While everyone was enjoying their fireworks and BBQ, there was plenty of news coming from the baseball diamond.  Yovani Gallardo was forced to leave his start before finishing three innings.  Mark Teixeira could finally be heating up.  Torii Hunter had a huge night.  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games:


  • Mark Teixeira (3-4, 2 RBI) New York Yankees— Is he finally starting to turn things around?  He has hits in 14 of his last 15 games, though only four of those were multi-hit games.  Three of them have come in July, going 7-14 with 5 RBI and 3 R.  We’re all holding out hope, aren’t we?  The big time breakout is coming, so just keep holding on and waiting for the good.
  • Nick Markakis (3-5, 1 RBI, 2 R) Baltimore Orioles— The guy can hit, but there’s no questioning that he has disappointed in both the power and RBI departments.  He certainly has been hurt by the absence of Brian Roberts, but I still have hope that he can turn things around.  He’s hitting too well (.307) not to think that the other things he’s proven he could do will come around.  Don’t sell low on him now.
  • Pedro Alvarez (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R) Pittsburgh Pirates— He struck out yet again, but he homered for the second straight game and extended his hitting streak to seven games (9-27 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 R).  If he could ever limit the strikeouts he’d have potential to be extremely dangerous, but until that happens the average is going to suffer.
  • Angel Pagan (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 R) New York Mets— It’s not about his performance as much as it is that he appears to be back into the lineup full-time at this point.  He has just continued to hit and with Carlos Beltran coming closer and closer to a return, it will be interesting to see what the Mets ultimately decide to do.  Those in five-outfielder formats need to keep a close eye on this situation as things continue to unfold after the All-Star Break.
  • Drew Stubbs (3-5, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R) Cincinnati Reds— The Reds smashed seven home runs, but Stubbs clearly led the way.  He’s not expected to be a source of power, but he’s now got 11 HR and 41 RBI on the season.  Couple that with 44 R and 16 SB and you have a tremendous option in all formats, if he could only get the average up from its current .240 mark.  All he needs to do is limit the strikeouts (31.4%), but time will tell if he can do that.
  • Hunter Pence (0-4) Houston Astros— He’s fallen into a slump, going 2-25 over his last six games, but there is no reason to panic.  He’s always been a streaky player, but look for things to swing back the other way before long.
  • Dexter Fowler (3-4, 3 R) Colorado Rockies— If that was all he did it would be worth noting, but he also drew four walks in this 15-inning affair, meaning he was on base in seven of his eight plate appearances.  He has been tremendous since returning from the minor leagues, now on a modest four game hitting streak.  Over the streak he’s had a trio of three hit games, going 10-16 in total to go along with 3 RBI, 7 R and 2 SB.  Think he’s back to having value in five outfielder formats?  I’d say so.
  • Torii Hunter (3-4, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 R) – Los Angeles Angels –  He hadn’t homered since June 19 and hadn’t driven in a run since June 25.  I’d say he busted out of things in a big way, wouldn’t you?  He’s now hitting .294 with 14 HR, 60 RBI and 49 R on the season and is on pace to challenge his career high in RBI of 107.  He’s only reached 100 RBI twice in his career, so don’t consider him a lock to get there, even with his fast start (he had 25 RBI in an injury shortened second half of ‘09, 35 in ‘08 and 38 in ‘07), but he clearly is one of the better outfielders in all formats.

Pitchers :

  • Fausto Carmona (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K) Cleveland Indians— He continues to pitch well, winning four of his last five starts.  In fact, in his last seven starts he’s allowed 3 ER or less in six of them.  Of course, entering the day he had benefited from a .274 BABIP and 67.9% strand rate, as he just doesn’t strikeout enough batters (4.7 K/9).  That’s enough to put a touch of doubt in his viability for the second half, so I certainly would listen if someone in your league is buying.
  • Cliff Lee (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 11 K, W)Seattle Mariners— Was this his last start for the Mariners?  That seems to be the question every time he takes the mound, though you wouldn’t know it based on the way he’s pitched.  In his last eight starts, he hasn’t allowed more then 3 ER in any of them.  In fact, over that span he’s allowed 13 ER over 67 IP (1.75 ERA).  He’s really brought it, and certainly will bring ace stuff to whoever ultimately acquires him.
  • Brian Matusz (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 8 K, W) – Baltimore Orioles – He’s had his ups and he’s had his downs, but this may be the best we’ve seen of him.  He has a ton of potential, but as a young pitcher in the AL East (especially one pitching for the Orioles), it’s hard to imagine these types of performances every time he toes the rubber.  Keeper league owners can hold out hope, but he’s not likely to hold value in yearly leagues in 2010.
  • James Shields (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 K, W) Tampa Bay Rays— He may have gotten the win, but that’s not to say that he was impressive in the least.  He’s now allowed 4 ER or more in each of his last three starts and is carrying a 4.83 ERA on the year.  Is this a continuation of his poor second half in 2009 (5.16 ERA)?  I don’t believe that, as he’s had some poor lucky early in the year (.343 BABIP, 68.5% strand rate entering the day).  If someone in my league is finally frustrated with him, I’m certainly willing to buy low.
  • Yovani Gallardo (2.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 K) Milwaukee Brewers— He allowed five unearned runs and was forced to leave with an oblique strain, according to Tim Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Twitter.  That’s a scary injury for fantasy owners to hear as he’s likely to miss a little bit of time.  Keep checking back for the latest, but owners would be smart to have a viable alternative in place.
  • Adam Wainwright (9.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 9 K, W) St. Louis Cardinals— He continues to be unbelievable, now at 12-5 with a 2.24 ERA on the year.  Is there little question that he’s the ace of the staff at this point, as opposed to Chris Carpenter?
  • Chad Billingsley (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 8 K) Los Angeles Dodgers— He’s been solid since returning from the DL, allowing 3 ER over 12 IP on 12 H and 3 BB, striking out 11.  His next start comes against the Cubs and he certainly has regained his must use standing in all formats.
  • Ricky Nolasco (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 11 K, W) Florida Marlins— He’s 3-0 in his last three starts, but the most impressive stat during this stretch is his 28 Ks over 21 innings.  Rumors have started to crop up that he could potentially be traded, but no matter where he is he is a must use option in all formats right now.  His next start is scheduled to be against the Diamondbacks, so look for the strikeouts to continue.
  • Mark Buehrle (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 K, W) Chicago White So x— I know he barely strikes anyone out (49 K in 103.1 IP in ‘10), but he’s significantly better then his numbers and is a viable option in all formats.  Just look at what he’s done in his last six starts, going 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA.  The 1.36 WHIP is still passable, and is only that high because he struggled with his command last time out (5 BB).  Considering his career BB/9 of 2.1, I think it’s safe to say that it was an aberration.

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


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