Ryan Howard left yesterday's game after spraining his ankle trying to get back to second base. Clearly not what the Phillies wanted to see, but hopefully he'll be back in the lineup in a day or two. We should know more about it by the time you read this hopefully.
James Shields had a great start against the Yankees, striking out 11 and allowing no earned runs (and only 5 baserunners) over 7 1/3 innings. This is that potential I always hear about with Shields, but then he goes out on his next start and throws a stinker. I've been burned one too many times by Shields to take a chance on him any more. Someone else can have him.
Ryan Braun went 0-3 yesterday, and I hadn't realized how poorly he has been hitting. He hit 5 homeruns in July, but only hit .200 and slugged .381. I am hopeful that he's going to rebound, but every month has been worse than the previous one, and I am wondering if he may end up out of the top 10 overall for 2011.
Josh Johnson is human after all, giving up 5 earned runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Padres yesterday. It raised his ERA to 1.96, but I have to imagine he's going to rebound just fine in his next start.
Adam Wainwright caught up to Ubaldo Jimenez yesterday with his 15th win of the season, and pitched very well to get it. (5 K, 1 ER over 7 innings). Very interesting split: Wainwright is now 11-0 in home starts this season.
Brian Wilson recorded his 31st save of the season, and looks like he's back to being available for save opportunities. I wouldn't worry about a handcuff for him at this point, but it still seems like something to keep an eye on.
Francisco Liriano continues to impress, striking out 10 over 7 shutout innings yesterday against the Mariners. I saw some of the highlights, and he looked like he had a lot of late movement on his pitches, which seems to be his key to success.A couple of injuries were the story in the Cubs-Rockies game. Carlos Silva left his start his start yesterday against the Rockies in the first with an abnormal heart rate, and it sounds like he should make his next start. On the Rockies' side, CF Dexter Fowler could see time on the disabled list after making a game saving catch where he ran into the wall. He apparently bruised his side and some ribs, and those injuries could land him on the DL soon.
Gio Gonzalez struck out 11 and threw a complete game against the White Sox, but gave up 4 earned runs and took the loss. Gonzalez now has a 3.69 ERA, and 112 strikeouts in 134 innings this year. I think that if he can continue to limit his walks (he had none yesterday), he has the chance to be a really special pitcher.
Cliff Lee took another loss in a complete game yesterday. He gave up 4 earned runs over 8 innings, and struck out 4. You have to keep running him out there, there's really nothing to be done here. His ERA only went up to 2.51 and his WHIP is still sub-1.00. Don't chase wins here, and don't get too cute with Lee. Plug him into your lineup for every start he makes.
It's a small sample size, but Mitch Moreland is hitting .364 so far since being called up by the Rangers, and also stole his second base of the season in yesterday's game. While the steals are unusual (he's never had more than 2 in a season), he profiles as a 15-20 homer player and 80 RBI over a full season, so he could be valuable in deeper leagues. I think it's telling that he's getting the playing time at 1B over newly acquired Jorge Cantu.
A day after not being traded by the Diamondbacks, Adam LaRoche hit 2 homeruns and drove in 6 runs in the win against the Mets. He now has 16 homeruns and 70 runs batted in on the season, and looks well on his way to a 25/100 season in Arizona and hopefully a good contract after the season from some team.
Daniel Hudson struck out 4 and allowed 1 earned run in his debut for the Diamondbacks yesterday. I want to see what happens in his first home start, as he pitched at Citi Field yesterday. But it is nice to see him getting his shot in Arizona.
Brennan Boesch continues to struggle, going 0-4 yesterday against the Red Sox. His batting average has now dropped to .291, and hit .209 with no homeruns in the month of July. I'm not quite ready to give up on him, but hopefully you've had him on your bench all this time.