HOUSTON - AUGUST 21: Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three run home run to right field in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 21, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
I am back from Washington after watching Roy Oswalt totally shut down the Nationals offense on Saturday night. I have to say a few things about the stadium and the game. One, it's very easy to get to via the Metro subway system there. Two, the food and drink were good. Three, there were more Phillies fans than Nationals fans in the stadium and they booed Jayson Werth every time he came to the plate. This really upset me, because he was a fan favorite in Philly, and just because a team decides to overpay him does not mean they should boo him like they did. Fourth, Nationals first baseman Michael Morse does some really weird things before he gets in the batters box. If you get a chance to watch a Nationals game, try to check it out. I really am not sure how what he does helps him in his approach at all.
ESPN's coverage of the Cubs-Cardinals game last night included an interview with new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and I heard him say that to build a winner, you have to build from within, or something to that effect. Sounds like he is already on the right path. They invested heavily in the draft in 2011. so he is practicing what he preaches.
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun went 3-5 with 2 runs, an RBI and 2 SBs yesterday. He is having a very good season hitting .330-/400-.584 with 24 HRs, 81 RBI and 26 SBs this season. Braun is one of the many candidates who are in the running for the NL MVP award this season. It appears that the race will go down to the wire for sure, because no one is running away with it.
More Roundup after the jump:
Angels ace Jered Weaver signed a 5 year, $85 million deal with the Angels last night. This is newsworthy for two reasons. One, Weaver signed a year before becoming a free agent, and he is a Scott Boras client. Two, does this signing mean the slowdown in the economy will slow the pace of free agent contracts this offseason and beyond?
The Giants placed closer Brian Wilson on the DL and will go with a closer by committee going forward. I can see them dealing for a closer before August 31st, but if they don't they will go with Jeremy Affeldt and Ramon Ramirez to close out games. Ramirez got the save yesterday with Affeldt throwing two scoreless innings.
Braves starter Tim Hudson won his 13th game of the season yesterday, holding the Diamondbacks to just 6 base runners in 7 scoreless innings. Hudson is now 13-7 with a 3.01 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and is holding hitters to a .222 BAA this season. He might be the ace of the Braves staff with Tommy Hanson on the DL, and even when he is not on the DL.
Rays DH Johnny Damon went 2-5 with a game winning HR and 4 RBI yesterday and I wonder if he could be traded by the August 31st trade deadline to an AL contender. Could the Yankees be interested to serve as their DH in September?
Giants outfielder Brandon Belt went 4-5 with a HR and 3 RBI yesterday. Belt will probably see plenty of action going forward if he hits like this and is a must add in keeper leagues, assuming he is available at this point. Belt is hitting .230-.330-.410 with 5 HRs and 12 RBI in 100 at bats this season.
The Astros moved second baseman Jose Altuve to the leadoff spot in their lineup, and he went 1-5 with a run and an RBI yesterday, and is now hitting .322-.336-.400 with a HR, 7 RBI, 17 runs and 2 SBs in his first 115 major league at bats. Altuve is the Astros second baseman of the future, and will continue to see plenty of at bats, but I am not sure how he will help fantasy teams other than in the batting average category.
With catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the DL, Tyler Flowers is filling in very well. He went 2-3 with a walk, double and 3 runs scored yesterday, and is 10-25 in his last 7 games. Flowers has some pop, and is only rosterable in AL-only leagues.
White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham went 2-4 with a run scored and is hitting .237-.296-.338 with 9 HRs, 33 RBI, 45 runs and 5 SBs in 388 at bats this season. I am beginning to think the 24 year old second baseman could be a bust, but I think he has another season before we can officially give him that label.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova shut out the Twins for 7 innings yesterday, giving up just 5 hits, a walk and striking out 5. He is now 13-4 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and a 4.31/4.12 FIP/xFIP split coming into his Sunday start. He is not a dominating pitcher as his K/BB rate is just 74-43 on 124.2 innings, but he is getting the job done on the mound for a team that is desperate for solid starting pitching, especially after A.J. Burnett's implosion on Saturday night.
Angels starter Jerome Williams, once a top Giants pitching prospects, held the Orioles to just one run in 7 innings yesterday to win his first game since 2005. It will be interesting to see how he pitches in his next start, but he was 7-2 with AAA Sacramento.