Don't look now but the Rockies have that late-season magic working again. Colorado dramtically grabbed its eighth consecutive victory Friday – a stirring four-run rally against Heath Bell(notes) and the Padres – and Jim Tracy's club is just two games behind Los Angeles for the NL West lead. Even if the Rockies can't run down the Dodgers, the Wild Card is looking pretty secure; Colorado stands 5.5 games clear of San Francisco as we enter Saturday's play.
We're not going to sit by idly and watch a sizzling team do its thing, of course. Let's grab a fantasy stake in these guys. Maybe it's too late to get down with options like Carlos Gonzalez(notes) (steal No. 13 Friday) or Franklin Morales(notes) (six really quick saves while Huston Street(notes) rehabs) but there are some other cats to consider here. Time to run through some names.
Jorge De La Rosa(notes) has done something useful in 13 of his last 15 turns; although he had to accept a no-decision Friday, there's nothing wrong with seven innings, one run and eight whiffs (his changeup was devastating all night). He'll go at San Francisco next week.
Maybe you can make room for catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes), Friday's hero (three-run double in the ninth); he's getting more time than Chris Iannetta(notes) of late and is hitting .321 with 12 runs and 13 RBIs over his last 84 at-bats. Don't forget that Colorado still has a nine-game homestand coming later in the month.
Rafael Betancourt(notes) has reinvented himself since joining the Rockies, posting a 1.56 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over 17.1 innings. He's also scored three quick victories, as Tracy likes to use him in high-leverage situations. Betancourt's craft isn't all that fun to watch necessarily – he's as slow a worker as there is in the game – but at the end of the day we're about the numbers, not the manner in which they're acquired. You've got room for some quality innings, right?
• The Athletics had a party at the Metrodome, collecting five homers, 17 hits and 12 runs (plus the obligatory Rajai Davis(notes) stolen base). Second baseman Mark Ellis(notes) would like your attention; he whacked a three-run homer and is up to .283 on the year.
• Matt Cain(notes) never found his release point against the Dodgers and was behind in the count most of the night; the result was his fifth loss of the year and a mediocre line (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K). Los Angeles always seems to give him fits for some reason; he's 0-7 against these guys through 13 career starts.
• Zack Greinke(notes) did his usual thing at Cleveland (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K) but it wasn't good enough for a win of course; the Royals utterly refuse to score for their ace. Miguel Olivo(notes) delivered a win for the visitors in the 12th inning, roping his 19th homer of the year.
• Cole Hamels(notes) was sharp for the third time in four starts (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K), not that we throw a parade after you down the Mets. Chan Ho Park(notes), Brett Myers(notes) and Ryan Madson(notes) (one run) closed out the Philadelphia victory; ah, the joys of going Lidgeless.
Injury Blog: Josh Hamilton(notes) just can't get a break this year. He needed a cortisone shot in his back and the Rangers are shutting him down for a week. … Alfonso Soriano(notes) (knee) is headed for a second opinion and the Cubs are resigned to the fact that he's probably done for the year. … B.J. Upton(notes) (ankle) isn't expected to play this weekend in Boston. … Francisco Liriano(notes) (tired arm) got back to work with two scoreless innings, striking out four. I'm still too gun shy to use him, nonetheless. … Tim Lincecum(notes) (back) played catch Friday and probably will be able to start Monday when the Giants start a critical series with Colorado. … Ian Stewart(notes) (back) did some work before Friday's game and should be able to start Saturday. Anything that will spare us having to watch Garret Atkins take empty cuts, I'm in favor of.
Speed Round: Adam Dunn(notes) clubbed homer No. 37 as the Nats tripped up Florida. Say what you want about this guy, but you can take those yearly 40 homers to the bank. … Drew Stubbs(notes) finally gave us some fantasy goodies Friday (two steals, one hit, two walks) after going 0-for-3 on steal attempts earlier in the month. … Randy Ruiz(notes) strikes out about a third of the time but exciting things happen when he does make contact; his seventh homer of the year (on just 83 at-bats) helped the Jays dump Detroit. … Rain washed out a couple of games (Tampa at Boston; Seattle at Texas); both matches will be made up in Sunday doubleheaders. … Hiroki Kuroda(notes) is generally a five or six-inning guy for the Dodgers but he worked ahead of the count at San Francisco and turned in eight sharp frames (3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K). He's allowed three runs or less in eight consecutive turns; next up is a home date against Pittsburgh. … Streamables for Sunday: John Lannan(notes) at Florida; Brad Penny(notes) against the Dodgers; Tommy Hunter(notes) against Seattle (if Arlington doesn't scare you), and if you're feeling really gutsy, Homer Bailey(notes) at Wrigley Field.
- San Francisco