Rounding The Bases tonight is also brought to you by my maddening search to find a new kitten for my wife and daughters after the first attempt was a sick kitty we had to give back. I think I might have found his replacement, so please for my sanity cross your fingers for me. In fantasy baseball news we talk about the resurgence of Barry Zito, and whether or not a few guys who have been sputtering are ready to get back into action or whether it was just a good night. That and so much more from the Saturday night edition of Rounding The Bases.
Baltimore's Adam Jones has homered for the second straight game, and if this kid gets hot he could really put up some good numbers. Jones has the capability to hit 30 home runs if all goes well. He got off to a pretty rough start, but stay patient with the young man and he will pay dividends I promise.
Casey Blake did something he hadn't done in nearly two years on Saturday and that is hit two home runs in a game. Blake connected twice for the first time since June of 2008 as he helped the Dodgers squeak by the Nats in extra innings. Blake, to me, is a nice role player to have on your fantasy team. He is never going to be flashy, but he is pretty much a lock to hit .280 and hit between 18-22 home runs. Unless you wait until the very late rounds to draft your third baseman, I would not want Blake to be my starting third baseman, but if you were to wait until the very late rounds to fill your third base hole I suppose you could do worse than Blake.
Nyjer Morgan appears to be back on track after a pretty slow start to the season with five hits and a stolen base in the last two days. Morgan has raised his batting average 40 points since Thursday and has doubled three times and tripled once. He should continue to be a good source of steals and runs scored and should be in your starting lineups if you have him on your team.
Jonathan Niese continues to be a source of quality pitching for the New York Mets, but I don't think unless you are in a deeper league that you should be adding him just yet. Niese allowed just one run over 5.1 innings against the Atlanta Braves and struck out six. Unfortunately for the young southpaw, he walked five batters or else he could have lasted longer. I need to see a little more from Niese, including less walks, before I am ready to start welcoming him to my teams, but he is certainly on my radar.
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Johnny Cueto has so much potential, and his fantasy owners want him to harness his ability so badly, but he seems to be destined to struggle with inconsistency forever. Cueto allowed five runs over six innings to the 11-6 Padres (that is not a typo!), and struck out five. He is a strikeout machine, unfortunately he just can't seem to stay away from giving up a bunch of runs. I have him on multiple teams, and I am going to continue to start him, but I don't know for how much longer I can take this.
Fausto Carmona improved to 3-0 with a dominating performance over the Oakland Athletics. He allowed just one run over 7.1 innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out four (which is pretty much the equivalent of Kerry Wood's 20 K game for Carmona). I continue to say that I do not believe in him and I need to see him strikeout more guys before I think of adding a finesse pitcher on a horrible team, but he is still undefeated and the Indians are just one game under .500. I still don't believe that either one of those things will last.
Doug Fister continues to be one of the better surprises among starting pitchers in 2010 as he had another quality start on Saturday. Fister pitched eight innings, allowed just two runs and struck out four. Unfortunately the bullpen blew his win, but this is three straight impressive outings for Fister, although I'm not sure how long this will last. Fister has been an average at best pitcher throughout his major and minor league career as a seventh round pick, and he hasn't exactly faced the stiffest competition in Oakland and Seattle before today's game against the White Sox. I guess you can ride the hot streak while it lasts, although I'm not sure if I would throw him against the higher powered offenses in the American League.
Andy Pettitte has found the Fountain of Youth somewhere in the Bronx as he was dominant again on Saturday against the Angels. He allowed just one run over eight innings and struck out eight without walking a batter. Pettitte has now allowed just four runs in four starts, and he has 22 strikeouts in 28 innings. He normally doesn't get strikeouts at that rate, and he generally has a few outings he would like to forget. If you can capitalize on this hot start and deal Pettitte I absolutely would do that for someone younger and more apt to be consistent the entire season.
It was the first chink in the fragile Bobby Jenks armor as he coughed up two runs in a tied game in the ninth but was rewarded for mediocrity when his team scored three in the bottom half to win the game. I have been worried about Jenks losing his job since before the season started, and outings like this don't help. I don't think a move is imminent right now, but Matt Thornton is doing well. Keep an eye on Jenks and hopefully he doesn't do this again for a while.
Reason number 5,252,535 not to panic over a slow start is now Wandy Rodriguez. I thought he was a little overvalued in drafts this year, but nonetheless I have gotten email after email of people thinking of dumping this guy after his bad start, but he now has put together two good outings in a row as the Astros have suddenly turned things around. Rodriguez allowed just one earned run over 7.1 innings and struck out seven and is looking more like the guy you thought you were picking. He will have his share of rocky starts, but Wandy should be good much more often than he is bad.
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Matt Lindstrom made it a little interesting tonight, but he got the save again and now has six saves since April 17th. He was a late round flier as a closer and is completely paying off for those of you who took that chance. He is probably going to blow one soon (sorry), but I like him to have a chance to save 30-35 games.
Ted Lilly had a successful return to the mound from offseason shoulder surgery as he shutout the Brewers over six innings and struck out four. Lilly always seems to always be underrated in fantasy baseball every year, but he has 44 wins over the past three seasons. If he is available and you have any need for pitching, I would give Lilly some serious consideration for addition to your roster.
Hopefully for all of you who have been looking to find a way to get rid of Raul Ibanez, his first home run of the season tonight will jump start him into some good production. I still think there is no chance that he reaches last season's numbers again, he was never that much of a power hitter. I still see Ibanez batting around .290 and hitting about 21-23 homers on the season. His teammate who also needs to get into gear did so as well as Jayson Werth had a two home run game. Werth is at least hitting over .300 but he still just has three homers after the double dip tonight. Like I have said with others, stay patient with him and he will have 30+ by the time the season is over.
Who in the world is this guy pitching in San Francisco because it looks like Barry Zito, but he isn't pitching like the Barry Zito who has been around the past few seasons. He hasn't given up more than three runs in any of his first four starts and he was dominant against the Cardinals on Saturday night. Zito pitched eight innings, allowed no runs, and struck out ten, including striking out the side in the eighth inning . I have gone from thinking you would never have to think about Zito in fantasy again except for smiling when your batters face him, to looking on my waiver wires to see if I can pick him up. I would definitely take a look to see if you have room for Zito on your team.
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