It’s difficult to say that any day during the baseball season is a slow day, but when the news is light and there are no performances that were good (or bad) enough to make your eyes pop out, then you’ve got to consider it a slow day. Sure, we could talk about the Yankees losing Kevin Youkilis for the next 10 weeks due to back surgery or Edwin Encarnacion quietly on-pace to actually surpass his career-best 2012 numbers, but that’s hardly the stuff that you’d consider a major headline grab unless, of course, you own either guy. Even the debut of Wil Myers on a doubleheader with the Red Sox was pretty tame as the highly-touted slugger went just 1-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in his debut. Perhaps had the rain not pushed off the Yankees/Dodgers game and the return of Don Mattingly to Yankee Stadium we would have had something more, but that would probably center around two under-performing all-star teams and, well, that’s just depressing. But I guess without days like this, you can't appreciate some of the more amazing days we get so often throughout a six month long season so rather than complain, we’re just going to get to the top and bottom performances from Tuesday. And yes, we’re even skipping the Fantasy Beast of the Day as there just wasn’t a performance out there deserving of the label. There were a few candidates who deserved consideration, but in the end, there just weren’t any performances that were worthy of such an esteemed daily award.
Just a quick add on beofre I get to the fantasy highlights...
I didn't want to overlook the debut of Mets propspect Zack Wheeler on Tuesday. Overall, I have to say that you can definitely taker a lot of positives out of his start. While most may focus on the five walks issued and the early struggles in the game, I have to say that I have a certain degree of confidence in that his control issues will stabilize fairly quickly. I say that because of his response to the early mound visits he received not just from his pitching coach, but from his teammates as well, most notably David Wright. After walking Andrelton Simmons to start the first inning, and watchign him steal second with ease, Wheeler fell behind Jason Heyward 2-0 and was looking a bit rattled. A visit from Wright seemed to calm his nerves and he turned around and struck out Heyward for the first out. He didn't lose his head, he calmed himself down fairly quickly and pitched pretty well the rest of the way, including notching a total of seven strikeouts. I was definitely hesitant to buy in when I saw how he responded to the news of an imminent call-up -- his last few starts at Triple-A weren't all that spectacular -- so seeing how he showed some poise and was willing to accept the advice from others, to me, makes him an even better pitcher than the hype machine has advertised. It should be interesting to see how he fares against the White Sox at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but if I owned him, he'd certainly be starting against a very strikeout-prone Chicago team.
Now let’s just get to it…
|Matt Dominguez, 3B HOU||2-3, R, HR, 5 RBI|
|Marlon Byrd, OF NYM||5-8, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, SB, BB|
|Logan Forsythe, 2B SD||2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB, BB|
|Cliff Lee, SP PHI||W, 2.25 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 9 K|
|Matt Harvey, SP NYM||W, 3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 13 K|
Man….I don’t want to sound like a “glass is half-empty” guy here but these three hitters don’t exactly scream ‘fantasy all-star’, do they? Matt Dominguez had himself a nice day thanks to a grand slam that broke the game open for the Astros and he may be leading the team in RBI, but while .236-10-40 might be impressive if you’re wearing Astros colors, that’s more run-of-the-mill on most other teams.
Logan Forsythe connected for his second home run of the season and actually hit his first double of the year. He’s also 5-for-10 with the home run, RBI and one stolen base in his last two games. Of course that comes on the heels of a 2-for-16 performance over the five games prior. Jedd Gyorko sounds like he’s close to a return, so Forsythe will quietly head to the bench soon enough.
And then, I suppose there’s Marlon Byrd with five hits between both ends of a doubleheader. He didn’t exactly stuff the stat line much, but I suppose it’s better than a poke in the eye! He’s actually having an OK season for himself, considering this is Marlon Byrd we’re talking about. Batting .264 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI isn’t too bad considering he likely cost you absolutely nothing to obtain. He’s also probably the only one in the Mets outfield who won’t lose any playing time with the acquisition of Eric Young, Jr. whom the Mets picked up Tuesday for minor league pitcher Colin McHugh.
As for the pitchers, we’re looking at two of the best right now. Not much more we can say about Cliff Lee that hasn’t already been said, and while Matt Harvey may not have the sexiest ERA for the day, his performance Tuesday was well worth a mention. Harvey had seven shutout innings with the 13 strikeouts but came out for the eighth, loaded the bases and left. The bullpen was unable to contain the damage and allowed all three inherited runners to come around and score. Sure, he should never have put them on, but in truth, Collins should have taken him out earlier than after a bases-loaded jam.
|Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C BOS||0-6, BB, 3 K|
|Coco Crisp, OF OAK||0-5, 3 K|
|Jeff Francis, SP COL||L, 12.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 2 K|
|Justin Verlander, SP DET||L, 9.00 ERA, 2.20 WHIP, 5 K|
Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and none of these guys are any different. All should bounce back in their own way. But I think it’s definitely worth pointing out that Justin Verlander isn’t even coming close to putting up ace-like numbers this season. Sure, he’s coming off a run of four straight quality starts, but he allowed a total of 13 runs in the two outings before that and has a 3.72 ERA and 1.35 WHIP on the year. Hardly the numbers you’d expect from a guy who was likely the first pitcher taken in most drafts, huh? His peripherals look good and he's definitely suffering from an unusually high .344 BABIP, so if there's an owner out there lookign to sell out of frustration, you should definitely be buying.
Evan Gattis, C ATL – oblique (15-day DL)
Jason Hammel, SP BAL – illness (day to day)
Mike Carp, OF BOS – hamstring (day to day)
Dexter Fowler, OF COL – hand (day to day)
Juan Uribe, 3B LAD – back (day to day)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B NYY – back (15-day DL, expected to be out 10 weeks following surgery)
Everth Cabrera, SS SD – hamstring (day to day)
Carlos Quentin, OF SD – shoulder (day to day)
Brandon Crawford, SS SF – fingers (day to day)
Jason Bay, OF SEA – hamstring (day to day)
Michael Morse, OF SEA – quadriceps (day to day)
Jeff Baker, OF TEX – thumb (15-day DL)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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