D.J. Short

Baseball Daily Dose

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Knuckle Up

Friday, August 10, 2012

Some speculated that R.A. Dickey's magical season was ready to go up in smoke after he stumbled through most of July. Well, hopefully some fantasy owners were able to take advantage of the brief window to buy low.

Dickey bolstered his Cy Young case Thursday afternoon by going the distance in a 6-1 victory over the Marlins. The knuckleballer struck out 10 and walked none and has allowed two earned runs or less while going at least seven innings in each of his last three starts.

We still have over seven weeks left in the season, so there's plenty of time for other candidates to emerge as a front-runner, but Dickey's case for the hardware is pretty solid at the moment. The 37-year-old currently ranks fourth in the National League in ERA (2.72) and first in wins (15), strikeouts (166), WHIP (1.00), innings pitched (162 1/3 innings), complete games (three) and shutouts (two-tied).

We could actually see Dickey pitch more often down the stretch, as Mets manager Terry Collins hinted Thursday that he hasn't ruled out using him on short rest in September if it will help boost his Cy Young chances.

Meeting Machado

There was a considerable buzz in the air at Camden Yards on Thursday evening for Manny Machado's major league debut. While the Royals spoiled it by knocking Wei-Yin Chen around for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings, Machado showed flashes of what makes him one of the most highly-regarded position prospects in the game.

Machado, who started at third base and batted ninth, went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. The 20-year-old grounded out to shortstop in his first at-bat before collecting his first major league hit with an opposite-field triple and scoring on a sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis. He later beat out a slow roller to second base for an infield hit.

Machado is a shortstop by trade, but he looked pretty comfortable at third base on Thursday after making just two starts there in the minors. He's expected to play nearly every day at the hot corner while Wilson Betemit, Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis shuffle between first base and designated hitter.

My expectations from a fantasy perspective are pretty modest in the short-term, as Machado was hitting .266/.352/.438 with 11 homers, 59 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .789 OPS through 109 games with Double-A Bowie this year. Those are solid numbers for someone in their age-19 season, but growing pains are to be expected in his first exposure to the majors. Machado is shortstop-eligible, which makes him interesting if you're hurting for options in deeper mixed formats, but just keep expectations in check.

Fiers Headed for Shutdown?

My colleague Drew Silva wrote about Michael Fiers' surprising rookie campaign in Wednesday's Daily Dose, but it turns out he may not be there for crunch time in many fantasy leagues. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke confirmed to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Thursday that the club is currently monitoring Fiers' workload for a possible shutdown.

Fiers has an outstanding 1.80 ERA and 80/16 K/BB ratio through 12 starts and one relief appearance since being called up from the minors at the end of May. However, the 27-year-old right-hander has already logged 135 innings this season between the majors and minors, more than his previous career-high of 126 innings last season between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

Haudricourt writes that the Brewers are reluctant to have their developing starters pitch more than 20-30 percent above their total from the previous season. If Fiers is allowed to reach the high-end of that estimate, that would put him in the range of 35 additional innings this season. He has averaged just under seven innings in his 12 starts, so we could be looking at about five more starts and a shutdown in the early part of September. Enjoy him while you still can. Or better yet, find a trading partner.

NL Quick Hits: Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with High-A San Jose … Adam Wainwright tossed seven innings of one-run ball in Thursday's win over the Giants … Jordan Zimmermann notched a season-high 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings Thursday in a win over the Astros … Jason Kubel clubbed his 24th and 25th homers in Thursday's win over the Pirates … Mike Morse homered twice and knocked in three runs Thursday … Matt Garza (elbow) is still hopeful of returning this season … Jaime Garcia allowed five runs over six innings Thursday in his latest rehab start with Double-A Springfield … Shaun Marcum (elbow) will make his first minor league rehab start Friday with Class A Wisconsin after Thursday's game was rained out … Carlos Lee is interested in returning to the Marlins next season … Alfonso Soriano clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer in Thursday's win over the Reds … The Astros acquired infielder Tyler Greene from the Cardinals on Thursday and optioned struggling outfielder J.D. Martinez to Triple-A Oklahoma City … Bobby Abreu has accepted a minor league assignment with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate …

AL Quick Hits: Brett Lawrie was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a strained oblique … Evan Longoria started his third straight game Thursday and went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI … Jason Kipnis was scratched from Thursday's lineup due to neck stiffness … Billy Butler finished a single short of the cycle in Thursday's win over the Orioles … Andrew Bailey (thumb) pitched a scoreless inning of relief Thursday in his latest rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket … Ubaldo Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 while allowing three runs over six innings Thursday in a win over the Red Sox … Luke Scott (oblique) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with High-A Port Charlotte … Travis Hafner was placed on the disabled list Thursday with lower back stiffness … Matt Moore gave up one run over six innings in a win over the Blue Jays on Thursday and has a 2.92 since the end of May … The Indians released Johnny Damon and Jeremy Accardo on Thursday … The Red Sox have reportedly signed Scott Podsednik to a major league deal and plan to send Ryan Kalish to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for him on the active roster …

D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
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