We have arrived at the 4th of July weekend and hopefully all of you get the three days of fun and sun and fantasy baseball. However, as we get closer and closer to the All-Star Break and football season, you will be seeing Rounding The Bases still on Fighting Chance but it won’t be a daily article going forward. We still will be giving you great fantasy baseball information on the site as well as always being available by email, but the daily article will become a little less regular.
Ryan Ludwick will go on the 15 day DL for a calf injury that he reaggravated working out. He hasn’t played since June 25th, so he will be able to return on July 10th. Ludwick is enjoying perhaps his best season and this injury could derail him going forward. Given the way he has played this year I think your best move is to stash Ludwick on your bench until he is healthy, I don’t get the impression that this is a long term problem.
Miguel Cabrera was a scratch from the game tonight with some lower back trouble. I can’t find anything anywhere that leads me to believe that this is a big deal and I expect Cabrera to be back in the lineup on Saturday.
Shaun Marcum has been placed on the 15 day DL with elbow inflammation and he is set for an MRI either Sunday or Monday. Marcum has already had Tommy John Surgery so any problem with his elbow is probably a little more of a red flag than other guys. However, if you need to make a decision on holding him or dropping him I would wait to see what the MRI says before you make that choice.
Erik Bedard has had no trouble during his rehab assignment and will be back with the Mariners on Tuesday. I have said this before, but I will again, I have no faith in Bedard that he will pitch well or be able to stay healthy. I would stay away from him.
Josh Beckett is going to be starting his rehab assignment on Tuesday and could be back with the Red Sox the week after the All-Star Break. He threw a two inning simulated game the other day and is ready to move on to real action. Keep him in your injury spot for now, but it looks like his return is coming before too long.
Pitch and Ditch
Jake Westbrook vs. Clayton Mortensen (OAK). Westbrook is far from an exciting pitcher and not someone that I would want to own on my roster because he isn’t always great and he plays on a pretty bad team. However, he usually keeps his team close and he is facing a weak hitting team. Not only is Oakland not the best offensive bunch, but they are throwing a rookie pitcher out there and that gives the Indians a chance to score some runs. Give Westbrook the start on Saturday, but just don’t expect the success to be long lasting.
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Wade Davis vs. Francisco Liriano. After getting off to a pretty strong start, Wade Davis has lost five straight starts, but if you really look he hasn’t been that bad. In the last four times out he has given up either two or three earned runs so it isn’t like he is getting rocked. I expect a good turnaround in the second half from Davis, and tomorrow could be the start of it. Liriano has also struggled as he is 0-3 in his last three starts as well. He has a chance to be electric and shut down the opponent on any given night so he always needs to be in your lineup.
R. A. Dickey vs. Stephen Strasburg. Dickey took his first huge hit last time out and of course when a guy of his ilk takes a pounding you have to worry if this is going to be the start of the inevitable downhill slide. I don’t think there is any chance that Dickey will continue to be this good all year long and I do think that his last start was a sign of things to come. His opponent is some guy that just came up from the minors. He has been pretty good so far, but I don’t know if it will be continue. OK, so Strasburg is awesome although he has had a few rough innings and the Nationals never bring their bats to the game when he is on the mound. I don’t think you need me to tell you to start him no matter what.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Tommy Hanson. Hanson has given up 14 runs in his past two outings and I would hate to see his owners panicking over such a short slump. He is still one of the better young arms in all of baseball and you should remain confident in him and keep him in your lineups no matter who he is facing. Sanchez has been been pretty good lately, but is capable of getting bombed any time he takes the mound.
Kyle Kendrick vs. Paul Maholm. Just kidding! Does it get any less exciting than that? This is the kind of pitching matchup that happens every time I get tickets to a game.
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Matt LaPorta’s streak of three straight games with a home run might have come to an end, but the much embattled Indians’ 1B at least stayed in the hit column on Friday and he appears to be close to a guy that you want in your lineup. He will face the above mentioned Clayton Richardson tomorrow for Oakland, so it could be another game for LaPorta.
After two straight games in which he didn’t get a hit, Dexter Fowler now has two straight in which he had three hits. Fowler stole two bases on Thursday, and he followed that up with a double and a triple on Friday. He also only struck out once in the past two games, which is one of his biggest problems. If Fowler can get regular playing time and cut down on the strikeouts, he could be a viable fantasy player. He is 4-12 lifetime against Barry Zito with two doubles, who he will face tomorrow so have him out there if he is on your roster.
Jay Bruce had two hits in back to back games before tonight, and seeing his average up around the .280 mark is very encouraging for a guy who hasn’t had his batting average over .255 in his career yet. I love the future for Bruce and I think 2011 will be his huge breakout season. I even like his prospects in the second half of this year. He has only faced tomorrow’s starting pitcher Randy Wells once, and he doubled off of him.
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