Patrick Daugherty

Baseball Daily Dose

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Tulo's Travails

Thursday, June 21, 2012

That’s one way to distract the fans from your new four-man rotation.

One day after the Rockies unveiled their curious plan to let four starters throw 75 pitches every fourth day, they announced superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki requires groin surgery, and will miss a minimum of six weeks. The operation will take place this morning.  

The news is a killshot to a season that already lay dying, and again clouds the future of one of baseball’s most talented but seemingly fragile players. The surgery will be the first of Tulo’s career, but the DL-stint is his fourth in five years. Of a possible 715 games since 2008, he’s appeared in just 564.

For fantasy owners, the news is more of the same. Of the top 12 players by ADP this season, four have missed significant time. The other three — Matt Kemp, Jacoby Ellsbury and Evan Longoria — are all likely to return sometime in July, but Tulo is nearly certain to be sidelined into August. With the Rox season sure to be long in the tank by then, there will be little reason to rush back roto’s top shortstop.

Marco Scutaro — who has come alive in June following a rough April and May — will continue to man short while Tulo is out, with D.J. LeMahieu holding down second.  

Nothing if Not Enigmas

On May 30, Francisco Liriano was at a career crossroads while Justin Masterson was putting the finishing touches on his second consecutive disappointing month.

Flash forward three weeks, and we have two pitchers who have rediscovered relevancy. The question is, for how long?

The owner of an 8.47 ERA and 30/26 K/BB ratio through 34 innings entering his undeserved return to the rotation last month, Liriano has turned things around to a degree even his mother probably didn’t think was possible. Through five starts and 30 1/3 innings, he’s posted a 2.67 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 35/12 K/BB ratio.  

Yes, he’s recorded more than 18 outs just once, and issued three or more walks twice, but there’s really been very little to quibble about with Liriano’s return. Liriano has had a maddening tendency of following up apparent progress with profound disappointment throughout his career, but he should be owned in all leagues for the time being. His next chance to keep the wave going will come Monday at home against the White Sox.   

Justin Masterson

Masterson hasn’t just turned things around — he’s been dominant. Buoyed by his fourth career complete game Wednesday, Masterson is now 2-2 with a 1.24 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 27/6 K/BB ratio across four June starts and 29 innings.

This, after a near total inability to retire lefties left him with a 5.14 ERA and 1.49 WHIP entering the season’s third month. Masterson is still eminently hittable against southpaws, but if his June is any indication, not to the degree that he can’t be a functioning, above-average starter.

He’ll have his hands full on Tuesday, where he’ll be tasked with containing the Yankees’ stable of lefty thunder in hitter-friendly New York.

Officially Beached

One of the feel-good stories of 2012 wrote its ugly closing chapter on Wednesday. Four days after leaving his Saturday start against the Orioles with left elbow soreness, Brandon Beachy officially learned he needed Tommy John surgery.

By now, you likely knew that Beachy’s 2.00 ERA was tied for the MLB lead, but that it was also unlikely he’d keep it up thanks to his unsustainable (and league leading) .197 BABIP.

But what you should also know is that, exceedingly good fortune or not, Beachy is one heck of a good young pitcher. You don’t post a 3.07 ERA and 252/82 K/BB ratio through your first 237 2/3 career innings by accident.   

Still three months shy of his 26th birthday, Beachy should return stronger than ever.

Game Notes: Jered Weaver (back) tossed six shutout innings in his return from the disabled list. … Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in his. … David Ortiz hit his 11th career grand slam. … Tommy Milone pitched his first career complete game, while Jake Westbrook tossed his 14th. … Speaking of Milone, he’s now the owner of a 0.99 home ERA and...7.42 road mark. You know what to do in fantasy leagues. … Edwin Encarnacion homered for the third time in three games. … Ryan Vogelsong tossed his 10th straight quality start, completing seven innings of work for the ninth time in 10 outings. … Gavin Floyd turned in his first quality start in seven outings. … Stephen Strasburg retook the major-league strikeout lead. … Yu Darvish went eight in San Diego. … The Diamondbacks and Mariners combined for eight home runs. Franklin Gutierrez hit one of them. … Phil Hughes allowed four home runs in 4 1/3 innings.  

American League Short Hops: Joe Mauer (quad) and Dustin Pedroia (thumb) both sat out. Pedroia will supposedly play this evening. Mauer remains day-to-day. … Brett Lawrie left Toronto’s loss to the Brewers with right knee soreness, but doesn’t expect to miss any playing time. The Jays have an off-day today. … Roy Oswalt will make his Rangers debut Friday against the Rockies. ... Jesse Litsch (biceps) is done for the season. … Matt Joyce (back) is day-to-day. … Jose Valverde (sprained wrist) is day-to-day, but unlikely to pitch this weekend. … John Danks (shoulder) could rejoin the White Sox rotation soon after the All-Star break. … Jerome Williams (asthma) landed on the disabled list. It will likely be a minimum stay. … Derek Holland (shoulder) is hoping to return July 1.    

National League Short Hops: Justin Upton left Arizona’s win over the Mariners with a calf cramp. He’s expected to be fine for Friday’s game. … Lucas Duda is day-to-day with a “tight” hamstring. … Anthony Bass became the latest Padres starter to go down, leaving his outing against the Rangers with right shoulder inflammation. His status should be updated this afternoon. … X-rays of Allen Craig’s wrist came back negative following a scare in the outfield.     

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

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