August 9, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) at bat in the second inning as he makes his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
This will be a short one today, as Thursday was a busy day for me on the home front.
Who is the ace of the Nationals starting rotation? Well, they very well could have two aces, and Gio Gonzalez is pretty damn good as well. Jordan Zimmermann held the Astros to just 3 hits while shutting them out for 6 innings last night. He struck out a season high 11 batters while walking none to win his 9th game of the season. He is now 9-6 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and an excellent 110-25 strikeout to walk ratio. One of the Nationals beat writers called Zimmermann an ace on Twitter last night, and I can't disagree with him.
Zimmermann's teammate Michael Morse missed a lot of time this season, but he has hit since his return from the DL. Morse went 3-3 with 2 HRs and 3 RBI last night, and is now hitting .303-.325-.470 with 10 HRs, 32 runs and 37 RBI in 251 at bats this season. He is proving that his 2011 breakout is no fluke. This guy can hit, although he could stand to take a walk every now and then.
I thought the Orioles called up shortstop prospect Manny Machado way too early, as he probably needed a full season in AA to round out his skills, but the Orioles thought differently, calling him up on Thursday. Machado responded by going 2-4 with a triple, a run scored in his first big league game. Machado batted 9th and played third base, which makes sense. As he matures and gains experience, he has the potential to be a middle of the order hitter with solid power and some speed.
I was high on Royals outfielder Alex Gordon coming into the season, thinking that he would hit for power and continue to steal bases like he did in his 2011 breakout season. Well, the power has dropped significantly, but he is still hitting. Gordon went 3-5 with a double, HR, 2 runs and an RBI last night, raising his slash line to .294-.372-.439 with 7 HRs, 63 runs, 43 RBI and 7 stolen bases. The drop in speed and power will result in a hit in his rankings amongst fantasy outfielders heading into 2013.
Rays starter Matt Moore had a rocky start to the 2012 season, coming on the heels of some dominant outings last September and in the playoffs. Moore held the Blue Jays to 1 run on 2 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts to win his 9th game of the season. He is now 9-7 with a 3.73 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP, and a 124-62 strikeout to walk ratio in 130.1 innings pitched. I expected the solid strikeout rate from Moore, but did not see him struggling with his control this season. This is not new for Moore as he struggled with his control in the low minors, so he still has the skills to reach his potential as an ace.