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Andy Behrens

Closing Time: NFL teams improve, Khalil Greene does not

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Most Americans spent their Saturday afternoons watching the NFL Draft and debating whether Chris Williams is way better than Anthony Munoz, or simply better.

And if they weren't doing that, then they were probably trying to decide whether Matt Forte is a first round pick in fantasy drafts, or an early second rounder.

And if they weren't doing that, then they were wondering when, exactly, Keyshawn Johnson became Bud Collins.

A few of us also watched some baseball...

Facing the Rays today, Clay Buchholz was just about as dominant as a losing pitcher can be. He went eight innings, allowed only three hits, and had nine strikeouts. Akinori Iwamura's first homer of the season gave the Rays a 2-1 win, however. With Sean Casey (hip flexor) headed to the DL, expect the .357-hitting Jed Lowrie to get a few starts in the days ahead.

John Danks was also useful in a losing effort today. He was perfect through five innings against the Orioles, but quickly got un-perfect, allowing a two-run homer to Guillermo Quiroz in the sixth. Danks went 6.1 innings, allowed four hits, walked no one, and struck out four. He entered the week only 2.0 percent-owned in Yahoo! leagues.

The recently mass-dropped Hunter Pence entered Saturday hitting .271. He'd raised his average over 100 points since April 15. Kaz Matsui's post-fissure excellence continued, as he went 2-for-4 with his first home run this season.

Armando Galarraga was good again, pitching six innings and allowing only one earned run. The 26-year-old Galarraga's minor league numbers don't really suggest that he's nearly as good as his current major league stats (1.50 ERA, 13 Ks in 18 innings pitched).

Placido Polanco had another two-hit day for Detroit, and he stole his first base of the season. He was really just waiting for you to drop him; now he's ready to contribute.

Tadahito Iguchi hit a 13th inning game-ending homer today, and he raised his average to a still-abysmal .223. Khalil Greene remains an unrepentant 0-for-5 machine.

We mention Eric Gagne when he's bad, so we should maybe offer a tip of the cap when he's good: 1.0 IP, 1 SV, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K.

Kansas City's Luke Hochevar earned his first Major League win today, going six innings, allowing six hits, and striking out three. These post-game comments from the AP game recap tell you a little something about his approach:

"I can't stand here and say I pitched a good game," Hochevar said. "We played unbelievable defense. With the type of pitcher I am, I need a good defense. I try to induce contact and get ground balls."

That's not really something fantasy owners typically look for. Still, Hochevar struck out plenty of hitters in the minors.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught today and went 1-for-3. Many of us are anxious to see exactly how he'll be deployed.

The 52.6 percent-owned Michael Cuddyer homered tonight. He just returned from the DL on Friday.

Erik Bedard was excellent in his reemergence: 6.2 innings, two hits, no runs, four Ks. JJ Putz entered in the ninth in a non-save situation...and nearly created a save situation for someone else. He faced eight hitters, walked three of them, and allowed two runs to score. But the Mariners still prevailed, and Bedard gets the win. Putz hadn't worked since Tuesday; his velocity was just fine.

Poor Mark Redman. I don't feel bad for anyone who started him in a fantasy league, because that wasn't very smart. But poor Mark Redman. He gave up 10 runs to the Dodgers in the first inning today -- it involved six hits, a wild pitch, three consecutive walks, a Matt Kemp grand slam, and a HBP -- and he actually had to stay in the game for another five innings. Ubaldo Jimenez's 2.1-inning outing on Friday had depleted the bullpen.

A few new injuries of note: Micah Owings (ankle), Scott Baker (groin), Mike Jacobs (finger), Justin Upton (hamstring).

If the Owings injury leads to a Max Scherzer callup, Brad Evans might regret using his Friends & Family league waiver priority on Tony Pena.

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