Many of the top starting pitchers in the league took the mound on Sunday, from Josh Johnson to Adam Wainwright to Francisco Liriano.  

Let’s check out how they fared, as well as take a look at all of the other stories from yesterday’s games:


  • Alex Rios (0-4) – Chicago White Sox –  He has certainly had a tremendous season, but he’s hit a fairly major bump in the road of late.  He’s gone nine games without scoring a run.  He’s gone 12 games without a home run.   He’s gone 19 games without a stolen base.  In his last 12 games, he has just six RBI.  He’s going to turn it around sooner or later, so just stick with him.
  • Alex Gordon (2-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R) – Kansas City Royals –  He’s now on a seven-game hitting streak, though this was the first multi-hit game of the streak.  He’s gone 8-28 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R.  Could this finally be the time that he turns it all around?  With David DeJesus hurt and Rick Ankiel traded, he should be guaranteed everyday at bats, so we certainly should find out.  With eligibility at both 3B and OF, he’s certainly worth the flier in deeper formats.
  • Adam LaRoche (3-6, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R) – Arizona Diamondbacks –  The Diamondbacks trashed Mets pitching, led by LaRoche, who hit a pair of home runs off Jonathan Niese (4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K in his first start allowing 3 ER or more since June 22).  He had 8 RBI in the 3-game series and is notorious for having strong second halves.  Last year he hit .365 with 8 HR and 19 RBI in August and it looks like he wants to trump those numbers in ‘10.
  • Hunter Pence (2-4, 2 R) – Houston Astros –  He assumes the cleanup spot with Lance Berkman being dealt to New York.  You wish they had a better three hitter (currently Jeff Keppinger) ahead of him, but it still should provide plenty of opportunities to both drive in and score runs with the protection of Carlos Lee hitting behind him.  He was already a must-use option, so just enjoy the slight boost in value.
  • Colby Rasmus (2-4, 1 R) – St. Louis Cardinals –  He is quickly becoming one of the more frustrating, streaky players in baseball.  He could be struggling so mightily and then out of nowhere, he just explodes once again.  He’s now 4-8 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R and 1 SB over the past two games.  You don’t want to risk missing the good, so all you can do is ride him through good and bad and by year’s end, you should reap the benefits.
  • Marlon Byrd (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 R) – Chicago Cubs –  He’s now on a seven-game hitting streak, going 10-27 with 5 RBI and 4 R.  On the year he’s hitting .315 with 10 HR, 47 RBI and 58 R.  Who saw this coming?



  • Chris Perez (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, SV) – Cleveland Indians – With Kerry Wood now a Yankee, Chris Perez is no longer going to be yo-yoed between closing and a setup role.  He hasn’t allowed a run since June 27 and this game snapped a 10-consecutive-appearance strikeout streak.  He’s a must-use option in all formats.
  • Clay Buchholz (8.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K) – Boston Red Sox –  That’s back-to-back strong outings, allowing 3 ER over 15 innings.  Granted, the control wasn’t there in this one, but he deserved a win.  Unfortunately, Jonathan Papelbon (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB 1 K, W), couldn’t hold the lead and got rewarded for it.  Buchholz appears to be back from his injury, meaning he’s a solid play in all formats once again.
  • James Shields (7.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 11 K, W) – Tampa Bay Rays – Even without Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, would anyone expect the Yankees to be shut out?  It was a tremendous start for Shields (and completed by Chad Qualls and Rafael Soriano) who had not been impressive of late.  He had allowed 4 ER or more in five of his previous seven starts.  However, it’s nights like this that show to us just how dominant he could be, and hopefully this marks his turn around back to the pitcher we thought we drafted.  He had struggled with bad luck (.337 BABIP, 69.5% strand rate), so there certainly is reason to believe.
  • Gavin Floyd (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K, W) – Chicago White Sox – He outpitched Gio Gonzalez (8.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 11 K) as he continues to roll.  He appears to be a pitcher to bench for the first few months and then ride to the finish, huh?
  • Francisco Liriano (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 11 K, W) – Minnesota Twins –  Why exactly did we ever worry about him?  Obviously it was justified, but he appears to be fully back.  He hasn’t allowed a run in his last three starts, striking out 25 in 21.0 IP.  The question now is, with his 3.18 ERA and 150 K, just how highly will he be ranked heading into 2011?
  • Jered Weaver (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K, W) – Los Angeles Angels –  He was matched up with Cliff Lee (8.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 2 BB, 4 K) and he got the better of him.  Exactly what is left to say about Weaver at this point?  He’s sporting a 3.04 ERA, a WHIP under 1.10 and has 162 K over 148.0 innings.
  • Edinson Volquez (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 6 K, W) – Cincinnati Reds – He may have gotten the win, but the number of walks is a huge red flag.  That’s 14 walks over his last 11 innings of work, which was the biggest concern for him coming back from Tommy John surgery.  He’s a tough play right now until he proves he can avoid walking the ballpark.
  • Drew Storen (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K) – Washington Nationals – It was a great performance, and at home there was no chance for a save, so we can’t read anything into it.  At this point the Nationals will go by committee, but he should eventually be given the job and be viable in the role in 2011.
  • Adam Wainwright (7.0 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K, W) – St. Louis Cardinals –  Just another ho-hum performance from a pitcher who is now 15-6 with a 2.19 ERA.  Will he be able to keep it up and take home the Cy Young Award?
  • Josh Johnson (5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 4 BB 5 K) – Florida Marlins –  He was bound to have a bad start sooner or later, but would anyone have predicted it would come against San Diego?  This was the first time since Opening Day that he allowed more then 3 ER in a start.  Like I said, it was bound to happen.
  • Matt Cain (7.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K, W) – San Francisco Giants –  It was a brilliant performance, besting Clayton Kershaw (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 6 K).  Cain is now 3-0 in his last four starts, allowing 5 ER over 29.2 IP.  Overall he was sporting an above-average BABIP of .255 heading into last night, so I’d be a little cautious.  There could be a regression coming at some point.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use him, but be prepared.

What are your thoughts from yesterday’s games?  Who thrived?  What was the biggest stories?


Make sure to check out our extremely early 2011 rankings:


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