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Scott Pianowski

Closing Time: Raining in Baltimore

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

Forget the stats and the standings for a moment - let's go to the weather satellite. Our normally-full Saturday slate is about to be compromised.

Tropical Storm Hanna touches down the Eastern Seaboard this weekend and could wash out the double-header with Baltimore and Oakland Saturday (in addition to action in other parks). Sunday isn't an option for the Baltimore games (the Ravens opener is the reason Saturday's twin-ball came in the first place), so our cutesy plan to stream like crazy here might wash down the drain. Make a couple of extra minutes if you can and be alert with those last-minute choices.

If you have to set things up in advance, I'd assume they won't play two in Baltimore, and they might not even play one. But I'm no weatherman and I never played one on TV. I'm not promising anything. (If the games do float away, make sure you don't blame this chick. She had nothing to do with it.)

Okay, let's head back to the field:

I feel a little cheesy burying the Brandon Morrow starting debut behind a weather update, but he's been documented in this blog plenty (tip your cap to Bradley). I hope you caught some of the video of his electric start against the Yanks, it was time well spent. Morrow took a no-hitter into the eighth, settling for a one-hit gem over 7.2 innings (1 R, 3 BB, 8 K); we knew he had power stuff, but we also saw a darting curveball from him Friday. His excited teammates doused Morrow in beer while he met the media; baby, you're a big star now. "When you have stuff like that and you can locate with that stuff, you're going to shut down a lot of lineups," an impressed Joe Girardi told the AP.

The schedule lines up nicely for Morrow down the stretch: he'll get the Angels once (who have little incentive these days), then a super-friendly finish (one KC turn, two against Oakland). This guy better not be sitting on your waiver wire 24 hours from now.

I have nothing to say about the Carlos Quentin news (wrist surgery Monday) except "man, that sucks for his owners." Oh, and for White Sox fans. Did Chicago tick off the Baseball Gods or something the last week or two? Nick Swisher and Ken Griffey Jr. pick up more time with Quentin out, not that mixed leaguers can do much with them. There's a chance Quentin could make it back at the end of the month, but that sounds awfully optimistic to me.

Look-aheads usually help fantasy owners more than look-backs, and here's one to consider for Sunday: Milwaukee's base stealers. The Brewers are second in the NL in steals since the All-Star Break (trailing just the Willy Taveras-led Rockies), and Chris Young, San Diego's starting pitcher, might be the easiest guy to run on in the league. Heck, when Young last worked in Milwaukee (late in 2007), Prince Fielder stole two bases. Use this info as you see fit.

Sticking with the look-ahead theme, some possible streamers for Sunday in no particular order: John Lannan at Atlanta (look at the Braves lineup); Glen Perkins versus Detroit (tough assignment, but home cooking helps); Manny Parra against San Diego; and for the brave and crazy, Jorge De La Rosa, in Coors, against Houston (hey, he's pitching well, and I don't trust Wandy Rodriguez on the road).

Speed Round: Fives were wild for Andre Ethier, who also clubbed his 20th homer in the rout of Arizona. Looks like he's intent on blowing his cover for 2009 . . . Rajai Davis got a lot done in just two innings Friday, all things considered . . . It's been 10 years since Toad the Wet Sprocket broke up. I'm still a little sad about that . . . Two more hits for Jeff Keppinger, swinging nicely and producing in the No. 2 slot, between Chris Dickerson and Brandon Phillips . . . If you trusted Bronson Arroyo's strikeout-walk rate and ignored the other stuff, you've been rewarded with a pretty nifty second half (seven wins, 50 strikeouts, 3.13 ERA). He gets his first 2008 start against Milwaukee next week . . . Mike Aviles is 6-for-15 since he took a pitch off his finger, so no one worry here . . . Derek Lowe is still money at home, Francisco Liriano's reinvention tour continues to hum (a season-high nine strikeouts), and Josh Beckett's return at Texas went very smooth . . . Nightly hockey cooler: Matt Romig's Big Board is fresh out of the oven . . . Romig's presence in the San Francisco yard Friday night apparently helped his beloved Buccos: Zach Duke spun a six-hit shutout, Ryan Doumit lashed four hits, and Pittsburgh rolled to an easy victory.

Anthony Reyes left his Friday start in the fourth inning due to a tight elbow; he had some problems getting loose prior to the start. He was ahead 2-0 at the time and the Indians went on to cruise to an easy victory, so it's a shame he couldn't continue. "It was just a little stiff," Reyes told the AP. "I thought it would loosen up, it just never did. I'm just being careful and decided to give it a break today." It was a better night for his battery mate; Victor Martinez made his return to the catching spot and went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, scoring twice and knocking in one.

An extra tip Andy Behrens wanted to throw out to the masses - make sure you're giving a good look to waived players when you're hunting free agents. The quality of drops often increases at this time of year; sometimes it's a category-driven thing, or perhaps the opposing owner thinks can use the free-agent wire as a temporary stash area because half the league isn't paying attention. Be sure to give this list a regular audit. (I missed Randy Winn in the Y! Friends & Family League just the other day.)

Handshakes and near-misses: Brad Lidge (34) doesn't blow saves in 2008, as you know. His scoreless frame followed another eight-inning beauty from Brett Myers, and just like that, the Phillies are just two back of the Mets . . . B.J. Ryan (27) wasn't perfect, but he was good enough in back of Doc Holliday . . . Everyone in the Florida bullpen did their job, with Matt Lindstrom getting the glory stat in the 11th. Chris Perez took the rap on the other side, blowing his second straight save on a Mike Jacobs homer . . . CC Sabathia was in line for another win but he just went seven against San Diego, and Eric Gagne coughed up the lead in the eighth . . . Brian Fuentes (27) continues to remind us why so much of the pre-deadline trade talk is misleading and utterly worthless. Quietly, the Rockies are hanging around . . . J.J. Putz (11) didn't strike anyone out, but he retired three of four and secured the Morrow victory.

Brad Evans is trying out for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday, so I'll be your Weekly Rundown host this week. Do not go gentle into this good Rotisserie night - there's still time to catapult some teams in the standings.

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