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Closing Time: Chris Carter hits a moonshot; Jose Valverde shuts the door

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Chris Carter gets a post-homer handshake (Getty Images)

Everybody enjoys mammoth home runs, right?

Of course they do.

Take a look at this blast off the bat of Houston's Chris Carter, and tell me that wasn't one of the deepest, baddest, loudest homers in recent memory. Ridiculous. That thing was destroyed.

It's tough to identify the ball's impact area in the clip above, but the in-stadium eyewitness accounts had it hitting the top of one of those upper billboards in left, a zillion feet away from home plate. (Officially 440, but c'mon.) The homer was Carter's fifth of the year. He's cleared the fence 21 times over his last 295 big league at-bats, dating back to his call-up last June.

Carter remains available in 77 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and I can understand some of the reasons you've been reluctant to ride the bandwagon. For one thing, it's a bandwagon headed for a .240-ish batting average. Carter is a strikeout machine, a career .268 hitter at Triple-A. And the Astros' lineup isn't necessarily stacked with talent. There are issues here.

[Also: Yu Darvish reminiscent of MLB pitching legend]

But Carter has serious power — his best single-season homer total in the minors was 39 — so it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he topped 30 this year, assuming good health. If you can manage around a few (dozen) 0-for-3s, then make the add.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson isn't bumping JJ Putz from the ninth, despite the recent results. But you'll note that Wednesday's vote of confidence wasn't loaded with flattery:

"His split isn't very good right now," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.[...]

"His command is not as good as it has been in the past, so he's going to try and clean some stuff up. It's more about location for him at this point in his career."

Putz was unavailable on Wednesday so David Hernandez handled the save-blowing, allowing a game-tying homer to Brandon Crawford. It appears that Hernandez is still the appropriate handcuff here, although Heath Bell also lurks. Matt Reynolds earned a rogue save on Wednesday, cleaning up in the tenth.

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McLouth makes a leap (USAT Images)

Nate McLouth reached base four times for the O's on Wednesday, scoring three of the team's five runs and driving in another. He swiped a bag, too, his fifth of the year. Fantasy owners have largely ignored McLouth (5 percent owned), but he's batting lead-off for a not-terrible team and hitting .293. I'm interested.

[Also: Fantasy: Which struggling L.A. outfielder will have the better season?]

Dustin Ackley has been mostly terrible this season, until very recently. He went -3-for-4 on Wednesday, his second three-hit game in the Houston series. So the demotion threat-level has been dialed down, for now.

The M's have decided to rearrange other infield deck chairs, however, sending Brendan Ryan (bad at hitting) to the bench in favor of Robert Andino (also bad). You have to imagine a mid-season Nick Franklin call-up is inevitable. Franklin, 22, is hitting .325/.449/.500 for Triple-A Tacoma with two homers and three steals. He entered the season as a top-100 prospect in pretty much everyone's ranks, and his stock certainly hasn't lost value this month.

If you're looking for additional homer porn, check the missile launched by Todd Frazier, accounting for the only run in Cincinnati's win over the Cubs. Goodness. Crushed. As with the Carter blast, the camera couldn't even capture the landing spot.

Jose Quintana's streak of scoreless innings finally ended at 18.2, but he picked up a win against the Tribe on Wednesday. He went 5.0 innings, worked out of jams, struck out three batters, and generally pleased anyone who streamed him. Still, I'm afraid you have to continue to view him as a spot play in mixers, not an every-start guy. Quintana's next turn should be next week at Texas, which clearly isn't the friendliest pitching environment.

Edward Mujica is now officially reliable enough that we don't even need to acknowledge his saves in Closing Time anymore. This is his last bullet for awhile. He pitched a clean frame against the bottom of the Nats' order on Wednesday, collecting his fourth save. If you snagged him last week, well played.

Roy Halladay deserved a better result than what he got on Wednesday, as he pitched 6.0 solid innings in a no-decision vs. Pittsburgh. Halladay yielded just one hit, two walks and one run, striking out eight. He whiffed the side in the first after allowing a lead-off walk. Roy has now given us three straight quality efforts, and he has an appealing two-start week on deck (at CLE, vs. MIA). Enjoy responsibly.

Brandon League owners, you guys had to know a blown save was coming, right? It happens. Shake it off. It's not like you didn't know you were drafting a sketchy closer. League allowed a two-out game-tying single to David Wright in the ninth on Wednesday, then Jordany Valdespin walked us off in the tenth with a grand slam. And then this tremendous post-game interview happened.

Jose Valverde and his two-tone goatee made their 2013 debut on Wednesday...

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...and, naturally, Papa Grande recorded a 1-2-3 save against the Royals. Outs number 1 and 3 were warning track shots, but let's not dwell on the details. A save is a save is a save, right?

Sleep well, Detroit.

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