Clay Buchholz made his return from the disabled list yesterday against the red hot Athletics, and paid for it unfortunately. 4 innings pitched, 5 earned runs, 2 strikeouts, and 3 walks. We had Buchholz as our 23rd ranked starting pitcher for the rest of the year, but had a lot of difference in the range of the individual rankings. He should be better than this over the remainder of the season, but I want to see it in his next start before I'm going to believe for sure.
Francisco Liriano was tied with Buchholz as our 23rd ranked pitcher, and had a great start last night, striking out 8 over 7 shutout innings. At some point I am going to have to believe in Liriano to give these kinds of performances on a consistent basis, but I continue to have a hard time doing it so far.
Jim Thome had one of the most unusual lines I have ever seen in a fantasy baseball game: 0-0, 4 walks. I play in a league with OBP in addition to batting average, and he's rapidly improving his value in that league in spite of being eligible at UT only. With Justin Morneau on the disabled list, Thome is seeing a lot more playing time and could be ownable in a lot of leagues at this point.
Stephen Strasburg had a so-so start, as he struck out 7 batters but was only able to get through 5 2/3 innings due to his pitch count getting to 97. At some point, he's going to have that pitch count lifted, but just remember that the innings he does throw are still likely to be very good.
Mark Teixeira went 3 for 5 with 3 runs batted in against the Angels yesterday. He has now raised his batting average to .256, and looks like he could conceivably get up to the .275 range potentially before the end of the season.
A pair of pitchers surrounded by trade rumors faced off against each other in Chicago, with Brett Myers and Ted Lilly both getting no decisions last night. Lilly struck out 6 and allowed 1 earned run, and Myers struck out 8 and allowed 1 earned run also. Both pitchers could be on the move before the 31st, and could be extremely important to the pennant races.
Another turn in the rotation, another nice start from Max Scherzer. 5 strikeouts, 7 baserunners, no runs allowed, and another victory. He's rapidly becoming one of their top starting pitchers, right behind Justin Verlander at this point in my opinion.
Well, the Brewers must be taking offers on a lot of their players at this point after allowing another double digit run total last night against the lowly Pirates. Pedro Alvarez hit 2 more homeruns last night, and now has 7 on the season, but the big hitter for the Pirates was Delwyn Young, who went 3 for 4 with a homerun and 5 runs batted in.
Which Ricky Nolasco are you going to get when you start him? The one that has the 4.50 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, or the one that went out and threw 8 innings of 2 run, 8 strikeout ball? At this point, I don't think I could honestly trust him one way or the other. He'll drive you nuts to be sure.
Another pitcher who will drive you nuts had a great start last night as well: Chad Billingsley threw a shutout against the Giants, striking out 3 and walking 2. It still concerns me that it took him 125 pitches to get through that many innings with that few strikeouts, but he is still going to make a majority of his starts in pitchers' ballparks the rest of the way, and is a solid play in almost every league.
Chris Young hit his 17th homerun and stole his 19th base last night. We had him as our 18th ranked outfielder when we released our midseason rankings, and I think he's got an excellent chance at 30-30, with even an outside shot at 35-35 before the season is out.
Chone Figgins stole his 25th base yesterday as he went 2 for 4. He had a very good June, but hasn't really done a whole lot in July to this point: .203, 3 RBI, and 1 SB to this point. Hopefully he will return to form soon, but it's really not looking good at this point.