No. 6 is starting to blossom (USAT)
All positions are in play when we do this daily thing, but let's open in the infield for this edition. Put some fresh batteries in the wireless mouse and let's get to it.
• Maybe a lack of category juice is holding back the Anthony Rendon story, but I'm surprised he's owned in just a third of Yahoo! leagues. Rendon has settled in as Washington's second baseman (taking over for the broken and scuffling Danny Espinosa) and he's also hit the No. 2 slot for the last four games. A 7-for-17 binge marks the territory nicely, and pop should come eventually - the Rice University product slugged .531 during his quick ascent through the minors. Rendon carries two positions of eligibility (second, third) and was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft (so pedigree is included). What's keeping you?
• It's not a healthy time for the Padres infield - Jedd Gyorko (groin) is on the disabled list and the transcendent Everth Cabrera (hamstring) will likely join him there shortly. But maybe we can have some short-term fun with Logan Forsythe.
Forsythe is the second baseman of the moment and he's had a productive series at San Francisco (five hits, double, homer, steal). He showed some category juice during 2012's audition (six homers, eight steals over 315 at-bats) and he's a .277 hitter since the beginning of last year. He'll probably bat first or second for a while in San Diego, and he might even see the occasional start at shortstop while Cabrera is out. You can make the Forsythe add in 98 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Brandon Moss is in the midst of a nifty June (six homers, .727 slugging), in part because the Athletics aren't facing many left-handed starters these days. And you can start Moss confidently for a while - the Athletics don't draw a lefty opponent until next week's series with St. Louis, seven games from now, and there are two more delicious Arlington games to come. If you only have to worry about the plus side of Moss's game, you're looking at 11 homers over 159 at-bats and a .844 OPS. The dual-eligible Athletic (first, outfield) is unowned in 74 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Come take some hacks with us.
• Oh look at those shiny Mets, showing off with their two dynamite right-handed pitchers. If they can add 8-10 more legitimate ballplayers, they might be onto something.
Matt Harvey flirted with a no-hitter in Tuesday's matinee win at Atlanta, eventually settling for a three-run game over seven innings (and 13 strikeouts). Nothing's ever a shock with this guy; he's going to throw a no-hitter or two someday. Keep enjoying the breakout story.
Touted prospect Zack Wheeler passed the eye test in the nightcap, throwing six scoreless innings in a somewhat-wild but nonetheless impressive debut (4 H, 5 BB, 7 K). Wheeler ran up to 102 pitches quickly; he'll need to work on being more efficient. But I dare anyone to look at that highlight tape and not be impressed. Harvey gets the Phillies on the weekend, while Wheeler looks at the White Sox (yes, please) on Tuesday. Both turns are on the road, and both starts deserve to be on your television (or tablet, or phone, or whatever).
Upton rising? (USAT)
Upton had a two-homer, one-steal game against the Giants on Saturday and he's stolen three bases in his past six games. Don't discount a modest run like that on the bases - Upton didn't take a single bag from April 8-June 12, a ridiculous drought from a player of this talent level. And while no one can guarantee Upton can duplicate the rally he offered in 2012, go look at those monthly splits again. You hated him in June, but you loved him in August (seven homers, six bags) and especially September (12 taters, six steals). It's nice to see the sun creep out from behind the dark clouds every now and then. Are you ready to forgive and forget?
• Houston's pitching staff has been a mess all year, but something's happening for Jordan Lyles. He's been useful in nine of his ten turns, and you can forgive anyone for one messy start against Texas. Lyles ran up 10 strikeouts in last week's start at Seattle, and he had no trouble with the Brewers on Tuesday (7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K).
If you grade Lyles over the last seven turns, here's your haul: 1.61 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 10 BB, 33 K. A .261 BABIP during that stretch is fortunate but not the fluke of the century. A 53-percent ground ball clip helps you sleep at night. Lyles gets an interesting test on the weekend, a daytripper at Wrigley Field.
• The Indians and Royals didn't play the smoothest game Tuesday, but at least the starting pitchers got through it fine - all-underrated Ervin Santana was terrific, Ubaldo Jimenez passable. Jimenez's two runs could have been avoided if not for Carlos Santana's comedy show behind the plate; anything in the dirt is going to be a wild pitch on the scoresheet, but Santana's defensive work is a mess. Any Molina would have routinely stopped the two pitches Santana whiffed on, and this came, coincidentally enough, on the same day Terry Francona tried to defend Santana's glove work. So it goes. (Yan Gomes, please pick up a courtesy phone.)
Vinnie Pestano wasn't fooling anyone in the ninth but a baserunning blunder from the visitors bailed the game out. Thanks for coming, Royals. Pestano might hold the ninth inning for a while because Chris Perez's latest rehab appearance was an absolute bomb (three homers, one plunked batter). Anyone have a working cell for Ricky Vaughn?
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