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Cliff Lee on a roll
The Phillies rotation is not performing to expectations this season, as Roy Halladay had shoulder surgery and Cole Hamels is not the Cole Hamels we drafted on draft day, but Cliff Lee is still one of the best pitchers in the game. He shutout the Marlins last night, throwing a complete game three hitter. Lee walked two and struck out five to earn his fifth win of the season. Lee is now 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA, 2.99 FIP, a 1.02 WHIP and a 55-13 K-BB rate in 72.2 innings. He has given up 2 runs or less in seven of his ten starts this season, including each of his last four starts. His strikeout rate has dropped from 8.83 K/9 last year to 6.81 K/9 in 2013, and his ground ball rate has dropped from 45.0% to 38.3% this season, so both are minor concerns his owners should be aware of.
Last season, A.J. Burnett left the American League to pitch in Pittsburgh's PNC Park, and won 16 games with a mid 3s ERA. This season, Francisco Liriano seems to be following the same path as Burnett. Liriano turned in his third straight quality start, tossing seven shutout innings vs the Cubs. Liriano gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out nine to win his third game of the season. Liriano is now 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 25-6 K-BB rate in 18 innings. He is now owned in 73.5% of ESPN leagues, and I have to imagine it will rise from there today.
Jose Bautista: Putting together some multi-hit games
Newest Fake Teams Twitter follower and Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista had a big game on Wednesday, driving in all four of the Blue Jays runs in their win over the Rays. Bautista went 4-4 with 2 HRs, 2 runs and 4 RBI and his third stolen base, raising his triple slash line to .275-.394-.572 with 11 HRs, 26 runs and 27 RBI. He has two hits or more in six of his last nine games, with 4 HRs, 10 runs and 10 RBI. It is becoming more and more obvious that I should have been higher on him coming into the season.
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu has been a pleasant surprise to the Dodgers rotation this season, and yesterday he gave the team a much needed strong outing. Ryu limited the Brewers to two runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts in the Dodgers 9-2 win. Ryu is now 5-2 with a 3.30 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and a 60-22 K-BB in 62.2 innings. He has given up two runs or less in his last three starts and in seven of his ten starts this season.
With the team in turmoil recently, manager Don Mattingly sat outfielder Andre Ethier yesterday, saying that he wanted to field a lineup that is going to compete and fight all day. In his place, Mattingly started Scott Van Slyke, who went 2-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. What made that decision newsworthy was the fact that the Brewers were throwing a righty on the mound yesterday, Ethier is a left handed hitter and Van Slyke is a right handed hitter. Something tells me Ethier could become a platoon player or a trade target. Or, Mattingly has been told he is on his way out and this is his way of destroying Ethier's trade value.
Mattingly also mentioned that the team has discussed calling up outfield prospects Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson. I am assuming he made those comments, and sat Ethier, to light a fire under Matt Kemp and Ethier.
What has gotten into Jorge de la Rosa? He has gone from being a strikeout machine, to a pretty decent starting pitcher. JDLR held the Diamondbacks to one run on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeout in 5.1 innings in the Rockies 4-1 win. He is now 6-3 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a 34-20 K-BB rate in 55.2 innings. He has given up two runs or less in six of his ten starts thus far, and has given up just four home runs this season, all on the road.
The Rockies optioned shortstop Josh Rutledge down to AAA after yesterday's game, which means that D.J. LeMahieu the Rockies new starting second baseman. LeMahieu has hit well since his call up, hitting .412-.444-.529 in 17 at bats. Rutledge has struggled to hit for average this season, as he is hitting just .242-.298-.357 with 5 HRs, 26 runs, 13 RBI and 5 stolen bases.
How many of you felt that Mike Trout could repeat his amazing rookie season last year? I know I didn't, but he is doing his best to make me look wrong. Trout went 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 strikeouts, and is now hitting .297-.376-.568 with 9 HRs, 33 runs, 34 RBI and 9 stolen bases. Here is a comparison of his 2012 stats to his on pace stats:
2012: .326-.399-.564, 30 HRs, 129 runs, 83 RBI, 49 SBs
2013: .297-.376-.568, 32 HRs, 116 runs, 120 RBI, 32 SBs (on pace)
Pirates set up man Mark Melancon earned his first save of the season last night, pitching a scoreless inning, while giving up a hit and striking out one. Closer Jason Grilli was not available after throwing 35 pitches in Tuesday night's game. Melancon, like A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano, has been reborn in the National League, as he has been downright dominant this season, with a 0.80 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and an amazing 26-1 K-BB in 25 innings.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle hinted after the game that closer Jason Grilli may not be available in today's game as well, so look for Melancon to get the save opportunity should one arise.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney came on to protect a one run lead in the ninth inning yesterday, and served up a game tying home run to Jose Bautista. The blown save was Rodney's fourth of the season, and he is proving more and more that last year was a fluke. Joel Peralta replaced Rodney to get the final two outs in the ninth inning and could start seeing some save opportunities in the near future.