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Adrian Beltre: Still very good at 34
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is one of the top fantasy third baseman in the game, and he is a gold glove third baseman as well. At some point, he will begin to slow down at the plate, but he has the advantage of playing for a very good team and in a hitters park. Yesterday, he went 4-5 with a HR, 2 doubles, 2 runs and 4 RBI in the Rangers 12-7 win over the Astros. He is now hitting .260-.308-.479 with 8 HRs, 21 runs and 23 RBI on the season, and is beginning to heat up at the plate. Over his last 10 games, he has raised his batting average from .215 to .260 by going 16-43 with 3 HRs and 12 RBI.
Jose Bautista: Maybe I was wrong about him
I haven't been shy about being down on Bautista coming into the season. I was worried about his recovery from his wrist injury, and not crazy about drafting a power hitter who doesn't hit for a high average in the first or second round of drafts this season. But, he has made that decision look bad so far this season. He went 2-4 with 2 HRs, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI in the Blue Jays 12-4 win over the Red Sox, and is now hitting .246-.360-.544 with 9 HRs, 19 runs, and 20 RBI in 114 at bats thus far. He took advantage of the Green Monster two times yesterday for his first multi-home run game of the season.
Chris Sale: nearly perfect
White Sox ace Chris Sale hugged his catcher Tyler Flowers after completely dominating the Angels on Sunday Night Baseball last night. Sale had a perfect game going for 6.1 innings before Mike Trout, of course, broke it up with a single with one out in the seventh inning. Sale recovered and finished with a complete game one hit shutout over the struggling Angels. Sale struck out 7 and walked none to win his fourth game of the season, and now owns a 2.88 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a 49-12 K-BB in 56.2 innings this season. He has given up 2 runs or less in six of his eight starts this season, and five in a row since his April 13th blowup vs the Indians where he gave up 8 runs in 4.1 innings.
Mets young starter Matt Harvey was the subject of a Baseball Tonight piece yesterday, where they compared him to Justin Verlander. Buster Olney had this quote from a talent evaluator, in his Sunday morning blog post:
One evaluator on the comparison between Matt Harvey and Justin Verlander, which is being heard more and more often around the sport: "Verlander has the awards and the accolades -- and he’s earned those. Harvey doesn’t have that, yet. But you can have a game plan against Verlander where you have a chance to hit his breaking stuff. The quality of Harvey’s breaking stuff is so good that even if you look for it, you don’t have a chance. None. His curveball is that good. I’ve seen guys go back to the dugout after getting a backdoor cutter from him and they’re like, ‘Wow.’"
On Sunday, Harvey was not his dominant self, as he gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks and just 4 strikeouts in 7 innings of work, and was still in line for the win had the Mets scored in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been slumping of late, and that continued on Sunday, as he went 1-5 with two strikeouts. Ellsbury is now hitting .257-.311-.365 with 1 HR, 21 runs, 13 RBI and 12 stolen bases, and the stolen bases are the only category he is really helping fantasy owners so far in 2013. If he doesn't start to contribute more, agent Scott Boras is going to have to work overtime to garner Ellsbury a huge contract in the offseason.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez threw his best game of the season yesterday, shutting out the Cubs on 2 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 7 innings, but it wasn't enough, as the Nationals bullpen gave up runs in the eighth and ninth inning in their 2-1 loss. Gonzalez, coming off a solid 2012 campaign, has struggled thus far in 2013, but has pitched better of late. Has he turned the corner?
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda tossed yet another solid outing yesterday, limiting the Royals to 2 runs on 6 hits, a walk and a strikeout over 7.2 innings to win his fifth game of the season. He is now 5-2 with a 2.31 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and a 34-13 strikeout to walk rate in 50.2 innings this season. He has given up 2 runs or less in six of his eight starts and 3 runs or less in all eight of his starts thus far. Most. Underrated. Pitcher. In. Baseball.
Looking at Kuroda's player page on ESPN, I didn't realize he induced 21 ground ball outs back in a complete game shutout of the Orioles back on April 14th. 21!!
Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa is more than a year from Tommy John surgery, and has quietly put up a solid 2013 season so far. Yesterday, he tossed 6.2 no-hit innings and left after giving up 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7 in 7 shutout innings vs the Cardinals yesterday. He is now 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a 28-17 K-BB rate in 45.1 innings. He has gone six or more innings, and given two runs or less, in five of his last six starts. He is owned in just 4.4% of ESPN leagues, so there is still time to pick him up.
The Arizona Diamondbacks recently named Heath Bell as their closer after J.J. Putz went down with an elbow injury. Bell converted his first three save opportunities, but blew the save yesterday, after entering the game in the ninth inning to preserve a 2-0 lead. He could only get two outs before leaving the game after giving up 2 runs on 4 hits. The blown save was his second of the season, and he now has a 5.06 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP and a 20-3 strikeout to walk rate in 16 innings.
Things got real interesting in the ninth inning of the Dodgers-Marlins game yesterday, as Brandon League came on in a non-save situation, to preserve a 5-1 lead, and came close to blowing the lead. The tying run was at the plate when he got the last out, but not before giving up 2 runs on 3 hits. He has now given up runs in 8 of his last 11 appearances and owns a 6.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. I was listening to the ninth inning on my way home from Mother's Day dinner, and both Charley Steiner and Rick Monday were saying that the time may have come for a change in the closer role for the Dodgers, especially after seeing Kenley Jansen strike out four of the five batters he faced in 1.2 innings yesterday.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde blew his first save of the season yesterday, giving up a run on a hit, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The run was the first he has given up in six appearances thus far. I imagine he will go through a rough stretch at some point after missing all of spring training this season.
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