Well, Sweet Lou didn't quite get the send off that a lot of people had hoped for, as his Cubs were shutdown by the Braves 16-5. Mike Minor had a great start, going 6 innings and striking out 12 to get his second career win. The strikeout potential has been noted before on Minor, and I think that with the Braves in the race, he's going to be a vital piece to their playoff hopes and could do the same for your final 5 weeks of the season. I think he's an add in all leagues, and a spot start in shallower leagues at this point.
Jason Heyward went 4 for 4 with 2 homeruns and 4 runs batted in yesterday in that game, and now has 14 homers and 57 runs batted in on the season. Not sure if there's a whole lot to advise on him at this point, but I'm not sold he's a must start in all leagues.
C.C. Sabathia may have vaulted himself to the front of the Cy Young picture in the American League yesterday with a great start. He struck out 8 and allowed no earned runs over 6, and recorded his league leading 17th win. Unless Cliff Lee can get within about 4 or 5 wins Sabathia, he's not going to be able to get past him in the voting in my opinion.
Josh Hamilton went 2 for 4 with his 28th homerun of the season and 3 runs batted in against the Orioles yesterday. He's now up to .357 and 88 runs batted in, and unless Miguel Cabrera finishes at least 5 homers and 20 runs batted in ahead of Hamilton, the MVP award is his to lose.
Amidst the rain delays in Boston, Clay Buchholz recorded his 15th win of the season, and lowered his ERA to 2.26 with his 6 shutout innings against the Blue Jays. I don't think he's going to keep this up going into 2011, but I think there's a reasonable chance he can finish out the season with 18 wins and a sub 2.50 ERA still.
Zack Greinke looks like he is back, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 9 over 8 innings. Unfortunately, he got a no-decision against the White Sox, but in August he has a 3.43 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Ryan Braun is starting to heat up, going 2 for 3 yesterday with a homerun in the loss to the Padres. He's now hitting .296 on the season, and has 18 homeruns, 13 stolen bases, and 73 runs batted in. Definitely not what his owners were looking for when they drafted him, but he could be critical to his owners' final month.
Jamie Garcia threw a shutout against the Giants yesterday, striking out 6 and allowing just 3 base runners. It was extremely impressive that he threw just 89 pitches to do this, and I'm not of the opinion that the Cardinals are going to shut him down before they fall out of the playoff race. They need him too much to do that.
Jonathan Broxton came in to pitch the 9th inning in a non-save situation yesterday, and probably didn't help his confidence all that much. He recorded just 2 outs, and gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk. His stuff looked alright when I was watching the game, but the Reds were just hitting it anyway. If you're still desperate for saves, I might still hold onto Hong-Chih Kuo until a better option presents itself.
Jhoulys Chacin and Daniel Hudson put up very similar, excellent lines yesterday against each other, with both striking out 9 over 7+ innings. Chacin came away with the victory, and I have to imagine he's owned in a lot less leagues than Hudson is, and should be picked up by anyone looking for strikeouts.
Andrew Bailey returned from the disabled list on Sunday, and threw a scoreless inning and had 2 strikeouts in a non-save situation. Having owned a couple of the alternatives, I would say Bailey is going to be right back into the closer's role and should be activated as such.
Justin Verlander had a really nice start yesterday, striking out 8 over 8 innings of 1 run ball to get the win over the Indians. His ERA is now at 3.65 on the season, and has 160 strikeouts in 170 innings pitched.