When Todd Wilhelmsen closed out the ninth inning of the Mariners’ 1-0 win over the Dodgers, it wasn’t just another save chance for the 28-year old right-hander. The third and final out that he recorded put the Mariners in the MLB record books as the 10th team in major league history to throw a combined no-hitter and the second team to accomplish the feat with the most pitchers used – six – joining the 2003 Houston Astros who last threw a combined no-no against the New York Yankees. It was also the third no-hitter in Mariners history. Kevin Millwood started the action, throwing six no-hit innings, but was forced to leave the game afterwards due to a groin strain. Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor combined to finish the seventh inning, Lucas Luetge and Brandon League handled the eight and Wilhelmsen came in and with just nine pitches need, finished the job off with a perfect ninth.
Impressive? Sure. Entertaining? Definitely. But what does it mean for fantasy baseball purposes? Absolutely nothing. Unless of course your fantasy league uses team pitching staffs as opposed to individual hurlers. If it doesn’t, well then you got a decent no-decision from Millwood, a win from Pryor (not that anyone owns this guy outside of a 30-team AL-only league), and a regular old save from Wilhelmsen. Doesn’t seem so glamorous no, does it?
As a baseball fan, I love things like this. It truly is impressive to no-hit another professional baseball team, no matter how many pitchers you use. Bu the fantasy guy in me says, “Ho-hum. Move along. Nothing left to see here.” I would much rather have Matt Harrison’s complete game shutout, or Stephen Strasburg’s 13 strikeout performance, or Hiroki Kuroda’s seven inning shutout victory, or C.J. Wilson’s eight innings of one-run ball. Those were all fantastic individual performances yesterday that were impressive on both the real and fantasy level.
So congratulations Seattle! You done good boys. You even redeemed yourself for being on the losing end of Philip Humber’s perfect game. But right now my racket is fantasy and I’m going to stick with it. Here are the rest of the highlights from Friday’s interleague extravaganza…
|Torii Hunter, OF LAA||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI|
Well, we couldn’t very well give it to the Mariners pitching staff after all that now, could we? Nope. Especially when you get an old guy like Torii Hunter going all retro on us with a two home run, six RBI day. Taking full advantage of the hitter-friendly dimensions of Coors Field and the fact that Rockies hurler Alex White just kept throwing the same pitch down the middle to him, Hunter raked a pair of two-run shots and then followed them up with a two-run single and finished the day having knocked in six of the seven runs the Angels scored on Friday. The night was almost a relief for those who have stuck with Hunter in fantasy leagues after the dismal .171-2-3 May he had, but he’s going to need to find some sort of a happy middle round if he’s going to warrant a full-time roster spot on your team this season.
|Alfonso Soriano, OF CHC||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Robinson Cano, 2B NYY||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Shane Victorino, OF PHI||3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI|
|Corey Hart, OF MIL||3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|Matt Harrison, SP TEX||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 4 K|
After an April that sent fantasy owners running for the exits, Alfonso Soriano has really turned his season around. He hit .290 for the month of May with seven home runs and 17 RBI and has now started off the month of June on the same foot with a .300-4-9 batting line and it’s only the 8th. He knows the Cubs have been actively shopping him on the trade market so either he’s giving a killer audition for potential contenders in need of a bat or he’s trying to show the Cubs that they’d be fools to let him go. Maybe it’s a little from Column A and a little from Column B. Whatever the case may be, fantasy owners are the ones reaping the benefits. Soriano may not be the fantasy juggernaut he once was when with the Yankees, but he is still more than capable of putting up 25 home runs and 90 RBI in a given season. You gonna thumb your nose at that? I didn’t think so.
“Robbie knows boom!!” is what they say in New York every time beloved Yankees second baseman, Robinson Cano pushes one over the fence. And boom it is! Like Soriano, Cano had a dismal month of April to start the season, frustrating many fantasy owners and even driving some to trade him. Crazy, I know. I had one of those guys in one of my leagues and while it may look like I paid a steep price – Roy Halladay and Cameron Maybin for Cano and Trevor Cahill – I have certainly come out on the better end of that one. Cano hit .312 with seven home runs and 19 RBI for the month of May and has started off June with a .308-3-6 batting line. Sure it was a slow start, but you didn’t think you were going to lose the production of the number one second baseman out there, did you? OK, well some of you did…..suckers!
Shane Victorino looks like he’s picking up the pace a little finally. He’s now hit safely in six of his last seven with a pair of homers to his credit. Although his batting average is still in recovery, the Flyin’ Hawaiian has eight home runs and 13 stolen bases and should continue to be a solid fantasy asset. Just don’t expect some big 20-40 season. Keep your expectations in check here and you’ll be very happy with him as a third or fourth outfielder.
Corey Hart’s been on a bit of a roll lately with back-to-back multi-hit games and three home runs with five RBI over his last six. Even better is the first base eligibility he’s attained with 14 game splayed at the position. It’s not like you’ll be trying to use him as your primary first baseman, but having the roster flexibility that comes with owning players who qualify at a variety of positions is a great way to keep your roster full on the days with a short slate of games.
Other noteworthy performances…
With his fifth home run in his last seven games, Paul Goldschmidt extended his hit streak to a career-best 15 games and is now batting .293 for the season
Mike Trout had another three hits on Friday with two more stolen bases and three runs scored. He’s now batting .340 over a 37 game span.
Ryan Roberts hit a game-winning, walk-off three-run shot to cap off a huge Arizona comeback.
And finally, Bryce Harper makes a little more history as his sixth home run of the season made him the first teenager to hit a home run at Fenway Park since Robin Yount did it back in 1975.
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B BOS||0-3, 3 K|
|Yonder Alonso, 1B SD||0-4, 3 K|
|Michael Cuddyer, OF COL||0-4, 2 K|
|Brian Fuentes, RP OAK||L, BS, 40.50 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, K|
|Daniel Hudson, SP ARI||ND, 32.40 ERA, 4.80 WHIP, K|
See anything here that surprises you? Me neither. What this does do is bring to the forefront two watches – how long will Brian Fuentes remain the closer in Oakland and how long before Daniel Hudson’s shoulder gives out and he’s lost for the year. Perhaps there will be some great turnaround, but I’m not holding my breath for either guy to succeed, so start making your preparations now. Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour as insurance for Fuentes and Trevor Bauer if Hudson goes down. Well Bauer anyway, but a Hudson injury could easily expedite things.
Dayan Viciedo, OF CHW – hamstring (questionable)
Todd Frazier, 3B CIN – back (questionable)
Drew Stubbs, OF CIN – oblique (questionable)
Chris Johnson, 3B HOU – illness (questionable)
Joe Mauer, C MIN – thumb (questionable)
Denard Span, OF MIN – illness (questionable)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP NYY – foot (questionable)
Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK – hamstring (questionable)
Placido Polanco, 3B PHI – finger/wrist (out until atleast June 13)
Melky Cabrera, OF SF – hamstring (questionable)
Sergio Romo, RP SF – knee (questionable)
Kevin Millwood, SP SEA – groin (questionable)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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