Andrew Cashner: On the cusp of becoming an ace?
I didn't get around to writing the Roundup for Friday's roto action, but wanted to give my thoughts on Andrew Cashner's dominating performance vs the Tigers on Friday. Cashner tossed a complete game shutout vs the Tigers in the Padres 6-0 win, limiting the Tigers to just one hit, two walks and struck out what I believe to be a career high 11 batters.
In his three starts thus far, Cashner is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and a 22-7 strikeout to walk rate in 21 innings of work. Going back to August of 2013, here are his monthly ERAs:
August: 2.25, 29-10 K-BB, 40 IP
September: 0.76, 21-1 K-B, 23.2 IP
April: 1.29, 22-7 K-BB, 21 IP
So, over his last 84.2 innings, he has struck out 72 and walked just 18 for a 4-1 strikeout to walk rate. In addition to the improved strikeout rate and command, Cashner is keeping the ball on the ground at an elite 60% rate thus far in 2014, after a 53% rate in 2013. He is entering the ace conversation, assuming he can stay healthy.
For more on Cashner and the Padres, make sure you check out Gaslamp Ball, SB Nation's Padres fan site.
Giancarlo Stanton: Healthy and mashing
For the first time in several years, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is healthy and his owners are reaping the rewards. Last year, he missed all of May and parts of June, and in 2012, he missed parts of July and August with leg injuries, but he is completely healthy in 2014 and has been mashing to start the season.
Last night, he went 3-5 with two home runs and three RBI in the Marlins 5-4 loss to the Phillies. He is now hitting .314-.364-.608 with four home runs, nine runs, 16 RBI and two stolen bases in the early going. Could this be the year we finally see him hit 40+ home runs? We all know the power potential he possesses, but injuries have limited him in the past. He easily could lead the majors in home runs this season.
For more on Stanton and the Marlins, make sure you check out Fish Stripes, SB Nation's Marlins fan site.
Ryan Zimmerman out 4-6 weeks
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, already dealing with a sore shoulder, will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a broken thumb. He broke the thumb attempting to get back to the second base bag while getting picked off by Braves starter Alex Wood.
With the injury, the Nationals will move Anthony Rendon to third base, while Danny Espinosa will take over second base for at least the next month, and possibly more. Zimmerman was hitting well before this injury, hitting .364 with two home runs, four runs and six RBI in 33 at bats. Zimmerman is now the Troy Tulowitzki of third baseman, as he can't stay healthy.
For more on Zimmerman's injury, check out Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals fan site.
Closer Roundup: Veras, Uehara, Gregerson and others
Before I get to the closer updates, make sure you are following @closernews on Twitter, as they provide daily updates on closers winning or losing their jobs, as well as closers who have pitched on two/three consecutive days.
After blowing his second save in as many chances, Cubs closer Jose Veras was removed from the role on Saturday. He came on to preserve a two run lead in the ninth inning on Friday night, but gave up two runs on a walk and a hit to blow the save. It appears either Pedro Strop or Hector Rondon will fight for the closer role for now. Rondon got the save in the 11th inning of Friday night's game so he might have the upper hand right now.
In Friday's win over the Yankees, Red Sox manager John Farrell turned to Edward Mujica instead of Koji Uehara to preserve a two run lead. Mujica earned the save and after the game we learned that Uehara is dealing with some tightness in his throwing shoulder. Here is more from Ian Browne from MLB.com:
Uehara felt discomfort in his right shoulder during his regular pregame throwing program on Friday, and Farrell turned to offseason acquisition Edward Mujica to preserve a two-run lead in the ninth inning of the Red Sox's 4-2 win.
The 39-year-old Uehara told reporters the tightness felt similar to an injury that caused him to miss more than two months of action during the 2012 season with the Rangers. Uehara missed 66 games with a right lat strain and returned to make 17 appearances down the stretch that year, with 21 strikeouts and a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.
Farrell said that Uehara may attempt to resume his daily throwing program, which includes long toss from up to 200 feet, on Sunday afternoon. After capping off their four-game set in the Bronx on Sunday night, the Red Sox have a day off before starting a three-game set against the White Sox in Chicago. That extra day could help the team determine whether or not Uehara will need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Owners should grab Mujica in all leagues should Uehara require a DL stint this week.
Mets closer Jose Valverde was asked to preserve a three run lead in the ninth inning of last nights game vs the Angels, and promptly gave up a three run home run to Raul Ibanez to blow the save. I don't see Valverde losing the job over one blown save, but we all know his history in the role.
The A's went to Luke Gregerson in the first save opportunity since Jim Johnson was removed from the closer role, and after giving up two consecutive singles, he got the final two outs to earn his first save of the season. Jim Johnson pitched well in garbage time on Friday night, so he could get the closer role back if he can string together a few more clean innings.
Tigers closer Joe Nathan tossed a clean inning of his own in the ninth inning of Saturday's 6-2 win over the Padres. I watched some of this game, as I own Al Alburquerque in an AL only league and wanted to see if he would get a save opportunity in a two run game, but the Tigers scored two more runs in the top of the ninth to increase their lead to four runs, so he did not get a save opportunity. However, he was warming up in the bottom of the eighth inning, so he was in line for a save.
Rays starter Alex Cobb threw another gem yesterday afternoon, shutting down the Reds lineup for seven innings, giving up no runs on four hits, no walks and five strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. He induced nine ground ball outs, and is now 1-1 on the season with a 1.89 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and a 14-5 strikeout to walk rate in 19 innings. He has not given up a run in his last two outings, covering 14 innings.
Update: The Rays have placed Cobb on the 15 day disabled list with an oblique strain. Erik Bedard will surely be added to the Rays rotation as a result.
I ranked Yankees catcher Brian McCann as my #1 catcher in our consensus catcher rankings this offseason, mainly due to his power potential hitting in Yankee Stadium. His power was on display on Saturday afternoon as he hit his first two home runs of the season in the Yankees 7-4 win over the Red Sox. McCann has struggled at the plate to start the season, so maybe Saturday's performance will turn things around for him.
If you play in a really deep NL only league, you might want to take a look at Pirates starter Edinson Volquez, as he turned in his second straight quality start on Saturday. Volquez limited the hot Brewers lineup to two runs, one earned, on four hits, two walks and four strikeouts over 6.1 innings, but left with a no decision. Volquez now owns a 1.29 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over his two starts and one relief appearance this season. He is owned in just under 5% of leagues right now, so he is available.
A's starter Sonny Gray was at his best last night, limiting the Mariners to one run on five hits, two walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings to earn his second win in three starts. He is now 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and has given up two runs in his three starts thus far, with a 19-7 strikeout to walk rate over 19 innings.
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