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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.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is how the old adage goes, and it couldn’t be any more perfect a phrase when discussing the trade of Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox just a few short weeks ago. Bobby Valentine may have won the Battle of Beantown, but it is the White Sox who have won the war and it is Youkilis who is enjoying the last laugh here. As the Red Sox try to fight their way out of last place and a 9 ½ game deficit in the AL East, the White Sox are sitting atop the AL Central, 3 ½ games ahead of heavily favored Detroit, and Youkilis has played a tremendous role in the process.
It never turns out the way you really want it to, does it? You hope, you dream, you pray, but somehow there’s always a curveball thrown in there that you don’t really expect. Once again, that’s the way it went for fantasy owners who were anticipating a dream match-up of young studs – future all-stars – on the mound on Tuesday night when uber-phenom Trevor Bauer took the hill for the Arizona Diamondbacks opposite the young flamethrower, Andrew Cashner, of the San Diego Padres. The unconventional ways of Bauer mixed with the 100-plus mph fastballs of Cashner built expectations of a low scoring, fast moving, strikeout-laden game that was sure to eventually land in the “classic games” archives of the MLB Network, right? Whoops! Not so fast there, Skippy.
As if there was any doubt as to who was going to eventually win this little war between Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and longtime third baseman Kevin Youkilis, the brewing kettle finally game to a boil on Sunday and Youkilis found himself with a one-way ticket to Chicago. In exchange for RHP Zach Stewart and utility-man Brent Lillibridge, Boston sent Youk and about $5.5M in cash to the AL Central-leading White Sox in a deal that actually works out for everyone. And by everyone, I mean everyone, including the fantasy world. OK, maybe not the guys that own Orlando Hudson, but both of them are probably in last anyway and stopped paying attention to their teams weeks ago. But as far as everyone else in the baseball world goes, this trade was win-win-win.
It’s déjà vu all over again, right Yogi? Pablo Sandoval hitting the DL with the exact same injury as last season? Kung Fu Panda joining fellow third sackers, Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, just as he did one year ago today? Brutal. Just brutal. Fantasy owners that invested in a top third baseman because of how thin the position remained this year are banging their heads against the wall trying to find an adequate replacement on the waiver wire, something that probably doesn’t exist even anymore. By the time Sandoval owners got the news, third base-eligible waivers had already been picked clean by owners of Longoria, Zimmerman and throw in Kevin Youkilis this time for good measure. Shallow league owners are likely deciding between Pedro Alvarez and Chris Johnson while deeper league victims are probably staring at Wilson Betemit, Alex Liddi and John McDonald and just shaking their heads both in disgust and disbelief.
Smoke and mirrors? Sleight of hand? How in the world does 49-year old Jamie Moyer, proud owner of a 78 mph fastball, hurl seven innings of two-run ball (both unearned) against a Major League ballclub? OK, in fairness it was the Padres, but still, the game was played at hitter-friendly Coors Field where even the weakest of hitters have been known to hit the long ball. Was there a wind blowing in from centerfield that we weren’t aware of? Were the balls saturated in a lead-based ointment and then left in the humidor for extra time? Or was it just that the pitcher whose name is always attached to the phrase “crafty veteran” had one of those days where even his junkiest junk was finding a way to elude hitters of all kind? Whatever the case may be, it’s time to tip your cap to Moyer who earned his first win of the 2012 season, his 25th as a professional baseball player, and became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league contest.
Down the stretch we come! Only two and a half weeks left in the fantasy baseball season and finally the news is starting to slow down. However, at the end of the season we get some new, fresh blood out of the minor leagues and we get two exciting kids on mounds in Tampa Bay and Colorado. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that one of them will be pitching out of the bullpen. We also have news on two returning stars here to finish the season out, and some not so good injury news out of Bean Town. I give you one guy that I was wrong about this season and a few other nuggets in tonight's Rounding The Bases.
Injuries are coming hot and heavy, but our focus switches to the on field performances of the night in Major League Baseball. Our top story is one of fantasy baseball's favorite younger brothers shows us exactly what he is capable of, one of my favorite rookies is on a power surge, and a pitching coach affects fantasy baseball yet again. We talk about two players that have had career nights that you completely can't count on, as well as one pitcher that I am liking more and more as he puts it togther in the last six weeks of the year. Finally there is some injury news as well as a prospect who you need to know just in case he continues to shine. There aren't too many days left in the baseball season which means that now more than ever you need Rounding The Bases.
Happy Hump Day fantasy baseball players! It is a great day across much of the fantasy baseball landscape, for once we actually have more players coming back from injury than we have going out because of injury. We have the best player on the planet coming back to the lineup, Boston's favorite son returned to their lineup, and in the Bronx a much needed starting pitcher found his way back to the mound. Unfortunately while the Sox gained a hitter, they lost another pitcher, and in Cleveland one of April's star seemed to be back on track. My pitch streamer choices earlier in the week were my worst since I started doing this, but don't lose faith yet, I will be back. I don't want to ruin all of the fun news of the night, so now I am forcing you to read the rest of Rounding The Bases.
Well it really sucks to be Phillies prospect Domonic Brown. It is your life's dream to play in the Major Leagues, and how is your luck you are called up the day before the end of the world!?!?!?!?!?! OK, I swear that is the last time that I will bring up that total nonsense. But we have a pair of A's pitchers on the shelf, while one of the American League's top hitters go there as well. One of the Red Sawks top hitters sends one ova da Monsta, while one of the hottest guys to start the season is starting to slide. There's this and so much more in tonight's version of Rounding The Bases.