The Twins recently moved starter Francisco Liriano to the bullpen after watching him get knocked around one too many times. He made 5 relief appearances and was pitching decent until his 2.2 inning effort on May 25th where he gave up 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. So, more of the same. Yesterday, he made his first start since early May and shut out the A's for 6 innings, giving up just 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 9. It was his first win of the season, so he will have to string together a few more solid starts to become rosterable.
Speaking of Morrow, he pitched very well, holding he Orioles to 1 run on 4 hits, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts in 6.1 innings last night to earn his 6th win of the season. The bad news is he was hit in his right shin and had to be helped off the field. He was diagnosed with a shin contusion and is considered day to day. Morrow is now 6-3 on the season, with a 3.28 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, a 1.06 WHIP and a 62-22 strikeout to walk ratio in 68.2 innings pitched. He is having his best season as a major leaguer, so now is not a good time for him to be hurt.
Blue Jays first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion is finally putting it altogether at the plate this season. He went 2-4 with a HR last night and is now hitting .274-.336-.584 with 17 HRs, 29 runs, 42 RBI and 6 stolen bases. Despite a low .252 BABIP, his ISO currently sits at .310 thanks in part to an excellent HR/FB rate of 18.4%. Encarnacion's batted ball data, courtesy of FanGraphs, is quite amazing. His low .252 BABIP is due in large part to a 10% line drive rate. He is hitting a lot more fly balls this season as well, as his fly ball rate is 54.4%.
Rockies shortstop left last night's game vs the Astros with a left leg injury, which he injured running out a ground ball. Here is more on the injury from Troy Renck at the Denver Post. Tulo, as Renck mentions in his blog post, had started to heat up at the plate before the injury. In his last 8 games, he was 13-32 with 4 HRs and 11 RBIs. Tulo is a very streaky hitter, so fantasy owners have to hope the injury is not serious, since he was in the middle of a hot streak that pushed his triple slash line to .287-.360-.486.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp aggravated his hamstring injury after scoring from first base on an Andre Ethier double last night. He was pulled out of the game after one inning and will have an MRI tomorrow. Bad news for Kemp owners. It appears he won't be stealing 40 bases like he did last year.
Here is an update from Bob Nightengale on Kemp:
Bob Nightengale @BNightengale
Matt Kemp says he expects to be back on the DL once again with his nagging hamstring, and this time, could be out a month.
A month?? Yikes.
There aren't many hitters more en fuego than White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo. He had 3 more hits yesterday along with a run scored and an RBI. In his last 7 games, he is 16-29 with 4 HRs and 13 RBI. His BA has moved from .235 to .291 over those 7 games and he is now hitting .291-.312-.515 with 11 HRs and 28 RBI thus far in 2012. His horrendous 35-4 strikeout to walk rate in 165 at bats tells you he won't keep hitting like this for too long.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett has turned into the new Roy Halladay. Or something like that. Marc Normandin wrote about him here yesterday, saying his 2012 season has been misleading, and if you looked at his overall stats prior to last night's start, you would agree. Burnett gave up just one unearned run, on 2 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and 13 ground ball outs. Burnett is now 4-2 on the season, with a 3.60 ERA, 3.26 FIP and 3.07 xFIP. His strikeout rate sits at 7.56 per nine innings, and his walk rate is a very respectable 2.52 per nine. But, his 57.9% ground ball rate is a big factor in his success to date, and there are only 4 starters who induce more ground balls than Burnett at this point.
Burnett has given up 2 runs or less in 7 of his 8 starts this season, and if you take away his horrible May 2nd start, he has given up just 8 earned runs in 47.1 innings this season.
Here is an interesting stat, courtesy of ESPN's David Shoenfield, via Twitter last night:
David Schoenfield @dschoenfield
Pujols has been getting more press recently, but Pujols is barely hitting better than a guy who most think won't hit much better than he is right now.
Speaking of Smoak, he had a huge night at the plate last evening, helping the Mariners torch the Rangers 21-7. Smoak went 3-5 with 2 HRs, a double, a walk, 3 runs and 6 RBI, by far his best game as a major leaguer. He is now hitting .231-.278-.396 with 9 HRs, 18 runs and 27 RBI this season. He is going to have to make some adjustments at the plate, as his 44-12 strikeout to walk rate in 182 at bats is not what GM Jack Zdurenciek signed up for when he traded for him a few years ago.
Smoak's teammate Jesus Montero had a big night at the plate as well, as he went 3-4 with a HR, 2 walks, 4 runs scored, and 4 RBI. For the season, he is hitting .257-.300-.429 with 7 HRs, 27 RBI and a 41-12 strikeout to walk rate in 175 at bats. Fantasy owners expected more from him at the plate this season, but the season is only a third complete, so there is plenty of time for Montero to turn things around at the plate. Talk of bringing in the fences next year certainly improves his fantasy value for 2013 and beyond.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was diagnosed with a torn abductor muscle in his right thumb on Tuesday night and yesterday announced that he will determine by next Monday whether he play with his injured thumb. With two off days between now and Monday, it makes sense to wait.
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez had a breakout year in 2010, and followed that up with a very good 2011 season, but he is on pace to better his 2010 season so far in 2012. Cargo hit 3 HRs last night, going 4-5 at the plate with 4 RBI. For the season, he is hitting .323-.391-.629 with 13 HRs, 41 runs 41 RBI and 7 stolen bases. He is on pace for a 43 home run and 136 RBI season. Coors Field appears to be playing like the old Coors Field from several years ago. I guess they unplugged the humidor and didn't tell anyone.