Drew Silva

Baseball Daily Dose

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It's All About The Hamilton

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Rangers own the best record in baseball at 20-10.

And -- with apologies to Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp -- they also have baseball's hottest hitter.

Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton mashed four two-run homers and a double in Tuesday’s 10-3 romping of the Orioles, finishing the night 5-for-5 with eight RBI and an American League-record 18 total bases. He’s just the 16th player in major league history to homer four times in a game and the first since Carlos Delgado accomplished the feat with the Blue Jays back in 2003.

Hamilton has five home runs in his last six plate appearances and is sporting a .406/.458/.840 batting line on the year. The 30-year-old impending free agent undoubtedly had dreams of dollar signs on Tuesday night. And fantasy owners who assumed the injury risk and went ahead and drafted him are reaping serious early rewards.

Thayer The Slayer Goes Back-To-Back

When the Padres placed closer Huston Street on the 15-day disabled list Saturday evening with a right lat strain, the general assumption was that hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Cashner would take over ninth-inning duties. But Cashner allowed four runs on three hits in less than an inning of work Sunday afternoon against the Marlins, temporarily damaging the Friars’ confidence in him. He hasn't made an appearance since.

Which is where mustached 31-year-old righty Dale Thayer enters the picture.

Taking advantage of an up-in-the-air situation out in San Diego, Thayer has earned saves in consecutive victories over the Rockies and has not allowed a run since being promoted from Triple-A Tucson at the end of April.

The good times aren’t meant to last. Thayer is far from a dominant thrower and only has 28 career major league relief appearances on his resume (with a 4.94 career ERA and 5.2 career K/9). But he’s the one getting the Padres’ save chances right now and has converted all two of them, so he’s certainly worth grabbing and starting in mixed fantasy leagues until Street returns from the disabled list later this month.

Robertson Locks Down Ninth-Inning Gig

Thayer might not leave us overly optimistic, but the Yankees’ David Robertson sure does.

The 27-year-old right-hander registered a fantastic 1.08 ERA and 100/35 K/BB ratio across 66-plus innings last season as a setup man for the American League East champs and is now getting a shot at ninth-inning responsibilities in the Bronx with Mariano Rivera (knee) ruled out for the remainder of the 2012 campaign.

Robertson earned his first save of the year on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium after tossing a scoreless ninth inning against the Rays and has now gone 13 frames this season without allowing a single run, earned or unearned. He also boasts a dominant 23 strikeouts against just five walks.

Rafael Soriano may see some ninth-inning action here and there, but Robertson is the guy to own.

National League Quick Hits: Astros closer Brett Myers is a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities thus far … Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran hit two homers and tallied six RBI in Tuesday’s defeat of the Diamondbacks … Ryan Braun is questionable for Wednesday’s matinee against the Reds after aggravating his troublesome Achilles tendon on Tuesday night … Yadier Molina was pulled in the ninth inning Tuesday with a bruised left hand … Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan suffered his first blown save of the season on Tuesday night … Jay Bruce is already up to 10 home runs and 23 RBI … Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster owns a 1.02 ERA and 36/10 K/BB ratio through 35 1/3 innings this season … Omar Infante hit his sixth home run Tuesday night … Bryce Harper batted second for the Nationals on Tuesday … Mets catcher Josh Thole will be idle for at least a week due to a concussion … Marlins ace Anibal Sanchez has a 2.01 ERA and 46/11 K/BB ratio through 40 1/3 innings … Adam LaRoche (oblique) hit a two-run homer in his return to the Nationals’ lineup Tuesday … Drew Pomeranz (quad) is optimistic that he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start … The Padres signed pitchers Kip Wells and Anthony Reyes to minor league contracts … Laynce Nix is day-to-day with a sore calf … Casey Blake has announced his retirement from baseball … The Nationals signed lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez to a minor league deal … Cole Hamels will return from his five-game suspension Sunday against the Padres.

American League Quick Hits: Veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte has been cleared to join the Yankees' starting rotation Sunday against the Mariners … Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks was pulled from Tuesday’s game due to left hamstring tightness … Desmond Jennings (knee) is aiming to return to the Rays’ starting lineup on Wednesday … Alex Avila will be out for at least two games due to renewed soreness in his left knee … New Angels closer Scott Downs (knee) expects to be available on Wednesday … The A’s are skipping Brandon McCarthy on his next turn in the starting rotation because of shoulder soreness … Francisco Cordero blew his third save of the season in ugly fashion Tuesday night, allowing five earned runs while recording only one out against the A’s … The Rays placed Jeff Keppinger on the restricted list because of a personal matter … Billy Butler hit his sixth home run Tuesday and lifted his RBI total to 23 … Twins spot starter Scott Diamond threw seven shutout innings in Tuesday’s defeat of the Angels … Yoenis Cespedes is day-to-day with a sore wrist … Ivan Nova struck out eight Tuesday in a victory over the Rays … White Sox setup man Jesse Crain (oblique) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend … Raul Ibanez launched two home runs in Tuesday’s defeat of the Rays … The Orioles have finalized a minor league contract with Miguel TejadaDenard Span sat out of Tuesday’s game due to general body soreness … Brett Anderson (elbow) is aiming to make a start at extended spring training next week … Eric Stults will remain in the White Sox rotation for at least one more start.

Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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