No handshakes for a while (USAT)
It's a casual Friday, so load up some bullets and let's see where we go.
• Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen responded well to his previous closer demotion, so perhaps the latest setback isn't going to shake him. You need a short-term memory in this gig, after all.
Interim Mariners skipper Robbie Thompson took the baton away from Wilhelmsen on Friday, one day after The Bartender's first-class meltdown in the ninth at Daisy Buchanan's Fenway Park (two hits, two walks, four runs, no batters retired). There's no obvious Wilhelmsen replacement, and you get the idea Thompson will probably mix-and-match in the ninth inning for the time being. But get out your auditing clipboard and take a look around, nonetheless. We're always looking for another source of handshakes.
Seattle righty Yoervis Medina has the team's best relief numbers for the balance of the year (2.79 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 41 strikeouts in 42 innings), though he's struggled with his control as well (20 walks). Oliver Perez has been a mess since the All-Star Break (3 IP, 10 H, 7 R) and doesn't look like a strong option. Danny Farquhar has an electric strikeout rate to point to (50 whiffs in 33 innings), and his 5.45 ERA belies a respectable 1.33 WHIP. Lefthander Charlie Furbush (3.48/1.14, 62 whiffs in 44 innings) has a shot to enter the mix.
Throw a dart and pick out a name. Where have you gone, Bill Caudill?
• The plan to revive CC Sabathia made sense on paper: give him an extra day of rest, then start him against the unthreatening Padres (in Petco, no less). Alas, it didn't do the hefty lefty one bit of good - Sabathia was soundly knocked around (11 H, 5 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 4 K) en route to his 10th loss of the year. Life with a diminished fastball (it's down to 90.7 mph) isn't working for Sabathia.
Sabathia's yielded 19 runs over his last three turns, and his messy full-season ratios (4.78/1.35) should be enough of a deterrent for mixed-league owners. I can't recommend Sabathia against the White Sox or Angels over the next couple of weeks, and I fully understand if you want to drop him outright in a shallow or medium pool. It's not about the names, it's about the numbers.
Ground-ball specialist (USAT)
Ground-ball specialist (USAT)
If you'd rather grab a lefty streamer for your weekend finish, how about comebacking Scott Kazmir? He was on a run of seven useful turns in a row before last week's minor step back against Chicago (5 IP, 4 ER) and now he's taking dead aim at the user-friendly Marlins. Good work if you can get it. Not many fantasy leagues are moving through Kazmir - he's still ready for free pickup in three-quarters of Yahoo! pools.
Boston's Felix Doubront has an underrated tinge to him - he's allowed three earned runs or less in 14 consecutive turns. His strikeout/walk ratio is still a work in progress (it's barely over 2/1), but I like dialing up the lefty against Arizona - a National League roster that probably has limited experience against him. Fenway Park hasn't been a Doubront problem: he owns a 3.57 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in the Back Bay this year. You can make the add in 72 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen is also worth considering, in advance of a home start against the Mariners. Chen has been on point in his last six assignments (four wins, 10 ER, 6 BB, 24 K) and he's up against ordinary journeyman Joe Saunders, not one of Seattle's two aces. The Baltimore move is available to 59 percent of the Yahoo! crowd.
Atlanta's Alex Wood doesn't get an easy pitcher matchup - up against Cliff Lee, neck pending - but we liked what the young southpaw did against Colorado earlier in the week (7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K). The Phillies offense isn't scaring anyone these days (26th in scoring), especially with Domonic Brown out. Owners need to wake up to Wood; he's ready to add in 96 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• No pickup of a Drew Brother ever goes fully unpunished in our make-believe world of numbers, but I suppose we should note Stephen Drew's bat has woken up of late. Drew had a homer, single and walk in Friday's loss to Arizona, and overall he's reached base nine times over the last three games. Boston uses Drew at the bottom of the lineup, but in that undertow, any position is a good place to be. Go where the runs are. Drew awaits a call in 93 percent of The Y.
• The way Chris Johnson is hitting this year, it's surprising to see him still roaming free in 43 percent of Yahoo! pools. Johnson is up to .347 on the season after another multiple-hit game Friday - that's his eighth in a row. You don't get a lot of category juice with CJ, but a .483 slugging percentage suggests more homers could be on the way (and he went deep Friday).
Johnson's ridiculous .430 BABIP has to be mentioned, of course, but a sparkling 29.5 clip on line drives is also part of the story. There's still room on the bandwagon, amigos. Johnson also qualifies at both of the corner spots, always a nifty selling point.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tom Wilhelmsen