We try to keep Closing Time from becoming an injury-driven blog, but on some occasions we can't avoid it. The Monday night (and Tuesday morning) slate turned into a medical watch, with key players falling by the wayside all over the place.
The biggest individual hit came in Miami, where Giancarlo Stanton suffered a right hamstring strain and landed on the DL after the game. He's out for at least 15 days, and might need more time than that (we'll see what Tuesday's MRI tells us). The timing is particularly rotten for Stanton, who had a three-homer weekend against Chicago.
With Stanton out of the mix, highly-regarded outfielder Marcell Ozuna gets a chance to show what he can do. The 22-year-old was off to a ridiculous 10-game start at Double-A (.333/.383/.810, five homers), his first time at the level. We'll see how he handles a double-jump to the show. But no matter what Ozuna is ready for, the Marlins already had the worst offense in the majors by far (71 runs; .226/.287/.312 slash) – and now we can be even more aggressive in our efforts to stream against them.
New York right-hander Dillon Gee is the first guy to grab for the South Beach special; he works in Miami on Wednesday. Then the Phillies come to town for a four-game set; the widely-available (and notably underrated) Kyle Kendrick opens that series. Do you feel frisky enough to try Jonathan Pettibone on Friday? The weekend ends with Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay.
History will note Miami actually won Monday's game, a 4-3 decision over the Mets in 15-innings. A pair of rallies (and a pair of blown saves from the New York bullpen) flipped the result twice. But if you wanted truly weird baseball, you needed to be in Oakland, where the Athletics outlasted the Angels in a 19-inning beauty. Brandon Moss sent the last remaining diehard fans home 6.5 hours after the game started, clocking a two-run homer at 1:41 am PST. It capped a monster night for Moss: two homers and a steal. He's still unclaimed freight in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Alas, the result in Oakland is secondary to the laundry list of injured suffered on both sides. Peter Bourjos strained his left hamstring running to first and is ticketed for the DL. Coco Crisp (hamstring) and Chris Young (quadriceps) were also injured running the first 90 feet (maybe strike-a-pose Yoenis Cespedes had the right idea; don't bother running at all). We'll see what we learn on re-evaluation Tuesday. Billy Beane apparently knew what he was doing when he assembled all that outfield depth over the winter; his troops sure need it now.
Daniel Straily (4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR) was mediocre in his much-anticipated spot start, taking over for the injured Brett Anderson, but the length and flow of the game eventually forced Anderson to pitch after all. Anderson took over to open the 13th and worked 5.1 strong innings (3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K) before an apparent foot injury forced him to the sidelines. No one was safe from the injury gods on this night.
• The Nationals were whistling an optimistic tune after Monday's 3-2 loss at Atlanta, but anytime Stephen Strasburg has any type of physical ailment, we're going to worry. Strasburg worked six innings against the Braves, then was diagnosed with "a little tightness" in his right forearm. "That was a tough one," Johnson told the Associated Press, talking about the loss. "But the main thing I was a little concerned about was Strasburg." Johnson added that Strasburg "didn't look right to me" during the balance of the evening.
Washington's ace says he'll make his next start; that's what most athletes do, they downplay injury talk. I don't think we'll know anything for sure until the game at Pittsburgh actually comes to pass. Strasburg is now 1-4 on the year, albeit with a reasonable 3.14 ERA.His strikeout rate is down, not that 36 whiffs in 37.1 innings is anything to be ashamed of.
• The injury talk had a positive spin at Chavez Ravine, with the Dodgers and Rockies feeling good about big-name infielders on the rebound. Troy Tulowitzki (shoulder) didn't play Monday but he took batting practice and might be able to go Tuesday. And let's hear it for Hanley Ramirez, who returned ahead of schedule from his busted thumb. Ramirez struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance (watching a perfect third strike sail by, like an honorary Drew brother) but big deal; he's likely to play Tuesday.
As for the game, the Rockies put on a rare road hitting display and laughed to a 12-2 victory. Dexter Fowler, Wilin Rosario and new toy Nolan Arenado went deep (here's to you, rookie), and Arenado, batting sixth, had three of Colorado's 19 hits. The visitors did all of their scoring against Ted Lilly (3 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 HR) and Josh Wall. Emergency mop-up man Skip Schumaker worked a scoreless ninth, dodging two hits and a walk.
• The Saunders connection carried the Mariners to a 6-2 victory over Baltimore. We'll ignore Joe, the soft-tossing lefty on the mound (despite a pitch-to-contact gem here), but we should pay attention to Michael, the category-juice option finally back in the outfield. Michael Saunders posted a useful 4-2-1-2 line (leadoff homer, walk) in his return from a shoulder injury, and he's quietly collected 21 homers and 24 steals (in 28 attempts) over his last 149 games. Sounds like someone who should be owned more aggressively; he's unrostered in 84 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
The Orioles didn't use surging outfielder Nate McLouth in this loss, par for the course; McLouth rarely plays against lefties (a logical call given his career splits). But don't make an emotional drop on your free-agent find; eight of the next nine probable starters against Baltimore are right-handed, so we'll see plenty of the sweet swinger at the top of the lineup.
Speed Round: Although Asdrubal Cabrera's seasonal numbers are still ugly, he's on a 12-for-29 push since returning from his quadriceps injury. Jason Kipnis also represented in Monday's rout of Kansas City, hitting a solo homer and scoring twice. … The scary Matt Cain music keeps on playing: he had one horrible inning at Arizona (three homers) and five good ones. The gopher ball largely explains his 6.49 ERA; at least we can feel good about his K/BB clip (32 whiffs, 10 walks). It's the wrong time to sell him in most leagues, given the current rate of consumer confidence. Let's take a good scouting look at him in the Sunday nighter against Los Angeles. … Life was just groovy without Delmon Young but he's almost ready to return from his ankle injury. We might see him as soon as Wednesday. … Jayson Werth is dealing with a minor hamstring cramp, and he also dinged his left ankle Monday. … Albert Pujols collected four hits, including two homers, in Monday's marathon loss, putting the slump concerns on ice for a while. … Kevin Youkilis (back) still might need a trip to the DL, albeit his MRI came back negative. … Pablo Sandoval left in the sixth inning at Arizona, dealing with a sore right elbow. Panda's stroke is forever gorgeous, but injuries always come as part of the territory with him. We'll see what we learn Tuesday. No matter your affection for the skills here, you never want to chase six months with the Panda.