'Alvarez leaves the mound after a disappointing outing.' photo (c) 2012, James G - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ I hate to say I told you so, oh who are we kidding I love nothing more than to tell you I told you so, but Henderson Alvarez has stunk this year. As I wrote back on April 2nd in his Player Profile: “Henderson Alvarez had “no chance” of being a top-75 SP in 2012...He also doesn’t miss enough bats putting him at the mercy of his defense and some random forces.” Amazingly for a guy who throws 93 mph with a wicked high 57.3 ground ball rate, Alvarez has still been just as bad as I suggested he would be five months ago. He's gone 9-12 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.46 WHIP with, wait for it, 62 Ks in 168.2 innings. That's a 3.31 K/9 mark. You could TRIPLE that and he still wouldn't be striking out 10 batters per nine innings. Given his stuff, that's an unbelievably pathetic number.

It looks like the Cards will roll out there Chris Carpenter next week. Can't have set up a better return for him either as it looks like he will be on the hill to face the Astros (more on them below). Carpenter will still have to make it through a 90 pitch simulated game, so he's still no lock to return from his neck/shoulder woes, but the clubs is encouraged.

Felix Hernandez seems to think that he is Dice-K all of a sudden. King Felix allowed seven runs Thursday night and now has a 9.00 ERA and 2.13 WHIP over his last three starts. What do I always say? Sample size people. He's been unabashedly awful his last three starts but over his last 12 outings he still owns a 2.63 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. It's not what anyone really wants to hear, but the truth is that things are just returning to “normal” with his performance.

Torii Hunter is hitting .300 this year, .309 to be precise. If you try to check the old memory banks for the last time that Hunter hit .300 you'll be searching for a while since he has never hit .300 before as a big leaguer (he was one hit short in 2009 as he finished the season at .299). It's not often that a guy sets a career best in his 16th season, but it certainly seems possible for Hunter given that he's hitting an out of this world .351 over his last 56 games. Overlooked every year on draft day, Hunter just goes out and produces year after year (he's batting .309 with 15 homers, 76 RBIs, 72 runs scored and nine steals).

The Houston Astros are 46-98 and have been outscored by their opponent by a major league worst 206 runs. No other NL team has been outscored by more than 117 runs (the Cubs). That is all.

Phil Hughes tossed 7.1 shutout innings against the listless Red Sox Thursday to up his season long record to 15-12. I know he's a Yankee so everyone gets all excited about him, but consider these points. (1) His 3.96 ERA is only slightly below the league average of 4.09. (2) His 7.61 K/9 is only slightly better than the league average of 7.39. (3) His 1.25 WHIP is only slightly ahead of the league average as well (1.31). He's solid, but you can put the ticker tape parade on hold.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde meet Jason Kipnis. Everyone's fantasy darling at second base hit the All-Star break with a .277-11-49-53-20 line. In the 52 games since he has hit .216 with three homers, 18 RBIs, 21 runs scored and just seven steals in 13 attempts. He's gone from being Ian Kinsler to Ronny Cedeno.

Lance Lynn stepped into the rotation for an injured Jake Westbrook an allowed one run over six innings Thursday (Westbook could still miss a couple more weeks of action so Lynn may see a start or two more down the stretch). With the effort he lowered his ERA to 3.95 on the season while picking up his 15th win. He's been a remarkable waiver-wire add this year even if he has a 4.97 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over his last 54.1 innings.

Joe Nathan blew it on Friday night as he allowed three runs without getting an out for the Rangers.  He only has a 2.83 ERA, 10.99 K/9 and 30 saves in 32 chances. Loser.

I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark last night in IMAX. Pretty amazing I must say. It's the first time I've seen it in the theaters – I was an HBO junkie as a kid. The film holds up really well with the passage of some 30 years.

It's way too little, way too late, but Michael Young has finally started to hit a bit. In 12 games in September he has posted three homers and 10 RBIs. Too little too late as I stated, but maybe he can give ya something down the stretch.

HITTERS – FRIDAY Carlos Lee vs. Bronson Arroyo: .321-3-11 in 53 at-bats Evan Longoria vs. CC Sabathia: .378-5-9 in 37 at-bats Vernon Wells vs. Brice Chen: .333-3-7 in 21 at-bats

HITTERS – SATURDAY Robinson Cano vs. James Shields: .417-4-12 in 72 at-bats Casey Kotchman vs. Anibal Sanchez:  .471-1-3 in 17 at-bats Michael Young vs. Jason Vargas: .400-1-6 in 30 at-bats

PITCHERS – FRIDAY Aaron Laffey vs Red Sox: .230/.302/.287 in 87 at-bats Chris Sale vs. Twins: .183/.231/.283 in 60 at-bats

PITCHERS – SATURDAY Edwin Jackson vs. Braves: .207/.292/.319 in 116 at-bats Shaun Marcum vs. Nets: .196/.281/.301 in 56 at-bats


By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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