Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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The Kids Are Allright

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Hanley Ramirez owners, you can breathe again. It looks like there's no structural damage in his shoulder and the day-to-day prognosis will hold. This wasn't going to be his best power year anyway, but if you found a way to deal with his reduced production this year, then you can still look forward to better days ahead. At least he's still hitting some home runs and at least he should still steal 30 this year. At shortstop, that's not the worst year ever.

There was other good health news around baseball, too. Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch and his manager was upset about it, but he was back in the lineup Wednesday. Hopefully he'll be fine, because going hitless in five plate appearances with two strikeouts is not his normal day. Troy Tulowitzki injured his finger somehow on a throw, but he was back in the lineup, too. He managed a hit, even. Shin-Soo Choo is ready for batting practice on Thursday! Justin Morneau had batting practice Wednesday. Chipper Jones wants to be back Friday. Roy Oswalt will be back Sunday. Stephen Strasburg will likely begin his rehab stint Sunday. These are (mostly) top-notch names, all getting healthy in time for the stretch run. Smile!

Now it's time to frown. Paul Konerko hasn't rejoined the lineup since being hit Sunday, but he hasn't been ruled out of Thursday's game just yet. He might return soon. Scott Rolen will miss up to six weeks after his arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He'll be useful for two weeks at the most. Kyle Gibson, the Twins top pitching prospect, is headed to Minnesota to have his pitching elbow looked at. Uh-oh.

* Time to recap the relevant pitching performances. First, the good. After a terrible July, Ryan Vogelsong turned things around in his first start in August by holding the Diamondbacks to one run on seven strikeouts in six innings. Being at home means he was a must-start, but as long as his newfound control holds he's useful in most leagues. Charlie Furbush only gave up one run in five innings against the Athletics at home. That's a must-start situation for him, but his strikeout upside (three Wednesday) limits him to selective starting even in AL-only leagues. Doug Fister, his trade partner, is maybe a step above, but not mixed-league material. He held the Rangers to two earned in seven but didn't strike out a single batter. Holding Boston to two earned runs in seven innings (with five strikeouts against three walks) is a great game for Carlos Carrasco. He has upside, but he's also risky until he shows some consistent ability to take advantage of his swinging strikes. Dontrelle Willis held the Astros to two runs in six innings, and you could say, yeah it's the Astros. Except that he keeps getting ground balls. And he only walked one Astro. If he can keep the control up, he might be useful as a spot starter in mixed leagues.

The bad! Edwin Jackson, in his second start for his new team, gave up eight runs on four home runs in seven innings against the Brewers. Since the Cardinals had played 11 the night before, Tony LaRussa left his (possibly rental) starter out to absorb the pain. Jackson is a borderline mixed league pitcher, even with the slight boost his new park and league can give him. Jason Marquis gave up seven runs in four-plus innings, and he's not really a rosterable pitcher in any format right now. Gio Gonzalez was rocked for six runs in 6 1/3 against the Mariners in Seattle, which is surprising given his opponent, but not so surprising given Gio's inconsistency. Matt Harrison has been riding the luck train for a little bit. He gave up four runs in six innings against the Tigers, with three strikeouts against three walks. He's still a good start against the Mariners next, but don't get too comfortable with him. He's just too average everywhere. Joel Pineiro allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 against the Twins and doesn't have the groundball magic anymore either.

* Bull about bullpens: Brad Lidge got a save! Ryan Madson was unavailable because he was with his pregnant wife. Lidge faced the easier portion of the lineup than Antonio Bastardo, but it's interesting that Lidge was chosen for the feat. It's not like the Phillies haven't given up Madson before. Jason Isringhausen got the day off Wednesay to get a breather according to his manager. He's three saves short of 300 and that might be all he gets, as he's been terrible lately. Bobby Parnell is close to taking that job.

* Casey McGehee headlined the work at the plate Wednesday. Three home runs and five RBI against the Cardinals! He made up the difference in a 10-5 game, and since the Brewers did not pick up an improvement at the position, he's a viable bench piece even in mixed leagues, maybe. Derek Jeter had five hits, but look at his batting line now and that's the most you could hope for from a shortstop of his age. Rafael Furcal had two hits (one a home run) with the Cardinals and is probably the best shortstop on your waiver wire mixed league if you're looking for help there. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a walk-off home run against the Indians and you can't be telling the truth if you thought he would hit 18 home runs this year. Jason Kipnis homered for the fourth straight game. He has power, and if you need power on the middle infield, take a shot. Dustin Ackley is safer, and Danny Espinosa has more speed, but Kipnis is starting to show he belongs in that group.

National League Quick Hits: Matt Stairs retired, so he gets the first spot in the dot-dots as an adieu … Rickie Weeks (ankle) is already off his crutches and is walking without a boot, which is good news … Matt Garza has been better than his ERA and he held the Pirates scoreless in seven innings with seven strikeouts to remind us … Josh Johnson (shoulder) played catch for five minutes … Jason Heyward was out of the lineup against a righty, which just doesn't make any sense at all … Ryan Doumit is back, for now … Jordan Lyles gets whiffs, has control, and gets enough groundballs that his first major league victory (three runs in seven innings with three strikeouts against the Reds) should be one of many … Ted Lilly struck out seven and walked one and is still a good play at home … Charlie Morton has been walking a tight rope, but he struck out seven against the Cubs, and that season high holds some promise … Andres Torres returned to the leadoff spot Wednesday (with a hit) and is working with longtime friend Carlos Beltran on his approach at the plate … J.D. Martinez had three hits (one a home run) and could be a decent hitter in deep leagues since he's batting third and should play often and didn't have a ton of obvious flaws in the minor leagues … Todd Frazier hit a home run and is worth a look in deep leagues while he's filling in for Scott Rolen … On the other hand, Yonder Alonso started taking ground balls at third base … Chien-Ming Wang gave up six runs in five innings and is not a play in any league right now.

American League Quick Hits: Alex Rodriguez will be interviewed by the commissioners office for his role in an illegal underground poker game but a suspension doesn't seem imminent … Adrian Beltre (hamstring) ran sprints and took grounders, and the next step is running the bases and a rehab assignment … Desmond Jennings had two hits (one a triple) and is on fire … Michael Brantley (wrist) will miss a couple games to recover from soreness … Michael Cuddyer hit two home runs to continue his surprising season … Howie Kendrick was out of the lineup for the fourth time in 12 games Wednesday night and is not happy about it … Mike Moustakas will also sit out two games to work on his swing … Jed Lowrie (shoulder) had a hit in his second rehab game, but played at DH … A.J. Burnett and Gavin Floyd paired up to allow 17 runs in 6 2/3 innings, and both were borderline mixed leaguers anyway (though Floyd is a step closer to relevancy) … Jeremy Guthrie was about to get through six innings with three runs before he gave up a three-run homer to Billy ButlerJustin Smoak (thumb) may not return for three-to-four days afger being hit by a ground ball … Ryan Raburn had three hits (one a home run) and is a decent spot start middle infielder against left-handers … David DeJesus (thumb) should return to the lineup on Friday … Cliff Pennington (Bell's palsy) is likely to return Friday too … Jake Arrieta may need surgery on his elbow, but not Tommy John.


Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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