There are 1,000 stories on any fantasy night. I'm here to tell you a few of them.
• Alex Cobb was born in Boston and he pitches for an AL East club, but the Pacific Time Zone has been good to him. He was on his game in Monday's victory at Seattle (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K), pounding the strike zone early and often and daring the Mariner hitters to beat him. He's now allowed a mere six runs over his last 28 innings (21 strikeouts against just three walks), though it's been primarily built on three road starts in the AL West (at Seattle, at Oakland, at Anaheim). When you're getting ground balls 58.5 percent of the time, good things can happen.
Cobb returns to the OC on the weekend, something you might be interested in, and he'll face the Athletics under the catwalk after that. But I'm not trusting him at Arlington at the end of the month (don't feel bad, kid; I'd bench Cy Young at that place). If you feel like a Cobb Salad, it's ready to order in 84 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Nobody wins friends with salad, but sometimes it can help your place in the standings.
• The Padres bullpen cleaned up nicely in a 4-1 victory at Atlanta, with Luke Gregerson recording an eighth-inning strikeout and Dale Thayer cruising in the ninth (10 pitches, one punchout). There's no reason for Bud Black to deviate from this plan going forward; while Gregerson has more experience and is probably the better pitcher, both late innings are important. Thayer is still unowned in 87 percent of Yahoo! leagues, save chasers.
Eric Stults picked up the San Diego victory, continuing his pitch-to-contact story (7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K). There's no pedigree with Stults and he's not a mixed-league target, but I appreciate him recording a win on the 30th anniversary of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It's a shame Stu Nahan wasn't around to see this. Stults works at home against the Giants this weekend; Mike Damone isn't sold out yet.
• I'm not going to take much from the Mike Fiers meltdown (2 IP, 9 H, 8 R) in Colorado. Coors Field can do it to almost anyone, especially a fly-ball pitcher with a fastball in the high 80s. I have no problem trusting Fiers for his weekend start against Philadelphia, and I like him for the rest of the year in a 3.45/1.24 sort of way. He's still a Circle of Trust guy.
I was more surprised by Ryan Vogelsong's unraveling against the Nationals (2.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 5 K), but I'm definitely giving him a pass as well. It's the first time he's allowed more than four runs in a game, and it's just the third time he's failed to record a quality start. He'll probably make it up to you this weekend at San Diego.
• Back in the Moneyball Era, Eric Chavez looked like a potential Hall of Famer. Big power, nifty glove, likable guy. He was even durable back in the day, logging 151 games or more from 2000-2003. But Chavez's body decided to betray him in the middle of the decade, and it's all he can do to hold on as an extra name in New York these days.
Chavez has been a terrific fill-in for Alex Rodriguez this month, going on a 13-for-28 tear with four homers (including one off Dempster on Monday). When he's healthy enough to play, there is still legitimate pop in this bat (13 homers in 198 at-bats). Alas, we have to mention the two obvious caveats: Chavez doesn't do much against lefties, when he's allowed to face them (2-for-20, nine strikeouts, .689 career OPS), and the health problems never really go away (he had a sore lower back last weekend). The Yankees are up against four lefties in the next five days (Harrison, Holland, Morales, Lester), so it will be interesting to see how much Chavez gets to play. Casey McGehee is around as a capable platoon partner.
• If Ryan Dempster really blocked that trade to Atlanta, he's surely feeling the pangs of regret right now. He was kicked around for nine hits and eight runs in The Bronx on Monday, pushing his AL ERA up to 8.31 over three starts. He's at Toronto for the weekend, not that you want to take the mixed-league chance there. Take off, hoser.
It's a story we've seen time and time again this year, the NL veteran getting his comeuppance against the hitter-friendly league. Roy Oswalt hasn't fooled anyone (he's now banished to the Rangers bullpen), and Anibal Sanchez has been a flop in Detroit (7.97 ERA over four turns). Dempster and Sanchez are free agents after the year, so they can return to the pitcher-friendly environment if they choose to. If the landing area is safe, you'll want to have a short memory next March.
• The Stream Police, they live inside of my head. Here's a look-ahead at the pitching form.
Green light for Wednesday: Paul Maholm (59 percent) against San Diego, Brandon McCarthy (52 percent) at Kansas City. Yellow light: Joe Saunders (14 percent) at St. Louis, Wandy Rodriguez (65 percent) against Los Angeles, Mike Leake (10 percent) against New York, Justin Germano (one percent) versus Houston. Red Light: Miguel Gonzalez (seven percent) versus Boston, Edinson Volquez (53 percent) at Atlanta, Bud Norris (34 percent) at Chicago, Ervin Santana (42 percent) anywhere.
Fantasy Advice from the Always-Zesty Yahoo! Fantasy Minute