DETROIT, MI - MAY 20: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning during the inter-league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on May 20, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
A reader on Twitter recently asked me if he should drop Tigers starter Max Scherzer for Diamondbacks pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and I responded that he should. I hope he waited a day, or didn't listen, as Scherzer thoroughly dominated the Pirates yesterday. He held the Pirates to 2 runs on 4 hits, a walks and 15 strikeouts. And all 15 strikeouts were of the swinging variety. Scherzer induced 26 swinging strikes in all, and turned in one of the more dominating starts of 2012. I certainly did not see this coming.
Is Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg dealing with an arm injury? He was pulled after 5 innings and 90 pitches yesterday. Here is Amanda Comak from the Washington Times:
Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson spotted right-hander Stephen Strasburg in the tunnel leading to the dugout after the fifth inning trying to loosen up his right arm. Strasburg, who survived a rocky and laborious first two innings to retire 10 straight from the end of the second through the fifth, was feeling a little "tightness in his biceps" according to Johnson.
Strasburg gave up 3 runs, one earned, on 4 hits, a walk and struck out 8 to win his 4th game of the season. He is now 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA, 2.19 FIP and 2.52 xFIP. He has struck out 64 and walked 13 in his 53 innings of work this season.
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman injured his knee for a Rafael Furcal throw on Saturday night, and now there is a fear that he tore his ACL, and as a result, he is considering retiring. Wow. We will learn more later today. With Berkman on the DL, the Cardinals called up AAA first baseman Matt Adams to take his spot on the roster. Adams should see the majority of starts at first base for the Cardinals going forward.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Earlier in the day, Reds manager Dusty Baker announced that he was making a change at the closer spot, giving Aroldis Chapman the job going forward. Chapman responded by converting his first save chance. Some have wondered how Chapman will perform pitching 2-3 days in a row, but Chapman looked fine after pitching yesterday. Actually, he has pitched in 4 of the last 5 days and 5 of the last 7, so he appears to be ready to go a few days in a row.
I think Chapman could be one of the more dominating closers in the game, as long as he can maintain the control he has shown thus far in 2012. I will be interested to see where Rob, aka smokeymcpots, ranks him in his Closer Report later today.
Yankees outfielder/DH Raul Ibanez is looking more and more like a very smart signing by GM Brian Cashman this offseason. Ibanez went 2-4 with a HR and 2 RBI in yesterday's loss to the Reds. Ibanez is hitting .273-.336-.582 with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 110 at bats. On a team that includes such power hitters as Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher, Ibanez is second on the team in HRs behind Curtis Granderson.
Speaking of Alex Rodriguez-is he done as a power hitter? His current triple slash line of .270-.368-.399 tells me he is. Here is a list of hitters who currently have a higher SLG than ARod right now:
Freddy Galvis: .409
Michael Bourn: .403
Elvis Andrus: .423
Alcides Escobar: .415
That is quite a list of singles hitters, and ARod is hitting for less power so far this season. Will he hit for more power for the rest of the season. I think he will, but I don't expect a 30 HR season from him.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon was given the last two days off to clear his head, but there is a real possibility that he could be sent down to AAA if he doesn't turn things around at the plate over the next few days. Gordon is hitting just .200-.239-.255 with a HR, 16 runs, 9 RBI and 12 stolen bases. His biggest problem at the plate thus far is the increase in strikeouts from 11.6% to 19.4% this season, despite an increase in his walk rate from 3.0% to 5.2%. Should he get sent down, the Dodgers will probably go with a combination of Elian Herrera and Justin Sellers at shortstop.
Another guy who could get sent down to the minors in the very near future is Mets first baseman Ike Davis who is struggling at the plate as well. He went 1-4 yesterday with a double and an RBI, but for the season, he is hitting just .163-.221-.304 with 5 HRs, 15 RBI and a 39-10 strikeout to walk ratio in his 135 at bats this season. I imagine Lucas Duda would be the Mets everyday first baseman should Davis be sent to Buffalo.
Coming into the season, Giants starter Tim Lincecum was one of the top ranked starters in baseball, but he has been anything but since the season started. Lincecum lasted just 4 innings yesterday, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts as he lost for the 4 time this season. He is now 2-4 with a 6.04 ERA, a 2.93 FIP and 3.50 xFIP. His strikeout to walk ratio of 2.13 is the lowest of his career. Here are his K/BB ratios over the last 4 seasons:
Not a good sign and the drop is mainly due to an increase in his walk rate from 2.72 in 2009 to 4.72 this season. He has gone 7 or more innings just twice in his 9 starts, and has given up at least 3 runs in 7 of his 9 starts thus far. Who would have thought that Barry Zito would be performing better than Lincecum this season?
Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper had his best day as a big leaguer yesterday, going 2-4 with 3 runs, scored, 2 RBI and a walk, and is now hitting .244-.333-.449 with 2 HRs, 14 runs, 7 RBI, a SB and a solid 16-10 strikeout to walk ratio in 78 at bats this season. Not many 19 year olds can do what Harper is doing right now, albeit not very spectacular. That will come.
Jonathan Lucroy was not one of the top 10 fantasy catchers on draft day this season. Our own Robert Bishop ranked him as his 15th overall fantasy catcher prior to draft day, but Lucroy is proving everyone had him ranked too low thus far. Lucroy had his best day as a big leaguer yesterday, going 3-5 with 2 HRs and 7 RBI. For the season, he is hitting .342-.389-.550 with 4 HRs and 27 RBI. We should see some regression in his BA as his current BABIP sits at .374, while his career BABIP is around 60 points lower.