It’s been a few days since we’ve looked at the day to day fantasy highlights but now that technical issues have been resolved it’s time to get back into the swing of things. With just four games played on Monday, the full slate of Tuesday games was certainly welcomed as many of us were probably going through baseball withdrawal. Sure, there were some who are new to the fantasy racket that probably enjoyed the quick breather, but the seasoned vets know that’s what the All Star break is for and a day with just four games is….well….unacceptable. So to satisfy your fix, let’s just skip the pleasantries and get right to the highlights – a few quick notes and then the winners and losers in the stat columns.
For those who may be stashing Alex Rodriguez, you may have gotten the good news Twitter on Tuesday that he finally received the green light to play games. But before you get too excited, check out he backlash his tweet received from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman who basically shot down the information and verbally slapped his third baseman for speaking out of turn. A-Rod’s time in New York, particularly after they gave him that new contract, has been extremely tumultuous and while we know a fair amount of the strained relationships inside Yankee-land, there are obviously more dynamics involved that we don’t know about; dynamics that would warrant such harsh response from Cashman. The stash could have its merits in the second half, but with all the limelight trouble A-Rod brings, the team may want to just keep him away. Stay tuned as this little soap opera is likely to get a little juicier.
Props to the strikeout kings of Tuesday night as Chris Sale topped the day with 13 Ks against the Mets to record his second double-digit strikeout performance in his last three starts and third in his last six. In that six-game span, Sale has a 55:11 K:BB over 41 innings. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore whiffed 11 Blue Jays and handed them their second consecutive defeat to follow their 11-game winning streak. Of course he walked six guys as well in this one and his K:BB isn’t nearly as strong as Sale’s, but he did post his second consecutive quality start after a seriously rough run of outings here in June. Look for both of them to continue with favorable match-ups coming on Sunday.
And with every good comes a little bad and it’s hard to get worse than Rick Porcello over his last two outings. He coughed up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks over just 4.1 innings and has now given up 13 earned runs in his last two outings (10.1 innings) with just six strikeouts. This all comes after a brilliant run of four straight quality starts, so, of course, those who picked up the enigmatic Tigers hurler after his successful late May/early June are now cursing him and themselves for falling into the classic trap. It’s like getting involved in a land war in Asia and going in against a Sicilian with death on the line all rolled into one.
Now let’s hit the stats…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Rickie Weeks, 2B MIL||3-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
Given what he did in the second half of last season, the recent nine-game run by Rickie Weeks in which he is batting .438 (14-for-32) with four home runs and seven RBI is probably giving his owners a glimmer of hope for a full turnaround and enticing many to think about buying him for a second half run this year. But I’m going to remain skeptical here and let the Brewers troubled second baseman prove me wrong. After all, he’s still only hitting .230 after this run, has just eight home runs on the year and hasn’t stolen a base since April 24. At this point, there are probably at least 25 other second baseman I’d still rather own, but hey…congrats on the big night, Rickie.
|Starling Marte, OF PIT||3-5, 3 R, 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|Allen Craig, 1B STL||4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B BOS||3-5, 2 R, 2B, 4 RBI, SB|
|Kyle Kendrick, SP PHI||W, 2.25 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 6 K|
|Jeff Locke, SP PIT||W, 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 4 K|
I have to admit that it’s a bit of a rarity to see the top three fantasy hitters in this section actually all be all-stars. Usually we get at least one “sun shining on a dog’s ass” guy, but I guess that’s what Weeks is for up above. But in the meantime, all three here are actually performing well and have all been strong fantasy assets this season.
Starling Marte enjoyed a big night and has now hit safely in six of his last seven games. He’s batting .297 (11-for-37) with the two home runs, five RBI, seven runs scored and two stolen bases in that span and he continues to be a tremendous play for his owners. The eight home runs puts him on pace for 16 this year and he’s already at 22 stolen bases for the season. I don’t know about you, but a potential 16-45 guy is always welcome in my outfield.
The big knock on Allen Craig earlier this year was that he wasn’t hitting for any power. Well, after no home runs in April, he hit three in May and now has four in June and none at the expense of his batting average. While I certainly won’t put any guarantees on it, his improved ISO over the last two months lends me to believe that with a strong second half, he’ll break that 20-homer barrier and leave his fantasy owners relatively satisfied.
Overall, Dustin Pedroia’s numbers are down this season in comparison to years past, but the fact that he’s hitting .316 on the year with 11 stolen bases and 50 runs scored – on pace to break the 100-run barrier – is keeping him amongst the top second basemen in the game. Sure, we’d like to see him reach 20 home runs again, but considering the overall depth at the position, I’d say you’re still pretty psyched to own him.
After getting shellacked in Colorado on June 14, Kyle Kendrick has responded with two quality starts and he now has four in his last five outings. He’s never going to be a fantasy ace, but given the improvments he’s made in his game this season, he’s certainly become someone you can trust in your rotation more often than not. A 23:5 K:BB over his last 35 innings certainly helps as well.
And I don’t know how he does it – smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, an ace up his sleeve, whatever – Jeff Locke continues to pitch like a champ this year. I’m still waiting for the luck to run out but a 2.06 ERA over 19 starts this year has to mean something, doesn’t it?
|Logan Forsythe, 2B SD||0-5, 4 K|
|Elliot Johnson, 2B KC||0-4, 3 K|
|Lyle Overbay, 1B NYY||0-4, 3 K|
|Joe Saunders, SP SEA||L, 32.40 ERA, 4.20 WHIP, 1 K|
|Juan Nicasio, SP COL||L, 23.14 ERA, 6.00 WHIP, 2 K|
They can’t all be great, now can they? And it’s not like you were expecting much out of this bunch anyway. Or at least you shouldn’t have. Maybe next time, kids.
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – back (day to day)
Justin Maxwell, OF HOU – concussion (day to day)
Peter Bourjos, OF LAA – thumb (day to day)
Justin Ruggiano, OF MIA – shoulder (day to day)
Carlos Gomez, OF MIL – shoulder (day to day)
Ryan Doumit, C MIN – ankle (day to day)
John Jaso, C OAK – hand (day to day)
Joaquin Arias, 3B SF – hamstring (day to day)
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B WAS – shoulder (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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