It was just 17 days ago when Philip Humber stepped onto the mound for the White Sox and took his place in baseball history forever when he threw the league’s 21st perfect game. 27 up, 27 down. No hits and no walks. Utter perfection. He will have that moment for the rest of his life and the story of how he perfectly disposed of the Seattle Mariners on that fateful Saturday night will be passed down from generation to generation in the Humber family.
But you know what else will be remembered? The fact that he completely went into the tank afterwards, that’s what. The details might not be remembered – 3 starts, 13.1 innings, 21 hits, 11 walks, 20 earned runs, with 12 strikeouts – but the fact that he followed up his perfect game with a perfect meltdown will certainly be mentioned. Maybe not an asterisk next to his name, but certainly a punchline.
Can’t say that we didn’t see it coming though, right? When I wrote about Humber’s perfect game, it’s not that I was dismissive about it, but I definitely attached my “sun shining/dog’s ass” metaphor to it with the hopes that you as fantasy owners weren’t going to rush out and blow your waiver priority or FAAB budget on a barely-mediocre starting pitcher who just happened to have the game of his life. It’s not that I wanted to rain on his parade or anything, but I was looking out for you, my loyal readers. Did you listen?
Prior to Humber’s perfect game, he was owned in 26% of Yahoo leagues and in just 7.3% of the leagues on ESPN. The day after, those numbers more than doubled and once FAAB bids were calculated on Sunday night, the ownership percentages climbed even more. I even got an email from one reader, Chris C. who bragged about how he had Humber active for his perfect game (18-team, mixed league) and was loving the fact that everyone scoffed at the event. He was (pardon the pun) perfectly happy with the young Sox hurler in his starting rotation. Well how about now, Chris?
Three starts and 20 earned runs later, Humber is now only owned in 18% of Yahoo leagues and 8.3% on ESPN. The last time I saw a player dropped that quickly, there was a debilitating, career-ending injury attached to it. Those that mistakenly picked him up and inserted him into their rotation are likely scrambling around now, trying to find some way to undo what he did. A tall order, to say the least. In fact, it would take five complete-game shutouts just to pull Humber’s ERA form his last three starts back under 4.00. That’s a lot of scoreless innings to hope for.
OK, I’ve Humber-bashed enough here. I’ll consider the lesson learned for those of you that saw your ERA’s vault to the treetops as you simultaneously took it in the proverbial WHIP-hole. Just don’t do it again. It’s real easy to get caught up in the hype, but you can’t ignore a track record that goes back years rather than starts. There’s still plenty of baseball left, but not enough to make this mistake twice.
Now onto the highlights…
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B BOS||3-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI|
Well speaking of getting caught up in the hype….Will Middlebrooks is owned in 29% of Yahoo leagues and 16% on ESPN. Will those numbers rise after today when everyone realizes that he jacked two home runs on Monday night? Probably. I won’t tell you not to add him, though, as the third base situation out there is pretty dire, but in truth, he’s only a temporary solution. Sure, the playing time is abundant right now, but what happens when Kevin Youkilis comes back? I know that Bobby Valentine isn’t the biggest Youk fan out there, but is he really going to bench a fan-favorite like this in favor of a flavor-of-the-month rookie? Probably not. As hot as Middlebrooks has been lately, Youkilis will get his job back when he is ready. A week? Maybe. Two weeks? Probably. Either way, Middlebrook’s days as a starter are numbered unless Bobby Valentine finds a way to squeeze him into the outfield platoons. A longshot, at best.
|Brandon Snyder, 1B TEX||3-5, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B BOS||2-3, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, SB|
|Rafael Furcal, SS STL||3-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, SB|
|David Ortiz, DH BOS||3-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB|
|Carlos Zambrano, SP MIA||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 9 K|
Really? Brandon Snyder too? Do I really have to or are you already picking up what I’m putting down? In case you’re not, he’s 25 years old, has been in the minors since 2005, has 52 major league at-bats to his credit and sits on the very, very short end of a platoon with Mitch Moreland on games that Mike Napoli is behind the plate or DH-ing. ‘Nuff said? I thought so. But congrats anyway to Brandon.
Big night for the Red Sox, huh? Not only does Middlebrooks get the top honors here but both David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia receive accolades for their performances at the plate on Monday night. Nothing makes an offense feel all warm and fuzzy inside like facing a Kansas City pitcher.
It looks like it’s Old Timer’s day when you look at this list and see Rafael Furcal and Carlos Zambrano’s name on it. But credit where credit is due and I’ll give props to Furcal who absolutely crushed the ball for his first inning home run. Chase Field definitely caters to hitters, but he knocked that one 423 feet to the deepest part of the ballpark and kind of made it look effortless. I’m not saying he’s suddenly looking like a power guy, but that one was definitely impressive. As for the Big Z, I have to say that I’m impressed right now. Gone are the volatile days that saw him sparring in the Cubs dugout with anyone willing to fight. We have apparently ushered in a new era where Ozzie Guillen is the song that soothes the savage beast and Zambrano is back on top of the pitching leaderboards. I can’t say that I’m not expecting this ticking time bomb to soon explode, but as it stands right now, Zambrano is worth a look if he’s available on your waiver wire. My call is to grab him now and use him for a few starts. If all goes well, then trade him for as high a value as you can get. Someone will bite on it and you’ll probably be better off not sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop.
|Hector Sanchez, C SF||0-4, 3 K|
|Dan Uggla, 2B ATL||0-4, 3 K|
|Brian McCann, C ATL||0-4, 3 K|
|Adam Dunn, DH CHW||0-6, 2 BB, 3 K|
|Philip Humber, SP CHW||L, 30.86 ERA, 4.71 WHIP, K|
OK, so maybe ‘hate’ is a strong word, but how is Brian McCann making you feel right now? You expect the 0-for’s and the strikeouts from Dan Uggla and Adam Dunn, but McCann is killing us with this woeful slash line of .237/.301/.419. The power numbers are there, so that definitely helps, but yes, the batting average and OBP are dragging us down in a variety of leagues. But be patient, as good things are likely on the horizon. His batted ball data all looks good – very in-line with his career numbers and his strikeout rate is actually down. That tells me that he’s getting victimized in the luck department here a bit and that .234 BABIP is going to start to head back north to where it customarily is for him. Endure it now, reap the benefits later.
Drew Pomeranz, SP COL – quad (questionable for May 13 start)
Scott Downs, RP LAA – knee (questionable)
Alexi Casilla, 2B MIN – shoulder (questionable)
Josh Willingham, OF MIN – illness (questionable)
Josh Thole, C NYM – head (doubtful)
Ruben Tejada, SS NYM – quad (15-day DL)
Jemile Weeks, 2B OAK – groin (questionable)
OK, not an injury, but worth noting that Cole Hamels has been suspended for 5 games for intentionally hitting Bryce Harper with a pitch on Sunday night. You know…it’s not the plunking that I have a problem with. That’s just baseball. But what kind of an idiot goes on camera and actually admits to doing it? Hamels could very well be the dumbest guy in baseball right now. They should given an extra five games just for being stupid. Unwritten rules don’t need to be discussed, moron.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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