Today’s edition of Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight features not one, but two games scored by the Insider himself…

Game No. 26 – Minnesota Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays

• Blue Jays’ starter Shaun Marcum continued his impressive comeback from Tommy John surgery, limiting the Twins to one run on five hits and two walks in seven strong innings Tuesday afternoon. Despite Minnesota’s best efforts, Marcum continually worked out of trouble to preserve his big lead.

Through nine starts (62 innings) this season, Marcum is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. His low walk rate (2.03) compliments his fastball/changeup combo well, though his BABIP and xFIP  suggest a slight regression in the near future.

He’s not exactly a sell-high option, as Marcum is still a very good pitcher despite a small trace of luck thus far. It’s worth noting, however, that the 28-year-old has yet to face division foes New York or Tampa Bay this season.

• Marcum’s counterpart, Carl Pavano , has been equally good this season, allowing just seven walks in 46 1/3 innings (1.36 BB/9) before Tuesday’s game. For the fourth time this season, Pavano didn’t issue any free passes in a game. Instead, the Blue Jays torched him for six runs on 10 hits in just four innings of work.

Tuesday was just the second time in eight starts this season that Pavano allowed more than two runs in a game. Despite the pounding from a red-hot Toronto lineup, Pavano’s ERA and WHIP stand at 4.11 and 1.21, respectively. 

The 34-year-old’s peripherals support his solid performance thus far, but Pavano faces two tough opponents (Milwaukee and Texas) in his next two starts.

• Four Blue Jays went yard on Tuesday, though none were more encouraging than Aaron Hill ’s three-run blast in the sixth. Fantasy managers expected Hill’s power numbers to regress from last season, but they didn’t expect his average (.175 through Tuesday) to drop so far. In fairness to Hill, he has suffered from a ridiculously unlucky .184 BABIP.

Despite this, Hill continues to take walks (14.8 percent BB rate) and make good contact . Expect the 28-year-old to rebound from his rough start and finish the 2010 season with around 20 homers and a .280 average.


Game No. 27 – Anaheim Angels vs. Texas Rangers

• Tuesday night’s matchup between the Angels and Rangers figured to be a rare pitcher’s duel in Arlington, as Jered Weaver (2.47 ERA) opposed C.J. Wilson (1.48 ERA).

• Weaver made it through the first two innings unscathed before allowing a two-run homer to Michael Young in the bottom of the third. Vladimir Guerrero went yard off Weaver to lead off the fourth, continuing his torrid pace to start the season. Anaheim’s offensive explosion in the top half of the fourth, however, lined Weaver up for his fifth win of the season.

After retiring two of the first three batters he faced in the fifth, Weaver allowed another two-run homer (this one to Ian Kinsler ). Next came two consecutive singles off the bats of Vlad and Josh Hamilton , chasing Weaver after 111 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.

Reliever Trevor Bell then yielded a two-run double to Nelson Cruz, leaving Weaver with the following line: 4 2/3 innings, nine hits, seven runs, three walks and one strikeout; by far his worst start of the season.

Despite the pounding he took, Weaver’s stellar K/9, BB/9, BABIP and xFIP all support his strong start this season. While it appears the 27-year-old is establishing himself as a fantasy ace, it’s worth noting his history of early-season success and post-All-Star Break failures.

• C.J. Wilson has been even better Weaver thus far, posting a quality start in each of his seven outings this season. His favorable BABIP and unsustainable left on-base percentage , however, tells a different story.

Wilson’s luck finally caught up with him Tuesday night, as the converted reliever lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk. Even after Tuesday night’s slug fest, Wilson’s ERA and WHIP sit at 2.55 and 1.15, respectively. He’ll get the Cubs on Sunday.

• Elvis Andrus continued his early-season tear, going 3-for-5 with three runs out of the Rangers’ leadoff spot. The 21-year-old has displayed an advanced batter’s eye (14.8 walk rate , 17.4 percent o-swing rate ) in addition to being an excellent contact hitter (86.3 contact rate ). Andrus’ inflated BABIP , however, suggests his .331 batting average is probably a fluke.

Michael Young went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI Tuesday night. Now batting .298 on the season, the 33-year-old Young has 24 runs, four homers and 25 RBI. Batting in the two hole in front of Kinsler, Vlad, Hamilton and Cruz, Young should have no problem scoring 100 runs while pushing for 20 homers this season.

Other notes from around the league:



Hitter of the day: Michael Young (3-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI)

Joey Votto continues to dominate opposing pitchers as he went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI against the Brewers on Tuesday. Through 39 games this season, Votto is batting .308 with 25 runs, nine homers, 27 RBI and four steals.

This equates to a 162-game pace of 104 runs, 37 homers, 112 RBI and 17 steals. Perhaps the scariest part is that Votto’s current BABIP and HR/FB rate aren’t too far off of his career totals. The 26-year-old is making a strong case for top-20 player status.

• Carlos Quentin recorded his second three-hit day in the last four games on Tuesday while scoring once and knocking in two. Quentin’s struggles thus far (.200 batting average though 33 games) can be blamed on his lowly BABIP .

Despite this, the 27-year-old remains on a 19-homer, 105-RBI 550-at-bat pace. If you can afford to bench the slumping Quentin until he regains his stroke, he is an excellent buy-low candidate.

• To Luke Scott , the baseball must look like a watermelon right now. On Tuesday night, Scott went 2-for-2 with two walks and two solo homers – both off of Zack Greinke. Since the start of May, Scott is batting .355 (16-for-45) with seven homers and 12 RBI. Now if the Orioles could just get somebody on base in front of him…

Kurt Suzuki came through for the Athletics in his third game since returning from the DL, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI Tuesday night against the Mariners. Expect the 26-year-old catcher to continue to build on his 2009 breakout campaign.

• Carlos Lee is finally showing signs of breaking free from his early-season slump, as the Astros’ slugger went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI Tuesday night. The long ball was his second in three games. Lee is now batting .201 with a ridiculously-low BABIP this season. (For more on Lee’s slow start, click here .)



Pitcher of the day: Josh Johnson (W, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

Josh Johnson continues to dominate opposing batters, as the 6-foot-7/250-pound right-hander tossed seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks Tuesday night. He allowed just two hits and a pair of walks while fanning nine. Through nine starts (57 innings) this season, the 26-year-old boasts a 2.68 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 63/18 K/BB ratio.

Homer Bailey followed up his four-hit shutout of the Pirates last week with another strong outing against a more formidable Milwaukee lineup on Tuesday. Bailey scattered four hits in seven innings while allowing two runs and two walks.

Although it seems like Bailey has been around forever, the Reds’ starter is still just 24 years old. As his strikeouts continue to pile up and his walk rate continues to decline, Bailey becomes more intriguing. He’ll get Cleveland and Houston in his next two starts.

• Who would’ve thought that through six and a half weeks, Carlos Silva would have the same record (5-0) as Tim Lincecum. Hopefully nobody, but that’s the case after Silva limited the Rockies to two runs on six hits and a walk in six innings Tuesday night. Through eight starts, the 31-year-old boasts a 3.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a stellar walk rate of 1.86.

Silva’s strand rate is a tad bit high and his BABIP is slightly below-average. Even so, his xFIP  suggests a regression in the near future. Silva will get the Rangers this weekend, a matchup that doesn’t bode well for him.



Trevor Hoffman blew his fifth save of the season Tuesday, this one with a two-run ninth-inning lead against the Reds. The all-time saves leader has now allowed at least one run to score in eight of his 14 appearances this season, and his ERA has ballooned to 13.15.

After the game, Brewers’ manager Ken Macha vowed to speak with pitching coach Rick Peterson before making a decision on whether to remove Hoffman from the closer’s role.

Nothing is official yet, but Carlos Villanueva is the likely replacement should Hoffman be relieved of his ninth-inning duties. If you’re desperate for saves, Villanueva is worth a speculative look.


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