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Andy Behrens

Closing Time: Special Canada Day collector's edition

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Tonight let's crack open a Sleeman Dark, dust off our copies of Up To Here, make trade offers for Joey Votto(notes), and give long French names to our fantasy teams.

It's Canada Day, everyone. Rejoice!

Toronto's Ricky Romero(notes) celebrated by shutting down the Rays -- baseball's highest-scoring team -- and extending his streak of scoreless innings to 20. His change-up was, as the kids say, filthy. (Highlights). Romero lowered his season ERA to 2.84 and his WHIP to 1.24. He now has 61 Ks in 72.2 innings. You can't really call Romero unusually lucky, since he entered Wednesday's start with a .292 BABIP.

Nonetheless, the left-hander has been dropped in over 2,000 leagues today, because streamers have no patience whatsoever. They just kicked an excellent pitcher to the waiver wire. Let's hope those six innings from Doug Davis(notes) on Thursday are worth it.

Those of you who kept Romero rostered will get two more starts before the All-Star break (at TB, at BAL). You don't mess with a streak. So far this month, the 24-year-old Romero has delivered terrific fantasy lines against Texas, Philadelphia (twice) and now the Rays. He's earned your trust.

Elsewhere in le base-ball d'imagination...

Frank Francisco(notes) officially reclaimed the closer's role for the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon, and he blew a save just as officially on Wednesday night. He worked an unusually sloppy ninth, allowing a double, two walks, a wild pitch and a three-run homer to Juan Rivera(notes). Francisco picked up an undeserved win, however, when Hank Blalock(notes) hit a walk-off shot against Justin Speier(notes). I'm not quite ready to drop CJ Wilson(notes). He pitched well during Francisco's absence, and he struck out the side in the eighth tonight against the Angels.

One more Texas note: Nelson Cruz(notes) exited in the sixth inning with lower back stiffness. He was replaced by 23-year-old rookie Julio Borbon(notes) (.298/.365/.387, 19 SB at Triple-A).

Leo Nunez(notes) earned his second save of the post-Matt Lindstrom(notes) era, working a perfect ninth against the Nats. Dan Meyer(notes) took the eighth. Under-owned Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann(notes) held an opponent to two runs or less for the fifth consecutive start, but he has just one win over that stretch.

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The Phillies begin a 10-game homestand on Friday, and there's been plenty of recent buzz about the possibility that 22-year-old Carlos Carrasco(notes) (pictured) might take the mound in the opener. But alas, you'll get former O's legend Rodrigo Lopez. No need to add.

Justin Morneau(notes) left the Twins' 5-1 win with groin tightness, but after the game he declared, "I should be good to go by Friday."

Facing the Rockies, Clayton Kershaw(notes) delivered the stat line that should be named in his honor: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 5 K, ND.

Orlando Cabrera(notes) extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and his average reached .250 for the first time since April 30. He hasn't walked once during the streak.

This is not your finest work, Alberto Callaspo(notes).

Alexei Ramirez(notes) has a finger injury of unknown severity, and he's not expected to play on Thursday. X-rays are scheduled. Apparently he hurt the finger on Tuesday while fielding balls during batting practice. If necessary the Sox can slide Gordon Beckham(notes) to short, which would likely give Josh Fields(notes) short-term relevance. Carlos Quentin(notes) (plantar fasciitis) claims that he's "getting closer" to a return, but it sounds like you should expect a lengthy rehab.

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Sam Fuld(notes) hit lead-off for the Cubs because Alfonso Soriano was resting and...well, because apparently the left-fielder always leads off. Lou Piniella (pictured) finally broke his string of ejection-less games, getting tossed for arguing (with cause) in the sixth.

Martin Prado(notes) has pushed aside Kelly Johnson in Atlanta, at least for the moment. Prado went 4-for-5 on Tuesday and 2-for-4 on Wednesday, batting second for the Braves. He's raised his average to .305. Atlanta has a four-game series at Colorado prior to the break, so it's not a bad time to give Prado a look.

Eternal prospect Colby Rasmus(notes) hit a tenth inning walk-off against the Giants on Wednesday. (Give an assist to Pablo Sandoval(notes); his error made it possible). Rasmus went 2-for-5 in the win, nudging his average to .270. The homer was his eighth this season. If you watch the Rasmus clip, stick around for the highlights of Adam Wainwright's(notes) many Ks. Silly breaking stuff there.

The Cardinals received a relatively good report on Mark DeRosa's(notes) injured wrist:

"It's a huge relief," DeRosa said Wednesday afternoon. "Last night back at the hotel I was a little scared. When you hear a pop and when it's in one of those small tendons and joints and stuff like that, you never know."

DeRosa is expected to miss a few games, but the worst-case scenario seems to have been eliminated.

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Photos via US Presswire (Giant Jay) and Getty Images (Carrasco)

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