There are 1,000 stories to be told from every rotisserie evening. Let's explore a few of them, bullet-style.
• The roto public has been slow to accept Javy Guerra and I'm not sure why. The LA righty collected his eighth straight save on Monday, and what's wrong with a 1.93 ERA and 1.20 WHIP? His strikeout rate doesn't jump off the page at you, but he does have three times as many punchouts (18) as walks (six). The rookie's job security was padded Monday when Hong-Chih Kuo and Mike MacDougal did their gasoline alley bit in the top of the ninth, turning a lopsided game into a tense affair. Guerra entered, retired two Colorado batters, and that was that. This is the most secure any Dodgers closer has been all season, and yet Guerra is owned in just 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues, a silly rate. Wake up, gamers, let's get on board.
Another Dodgers rookie to consider is right-handed starter Rubby De La Rosa, who collected Monday's victory. He's been on point over his last five turns (31 IP, 24 H, 7 ER, 11 BB, 27 K) and he's a blast to watch as well. He's in the circle of trust for his home start on the weekend against Arizona, and he's currently available in most Yahoo! pools (just six-percent owned).
• It was supposed to be a ballgame between the Twins and Rangers, but it turned into a beatdown. Texas rolled up 20 runs and 27 hits in the keg-tapper, and just about everyone in the Rangers lineup had a juicy line to show off (dig in and enjoy, buffet style). Chris Davis was the lone chump in the group: Crash went 0-for-6 with one piddly run scored. He's 3-for-16 since rejoining the club last week, not the snappiest of auditions with trading season about to take off. I have no say in Texas transactions, but I don't envision Davis being a long-term solution here.
Minnesota's highlight of the night was Michael Cuddyer pitching a scoreless eighth inning, working around two hits and a walk. Cuddyer was in the high 80s for most of his stint and he threw just 16 pitches in all, so we'll assume he's available to work Tuesday if needed. Stay fresh, meat.
• Jordan Walden ran into his seventh blown save, allowing two runs and taking the loss at Cleveland. Jason Kipnis provided the clinching blow, a sharp single to right field (video here) that won it for the home folks. Kipnis only started one game over the weekend, but perhaps his heroics here will loosen things up on the lineup card. In the meantime, I think it's crazy that some view Kipnis versus Dustin Ackley as a debatable subject. Ackley's job and lineup position are far more stable in Seattle, he's got a higher pedigree, and he's already shown production in the majors. Maybe the Mariners won't win another game until April 2012, but don't hold it against Ackley — he's legit.
• Just about everyone in the Boston lineup was a no-show against Kansas City on Monday, with the Red Sox scoring just once in a 14-inning loss. Given that Kyle Davies started for the Royals, that's particularly embarrassing. Carl Crawford was the notable goat in the Fenway dugout, going 0-for-6 and striking out four times (including a spot in the ninth where a sacrifice fly would have ended the game). Crawford is down to a .249/.282/.382 slash for the year.
If you examine the public versus pundit ranks of Crawford, you'll notice an interesting difference of opinion. Most of the common rotoheads have grasped the mediocre Crawford season and accepted it for what it is, but some in the industry are still chasing Crawford shadows. One respected fantasy site (which we won't name) had Crawford ranked as the No. 3 projected hitter in the American League from Monday-forward, a curious call when you consider Crawford's depressed spot in the Boston lineup (he's not in the Top 5 slots) and reluctance to run in 2011. Score one for everyman - the flexible wisdom of crowds solved Crawford 2011 long before the rigid statheads did.
• The Padres bullpen wasn't letter-perfect in Monday's matinee victory at Philadelphia, but the trio of Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Chad Qualls didn't allow any runs, either. Bell and Adams will be hot commodities all week as the Friars explore trading options. Aaron Harang picked up his second straight road victory, mostly because his team supported him well (he allowed 15 hits and seven runs over his last 11.1 innings). He's a much safer play later in the week, at home against Colorado.
The Padres don't play another road game until Aug. 5, so be ready to stream plenty of opposing pitchers as well. Heck, I'd start a batting tee at Petco Park if I could. Joe Saunders (Tuesday), Jason Hammel (Friday) and Juan Nicasio (Sunday) are some of your lesser-owned options for the balance of the week.
• A lot of people want to put the shovel to Derek Jeter's fantasy value, but that doesn't make sense to me. The New York captain collected a triple, homer and three RBIs in Monday's romp over Seattle, pushing his average to .273. Sure, he's no longer a superstar, but if you compare all the regular shortstops on per-game value in the Yahoo! ranking system, Jeter grades out as the No. 10 option this year. Hitting at the top of the Yankees lineup is a friendly gig as well. Here's another way to spin it: Jeter was so mainstream-media overrated for so long, he somehow became underrated. Don't believe the anti-hype.
• Jason Isringhausen worked hard at Cincinnati on Monday — he needed 29 pitches and put a couple of runners on, in part because of a David Wright error — but he wrapped a scoreless inning and picked up his third handshake. Bobby Parnell worked the eighth, retiring three of four men. It will be interesting to see if Isringhausen is shopped around the league; he says he wants to stay in New York, but the Mets need to think of the future and it's the right time to cash in on their 38-year-old reliever. It's been a nice comeback story, and Izzy is only four saves away from 300 for his career, but GM Sandy Alderson is a man with a long-term plan. Fantasy takeaway: I'd hold onto Parnell for the balance of the week in blood-for-save leagues, just in case.
• Jason Bourgeois started in left for the Astros and went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. We're always playing the what-if game with him: if he could find a regular spot, if he could stay healthy. I don't have a lot of faith in skipper Brad Mills, but I also know Bourgeois could easily lead the majors in stolen bases from today-forward if he were handed a regular gig — he's that disruptive on the bases. Keep an eye on him.
• The Pirates are in the middle of a show-me stretch of schedule; they just got done with the Cardinals on the weekend, and now they're on the road at Atlanta and Philadelphia. If the Bucs come out of this meat-grinder still in the thick of things in the NL Central, perhaps it's time to accept them as legit once and for all. James McDonald recorded Monday's victory with an interesting line, posting 5.1 scoreless innings and dodging eight hits. He didn't walk anyone, and he struck out nine. He's now collected 27 strikeouts against eight walks over his last four turns, but he's having trouble working deep into games as well. I'm not ready to trust him at Philly, in part because he's up against Cliff Lee (no matter that Lee struggled in his Monday loss to the Padres). But McDonald at least needs to be stream-considered on a start-to-start basis, given his strikeout potential and the respectability of the Pirates.
Just-recalled Pedro Alvarez had a hand in the victory as well, reaching base twice (single, walk) and scoring a run. The Bucs are committed to using him as the third-base starter, and he was slotted fifth in Monday's lineup, just behind Andrew McCutchen. We know all about Alvarez's strikeout problems and his struggles with southpaws, but we also should note that he tore it up at Triple-A (.365/.461/.587) over 18 games. Do you feel lucky? He's available in 58 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Speed Round: The chances of Ubaldo Jimenez being traded appear to be 50-50, according to one industry source. The Rockies would be wise to seize this opportunity and get a rich payment, considering that Jimenez is far and away the only prominent starting pitcher known to be on the market. … Although Carlos Beltran reportedly doesn't want to go to the American League (that's what Jayson Stark told all Sunday night), the Rangers are reportedly making an aggressive push. … Vladimir Guerrero (hand) should be back with the Orioles on Tuesday, but Luke Scott (shoulder surgery) is done for the year. … Jordan Schafer (finger) was limited to pinch-hitting Monday. … Kevin Youkilis left Monday's game with hamstring tightness and might need a day off. … The Astros say they're not going to deal Hunter Pence. … The Padres are hopeful that Cameron Maybin (hip) can avoid the disabled list, though he didn't play Monday. "Hopefully it will resolve itself the next couple of days," Bud Black told the San Diego Union-Tribune. … Mitchell Boggs recorded a five-out rogue save for the Cardinals, helped by the two insurance runs that St. Louis scored in the bottom of the eighth. Ahead by five runs entering the ninth, there was no reason for Tony La Russa to use closer Fernando Salas. … Tampa fell at Oakland but that didn't stop the Desmond Jennings show (double, RBI, stolen base). B.J. Upton offered his first triple of the year, showing off nicely for the scouts in attendance. The Rays will be shopping Upton all week and my gut tells me something will get completed.
Images courtesy Associated Press