June 26, 2010
Smiles everyone, smiles. I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island.
Every no-hitter has its share of unique takeaways, and that especially applies here – Jackson's no-no at Tampa was one of the more unusual you'll ever see. He walked eight men over the course of the night – somehow he kept them all from scoring, critical in a 1-0 victory – and he needed 149 pitches in all, the most we've seen anyone throw in the majors over the last five years. Jackson also plunked a batter and uncorked a wild pitch; this was not the type of start that you'd put on a training video. The Arizona righty struggled to throw strikes with his fastball but maybe that was a good thing; he kept feeding his slider to the Rays and the Tampa hitters couldn't do much with it (here's a look at all 27 outs).
Jackson has been a horse over his last 10 starts (74.2 innings, 115.8 pitches per start) and you have to wonder if there's going to be a price to pay for this workload later. If I had Jackson on any of my teams, I'd be trying to move him before his next start at St. Louis.
• The White Sox rolled over the Cubs in a matinee affair, and it was basically a Groundhog Day theme. Carlos Zambrano(notes) meltdown, check. Another Carlos Quentin(notes) rocket into the seats, check. Another sterling effort from Jake Peavy(notes) (that's four in a row now), check. A homer from Gordon Beckham(notes) – okay, that doesn't fit the script. But given how the White Sox are rolling these days, you're going to have the happy accident thrown in there now and then.
Zambrano's tirade earned him an indefinite suspension from the Cubs, and it also opens up a spot in the Chicago rotation, at least temporarily. Tom Gorzelanny(notes) had a credible outing in relief of Big Z (3.1 IP, 1 R, 4 K) and his season-long profile makes him a solid candidate for the starting gig (3.41 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, better than a strikeout per inning). The vacated Zambrano turn comes up Wednesday at home against Pittsburgh, a cushy assignment as you know.
• The cute storyline between the Tigers and Braves this weekend is the contrast of a pair of rookie outfielders, Brennan Boesch(notes) and Jason Heyward(notes). Those guys didn't do a lot in Friday's game (Boesch had one hit, an RBI single, while Heyward took the collar) but Kris Medlen(notes) was happy to step into the spotlight (6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Medlen hasn't been a strikeout machine since he joined the rotation, but he almost never walks anyone and his K/BB rate is about 4/1. So long as he can keep the ball in the park, and that hasn't been a problem to this point, we should be bullish on him for the balance of 2010. He's allowed three runs or fewer in eight of his turns to this point, and yet he's still available in over 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Back in the old days Jim Riggleman used to blow out the arms of his starting pitchers (looking at you, Kerry Wood(notes)). Is he doing the same type of thing to reliever Tyler Clippard(notes) this summer? Clippard didn't have a thing in Friday's loss at Baltimore (1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) and maybe it's because he's already collected 38 appearances and 47 innings of work this year. Might as well do a pre-screening with Jimmy Andrews right now.
• Jered Weaver(notes) rolled up 11 strikeouts for the second straight outing and only made one significant mistake: a rolling curve that turned into a two-run homer for Chris Iannetta(notes). Alas, Fernando Rodney(notes) torched Weaver's one-run lead in the eighth, and the Halos ultimately fell in extra innings. Jonathan Herrera(notes) drove in the game-winning run, his third hit of the evening following a trio of whiffs against Weaver.
• I know 99 percent of you don't want any part of Corey Patterson(notes) – the Yahoo! ownership table tells me that. But heck, the guy's got 12 steals in 13 attempts and 20 runs over 36 games – surely there's some utility to that, right? He's also hit three homers. In a deeper mixed league, give this guy a shot, at least as a short-term rental.
• Doc Halladay wasn't exactly dominant in his match with his former Toronto mates but he made all the key pitches when he had to, shutting out the Jays over seven innings (6 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Philly's offensive revival kept playing with 11 hits and nine runs, though three of those runs came gift-wrapped when Vernon Wells(notes) dropped a catchable fly ball in right-center field.
• Clayton Richard(notes) keeps spinning it for the Padres, and this isn't a Petco Park story at all – Richard actually has a 2.29 ERA on the road as opposed to a 3.07 mark in the friendly confines. The former Michigan Wolverine quarterback is a touch wild at times (37 walks in 95 innings), but he's also got 71 punchouts and he's only given up six homers on the year. It's doubtful he'll ever be a true No. 1 starter, but he's not a bad middle-of-the-rotation guy, and in mixers with 12 or more owners, he really should be rostered. He gets a home turn with Colorado next week, and a trip to Washington after that.
Injury Blog: Neil Walker(notes) left Friday's game after a blow to the head, courtesy of a collision with teammate Ryan Church(notes). Walker had a CT scan a few hours after the injury; it's not clear when he'll be able to play again. … Dustin Pedroia(notes) had to leave early at San Francisco after fouling a pitch off his left foot. It's doubtful we'll see him for the rest of the weekend. … Carlos Santana(notes) homered in Friday's loss at Cincinnati, then left the game later with a thumb injury. X-rays came back negative. … Everth Cabrera(notes) (hamstring) returned to the San Diego lineup, going 0-for-2 with a walk from the No. 8 slot.
Speed Round: Billy Wagner(notes) earned his 400th save with a flourish, striking out the side against the Tigers. He's the fifth reliever in history to get to that plateau, joining Mariano Rivera(notes), Lee Smith, John Franco and The Axman Trevor Hoffman(notes). … Here's hoping Chris Johnson(notes) gets an extended shot with the Astros. He went 4-for-5 in Friday's win at Texas, driving in three runs. … Jonathan Lucroy(notes) continues to hit (.316) and be ignored in Milwaukee. Doesn't anyone need a second catcher? … The Royals exploded for four runs in support of Zack Greinke(notes) and that was all he needed against St. Louis. Greinke tired a bit in the ninth, paving the way for a Joakim Soria(notes) save. … Adam Lind(notes) spent about half of Friday's game at first base and didn't look out of place – he was tested on a couple of tricky plays and handled them just fine. This could pave the way for more Lind time on the corner down the road. … Coco Crisp(notes) collected three hits and three runs on Friday, just to make the Oakland outfield as confusing as possible.
Chase Headley(notes) finally got his 10th steal of the year, his first bag since May 9. He also had his first multiple-hit game in almost three weeks. … The Mike Pelfrey(notes) story keeps rolling along (10 wins, 2.71 ERA), though he's got a modest 63 strikeouts over 99.2 innings and his K/BB ratio is under 2/1. He's good, but I'll be stunned if he's ever a No. 1 stud or a Cy Young candidate. He's really a No. 2 or No. 3 type of arm. … Michael Cuddyer(notes) made it to five games at third base, which equals position eligibility in a lot of formats. Flexibility is a good thing, gamers. … Madison Bumgarner(notes) steps into The Show on Saturday night, getting the call in time to start against the Red Sox. The 20-year-old lefty had a 7-1 record and a 3.16 ERA with Triple-A Fresno, with 59 strikeouts against 22 walks over 82.2 innings. I'll watch with interest, but given his age and relative inexperience, I'm not adding him in a standard mixer.