All of our worst fears were realized on Monday as we got the time table for how long that Albert Pujols will be out. I won't say that it is crushing to fantasy teams, but wait....yes, it is crushing to fantasy teams. But there is more going on as a couple of Indians are pounding the ball and one of my favorite pitchers on my least favorite teams was dealing on Monday. I give you a pitcher that will definitely help you in the second half, and another that is sure to crack the starting rotation for his team soon. Finally there is news on a pitcher that helped himself to a victory on Monday and of course we give you a streaming option for Wednesday. You can't miss any of this as we continue to roll in Rounding The Bases.
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I think I speak for every Albert Pujols owner when I say......DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN IT! Actually I was thinking much worse, but this is a family website.....I think. Who knew that Wilson Betemit would have such an effect on the race in the National League Central, but he has as his collision with Albert Pujols has yielded a fractured wrist for Pujols and he will miss four to six weeks. The only consolation is that most fantasy teams have more than one solid first baseman so you might have an adequate backup, but either way the man was starting to roll and this very well could be an injury that lingers all year, even after he returns.
One of my favorite pitching streamers had one of his best starts in a game where I wouldn't have suggested him. Ivan Nova kept the high powered Reds in check over eight innings where he allowed just one run, four hits and struck out seven. Nova didn't walk a batter but still has struggled with his consistency, but you know what? He is a young pitcher, that is what they do (much like Maryland does football and crab cakes.......mmmmm, crab cakes. They had great ones at the FSTA conference in San Francisco.......oh wait, back to the article). I still think that Nova is best served as a streamer against the weaker teams in the American League, but then he throws a gem like this and I start to like him even more. But I have to keep reminding myself of the bad times.
Carlos Santana homered for the third time in four games and although his batting average is still a long way from where we thought it would be, hopefully this hot streak will be just what the doctor ordered and the kid we thought would rip up the American League will begin to do just that. I refuse to make any sort of joke relating to the guitarist here and only about the baseball player Santana. Obviously if you have him you have to keep playing him, and at this point it probably is tough to trade for him, but perhaps his owner might not fully believe.
Travis Hafner seems to have picked up pretty much where he left off when he went down to injury as Pronk hit his sixth home run of the year off of Juan Nicasio and is still batting .341. I have to say if I had to pick among the two main DHs in the American League being Hafner and David Ortiz, I would have more confidence that Ortiz can keep this up. If you are able to trade Hafner I would do just that, but most likely you won't get too much in return. Keep riding the Hafner train as long as it will take you and hopefully the big guy can stay in the lineup.
I chose Boston's Andrew Miller as my pitching streamer for tonight, and while I will mention it more in the end of this article, he didn't do hafl bad. For his first start in the majors in quite a while I was even encouraged by how he did. It wasn't special, but Miller allowed three runs over 5.2 innings, gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out six. So, he allowed a lot of baserunners, that is understandable I am sure the adrenaline was pumping through him. But I like the strikeout number and I also like that he battled and didn't give up a ton of runs. I would definitely consider adding Miller at this point, and at worst he should be used as a streamer. The kid has a ton of talent and strikeout capabilities, and on a winning team he could be a waiver gem.
If you are looking for potential help at starting pitcher down the stretch, keep your eye on San Diego's Cory Luebke.He was put in the bullpen after nabbing a few starts at the end of 2010, and he has caught fire of late. He did allow two earned runs on Monday, but that was in 3.1 innings and he struck out six Red Sox.Even though he took the loss, they were also the first runs he allowed since May 22nd, a span of nine appearances. This kid has a world of talent and seriously could have a major fantasy impact in the second half of the season if the Pads decide to put Clayton Richard in the bullpen or if there is an injury to one of the starters. I really liked Luebke coming into the year, and the way he is performing now it seems a shot at the rotation is just a matter of time.
I think it is safe to say that Atlanta's Tim Hudson officially did it all on Monday. Hudson shut down the Toronto Blue Jays as he allowed two hits and no runs over eight innings and struck out eight before giving way to Craig Kimbrel for his 20th save of the year. Not only was he masterful on the mound, but Hudson hit a two run homer to propel his team to a 2-0 victory on the night. Now, I have never really been a huge Hudson fan so I am not going to celebrate this outing. He is a very useful fantasy pitcher, but as a third or fourth option at best. Huddy generally doesn't rack up the strikeouts, but he does usually win between 12-15 games. I would always be looking to trade him if I owned him, and tonight might be a good time to do that.
Jeff Francis (KC) vs. Ian Kennedy (ARI)--this one is totally going against the grain and maybe I am just getting cocky now. The Diamondbacks have surged over the last month, and Kennedy is actually a pitcher that I really like. However, I just have a good feeling about Francis here and he is a guy who will throw a really good outing here and there and I think that Wednesday will be one of those. This might be my first total dud, but I am willing to stake it on Francis here.
Monday's result: Andrew Miller (BOS)--5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks (ND)
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