This is something new I wanted to try on top of the normal Around the Majors.  What I am going to do is one game to spotlight, taking a much more in-depth look at the games participants (as opposed to the one or two I get to in the Around the Majors column, which you can read by clicking here ). 

We’ll probably do this two or three times a week, depending on the response.

Please let me know what you think of this, as if it is something everyone likes, I’ll put it into effect starting on Monday.

Today’s game was an easy call, with the premier pitching matchup of the day pitting Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Francisco Liriano:

Colorado Rockies:

Ubaldo Jimenez (8.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 4 K, W) – 
He didn’t have his best stuff, but he certainly got the job done to improve to 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA.  The 8 hits tied for his season high, which he did on Opening Day in Milwaukee.

He also was unable to get a significant number of strikeouts (his second lowest outing of the season, having struck out three on May 26). 

What he did do, however, was generate groundball after groundball.  He entered the day with a 55.2% GB percentage and of his 24 outs, 13 came via the groundball (as well as getting four double plays).

Of course with a start like his, you can point to luck (entered with a .232 BABIP and 91.3% strand rate), but he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Carlos Gonzalez (0-4) –  The bigger news was that Gonzalez left the game after jamming his knee, as his six-game hitting streak came to an end.  The early word has him as day-to-day, so those in daily lineups, should just check in before tomorrow’s game.

Troy Tulowitzki (1-2, 1 RBI, 2 R) –  He left after getting hit in the wrist with a pitch, though the x-rays are said to have been negative.  While he’s likely day-to-day, he’s not expected to miss much, if any, time.

Ryan Spilborghs (1-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) –  Over his last eight games he’s gone 13-28 with 4 HR, 5 RBI, and 8 R.  While he’s not playing everyday thanks to the Rockies’ crowded outfield, he is seeing more playing time than Seth Smith at this point. 

He has plenty of power, but without knowing that he’s going to play everyday, it’s tough to consider him valuable outside of NL-only and deep five-outfielder formats.

However, he was slotted into the cleanup spot in this one, and that could continue with Brad Hawpe’s recent struggles.  If he were to assume regular playing time, he’d become a lot more palatable, but for now I’d ride him.

Brad Hawpe (2-3) –  He was dropped to seventh in the order after entering the game on an 0-16 slump over his last five games.  At .275 with 4 HR, 22 RBI, and 14 R through 160 AB, it’s hard to classify him as anything but a disappointment.

 That could open the door to a “buy low” candidate if someone in your league has grown frustrated.

Minnesota Twins:

Francisco Liriano (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K) –
 The problems were all in the first inning, where he got touched up for three runs on four hits and a walk (as well as hitting two batters).  After that, it was smooth sailing for the next six innings. 

While it’s not quite the past two games where he had struck out 21 over 15 innings, it’s hard to be upset with this performance.  Only twice has he allowed more then three earned runs in a game this season.  Only once has he gone less then six innings.

His control is back (he entered with a 2.3 BB/9).  The strikeouts are back (he entered with a 9.7 K/9).  His success isn’t based on luck (entered with a .345 BABIP and 75.6% strand rate).  It’s pretty safe to say that he’s back.

Joe Mauer (0-1) –  He didn’t start, but entered as a pinch hitter in a key spot in the eighth inning with two on and one out.  Unfortunately, Jimenez induced a line-drive double play, virtually ending all hope for the Twins.

Justin Morneau (0-4) –  Over his last five games, he’s gone 1-19 with 0 RBI and 0 R.  Is anyone really concerned that this type of streak will continue for too long?

Jason Kubel (1-4) –  Not a big line, but it extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 12-33 with 3 HR, 7 RBI, and 6 R.

Delmon Young (1-3) –  He’s not going to be flying under the radar for much longer (if he even still is).  While his 11-game hitting streak was broken up on Wednesday with an 0-2, he now has hits in all but two of his June games and has gone hitless just four times since May 21. 

Perhaps he’s finally delivering on all that promise we’ve heard so much about.  In five-outfielder formats, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab him if he’s still available.

What are your thoughts from this game?  Which player had the biggest impact?  Which story interests you most?


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