“Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes…it rains.” Truer words were never spoken, especially if you were one of the many that was sucked into the hype of the C.J. Wilson/Yu Darvish match-up that was supposed to take place on Friday night. Though it was hardly Sandy Koufax vs Don Larsen, people were building the drama with constant talk of “the pitcher who left them and the guy who took his place.” For fans of the game, it was a marquee match-up, but for fantasy owners, it was really just another start.
It’s not that fantasy baseball diminishes the meaning of such a meeting. It’s just that, how often does a media frenzy get the masses swept up in the action and the players are virtually oblivious to the drama. Sure, Wilson chuckled at the boos that rained down on him, but was that the reason for his early ineffectiveness or was it the rain that was teeming down for most of the first inning? The fans were loving it, for sure, as Wilson got hit hard right from the start, but all of that ceased once the game went into a near-two hour rain delay.
For fantasy owners, there’s nothing worse. Wilson was getting peppered, runs were being scored, but with the delay , the chances of him coming back to the mound to maybe throw another six innings and balance out those ratios was all but vanishing. The game would commence, Wilson would stay in the dugout and fantasy owners were saddled with four earned runs in just one-third of an inning. Sort of a disaster really. I mean, it’s not much different than your closer getting rocked one night, but it still takes work and some much better pitching to help erase the damage done.
A little extra respect thrown Darvish’s way though as he opted to come back out and finish what he started. You knew he was going to be closely monitored so the expectations weren’t that high, but he came out and threw another 4.1 innings, allowed three earned runs, and held on long enough to grab his owners an always-needed win. Respect, Yu. Much respect.
So here’s what the rest of Friday looked like…
|Josh Reddick, OF OAK||4-4, 4 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, SB|
With a couple of more marquee names out there doing their usual damage which we’ll get to in a bit, throwing the top honors over to Josh Reddick is really a no-brainer. A, early-season waiver pick-up, at best, Reddick has taken full advantage of his every-day playing time and is rewarding fantasy owners by the boatload. With Friday’s 4-for-4 night, Reddick has boosted his average to .292 on the season and has kicked in eight home runs, 19 RBI and four stolen bases. That’s some rock solid production. Now whether or not he is able to continue playing at this level is a different story. He’s never really been seen as anything more than a mid-.260ish average type guy with a bit of speed and mid-level power, so the assumption is that there will be a regression. However, this is also Reddick’s first real opportunity to shine, so you have to let this run its course. Enjoy it while you can and breathe easy in the fact that even when Coco Crisp comes back, it will be Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes fighting for at-bats as a DH while Reddick continues to patrol right field all by himself.
|Carlos Beltran, OF STL||4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB|
|Josh Hamilton, OF TEX||3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB|
|Carlos Ruiz, C PHI||3-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Bud Norris, SP HOU||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 8 K|
|Gavin Floyd, SP CHW||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 5 K|
Are there two hitters in baseball right now that are hotter than Josh Hamilton and Carlos Beltran? Probably not. These guys have both been on a sick tear lately and each could be deemed worthy of the Fantasy Beast moniker. With Hamilton, you sort of expect this – big bursts of home runs which will likely be followed by a trip to the disabled list for some ailment – but with Beltran, it’s a bit more surprising. A multi-homer game once in a while for him wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world, but three in the last nine games with 20 RBI in that span is other-worldly. I’m still getting that 2011 Lance Berkman vibe, but for now, especially as a Beltran owner in two leagues, I’m keeping my mouth shut and enjoying it while it’s here.
Speaking of riding a player while he’s hot, how about Carlos Ruiz right now? Totally picking up the slack for a slumping Phillies offense and with a .340 average and six home runs, he’s at the top of the leaderboard amongst catchers right now. Another one I don’t see sustaining this level of production, but if this is what you’re getting, you might as well enjoy it.
I love the fact that Bud Norris still flies under the radar in most leagues. Those that know of him tend to keep it relatively quiet as his strikeout rate is usually top-notch and now that he’s stabilizing in the ratio department, he’s turning into quite the pitcher. Sure, he’ll have his blow-ups every now and again, but those are becoming a little less frequent these days and we are witnessing a baseball butterfly coming out of his cocoon. Since getting lit up on April 24th, Norris has gone 2-0 in three starts with a 1.45 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 19 strikeouts over 18.2 innings. I’ll take that for the middle of my fantasy rotation any day.
Gavin Floyd is another one of those guys that can get lit up every so often but turn around and go on a huge tear. That’s actually been his M.O. for the last few years. The blow-ups always seem to come at the most inopportune time, but the hot streaks are definitely worth it. Since giving up five earned runs in six inning son April 19, Floyd has made four starts and collected a pair of wins while posting a 1.26 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in just under 29 innings of work. What’s not to love about that?
Now there were a few other highlights that didn’t quite make it into the top five performances of the day, but are still worth mentioning…
Adam Dunn has six home runs in his last 11 games and has raised his average to .257 on the season.
Adam Jones hit his 10th home run of the season on Friday and has five stolen bases to go with it.
With another scoreless inning on Friday, Heath Bell vultured a win on the day he was re-instated as the team’s closer.
So this is what a healthy Edwin Encarnacion looks like, huh? Jacked his 11th home run on Friday.
Possibly inspired by Encarnacion’s current power run, Jose Bautista popped two homers on Friday and maybe…just maybe…is getting back on track.
Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni collected his fist career major league hit and RBI on Friday. He’s not worth owning in fantasy, but congrats to him anyway.
Jason Heyward popped his fifth home run of the year and has nine stolen bases to go with them. Now if he can just stay healthy…
And finally, congrats to Mark Ellis and his fantasy owners on his one (and probably only) home run of the year.
|Dee Gordon, SS LAD||0-5, 3 K|
|Bryce Harper, OF WAS||0-5, 3 K|
|Jordan Schafer, OF HOU||0-4, 3 K|
|Paul Konerko, 1B CHW||0-4, 3 K|
|C.J. Wilson, SP TEX||L, 108.00 ERA, 12.00 WHIP, K|
As always, I never like to run this in, but I will say that Dee Gordon better get his ass in gear and learn to get on base for crying out loud! All the speed in the world, fastest man out there, but to bring up an old baseball cliché, son….you can’t steal first base. Fix it!
This section is as good a place as any to add this as it really is a fantasy pain, but Robin Ventura is now going with the dreaded closer-by-committee. It looks like Addison Reed, Hector Santiago and Matt Thornton will share save opportunities for the foreseeable future. I still believe that Reed will eventually win the job outright, but for now, this is a total bummer in a year where closer job security ain’t worth spit.
And come on, Bryce Harper! What’s up with that? I admire the competitive spirit, but let’s get a grip on the emotions. When you’ve done in your career what Paul O’Neill has done, then go ahead and act like an idiot, but not when you’re an up and coming kid who is capable of making such a huge impact at such a young age. For those that don’t know, Harper grounded out to first in the seventh inning giving him an 0-for-4 mark on the night (he would finish 0-for-5) and he went into the dugout and apparently slammed or threw his bat against the wall. The bat bounced back and clipped him right near the eye, opening a cut that would eventually require 10 stitches to close. He’ll get the lecture from Davey Johnson, for sure, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the organization had him sit for a game or two to think about his actions. Unreal.
Also on the injury front…
David Ortiz left Friday’s game with a heel injury. Details haven’t been given but it should be noted that this was the same injury that knocked him out for a while last season.
Rickie Weeks got plunked on the wrist in the 13th inning but the MRI revealed no break. Consider him day to day though.
The Dodgers will be placing Juan Rivera on the DL as he is expected to miss the next two months with a ruptured hamstring. Tony Gwynn and Bobby Abreu figure to share the time out in left field, but the Dodger also brought up Scott van Slyke who was killing it down in Triple-A. Would love to see him get a shot, but I doubt Don Mattingly is ready to keep the vets on the bench in favor of a hot-handed rookie right now.
And finally, not that you needed an excuse to drop him from your roster, but Carlos Marmol is hitting the DL with a hamstring injury as well. With this injury and the fact that Rafael Dolis seems to now have the upper hand on holding down the job, if you haven’t cut the cord with Marmol yet, it seems pretty safe to do so now.
Have a great Saturday! Enjoy the games.
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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