the lineup.
Albert Pujols returned to the Cardinals' lineup for the first time in two weeks, and in true Pujols fashion he had an RBI in his first game back with a bouncing ball through the left side of the infield. If you are reading this and wondering if it is safe to put Pujols back into your lineups please allow me to take this sledge hammer to your skull.
I guess if the Twins have to have one All-Star that it should be Michael Cuddyer, because no one else on that team has shown up this year. Cuddyer blasted his 13th homer of the year and he continues to hover around a .300 batting average for the season. Cuddyer is a hard nosed guy who gets more out of his talent than he should, and isn't a bad guy to have on your fantasy team for injury insurance or possibly as your utility player. I wouldn't want to have him as my corner infielder, although the first half of the season he has played well. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a fall off in the second half though.
Phil Hughes is going to have taken the loss for the New York Yankees on his return to the mound, but you can't say that there wasn't some positive things to take out of the start against the Cleveland Indians. Hughes threw 87 pitches over five innings, allowed just two earned runs and struck out just two. However, this was the first time he took the hill in the majors since the middle of April so the fact that he came out of this start healthy, looking good, and didn't get completely trashed while only hitting 85 on the radar gun is a major win. I have picked up Hughes in a league he was dropped in, and right now I doubt there are many pitchers out there who have as much talent as Hughes, even if he doesn't pitch like it over the next couple of weeks.
It was kind of a running joke in the beginning of the season on The Fantasy Alarm Show at how well Bruce Chen was pitching. Well, here we are in the first week of July and the guy just ran his record to 5-2. Chen threw six very impressive innings in which he allowed just one run and struck out four. OK, so he walked three guys, but he did only give up four hits as well, so Chen wasn't in that much trouble against the White Sox. You have to take into consideration how poorly his opposition is hitting right now, but either way, Chen still has a 3.25 ERA and is pitching fairly effectively. He is certainly not someone I would have on my roster long term, but could be worth streaming in the right spot.
One of the best pitchers in the month of April, Justin Masterson, is starting to come around again. Masterson was masterful (sorry) against the Yankees on Wednesday and collected his seventh win of the season, even though his ERA is still hovering around two and a half. I have hung with Masterson from the start of the season, and if you are in a league where someone was a dumbass and let him go, please do yourself a favor and pounce on him now. He isn't going to lead the league in strikeouts, but Masterson will get his share, and he will help your fantasy team out in other areas as well.
Casey McGehee has been one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy baseball this season, what with his .225 batting average and very little power. He even hasn't been in the lineup every day for the Brewers, a bitter pill for his fantasy owners to swallow. Today was one of those days, but McGehee came in as a pinch hitter and made the most of it as he connected on his fifth home run of the year, a three run job. He has been dropped in a lot of leagues, thought to be a one year wonder, and if he was a waiver wire casualty in your league, I wouldn't go run and pick him up based on this game, but I certainly would watch him over the next couple of days and could be a good grab right before the break.
Mark Trumbo has had a very up and down rookie season. The guy has put his share of balls in seats (wait a second, that came out wrong), but he has struggled to hit for a consistent batting average. However, he is a guy that I look to have a nice second half of the year, especially in the power department. Trumbo hit his 14th homer of the season, and while he is only hitting .255 and is currently parked in the seventh spot in the Angels' lineup, I still think this kid has the goods to be a quality fantay producer. He does also have eight stolen bases on the year, but he really needs to learn to work the count in the majors, as his on base percentage also leaves plenty to be desired. Hopefully as he becomes more comfortable, Trumbo will start to excel.
After missing just one game after being hit near the back of the neck, Kevin Youkilis returned for the Boston Red Sox against the Toronto Blue Jays. Youk was nailed by Brandon Morrow, but he hit back tonight as he tagged his 12th homer of the season. It appears that it is definitely safe to put the Red Sox third sacker back into your lineups going forward.
Aaron Cook SUCKS!
Cory Luebke (SD) vs. Barry Zito (SF) -- Luebke has already garnered a lot of attention in his couple of starts since being promoted to the starting rotation for the Padres and I promise you he is about to gain a lot more over the next month. The kid has great stuff and awesome strikeout potential and is someone that I have picked up in more than one league. He is going against a weaker offensive team in San Francisco and a terrible starting pitcher in Zito. Seems like an easy win to me.
Wednesday's Result -- Tom Gorzellany (WAS) -- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks (ND)
Tuesday's Result -- Jake Peavy (CWS) -- 6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (L)
Ok, these were not my best efforts. Stay with me, I will do better going forward.
Want to read more? Check out our Fantasy Alarm in-season fantasy baseball coverage complete with nightly fantasy baseball recaps, two start pitchers, best waiver pickups, injury reports and in-depth minor league baseball coverage.
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