As we celebrate the end of the NFL lockout today and the official start of the fantasy football season, we have to remember that fantasy baseball is coming to the last third of the season and this is when championships are won and lost. You can't lose focus on your team right now as the distraction of football starts to creep into your consciousness. Keep your eyes on the prize with your baseball team, cut the dead wood, take advantage of a fellow owner who may have lost his focus, and keep the pedal to the medal on the way to first place. Of course, Fantasy Alarm is the place to go for all of the news, reviews, and advice to help you finish what you started, and don't forget to never miss Rounding The Bases! (Wow, was that conceited!)
Mike Adams collected his 22nd hold of the season for the San Diego Padres as he allowed just one hit and struck out two batters against the Phillies. Chances are he won't be getting too many more holds as it is just a matter of time before Heath Bell is traded before the July 31st trade deadline. Hey people! If you need saves, make the move for Adams NOW!!!! Don't wait because some guy who just sits on the computer all day will beat you to the waiver wire. Be proactive, not reactive. You KNOW Bell is going to be traded. Eat the last week where Adams is a setup man and have him on your roster already when the trade is made. I promise you will break the hearts of half of your fantasy league.
Jon Lester has been activated from the DL by the Boston Red Sox and I love Lester down the stretch to have a massive fantasy impact. He didn't get the decision against the Royals on Monday, but for his first game back he was great. He allowed just one run over 5.1 innings, walked two, and struck out six. Look for the Sox ace to have the best stretch of his season and carry your team in the last two months of the season. I am ultra confident in his abilities and how he will finish the year.
National League home run leader Lance Berkman (yes, you read that right) wasn't in the Cardinals' lineup with a shoulder strain, but from reports it seems that this is just a night off and not a serious injury. Manager Tony LaRussa has said that he expects Berkman to return to the Redbirds' lineup on Tuesday. Deep breaths fantasy players, it seems like it will be ok.
Alex Presley landed on the 15 day DL with a left thumb contusion after he jammed it Friday night. This doesn't seem like it will be a long term injury by any stretch, but I hate to see this kind of injury slow down this rookie's scorching play. Hopefully no one will excel in his absence and threaten to take any playing time from the kid. It seems like this will be just a two week thing, and the spark plug of the Pirates' lineup should be back in a couple of weeks and back at the top of their lineup.
The corresponding move to Presley being put on the Disabled List also has fantasy implications as third baseman Pedro Alvarez was brought back to the majors by the team. Alvarez was a total disaster with the bat before his quad injury. In the 18 games he was with AAA Indianapolis, Alvarez hit a very nice .365 with three home runs and 13 RBI, so hopefully he is locked in and ready to succeed again at the major league level. If he is available in your league I would be jumping all over the chance to put him on my roster. Alvarez has the chance to hit ten home runs from now until the end of the season if he is successful.
He didn't get the win tonight, but for the second consecutive start Fausto Carmona was pretty effective. He threw six shutout innings against the Angels, walked three and struck out three. Regardless of how well he is doing, I always avoid Carmona because when he doesn't have his best stuff he gets absolutely blown out of the water. And unfortunately for him, he doesn't have his best stuff more often than he does have it, which explains his 5.34 ERA. I know he has had some success in the majors, but he isn't worth the starts where he murders your ratios, stay away from Carmona.
Daniel Murphy continues to have success and his percentage of ownership also continues to rise. Last I checked he was up to 62% ownership in Yahoo leagues, which I still think is low considering he is hitting over .300, has nearly 50 RBI considering he hasn't been starting all season, and is eligible at every position except catcher and shortstop. Murphy had two more doubles on Monday, and drove in his 43rd and 44th runs of the season. If you have even a bench spot of a guy you are just sitting on that isn't helping you, a la Justin Morneau, dump them and pick up and ultra-flexible guy like Murphy who you are going to be able to plug in all over the diamond. It is too late in the season to carry dead weight on your team, you need players that are actually in games now!
Just because Adam Dunn is still sucking (another 0-fer tonight), that doesn't mean that all of the disappointing White Sox have to finish the season as poorly as it began. Juan Pierre is one guy who is trying to redeem his horrendous first four months as he has been on an absolute tear since the All-Star Break. Pierre had two more hits tonight, which brings his total to 16 hits in the last ten games, but because he is Juan Pierre there are no home runs and just three RBI in those games, but hey, you knew that when you drafted him. My only concern is while he did steal his 16th base of the season tonight, that is just his third during this incredible tear, and you would think if he is getting on base that often that he would be running more often. Nevertheless, Pierre is a great waiver pickup right now if he is available in your league, and at this point he is only owned in half of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. If you need speed he is one of a few options that are likely on the wire now for your consideration.
Another very hot hitter right now is the Cardinals' catcher, Yadier Molina. Always known for his incredible defense and cannon for an arm, Yadi has caught fire lately with the bat, and Monday was no different. He was 3-3, including his career high tying eighth home run of the season as he raised his average to .287. It was his third straight game with a home run, and if you are looking for a short term fix at catcher or have just been playing the hot hand, Molina is the way to go right now. He isn't Brian McCann with the bat by any stretch, so don't expect this power surge to continue, but feel free to enjoy it while it lasts.
Livan Hernandez (WAS) vs. Javier Vasquez (FLA) -- This one is for The Fantasy Alarm Show's Associate Producer on Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio Javon Parris as he is a big fan of Livan. Not to mention that Hernandez is almost always keeping his team in games, and although he doesn't rack up the strikeouts, he rarely gets bombed in his starts. Vasquez has been an utter disaster this season, and the Fish aren't the best offensive team. I like Livan to score you a nice game if you need him for a one start pickup.
Monday's Result -- Nick Blackburn (MIN) -- 2.2 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks (L) Ummmm, ouch! Guess that's why I wasn't too confident about the pick.
Want to read more? Check out our Fantasy Alarm in-season fantasy baseball coverage complete with nightly fantasy baseball recaps, two start pitchers, best waiver pickups, injury reports and in-depth minor league baseball coverage.
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