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Monday's Roto Roundup: The National League Arms Race

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Is it just me, or does it seem like every day we have quite a few top-level starting pitchers going? With Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Carpenter, Dan Haren, and Stephen Strasburg all among others pitching last night, offenses around the league were probably hoping for a night off.

Stephen Strasburg had what was probably his most difficult start of the season yesterday as he took his second loss of the season. I watched most of the game, and it seemed like he was doing just fine until the 7th. The 7th inning didn't go well, with a walk, base hit, an error, a sacrifice fly, and a single before he was pulled. The ending numbers still looked alright - 6 1/3 innings pitched, 7 strikeouts, 3 earned runs, 8 baserunners. I think that if this is what happens when Strasburg faces a team with a solid offense, sign me up.

Ubaldo Jimenez got into the 6th inning with a no-hitter last night, before finally giving up 4 earned runs and striking out 7 batters while recording his league-leading 14th win. The NL Cy Young race is more wide open than it was previously:

Ubaldo Jimenez: 14 wins, 1.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 102 strikeouts, 113 innings pitched
Josh Johnson: 8 wins, 1.83 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 107 strikeouts, 108 innings pitched

Strangely, Johnson is actually getting more run support per start (6.67 vs 5.96 for Jimenez), but I am guessing he's getting it in more clumps than Jimenez. Ray wrote about acquiring Johnson earlier in the week, and I think that the trade was a steal for him to get Johnson.

After watching him struggle through a previously unreported injury, the struggles of Jason Heyward are making a lot more sense. The Braves placed him on the disabled list yesterday, and it's unknown exactly how long the injury will keep him sidelined. This is clearly the right move for the Braves, and hopefully he'll come back healthy and hitting like he did in April.

Kerry Wood recorded his 7th save of the season, and has been pitching much better of late. I would be shocked if the Indians aren't able to move him to a contender before the trading deadline, and I'd really be surprised if he was closing wherever he went. His contract gives him a player option for next season if he finishes 55 games this year, so it's in any organization's interest to make sure he doesn't reach that number. It may be getting to be time to speculate on Chris Perez if you are in dire need of saves.

Another closer who is likely to be traded is Octavio Dotel of the Pirates. Dotel recorded his 15th save of the season yesterday against the Cubs. I've always had mixed feelings about Dotel, mostly from his hit-or-miss ability when he was with the Athletics. Evan Meek is definitely the handcuff here though, and should probably already be grabbed if he hasn't been in your league.

It sounds like we now know that Dustin Pedroia is going to be out for the majority of 6 weeks with his broken foot. I think I would drop him down even further on my rankings if I redid them today. A foot injury seems like it is going to take him a while to get back to full speed.

Well, R.A. Dickey was due for a bit of regression, and 5 earned runs in 5 innings is definitely that. I think he still could be very solid going forward, but he's probably a spot-starter right now, not a must-start.

Also in Puerto Rico, Ricky Nolasco struck out 9 in 7 innings to get the victory. He hasn't been striking out nearly as many batters this season as he did last year, so this is hopefully a sign of things to come for Nolasco.

Lost amid the hype of Stephen Strasburg on Monday was another excellent start by Tim Hudson. Hudson went 7 strong innings, striking out 6 and not allowing a run en route to a victory. Hudson to me doesn't seem to be a particularly high strikeout pitcher, but he also seems like he has the potential to keep this up all season.

Johnny Cueto had another great start for the Reds, his 4th in a row. He went 8 innings and only allowed 1 earned run with his victory. Strangely, he didn't record a single strikeout yesterday. I am going to have to seriously consider where he should be ranked for our starting pitcher rankings, as I ranked him at #75 in my preseason rankings.

Miguel Cabrera continues his MVP season, as he drove in 2 more runs yesterday against the Twins. He now has 66 for the season, and I'm wondering if he can get past 80 before the All-Star break. It's going to be an interesting race between him and Robinson Cano if they can both keep this up.

Scary moment for Joel Zumaya yesterday, as it appears he severely injured his arm while throwing a pitch. The video didn't look good, and I am guessing at this point that he's probably going to miss a substantial portion of the season. Tough break for him and the Tigers.

Chris Carpenter and Dan Haren faced off against each other, and while both got no-decisions, Haren one-upped Carpenter by hitting a homerun off the former Cy Young winner. Haren also went 8 innings and struck out 6, but watched closer of today Aaron Heilman blow the lead after Haren had given up 2 singles to start the inning. The lesson out of this: I don't want any part of anyone claiming that they are the closer for the Diamondbacks at this point. And no lead for any of their starters is particularly safe either.