Charlie Blackmon's amazing April
Days before Opening Day, many in the industry felt that the Rockies would hand the center field job to Corey Dickerson, who had the better spring compared to teammates Drew Stubbs and Charlie Blackmon. But manager Walt Weiss had other ideas. He gave the center field job to Blackmon, and it might be the best decision he has made in his short managerial career. His reasoning was that 1) Blackmon hit well last season, and 2) he's the better defensive outfielder than Dickerson. Stubbs is nothing more than a platoon guy now.
Yesterday, Blackmon had another big day at the plate, going 2-5 with a home run, four runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base in the Rockies 12-10 win over the Giants. Blackmon is now hitting .410-453-.692 with 5 home runs, 5 doubles, 19 runs, 16 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 22 games thus far. He has multiple hits in 9 of his 22 games and has walked more than he has struck out.
For more on Blackmon's amazing April, make sure you check out Purple Row, SB Nation's Rockies fan site.
Martin Perez throws another complete game shutout
The Rangers have had some very bad luck when it comes to their pitching staff this season. Injuries to Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, and Tanner Scheppers. Even Yu Darvish dealt with a minor injury to start the season. Lucky for them Martin Perez has been pitching like Cole Hamels this season.
Yesterday afternoon, Perez threw his second consecutive complete game shut out, limiting the A's to just three hits, two walks and three strikeouts, in the Rangers 3-0 win. Perez moved his record to 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a 23-9 strikeout to walk rate in 38 innings of work. The low strikeout rate is a concern, but if he can continue to get double digit ground ball outs, he induced 17 on Wednesday, and limit the free pass, he can keep his ERA in the low 3 range all season.
For more on Perez and the Rangers, check out Lone Star Ball, SB Nation's Rangers fan site.
Michael Wacha struggles in loss to Mets
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha was one pitcher who I was lower on than most other writers here at Fake Teams and elsewhere coming into the season. He was coming off a dominant playoffs and World Series performances, and i felt the love, while warranted, was a little too much for me, especially when some ranked him in their top 20-25 starting pitcher rankings.
Last night, Wacha gave up just two runs on three hits, but he walked five and struck out ten in just four innings of work in the Cardinals 3-2 loss to the Mets. Wacha needed 93 pitches to get 12 outs, the same amount of pitches he needed to get 21 outs in his last start. The loss moved his record to 2-2 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 35-8 strikeout to walk rate in 30 innings. I am not sure what happened to Wacha's control last night, as the five walks are a season high for him.
For more on Wacha and the Cardinals, make sure you check out Viva el Birdos, SB Nation's Cardinals fan site.
In a wild game last night in Toronto, Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz had another big night at the plate, going 2-4 with two home runs and five RBI in the Orioles 10-8 win. Cruz hit a solo home run i the third inning and a grand slam in the fifth inning. I guess he likes hitting in Toronto as he has three home runs and eight RBI in his last two games, and is now hitting .301-.386-.603 with 6 home runs, 14 runs, 21 RBI and a 14-10 strikeout to walk rate in 73 at bats this season.
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi is starting to show us the potential he possessed when the Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers for him. Eovaldi limited the Braves to an unearned run on five hits, a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings, but left with the game tied. He is now 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and an improved strikeout to walk rate of 30-4 in 31.1 innings this season. He has given up two runs or less in three of his five starts, and has gone at least six innings in each of his starts so far. He is still available in about 78% of leagues right now, so go out and grab him off your league waiver wire today. Now.
If you think Eovaldi is having a surprising season, just take a look a the season Aaron Harang is having. Yesterday, he limited the Marlins to one run on six hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts in six innings of work, but like Eovaldi, left with the score tied and did not figure in the decision. Harang is now 3-1 with a 0.85 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a 33-13 strikeout to walk rate in 31.2 innings this season. He faces the Marlins again next week in Miami.
It is a not a complete Roto Roundup without talking about Twins first baseman Chris Colabello. Last night, Collabello continued his own amazing April by going 2-6 with a home run and 4 RBI in the Twins extra inning win over the Rays. Collabello is now hitting .346-.386-.577 with three home runs and 26 RBI in April and there are still seven day left. The major league record for RBI in April is 35 held by Juan Gonzalez back in 1998, so Collabello needs to have a couple more big games to break his record.
The Pirates recently traded for first baseman Ike Davis to bolster their lineup and add some punch to their offense. For me, Davis is just a short-term solution, and I see the Pirates calling up outfielder Gregory Polanco in early May. Their 5-2 loss to the Reds moved them to 6.5 games out of first place, one game ahead of the Cubs, who are currently in last place in the National League Central. Polanco is currently raking in AAA, hitting .419-.456-.649 with 3 home runs, 15 runs, 20 RBI and 3 stolen bases in 18 games. He's ready and you should stash him if you have the roster spot, as he should make an impact in fantasy leagues this season.
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