Tag Archives: Kansas City Royals

Brandon Webb: 9-1

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
(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).

Elsewhere

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.

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Interleague Roundup: Reds, Mets, White Sox Sweep

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kansas City at Florida It didn’t even take a winning team to reveal the Marlins’ flaws. The Royals took two of three from the NL East-leading Marlins, knocking their division lead down to one game. Zack Greinke notched his 8th quality start, tying Brandon Webb and 5 others for the MLB lead.

Cleveland at Cincinnati Cliff Lee was finally defeated by Edinson Volquez and the red hot Reds. Joey Votto delivered the KO with a pinch hit home run in the 6th.

Milwaukee at Boston The Red Sox completed their sweep of the Brewers in an eight home run slugfest. David Ortiz and Ryan Braun hit two each, and have clearly put their early season slumps behind them. Josh Beckett gave up 6 runs, all driven in by home runs, but still struck out 9 and got the win.

Pittsburgh at Chicago For only the second time in the last seven days, Alfonso Soriano failed to hit even a single home run. The Cubs still managed to beat the Pirates 4-3, and my favorite middle reliever, Carlos Marmol, bounced back from yesterday’s loss by striking out the side for his 11th hold.

Chicago at San Francisco The White Sox won their 5th straight against the Giants Sunday, and made many fantasy baseball managers feel pretty smart. This was one of the most obvious series for streaming pitchers, and anyone who put up Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle, or John Danks against the less-than-intimidating Giants lineup should congratulate themselves, but not expect the same production next week against the Indians and Angels.

Detroit at Arizona Randy Johnson pitched seven shutout innings against the Tigers for his 288th career victory. 300 isn’t looking so far off anymore, if (and it’s a big if) Johnson can stay healthy.

New York at New York The Mets completed their two-game sweep of the last-place Yankees and handed Chien- Ming Wang his second straight loss. Power came from the less likely sources, as Jose Reyes and Ryan Church both went deep, while Carlos Delgado was robbed of a home run by a bad call at the left field foul pole. Reyes, besides the sudden power, had his second straight two-hit game and may finally be coming out of a slump that dates back to last September. The struggling Yankees have reason to be optimistic — Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to rejoin the team Tuesday.

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Fantasy Baseball: Pitchers to Target

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Joakim Soria – (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
If you haven’t already begun the process, it’s time to start making trade offers in your fantasy league, and not just of the buy-low / sell-high variety. You should of course be targeting proven commodities that are under-performing, but there are a ton of previously underrated or just under-the-radar players that everyone is just assuming are playing over their heads. Every year a couple hot starts turn into career years — Fausto Carmona in 2007, Justin Verlander in 2006. I’ve broken down trade targets (or pickup options, depending on the depth of your league) into two categories — those pitchers whose value may be at its low point due to a few rough outings, and those pitchers whose numbers appear to be too good to be true, and need to be targeted accordingly. Remember, in both cases perception of interest is key — if your potential trade partner has a couple of hot pitchers, say Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, make a somewhat low offer for Lincecum, and in the counteroffer process, grudgingly say you’d be willing to take Lee, whose hot start is obviously unsustainable, because you need pitching badly enough to take the risk. Point to his messy start against the Reds on Sunday as proof that he’s falling back to Earth. If you can get him in a one-for-one deal, say a premier closer or a Spring hitter like Youkilis, or more fairly a solid one-dimensional hitter like Adam Dunn, then pull the trigger. Six straight wins and an ERA and WHIP under 1 don’t happen through sheer luck — Lee is healthy, has great control, and at 29 seems to be hitting his stride.

Buy Low / They’re Only Going to Get Better

Johan Santana — How, you may ask, is Santana a buy-low candidate? He’s 5-2 with a 3.30 ERA, .229 BAA, and 1.12 WHIP. Not too shabby. Except anxious fantasy owners look at Brandon Webb’s 9 wins, at Edinson Volquez’s sub-2.00 ERA, at Ryan Dempster’s .172 BAA, and at Ervin Santana’s 1.01 WHIP, and wonder why their first-round draft pick is being out-performed by not just second-round pitchers like Webb, but undrafted rookies and has-beens. The difference is that Santana is only going to get better (see his career splits), while all of the pitchers above (except, perhaps, Webb) will inevitably regress towards the league average. If anyone is souring on Santana, or just feeling that he is unnecessary on a staff featuring the likes of Lee, Volquez, and/or Ervin Santana, then by all means pursue him.

Dustin McGowan — Burnett and Halladay are the most familiar names in the Toronto rotation, and Shaun Marcum is the least hittable of late, and for those reasons, McGowan should be the best bargain. He pitches efficiently and with good control, but has struggled a bit so far to a 2-3 record with a 4.38 ERA. His high .338 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) compared to his low HR/9 of 0.58 shows that bad luck has been a factor in his results. Only twice in 9 starts has he allowed more than 3 earned runs. Go after him now before the memory of last month’s 9-run pounding by the Indians fades.

Justin Verlander — He’s 1-6 with an ERA just over 6. He’s not hurt, his stuff is still great, and his run support has to improve. It may be too late for Verlander to win 20 games or the Cy Young, as many of us anticipated, but 10 wins from here on out is still pretty good production and not unthinkable if he can just get his mechanics straightened out. There’s some risk here, but that’s why you should be able to get him at a deep discount.

Buy High / They’re More Real Than You Think

Joakim Soria — His numbers so far are unbelievable: 17 saves, 1.04 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, .088 BAA. Everything except the saves look very real. Kansas City probably won’t continue to give Soria save opportunities at this rate, but with Greinke and Bannister looking like legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, that drop-off won’t be as severe as some may think. Even correcting for the team he plays for, Soria should quietly be a top-five closer this year. His ratios are outstanding, and if you can find an owner nervous about having a closer on a losing team, see if he’ll bite on Jon Lester.

Cliff Lee — As I said above, his numbers are too good to ignore or write off as a fluke. He’s locked in, and as long as the Tigers struggle, the AL Central is a pretty cushy place to pitch.

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