September 23, 2009
I spent much of my Tuesday night watching the Padres and Rockies battle at Coors, and given how strange that ballgame turned out to be, I've decided to empty out the notebook and share what I got.
• The big fantasy news from Blake Street was the return of Huston Street(notes), just over a biceps injury. He was called on for two outs in the seventh inning and the slider looked sharp (one infield tapper, one strikeout). I can't see any reason why Jim Tracy won't push Street back to the ninth inning in short order.
Franklin Morales(notes) did all he could to clear the Street runway later in the night; while Morales did record his seventh save, he only retired one of the four batters he faced and that out came on an absolute rocket. He's been all over the place in three of his last five appearances and I'll be stunned if the Rockies don't return to their preferred bullpen arrangement in the next game or two.
• Clint Barmes(notes) had the biggest piece of Colorado's 11-run explosion, posting a 4-1-3-3 line and collecting his 23rd homer of the year. The round-tripper was a gift from the fantasy gods; Edgar Gonzalez narrowly missed a diving catch on a Barmes liner, then slumped to the turf in excruciating pain (separated shoulder). By the time Tony Gwynn(notes) tracked the ball down in the right-field corner, Barmes was already around the bases, the easiest inside-the-park homer you'll ever see.
• It's always fun to root for late-blooming players and forgotten non-prospects (think Garrett Jones(notes) and Randy Ruiz(notes)), and with that in mind let's give a wave to Oscar Salazar(notes), the 31-year-old journeyman who's been lashing the ball for the Padres of late (7-for-14, eight RBIs over the last three days). He's always been able to hit, that's not the issue here; he posted a .316/.371/.512 line in Triple-A last year, and he hit .374 in 195 minor league at bats this season before Baltimore gave him a call (later the O's shipped him west for Cla Meredith(notes)). Salazar qualifies at first, third and the outfield and you have to figure Bud Black will continue to run him out there while he's sizzling, so consider Salazar as a possible Coors Field rental for deep mixers this week.
• Juan Rincon(notes) walked three of the five batters he faced just before Morales worked in the top of the ninth, and I can't figure why the Rockies keep giving Rincon a chance to sabotage their bullpen. The struggling righty now has 28 walks in 25.2 innings with Colorado, along with a 7.36 ERA. In fairness there was a heavy rain mucking things up for the last 15 minutes of this game and it was cold in the park all night, but when you're asked to protect a five-run lead, big cat, how about throwing some strikes? There's no reason for Rincon to be on Colorado's post-season roster.
• Mark Lowe(notes) grabbed a rogue save in Seattle's win at Tampa Bay; David Aardsma(notes) wasn't available because of a tight back. Don't fret too much if you own Aardsma, though; he wanted the ball in the ninth and it sounds like he'll be back soon. "I felt like I could pitch through it," Aardsma told the M's official site. "I think the key is that they didn't want it to become anything else, they didn't want it to trigger something and just really lock up on me."
• Zack Greinke's(notes) Cy Young candidacy got another boost Tuesday as he finally met up with the Red Sox and easily put them aside (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K, win No. 15). With a 2.08 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 233 strikeouts, it's safe to start clearing off some mantle space; I don't see the BBWAA botching this vote. Greinke has two starts left on the schedule, both against Minnesota (you're welcome, Detroit).
• Jim Johnson(notes) had an interesting blown save in Toronto, allowing a run on an infield hit, two other soft singles and a plunked batter. Sounds like a mess, but he also struck out the side. I don't see an obvious replacement to push Johnson out of the way even if the Orioles want to get experimental for the last two weeks, but there's no denying that JJ hasn't been sharp this month (6 IP, 9 R).
Speed Round: Carlos Gonzalez(notes) wasn't around at the end of the Coors Field craziness; he tweaked a hamstring legging out a triple and came out of the game. … A bruised wrist knocked Brian McCann(notes) out for Atlanta. … Matt LaPorta(notes) suffered a hip injury in the second inning against the Tigers, courtesy of a very awkward slide. … Gary Sheffield(notes) says he's going to play one more year, then retire after the 2010 season. … Possible streamers for Thursday include Bronson Arroyo(notes) at Pittsburgh (if you're in a very thin league), both sides of the Texas at Oakland game (Scott Feldman(notes) and Brett Anderson(notes)), Vicente Padilla(notes) at Washington and Brad Penny(notes) at home against the Cubs (pitch carefully to that Derrek Lee(notes) fellow, he seems to homer daily). … Where's the Bobby Jenks(notes) discussion, you ask? We gave it a stand-alone post over here. Heaven help us as we try to decipher the Ozzie Guillen tea leaves over the next week and a half.