Over the weekend, New York traveled to hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park to face the following starters: Rodrigo Lopez(notes), Jamie Moyer(notes) and Joe Blanton(notes). Under normal circumstances, that's a recipe for an epic run-scoring binge.
But the Mets have something like $7 billion worth of players on the DL right now, so the circumstances aren't completely normal. They scored a total of three runs in the series. Blanton threw 7.1 shutout innings today, lowering his ERA from 5.08 to 4.69. Here's the lineup he faced:
Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran(notes) won't return until after the break, and the best-case scenario for Carlos Delgado(notes) seems to be early-August. The fantasy advice is clear: Pick on the Mets whenever possible while they're such a sad mess, wherever they play. Clayton Kershaw(notes), Hiroki Kuroda(notes) and Randy Wolf(notes) get 'em next.
Please enjoy a few unexploded Festival Balls and a Pads-A's trade in a post-holiday Closing Time...
• San Diego dealt Scott Hairston(notes) (10 HR, 8 SB, .299) to Oakland on Sunday for pitchers Ryan Webb, Craig Italiano and a PTBNL who's reportedly the key to the deal. It's a trade that deserves its own blog post, and that's what it will get shortly. Here's the abbreviated version: Not incredibly meaningful for mixed league Hairston owners; somewhat scary if you've invested in Adrian Gonzalez(notes). We shouldn't need to tell you to pursue Hairston in A.L.-only.
• Ricky Nolasco(notes) brought the excellence in an eight-inning 12-K win over the Bucs. (Highlights). Leo Nunez(notes) pitched the ninth in a 5-0 game, one day after Dan Meyer(notes) earned a save. That's a committee, not a dictatorship.
Martin Prado(notes) went 4-for-4 on Sunday, and he's 15-for-27 with eight doubles since June 30. The second base gig is all his. He's a career .308/.366/.453 hitter over 539 major league plate appearances, so don't simply write him off as a dude on a mini-streak. The Braves don't have an off-day before the break, and they'll visit two great hitting environments (at CHC, at COL). Give Prado a test-drive.
"It's a strain," he said. "I'm getting an MRI. That's all I have to say."
• We mention Alfredo Aceves'(notes) four-inning save because it's odd and impressive, not because it signals anything to fantasy owners. Hideki Matsui(notes) has now homered in three of his last four games. He's just 39 percent-owned in the PLUS game, following an interleague-related mass dropping.
• Gio Gonzalez(notes) finally delivered one of those Double-A pitching lines against a major league opponent. The 23-year-old lefty held the Tribe to six hits and two runs over six innings while striking out eight. The K-potential is clear, but you can't touch him against the Rays in his next start.
• Colby Rasmus(notes) hit his 10th home run of the season today. It was a first inning shot off Bronson Arroyo(notes). Rasmus was asked to bunt (classic La Russa), but failed. He's up to .282 on the year.
• Brandon Morrow(notes) put up a respectable line in a no-decision against the Red Sox on Sunday: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Considering the degree of difficulty, you have to feel encouraged. Check the tape, via the M's site. Morrow hit 97 mph on the inning-ending strikeout of Ortiz, and 98 when he K'd Bay.• Mark Reynolds(notes) broke up Ubaldo's no-hitter with authority. (Highlight. Boom. Crushed). He gets this blog's full support in the Final Vote. Reynolds is second in the league in home runs (24), third in RBIs (61) and 12th in year-to-date Yahoo! fantasy rank. The N.L. will have to add Kemp and/or Victorino anyway, due to the Beltran and Ibanez injuries.
• Jonathan Broxton(notes) put up an ugly line on All-Star announcement day (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), but he was squeezed, and Everth Cabrera's(notes) game-tying single just snuck through. Nothing to fret about there. Gameday had one of Broxton's pitches at 102 mph and everything else at 98 to 100. The lesson: You can
always never count the Pads out, no matter the score.
• One more thought on the lightly owned Cabrera: He keeps hitting (.299 for the season) and he's swiped four bags. Cabrera stole 73 bases at Single-A last year, so the speed is real.
• Nick Blackburn(notes), staff ace. Hmm. He went the distance in a 6-2 win over Detroit, lowering his ERA to 2.94. He struck out six Tigers today, but he entered with a K/9 of just 3.77. If he were mine to sell, he'd be gone. If you're bullish, please state your case in comments.
• Late addition: The Rangers activated Josh Hamilton(notes), optioning Chris Davis(notes) to Triple-A. Davis himself said, "It was only a matter of time," so this is no huge shock. He was hitting just .201 and his OPS was .674.
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