June is officially over as the baseball season sneaks to the halfway point. It is just over ten days until the mid-summer classic and some rest for the fantasy baseball weary. That will mark the day this column changes from a daily entry to less often, so for now enjoy the everyday feel of Rounding The Bases.
Jose Reyes was scratched from the series finale against the Florida Marlins in Puerto Rico because of a stiff lower back which could be the result of the playing surface out there. I don’t get the impression that this is going to be a long term injury, and I would imagine that Reyes will be back in the lineup by the weekend at the latest. I get the impression that this is more of a rest the guy before traveling back to the states because he is a little sore more than anything that is long term at all.
B.J. Upton was out of the starting lineup again on Wednesday with his sore left quad, but I think he will also be back in the lineup in a day or two. Manager Joe Maddon said that Upton could be available to pinch hit, so it doesn’t lead me to believe that he will miss much time.
J.A. Happ is going to be re-evaluated after a bullpen session on Thursday, and while he seems to think that he is ready to go, I think the Phillies are going to have him make another start in the minors. I would bet at this point that the Phils might hold him out until after the All-Star Break, but even if he does come back for one start before you might want to sit him because of the inevitable rust.
Pitch and Ditch
Justin Masterson vs. Shaun Marcum (TOR). We at Fighting Chance Fantasy love Justin Masterson even though he hasn’t really produced quite the way we have hoped. Masterson has pitched to a 7.00 ERA over his last three starts, but he has the capabilities to shut any team down on any night. He will face Toronto who has been one of the better surprises in the majors this year, but I think they will have a rough second half, and if Masterson is on his game, he could give you a great outing for someone who is on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues.
Trevor Cahill vs. Jake Arrieta. To me right now it seems like Jake Arrieta is going to be where Trevor Cahill was last year. Cahill has a ton of talent but struggled mightily in 2009. The chances are that Arrieta is going to do the same thing in his rookie season. But fast forward to now and Trevor Cahill is showing what he is capable of and Orioles fans are hoping that Arrieta will do the same before too long.
Madison Bumgarner vs. Aaron Cook. This will be the young phenom’s second start, and hopefully it will be better than the first. The Colorado Rockies are a pretty strong offensive team, even without Troy Tulowitzki, but I think that Bumgarner will have a much better second start.
Adam Jones continues to rehabilitate his good fantasy name in the month of June as he sent it out with a bang with three hits on June 30th. He had four homers and 12 RBI in the last ten games, and he looks to build upon that with another good game against the A’s. However, he is just 1-8 lifetime against the starting pitcher Trevor Cahill who is red hot, so you might want to give Jones one day of rest before putting him in as an everyday outfielder for your team.
Matt LaPorta has homered in back to back games in his epic quest not to suck at the major league level. In his many stints in the majors, LaPorta has done nothing but disappoint, but perhaps this is the call that he finally starts to live up to his expectations. He has a double and two home runs since being recalled to the majors, and while I wouldn’t pick him up just yet, he absolutely has to be on your radar this weekend, and another good game or two has to put him on your roster.
Josh Willingham has had a couple of home runs over the last week and on Thursday he faces a pitcher that you might not think that he does well against, but his history speaks for itself. Willingham is 5-13 lifetime against Johan Santana and has two homers against him. If you have Willingham, Thursday is a good day to play him.
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