The Reds may have finally put the final nail in the coffin on the Cubs' season yesterday with their 14-3 win. Drew Stubbs was the biggest story, hitting 3 homeruns and driving in 5 runs. He now has 11 homers and 16 steals on the season. He is hitting only .233 on the season, so to me he's not quite to the point of being a must-own player, but he's probably getting pretty close.
Lost in the brutal loss by the Cubs yesterday was the fact that rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin hit 2 homeruns as well, and now has 12 on the season. He is hitting .278 and is getting a majority of the playing time between the 3 outfield spots now.
Torii Hunter went nuts after being picked for the All-Star team yesterday, hitting 2 homeruns and driving in 7 runners. He now has 60 RBI on the season to go with his 14 homeruns. I had Hunter really, really high in my preseason rankings, and he seems to be justifying that rank so far. He's now hitting .294 and has 7 steals as well.
Cliff Lee didn't throw a complete game yesterday for the first time in 4 starts, but still pitched extremely well. He struck out 11 and allowed only 1 earned run en route to the victory over the Tigers. I get the impression that the drama surrounding his impending trade is not going to be resolved until right around the trade deadline, but the longer he pitches in Seattle, the better his numbers are going to get. He is definitely going to be in my top-5 for the rest of the season, and he may be top 3.
Jason Bay went 2 for 5 with 4 runs batted in yesterday against the Nationals. The homerun power is clearly not going to be the same as it was in Boston, but he seems to be doing nearly everything else just as well. The RBI total (now at 41) is probably only going to barely approach 100, but with the drop off in homeruns from his high last season of 37 to probably somewhere short of 20 this year, that isn't that unusual. Throw in 10 steals already and he's still going to be extremely valuable going forward. Just don't hold your breath on the power.
Vin Mazzaro has been filling in admirably in the Athletics rotation, and had another good start yesterday. He struck out 7 batters and allowed only 1 earned run over 7 innings yesterday. Clearly, this was a pretty good matchup against the Indians, but Mazzaro is definitely worth a spot start depending on what you need.
Corey Patterson stole his 15th base of the season yesterday, which is significant because he only has 171 at bats so far. If he were to keep up that pace for a full season, he would approach 60 steals in a full season. He may still be available in a lot of leagues, and if you're desperate for speed he could be a good option.
Another potential source of steals at this point in the season could be Jose Tabata of the Pirates. He stole his 6th base in less than a month. His batting average could kill (.245), but if you need the speed you can probably take the hit.
Yovani Gallardo was named to the All-Star team early on in the day, and unfortunately was pulled from his start after 2 2/3 innings pitched due to an injury to his side. He will be reassessed tomorrow and hopefully won't miss too much time.
Other injuries yesterday: Aramis Ramirez and Jorge Posada both could miss time after missing their games today. The Cubs would do well to just sit Ramirez and do whatever it takes to let him heal at this point. Also out of Boston, Clay Buchholz will be skipped for his next start, and could end up on the disabled list as well. If he does, he will most likely return right after the All Star break.
Not entirely sure how they did it, but the Rockies got 13 hits and 15 walks yesterday, but managed to only score 4 runs in the victory. That is pretty horrendous, even with the fact that there were a few intentional walks late in the game. Granted that it took them 15 innings to win, but it really concerns me that no one on that team could drive in a run when they needed it late.
Matt Kemp hit his 15th homerun of the season, and is really heating up. If I had done my rankings earlier in the week, I'm not sure he would have been in the top 5 for me in the outfield for the rest of the season. But this hot streak is making me a believer again. He has 3 homers in the last week, and 9 hits in 22 at bats since returning from his time off.