Nice guy, that W
Today's streaming seminar is sponsored by the National League and the Letter W. Let's get to work.
• Alex Wood emphatically passed the eye test over his last two starts, working 13 crisp innings (8 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 10 K) and beating the Rockies and Phillies. His Saturday assignment should be an easier one, at home facing the woeful Marlins (and no, he's not up against Kid Fernandez). Miami has seen Wood a couple of times in relief work, but this lineup hasn't really had time to dissect his funky delivery. Advantage, Atlanta. You can make the Wood addition in 86 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Michael Wacha gave us a mixed bag of starts in his first St. Louis go-round - one excellent, one poor and one solid. He's back up with the Cardinals this weekend, taking a spot turn Saturday in what could be a temp-to-perm audition. His Triple-A work gets your attention (2.65 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 3.84 K/BB), and there's nothing intimidating about the Cubs offense (second-half slash: .234/.302/.378). The highly-touted and fast-rising righty (remember, he was a first-round pick in 2012) can be yours with a point-and-click in 91 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Has Bruce Chen graduated from the streaming pool yet? Those cans of corn keep setting into friendly gloves. He's been terrific in his last five starts, allowing just four runs over 31.2 innings (4 BB, 23 K). And it's not as if Chen is fattening up on weak opponents - he beat the top-scoring Red Sox on Thursday, and he's also handled Baltimore and Cleveland over this stretch. Chen's next turn is a favorable one against the Marlins, though he is up against the aforementioned Fernandez. The KC lefty is good to go in 85 percent of The Y.
• Jon Lester didn't blow up on the other side of the Boston-KC match (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 BB), but his maddening season continues. A 4.37 ERA and 1.34 WHIP won't earn circle of trust privileges in a mixed league, and most of the under-the-hood numbers resemble what Lester posted during his messy 2012 season. Lester is an obvious hands-off play next week at Toronto, but a start at San Francisco in mid-August might be worth a shot. Still, remember we're in it for the numbers, not the names. Lester isn't a Top 40 starter on my clipboard.
• The Mets appear to have their bullpen set up in the absence of Bobby Parnell - David Aardsma is the setup man and LaTroy Hawkins gets the ninth. That was the order in Thursday's matinee - Aardsma took the final out in the eighth, then watched Hawkins record three batted-ball outs for the handshake. Hawkins still has a 92 mph heater in his age-40 season, and his profile looks good enough for the big chair (2.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, nine walks, 37 strikeouts). He's kicking around in 86 percent of Yahoo! fake baseball. Saves are saves.
Speed Round: Assumed risk comes with the veterans in the Milwaukee infield. Rickie Weeks (hamstring) finally went on the DL, and Aramis Ramirez (knee) apparently isn't ready to be activated . . . The Phillies have passed Jimmy Rollins through waivers, but he's a 10-5 man and has the right to veto any trade . . . Alex Avila may have suffered a concussion in Thursday's victory over the Indians, pretty much the only thing that went wrong for the Tigers during a four-game wipeout of the Tribe. (Second look: apparently Avila is cleared for the weekend. Another break for Motown.) . . . Yadier Molina (knee) is on pace to return Aug. 15, his first eligible date . . . The Rangers put in a claim on recently-waived Alex Rios. The two sides have to complete something Friday or the window is closed. The White Sox also might look to do something with Adam Dunn, who passed through waivers unclaimed . . . Andrew McCutchen (shoulder) didn't start Thursday but should be able to return Friday . . . The Rays expect Chris Archer (forearm) to make his Tuesday start against Seattle . . . Although Jason Grilli (forearm) should start playing catch this weekend, the Pirates don't have a clear timetable for his return yet. Stay warm, Mark Melancon . . . The Indians finally cut the cord on Mark Reynolds and his never-ending strikeout platter. If the Orioles kick the tires on Reynolds, fans should picket outside of Camden Yards . . . Josh Willingham (knee) is ready to rejoin the Twins, with Ryan Doumit (concussion) moving to the DL.
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