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Scott Pianowski

Tuesday Wrap: Give Niese a chance; Downs gets the thumbs-up

Scott Pianowski
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They tell you not to chase wins but I just can't help myself sometimes; in mixed leagues, it's fun to cycle the end of the bench and look for a pitcher well slotted for a victory. Here's my deep-league recommendation for Wednesday afternoon: Jonathon Niese(notes) of the Mets, pitching at home against Atlanta.

I can understand why the roto public wants no part of this guy in a shallow league. Niese didn't set the world on fire in his three-game trial with the Mets last year (7.07 ERA, 2.00 WHIP), and his recall to the majors this spring came despite a 6.55 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo. If you want to dismiss him on that foundation alone, I can't say you're wrong.

That established, there's a pro side to Niese, too, if you just do a little digging. His ERA in the minors was somewhat deceiving; with 25 strikeouts, eight walks and just one homer allowed over 22 innings, he's pitched far better than the bottom line suggests. His one start with the Mets this year was a sharp one (6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K), and his one impressive New York turn last season came against these same Braves (8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K).

There's nothing fearsome about this Atlanta lineup (especially if Chipper Jones(notes) sits), and the Braves are also helping the cause by starting Jo-Jo Reyes(notes) (sorry Tommy Hanson(notes) owners, I don't make these decisions). Reyes has allowed four runs or more in nine of his last 13 starts dating back to 2008, and the Braves are 1-8 in his last nine turns on the road. Feel like chasing a dubya with me on Wednesday? Meet me at Citi Field around 1 p.m.

A few additonal Tuesday afternoon nuggets are waiting for you after the jump:

B.J. Ryan(notes) will be back with the Jays soon, but it won't be as the ninth-inning option; GM J.P. Ricciardi confirmed Tuesday that Scott Downs(notes) will stay in the closing role. Downs has been dominant in just about every appearance this year except his last one; the A's got him for five hits and three runs on Saturday. It's good to see the Jays aren't overreacting to one poor outing.

The Diamondbacks have decided to put Conor Jackson(notes) (illness) on the disabled list, which opens up the path for Eric Byrnes(notes) to play regularly. I know the seasonal numbers will scare you off Byrnes, but he's still an intriguing power-speed guy who I'd be willing to gamble on in just about any mixed league right now. Take a look.

Carlos Delgado(notes) (hip) isn't in Tuesday's lineup and there's a fair chance he's looking at a DL stint. Daniel Murphy(notes) might see some 1B time while Delgado is out; the Mets love his line-drive bat, but everyone can see how lost he is in left field right now.

Emmanuel Burriss(notes) will get an extended trial in the leadoff spot for the Giants. He's been on every pitch for most of May, though he went 0-for-5 Monday night when Bruce Bochy finally gave him a look in the top slot. Fred Lewis(notes) is the loser in this exchange; he'll be hitting sixth or seventh going forward.

Derek Jeter(notes) (oblique) won't be in Tuesday's lineup but the Yankees don't sound too worried about it.

Carlos Quentin(notes) (heel) might not be ready to play again until the weekend series in Toronto, and that's a tricky time to come back as well because the turf is notoriously hard.

I'm just the warm-up band on this full Tuesday; Andy Behrens is your closer at the end of the night. Go grab some stats, amigos.

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League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 29 9:00 am
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