Eno Sarris

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Injury Never Takes a Holliday

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You'd think that all the injuries could just stop for a week. One week. One dang week. Then maybe you could win that playoff matchup in that league, right?

Well, no. They won't stop. Matt Holliday felt something tear in his finger but the team will shut him down for four-to-five days first and then see what happens. If you're in the middle of a crazy playoff matchup, you might want to drop him. Five days from now the Cards might not even be in the hunt for the wild card. If you're in a keeper league, try to sell him this offseason for anything you can. The speed is gone, and he was never an elite power guy. It might not get much better than his 2011 from here on out.

Other injuries leave us waiting. How about Nelson Cruz, who was activated, but has no timetable for returning to the starting lineup? That's the definition of frustrating. Samesies with Troy Tulowitzki, who will be out 'a few days' with that soreness in his hip. Or Adrian Gonzalez, who hit his 26th but left the game with his ongoing calf injuries. With the Rays streaking, they'll probably ask him to play a little more than he might otherwise. Rafael Furcal strained his knee Wednesday but is expected to return Friday. Adam Jones has missed most of the past week with his thumb injury, but expects to be back Friday. Brett Lawrie had a big collision with Jason Varitek at the plate and came out of the game later with a knee contusion. He didn't grab anything in pain after the play and is listed as day-to-day, though. Alex Rodriguez should return from his thumb problem Friday, says his manager.

* Now that we're talking one or two more starts left for pitcher, the conversation can get distilled down to the purest form. John Lackey gave up two runs in 5 1/3 against the Blue Jays at home. That might not be so interesting, even if he struck out four against one walk, but Lackey gets Baltimore at home and away for the final two starts. He might be a sneaky play for those two games. Bud Norris has been better all year, and held the Phillies to one run in seven innings, but still lost. If wins are your goal, you have to ask yourself if he can beat the Reds in Cincinnati or the Rockies at home. Rich Harden was given eight days of rest and gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels, and that's worrisome on a whole bunch of levels. 1) He gave up three runs to a mediocre offense. 2) He rested eight days and still couldn't do better than one strikeout. 3) Since he rested eight days, we have no idea when his next start will be. Jason Vargas held the Yankees to just one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings (with six strikeouts and one walk), but that was at home. Even though he gets the mediocre Twins offense next time out, it won't be at happen. Stream at your own peril.

Youth is getting a chance at the mound right now. Dylan Axelrod struck out eight Tigers Wednesday in his first major league start. He didn't have great ground-ball rates in the minor leagues and relies mostly on control, so he's a deep-league spot-start right now. The Rays called up Alex Torres to join Matt Moore in the pen, but there's no talk of giving either starts just yet. Moore made his debut Wednesday by allowing two runs while getting four outs, but he did strike out two. Randall Delgado gave up one run in five innings against the Marlins Wednesday, and has surprisingly moved ahead of ueber-prospect Julio Teheran. He struck out four, walked two, and gets the Marlins again next week. Keep him for that one, but starting him against the Phillies in the final week might not be a great idea. Brad Peacock made his first major league start Wednesday, and allowed only two hits in five scoreless against the Mets. But it was the Mets, he walked more than he struck out. He's as risky as any, and if the schedule holds he'll get the Phillies in Philadelphia next time out. That's probably an avoid.

* Carlos Beltran headlined the play at the plate Wednesday. His two solo home runs were literally enough offense for Tim Lincecum as the team won 3-1. He's finally healthy, but injuries will continue to be an issue the rest of his career. Miguel Montero had a couple hits and his 81st RBI. He's put together the kind of season we thought he could with a healthy year. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a home run Wednesday night, but he'll need to cut his strikeout rate a little in 2012 to be a mixed-leaguer. Chris Davis took Wade Davis out, and also added a double later. He's still striking out way too much to hit much better than the .250 he's got going now. Matt Joyce had two hits with a double and has real power. The problem is that he's a platooner most likely, which means it's hard to give him much more than a bench spot in mixed leagues.

* The bullpen update seems to get smaller as the season progresses. But we still have something. Sergio Santos blew a save and it was his fifth. His manager has also used Chris Sale in a lot of save chances this year. It probably doesn't mean a change is coming anyway. Jason Motte struck out two and picked up his sixth save Wednesday. He's a lock the rest of the way. Brian Wilson will throw again Wednesday and could come back for a couple of appearances at the end of the season. We'll admit we thought that Sergio Romo was the man in his absence, but Santiago Casilla got the save Wednesday afternoon. Huh. Joakim Soria is nursing a tight hamstring, and Greg Holland got the save on Wednesday. That's two surprises out of no-where, and another waiver wire pickup for saves.

If you want to talk to me about any of this, hit me up on the twitter.

National League Quick Hits: Tommy Hanson (shoulder) threw a second bullpen session and might yet make a start this season … Johnny Cueto was pitching well, but then he grabbed his side and now has a strained right lat; He's probably done for the year … Add Jonathan Sanchez (ankle) to the list of players that are done for the season … Chase Headley (finger) wants to return for the final homestead of the season, which starts September 23rd … Mike Pelfrey allowed two unearned runs against the Nationals with six strikeouts in seven innings, but predicting his good starts is nigh impossible … You can drop Todd Helton since he's missed six of seven and then left Tuesday's game when his back tightened back up again … Andre Ethier had his season-ending knee surgery Wednesday … The Mets' Chris Schwinden will be in the rotation the rest of the year, and will start Thursday for Miguel Batista, but his stuff is not front-of-the-rotation caliber … Kevin Millwood held the Brewers to two runs on six baserunners in Milwaukee and gets the Padres at home in a decent deeper league spot start … Johan Santana (shoulder) backed out of his scheduled rehab start and is a lock to miss the entire year now.

American League Quick Hits: Derek Holland allowed one run in seven innings and struck out six against the Indians -- he gets the A's next time out and should be a strong spot start … Whoah, Jeremy Guthrie struck out ten Rays in seven innings while holding them to two runs but he gets the Red Sox in Boston next time out, so drop him and stream on anyway … Colby Rasmus should be back Friday … Erik Bedard (lat) did some light tossing and has to wait until he is pain-free to ramp it up … Ivan Nova held the Mariners to one run in 7 1/3 innings in Seattle, and even if he walked four he makes a good spot start against the Rays next time out … Wade Davis gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings against the O's, so don't play him against the Yankees next time out … Coco Crisp seems to be perpetually hurting; His foot and ankle might let him take some swings soon … Yunel Escobar (elbow) will miss the next few according to his manager … Jed Lowrie is probably a dropper since he's really just pinch-hitting and had to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder … Justin Smoak was pulled from the game Wednesday with a mild groin strain … Former pitcher Adam Loewen got the start in center field and had two run-scoring hits, and then two bad outs on the basepaths and an error in center … Carlos Guillen homered and delivered the go-ahead RBI in the 10th, but he still doesn't look like the starter at second base in Detroit … Carlos Carrasco underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday and will probably be out for all of 2012.

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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