Stephen Strasburg continued his unbelievable start to his career.  Ubaldo Jimenez struggled for the first time in 2010.  Kerry Wood and Aaron Heilman could be on the cusp of losing their roles as closers.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:


Stephen Strasburg (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 9 K) –  It’s his first loss, but he didn’t deserve it.  Amazingly, he was out-pitched by Brian Bannister (6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K), dropping him to 2-1.  The fact that he managed 9 Ks, despite facing the team with the second fewest strikeouts, speaks volumes about his ability.  He now has 41 K vs. 5 BB in his four starts, and all five walks came in Cleveland, where he had tremendous problems with the mound.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5.2 IP, 6 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 7 K) –
 Well, it was bound to happen.  No one can pitch the way he was every single time on the mound, and a blowup was almost inevitable.  It is nothing to be concerned about.  His next start comes in San Diego and you would expect things to turn right back around.

Chris Carpenter (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K, W) –
 It was a tremendous pitcher’s duel, with Carpenter out-pitching Ricky Romero (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 K in a no decision) to improve to 9-1 with a 2.63 ERA.  We all know he’s an ace, and he’s surely pitching like one.  As for Romero, he continues to pitch well.  He entered the day with a realistic .299 BABIP and only a slightly lucky 77.1 percent strand rate.  While the strikeout rate (9.0) is unrealistic, he’s currently looking usable in all formats.

R.A. Dickey (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K, W) –
 He’s now won six consecutive starts, allowing more then 3 ER just once.  We’ll talk about him more this afternoon, but amazingly he actually had a below-average BABIP of .342 entering the day.  He also has an above average strand rate (80.1 percent, but those two almost cancel each other out.  In other words, unless he stops striking people out (7.3 K/9), he could continue to excel.

James Shields (7.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K) –  The sad thing is, this was actually one of his better starts of late, he was just burned by two home runs.  Since May 30 he’s allowed 27 ER on 41 H and 8 BB over 29.2 IP.  In fact, the only win he has since May 20 came in a one-inning relief stint on June 19.  He’s better then this, so I wouldn’t give up on him.  He entered the game with a .345 BABIP and 69.2 percent strand rate.  However, with his control (2.1 BB/9), there will be better days ahead.

Kerry Wood (0.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K) – 
He blew the save, falling to 1-3 with a 7.98 ERA on the year.  He hasn’t allowed a run in four outings leading up to this, but is that really enough?  It’s just a matter of time before he’s yanked from the job, so if you are desperate for saves make the move to stash Chris Perez.

Manny Parra (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K, W) – 
It was a solid outing, as he has actually pitched well since returning to the rotation on May 29.  In his last four starts he’s allowed 9 ER over 23 IP, striking out 29 in the process.  His biggest problem has always been control (career BB/9 of 4.4), but that is something he has shown in the minor leagues (2.6 BB/9 over 564.0 innings).

He is showing the strikeouts and he generates a ton of groundballs.  It is very possible that this solid streak is for real, so if you need a flier to fill out your rotation, he’s more then worth it (despite yesterday’s four wild pitches).

Mark Buehrle (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 K, W) –
 He’s now won three straight starts, allowing 4 ER over 20 IP.  That’s certainly more like it and more indicative of his ability.

Aaron Heilman (1.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 H, 3 BB, 1 K) –
 Who’s next?  He blew the save and now has allowed runs in three straight appearances.  His days as the closer are likely numbered, though who are they going to turn to?  Back to Chad Qualls?  Who knows, but Sam Demel is looking like a possibility if you are looking for a deep sleeper for saves.

Joel Pineiro (7.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K, W) –
 He’s won four straight starts.  Over his last three he’s allowed 3 ER over 24.1 innings.  It’s been a nice run, but you have to be skeptical that it can continue.  Remember, prior to 2009 his best ERA since 2004 was a 4.35.

Cliff Lee (9.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 9 K, W) – 
He hasn’t walked a batter since June 2.  He’s thrown three complete games in his last four outings.  Overall he’s 6-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.  He’s one of the elite and could be a huge boost if a team is able to pry him away from the Mariners prior to the deadline.

Barry Zito (4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K) –
 Despite pitching well, these types of outings have been creeping in.  He’s allowed 5 ER or more three times in his last seven outings.  He’s a tough pitcher to depend on, despite his overall numbers in 2010.


Jay Bruce (3-3, 2 RBI) –  He has back-to-back three-hit games, raising his average to .282 with 9 HR, 33 RBI, and 40 R.  Granted, we would have expected a little bit more in the power department, now going 11 consecutive games without a home run.  Still, is anyone really complaining?

Coco Crisp (1-4) – 
He was once again hitting atop the A’s lineup, with Conor Jackson DHing and Ryan Sweeney taking his turn on the bench.  We’ll continue monitoring this, but if Crisp is playing on a regular basis he is likely going to have value in five-outfielder formats thanks to the stolen base potential.

Gaby Sanchez (3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) –
 He’s on a seven-game hitting streak, going 14-33 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, and 4 R.  While he’s hot, he’s usable in all formats, but he’s not someone to depend on full-time.  He just doesn’t have the power potential that other options do at a deep position.

Adam Jones (2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R) – 
It’s his fourth straight two-hit game, as well as his fourth straight scoring at least one run.  He’s been a huge disappointment, but he’s finally starting to reward those who had patience.

Jimmy Rollins (1-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) –
 I know other Phillies had bigger days (i.e. Jayson Werth, who went 3-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, and 2 R), but fans have been anxiously awaiting Rollins return.  It’s certainly nice to see him right back into the swing of things.

Nelson Cruz (3-4, 3 RBI) –
 It was just his second game since being activated from the DL.  We all know that he is among the top outfielders, when healthy.  That’s the big caveat, however.

Elvis Andrus (3-5, 1 RBI, 3 R) – 
He had been mired in a 6-49 with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, and 1 SB over his previous 12 games.  The team is content on leaving him atop the lineup, and we all knew that he was going to turn things around.  He is quickly becoming one of the top shortstops in the league, with his average (.282), stolen base potential (19 SB) and runs scored (49).

Carlos Quentin (2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) –
 Since June 16, he’s gone 11-26 with 3 HR (all in his last two games), 10 RBI, and 5 R.  You can try, but the idea of getting him at a discount is likely gone.

What are your thoughts from yesterday’s games?  Which ones caught your eye? And which ones did I miss?


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