Sweet thirtysomething swing (USAT)
It's a casual Friday. All bullets, all the time.
• The Arizona at Miami game got out of hand quickly, as the Snakes posted six runs in the first three innings and turned the game into a rout. Paul Goldschmidt clocked a couple of homers, because that's what Goldschmidts do, and I'd like to burn every nice thing I said about Kevin Slowey this spring.
But let's try to find an actionable item here. Say hello to Arizona's cleanup man, Eric Chavez.
The veteran lefty swinger filled the box score nicely, with three singles and a homer over five trips. Chavez knocked in two runs and is slashing .337/.398/.584 on the year. He's still a useful player at age 35, worthy of a fantasy audit.
A decade ago, the Chavez story was much different. He was one of the superstars on the Oakland juggernaut of the early 2000s, one of the players Moneyball more or less ignored so we could all learn to appreciate Scott Hatteberg. Chavez offered a nifty mix of power and patience, and he also bagged six Gold Gloves in a row. Durability wasn't an issue back then, as Chavez logged 151 games or more in five of six seasons.
Alas, the wave broke in Chavez's late 20s, when his body began to betray him. He missed a month of time in 2006 and things got progressively worse; from 2007-2010, he never played in more than 90 games. A career on a possible Hall of Fame trajectory quickly spiraled out of control.
Mixed leaguers probably didn't pay a lot of attention to Chavez's stealth comeback in 2012, when he homered 16 times in 278 at-bats for the Yankees. It was a speciality role all the way, as Chavez rarely played against left-handed pitching. That's the playbook the Diamondbacks are using this year; Chavez only has 10 at-bats against lefties, and he probably wouldn't be on the field if not for the Aaron Hill injury and the trickle-down roster effect.
I'm streaming Chavez in a few medium and deep mixers these days, appreciating the production and his eligibility at both corners. Hill is unlikely to return before June, and the cleanup spot in Arizona's lineup is a good place to set up shop. Arizona faces a right-handed opponent in its next four games (including two Colorado dates next week), so it's a convenient time to kick some tires. Chavez is available in 93 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Who's with me?
• Adam LaRoche went deep twice in Washington's victory at San Diego, and if you paid close attention, you saw him winking as he circled the bases. This LaRoche act is well-known by now: he doesn't hit a lick in April, then turns it on later. He's slashing .365/.443/.635 in May, with four homers, 11 RBIs and even a stolen base.
Normally I wouldn't bother with a bullet here, but LaRoche is unowned in 45 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That number should be significantly lower. Let's fix this issue so we can move onto more interesting things.
The Nationals should have finished the victory in nine innings, but the natty Padres (oh, those Winfield throwbacks) scratched two unearned runs off Washington closer Rafael Soriano. Another Ryan Zimmerman error, his ninth, made the rally possible. I'm no one's doctor (not professionally, anyway), but I'm worried about Zimmerman's health; maybe he needs a magic shot of the cortisone that fixed his 2012 season. In the meantime, every ground ball hit to Zimmerman is a coin flip.
The Ike Davis rerun (USAT)
According to Mets beat writer Adam Rubin, the club might be close to a Davis demotion. Outfielder Andrew Brown is swinging a hot bat at Triple-A Las Vegas (.366/.435/.616), albeit it's the inflationary PCL and he's already 28. He picked up a start at first base Friday, which might tell you something. The Mets could also move Lucas Duda to first base if they so desired.
It's your move, Davis. Show us something in the Second City. The clock is ticking.
• There's been a lot of talk about the AL East getting declawed, maybe too much talk. The big-money division has four wining clubs as we go to post Saturday, and it's far and away the highest-scoring division in the majors. Let's have a quick look at that latter list, the divisional scoring leader board:
-- AL East: 955 runs
-- NL Central: 895 runs
-- AL Central: 894 runs
-- AL West: 891 runs
-- NL West: 884 runs
-- NL East: 764 runs
It's a simplistic look at things, but the rule of thumb still applies. Streaming remains easier in the National League; heck, the Nationals are one of the better clubs in the NL and they're 27th in runs. The average starter ERA is 3.96 in the NL; it jumps to 4.35 in the AL. Don't run uphill if you don't have to.
• The Rays and Orioles played a delicious softball game at Baltimore, cooking up 22 runs and 30 hits of rotisserie goodness. Dig in, get what you need. Welcome James Loney back into your life, write a sonnet for Kelly Johnson, sing a song for Hazy Jane.
Joe Maddon ran his best Mattingly Misdirection play, closing with Joel Peralta less than 24 hours removed from a Fernando Rodney endorsement. But Rodney was overheated in Thursday's blown save (35 pitches), so a day off was a reasonable prescription. Rappin' Rodney still has the baton here, presumably.
• Coors Field is starting to let its hair down, too. The Giants and Rockies combined for 14 runs Thursday then took it to 19 on Friday, and this was despite San Francisco using Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. Gravity, you had me at hello.
Any Rockies lineup at Coors Field is must-grab information the moment it's available, given the variable nature of the roster. Faux catcher Jordan Pacheco doesn't play a lot, but if you had a moment to stream him on Friday, you were rewarded with a grand slam and five RBIs. The pop is unusual but he's a career .337/.375/.480 hitter in Denver; perhaps you can get something out of him during the remainder of the homestand.
- Sports & Recreation