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Closing Time: A double-dip for Michael Brantley

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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The Indians and Rangers were rained out Monday, which means we'll get two chances to watch Michael Brantley(notes) do his thing at the top of the Cleveland order Tuesday. Brantley is off to a 9-for-23 start since joining the big club, and his one lone walk is balanced out by a mere two strikeouts. He hasn't run a lot yet in the bigs (one steal, one caught stealing) but the bags could start to fall at any time; he's been given the green light to run by manager Eric Wedge and he was 45-for-50 on the bases with Triple-A Columbus. In any medium and deep mixed league, Brantley is a speciality player of interest.

Tampa Bay's defense of the American League pennant essentially ended on Monday, as the Rays took three kicks to the gut – a doubleheader sweep to the Yanks and the loss of slugging Carlos Pena(notes) (two broken fingers on hand; he's done for the season). The significance of the Pena injury can't be understated; he was on a mad power run over the last five weeks, collecting 13 homers and 33 RBIs over his last 110 at-bats, he's a plus defender and he's considered the team leader in the clubhouse, too. Willy Aybar(notes) got the first-base assignment in Monday's second game, for what it's worth; like most teams, Tampa Bay has a host of possible fits for that position.

Franklin Morales(notes) worked around two Cincinnati hits Monday and grabbed his fourth save in six days. With that workload in mind, don't be surprised if the lefty gets a day off Tuesday, no matter what the game situation looks like. Huston Street(notes) (biceps) did some light throwing Monday and hopes to get back on the field for the weekend series with San Diego.

Another smooth day for the Brad Penny(notes) reinvention tour as he tossed seven strong against the woeful Padres (3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K). He'll get a better challenge when he faces the Dodgers in his next two starts.

The Cardinals wanted to get Ryan Franklin(notes) some rest this week and Chris Carpenter(notes) was happy to do his part, dominating at Milwaukee with a 99-pitch classic (1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K, here's the video evidence). Where would you put Carpenter on your Cy Young ballot today? He's only been able to make 24 starts after his early-season oblique injury, but a 16-3 record, 2.16 ERA, 0.97 WHIP has to put him near the top of the argument.

Injury Blog: Ryan Braun has a sore shoulder and Mike Cameron(notes) (hamstring) won't play for at least three more days, but at least the Brewers are expecting Corey Hart(notes) back Tuesday. … Josh Hamilton(notes) (back) won't return until the weekend at earliest; he had another injection Monday. … J.A. Happ(notes) (oblique) was scratched from his scheduled turn at Houston and given Philadelphia's place in the standings, there's no need to rush him back. … Mark DeRosa(notes) (back) sat out for the third straight game. … Freddy Sanchez(notes) (shoulder) got back to work and had a couple of hits for the Giants. … Troy Tulowitzki(notes) left Monday's game with a sore back. Sticking with the Rockies, Dexter Fowler(notes) (knee) has completed his three-game rehab hitch and might be able to go Tuesday. … Gordon Beckham(notes) (oblique) should be able to return Wednesday. … Clayton Kershaw(notes) (shoulder) has already been scratched from his scheduled Friday turn. Kerhsaw suffered the injury in a bizarre manner, running into an auxiliary scoreboard while shagging fly balls during batting practice on the weekend.

Speed Round: Andy Sonnanstine(notes) remains a donation to American League batters; the Yanks got him for eight runs in 2.2 innings. … The Royals will give Zack Greinke(notes) a couple of extra days of rest after working him for 125 pitches Saturday. … Brad Evans would like you to note that Billy Butler(notes) whacked a couple of homers Monday. … Chris Young ripped another homer, giving him four in two days. … Carlos Marmol(notes) cruised past the Bucs (perfect inning, two Ks) and now has seven straight save conversions. … Possible steamers for Wednesday: Barry Zito(notes) against San Diego (just own him, already); Paul Byrd(notes) against Baltimore might not be for everyone but the Red Sox play so well at Fenway; Bronson Arroyo(notes) has been money in the second half but do you try him at Colorado? I'm not ready for that leap of faith.

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