'July 4, 2009 - US Embassy Ottawa party (The 200th Birthday of President Abraham Lincoln).' photo (c) 2009, US Embassy Canada - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It's Independence Day and we should all celebrate, responsibly. So enjoy yourselves while I slave away for your enjoyment. LOL.

If I asked you who had the best batting average in baseball on the road, who would you suggest? Cabrera, Molina, Pedroia? Nope. Among players who have at least 100 plate appearances on the the road the man who leads baseball in batting average on the road is none other than... James Loney at .371 (Yadier Molina leads the NL with a .366 mark. Two others are over .345 in Joey Votto at .365 and Adam Lind at .350). Overall Loney is hitting .318 and is on pace, with nine homers, to surpass his career best of 15 big flies set back in 2007. He's been a solid run producer as well with 42 RBIs. Oh, and he just lost a 14 game hitting streak during which time he was batting .404.

Gordon Beckham, you know the continual failure, has one homer in 34 games. We can look past that easily though when we note that he's hit .331. That's only .099 points above the mark he posted the last two seasons.

John Buck has hit .172 since May 5th. Are people still playing him? Judging by questions from my followers they are.

Tony Cingrani danced in an out of trouble yet again Wednesday. He allowed only two runs in 5.2 innings, but he also allowed eight base runners and a home run. That's nine home runs allowed in 53 innings for Cingrani, and he's also walked 10 batters in his last two outings. Danger may lay ahead.

Matt Garza has looked sharp as ever since he returned from the DL. Garza has gone 4-1 with an 8.16 K/9 mark with a 2.89 K/BB ratio over nine outings. Oh, and his WHIP is 1.12. Someone will be getting one hell of a hurler when the Cubs deal him.

Kevin Gausman will continue to work out of the bullpen now that Scott Feldman has joined the Orioles. The rookie hot shot might find himself in the minors in a week when Wei-Yin Chen returns from an oblique issue. Through 30 innings the rookie has 25 Ks and has issued a mere six walks. That hasn't helped his ratios though as they sit at 6.30 for his ERA and 1.47 for his WHIP. Still, he's allowed two runs, hasn't walked a batter and has struck out 10 over his last 10.1 innings.

Eric Hosmer hit yet another homer Wednesday, his fourth in five games, and his fifth in eight games. So he's back on track, ready to slug 20 homers this year, right? Well, not quite. He's up to eight homers but there's still one huge issue with his outlook – he never hits the ball in the air. On the season his fly ball rate is a sickly 21.3 percent (to compare Ichiro has a fly ball rate of 29.6 percent). You can't hit 20+ homers with a fly ball rate that is that low. Just can't. Until he lifts the ball more consistently he's better off just hitting the ball in the gaps. Speaking of getting hits, he's raised his average up to .279 with nine hits in his last five games. Hosmer is owned in just 64 percent of leagues at Fleaflicker.com. Perhaps it's time to up that ownership rate.

Did you notice earlier when I noted how well Yadier Molina was doing? Is he the NL MVP? There's little doubt he's the best defensive catcher in the league and he's also hitting .352 to lead the NL. Since the start of the 2011 season Molina has hit .320 which ties him with Buster Posey and Joey Votto for third in baseball behind Miguel Cabrera (.343) and Ryan Braun (.322). Truly amazing.

Evan Longoria (foot) will not be seen in the field for a while as the Rays will slot him at DH and hope his body holds up. Plantar fasciitis goes away with rest. Simple as that. Longo has to be looked at with a bit of concern for the rest of 2013 – his foot issue isn't likely to go away. If someone offers you 100 percent value in a deal, you might want to take it.

Tom Wilhelmsen looks to have reacquired the closing gig for the Mariners. He's worked 5-straight scoreless outings, hasn't walked a batter, and picked up a save Wednesday night, his 17th on the year.

From Andrew Baggarly on Twitter. Talking about the Giants struggles...

“Per Elias: Seven hits over three games matches fewest over any three-game span in SF-era Giants history. Did it in 1978, too.”

“If my numbers are right, Pablo Sandoval, Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford are riding slumps that are a combined 1-for-73. And Hunter Pence = 2-25.”


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.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

#mlb VIDEO for @fantasyalarm - #Padres add an entire new OF in Matt Kemp, Wil Myers & Justin Upton - http://t.co/rqNaB5yhG5