(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
The Marlins ended Brandon Webb’s perfect season Wednesday, raising his ERA to a somewhat-more-human 2.69 in the process. The Marlins — without their slumping star shortstop — scored three runs on seven hits and a suicide squeeze. For his part, Ricky Nolasco held the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits, three coming from J.D. Drew’s younger brother (BJ Upton’s younger brother and Chris Young both went hitless).
Baltimore at New York: Darrell Rasner pitched seven shutout innings against the Orioles. He is now 3-0 since being called up at the beginning of the month, the rest of the Yankee rotation is 3-7. Hank Steinbrenner proved he’s not the man his father was, as (at least publicly) he had nothing but nice things to say about Lester’s no-hitter.
Kansas City at Boston: Bartolo Colon — who I most often cite in barroom arguments about why I wouldn’t give Sabathia a 5 year deal — won his first game since June 2007. Two runs in five innings against the Royals isn’t exactly exhilarating, but he did win a Cy Young just three years ago, so he’s worth watching.
New York at Atlanta: The Braves took their third in two days against the once-again-struggling Mets. Jair Jurrjens pitched another great game (I love him), Mark Teixeira is 7-for-10 this series, and two Mets outfielders are down — Ryan Church with a concussion, Moises Alou with more leg trouble.
Los Angeles at Toronto: Speaking of down, how scary is it to play infield for (Los Angeles of) Anaheim right now? First Howie Kendrick went on the DL (hamstring), then Chone (hamstring) joined him, both suffered repeated setbacks, and now Erick Aybar dislocates his right pinky finger. Figgins returned to action Wednesday, but any lingering discomfort will kill his fantasy value, as his value rests entirely on those speedy legs of his.
Texas at Minnesota: The combined records of Livan Hernandez (who starts tomorrow for the Twins) and Sidney Ponson (who won today for the Rangers) is 9-2. I don’t really know what to say. Be skeptical.
With the exception of Livan Hernandez’s much anticipated crappiness, and Barry Zito’s sixth straight loss, Sunday was notable for its exceptional pitching. Brandon Webb out-dueled Jake Peavy for his sixth win. Chien-Ming Wang edged a suddenly-awesome-again (but still hefty) C.C. Sabathia 1-0. Josh Beckett struck out 13 Rays, but still lost 3-0 to a barely hittable James Shields. Nelson Figueroa beat a possibly-injured John Smoltz 6-3. The Pirate’s Paul Maholm (.288 career BAA)pitched a complete game two-hitter against the Phillies. Vicente Padilla, who hasn’t pitched a complete game or held an era under 4.50 since 2003, pitched a shutout against Minnesota. I wouldn’t get too excited about those last three, but Padilla was at least streamable 3 years ago, so he ‘s worth keeping an eye on and maybe starting against those few other AL teams with puny offenses – Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland.
Arizona at San Francisco
Barry Zito looked much better last week against the Cardinals, minus one big home run and a handful of unearned runs. But it’s pretty hard to get behind a guy with a .338 BAA. Facing the hottest team in baseball. With Brandon Webb on the mound. And that offense behind him.
Boston at New York
Can Chien-Ming Wang repeat his Fenway masterpiece at home? Even with Big Papi (career .455 vs Wang) coming out of hibernation? Can Clay Buchholz build on his performance, or will the Yankees jump all over him in round two?
Detroit at Cleveland
This is why I don’t draft fat pitchers. You can’t trust them to not get fatter. If they had any discipline, they wouldn’t be fat to begin with.
Tampa Bay at Minnesota
It’s time to stop underestimating Livan Hernandez. This year, he has a plan. A plan wherein he will pitch well for a few games, maybe even a month — so well that fantasy managers who long since swore off Livan with his tempting Ks and brutal WHIP will add him to their roster. Then, when some predetermined percentage of fantasy ownership is reached, Livan Hernandez will revert to being Livan Hernandez. You’ve been warned.