Sunday afternoon in steamy South Florida, baby-faced sensation Clayton Kershaw(notes) snacked on the Marlins as if they were a giant Filet-o-Fish.
Aiming to become the third-youngest player in major league history to toss a no-no, the southpaw fell just short of scrawling his name down in the record books. The 21-year-old didn't concede a base knock until Cody Ross(notes), the first batter faced in the eighth, deposited a high 92 mph fastball into the left-field gap. Pulled immediately by Joe Torre, Kershaw finished the day allowing one earned in seven innings. He also posted a mediocre 9:4 strikeout-to-walk and 6:6 GO:AO split.
Profit seekers: consider this your monthly reminder to find a trade suitor.
Make no mistake; Kershaw has pitched brilliantly this month. In four starts, he's emerged victorious twice and has notched a 2.34 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. But his unsightly 4.79 BB/9, unappealing 0.93 GB/FB ratio and tender age are strong indicators the rollercoaster ride will continue.
Kershaw's lethal stuff and building confidence will one day make him arguably the game's most feared lefty, but he must limit free passes to establish consistency.
Every league has an owner who chases commodities on a bull market, especially when buzz-worthy young talents with sizable strikeout potential appear to have turned the corner. For instance, the Noise, who snagged Kershaw in Round 14 of the Friend and Family draft back in March, dealt the kid after his electric performance against the Giants on April 15 (7 IP, 1 HA, 1 ER, 13 K) to Craig Falzone for Joe Nathan(notes). Similar rewards are available for the aggressive bargainer.
Prior to today's value-inflating start, Kershaw was swapped straight up for Josh Johnson(notes), Nate McLouth(notes), Chris Iannetta(notes) and Orlando Hudson(notes) in recent one-for-one Y! Plus league transactions.
• Armando Galarraga(notes) was put on notice by manager Jim Leyland prior to his start against Oakland. Based on his less than stellar response, the Tidy Cat apparently doesn't perform well under pressure. Unable to escape the first, the Tigers hurler was tagged for five earned in two-thirds of an inning.
If Dontrelle Willis(notes) pitches anywhere close to admirable this week, which would be a monumental achievement, Galarraga will be toeing the rubber for Toledo when Jeremy Bonderman(notes) is activated from the DL, possibly later this week. Hopefully, you sold high in April.
• In other Motown news, Ramon Santiago(notes) continues to be quietly productive in an infield utility role. The minimally owned (1 percent) middle infielder, who qualifies at second and short, was a double shy of the cycle going 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs. Racking a .352 BA with the same number of RBIs as Robinson Cano(notes) (19) on the year, he's definitely worth a look in 14-team and deeper mixed formats.
• Procrastinators who didn't buy Kevin Slowey(notes) at a discounted rate two weeks ago may have lost out. Including today's gem on the road against the Yanks (7 IP, 2 ER, 8:0 K:BB), he's won four games and compiled a 3.49 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and, most impressively, a 28:3 K:BB since April 18. Homers will be a persistent issue, but his pinpoint location and abundant run support are hard to ignore.
• After a couple of Borowski-like efforts, Troy Percival(notes) righted the ship and earned his sixth save of the season, pitching an unblemished ninth against Cleveland. Because Percy has struggled mightily against lefties (.476 BAA, 3 HR), veteran Joe Nelson(notes) netted a situational save Saturday.
Although Percival's job is secure, Joe Maddon indicated he will utilize Nelson again in a similar situation if one arises in the future. Saves scavengers and petrified Percival owners in very deep mixed leagues should consider adding the six percent-owned Nelson.
• Pittsburgh's Robinzon Diaz(notes) must have been trained at the Pablo Sandoval(notes) College of Aggressive Hacks. The Dominican import, who has not walked in 51 career at-bats, has wrestled away playing time from Jason Jaramillo(notes) to become the Buccos primary backstop. Batting recently between the 5th-7th spots, he's clubbed four multi-hit games in his past 10. Currently hitting a sparkling .341 on the season, he's very acquirable in deeper formats.
The antithesis of Miguel Olivo(notes), his 96.3 contact percentage and strong minor league track-record are signs his current BA isn't anomalous. His power yields will be lackluster and his bashful attitude toward walks is somewhat disconcerting, but at least he won't fill your box score with dreadful donuts on a regular basis (*cough* Geovany Soto(notes)).
Quick Hitters: Rickie Weeks(notes) is scheduled to meet with a hand specialist Monday after exiting stage left with a sore left wrist. Craig Counsell(notes), who is batting .339 on the year, would fill the void at second if Weeks were sidelined for a prolonged period of time ... Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) extended his quality starts streak to four games surrendering one earned with seven Ks over six innings in Pittsburgh. The Rogaine of the Rockies has a 1.99 ERA and 1.04 WHIP since May 1 ... Due to the rainout between the Braves/D-Backs, Derek Lowe(notes) and Jon Garland(notes) will double dip this week. As a result, hotly discussed rookie Kris Medlen's(notes) debut has been pushed back from Tuesday to Thursday. We will continue to deflect your verbal insults ... Adam Jones(notes), dealing with lingering hamstring soreness, is expected to take the field Tuesday in New York ... Second only to Bar Rafaeli in general hotness, Billy Butler(notes), slotted into the third spot for the fourth consecutive game, went 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs. He is now hitting .296 with 10 RBIs in May ... Rangers reliever Darren O'Day(notes) registered his first career save, shutting the door on the Angels over 1.1 innings. C.J. Wilson(notes) was rested after pitching back-to-back games. With Frank Francisco(notes) out until Friday, the southpaw (Wilson) will continue to man the ninth-inning controls ... Carlos Quentin(notes) underwent shock wave treatment to help relieve mid foot pain. He won't return to action until at least Tuesday ... Supreme underachiever Matt Holliday(notes) went a perfect 4-for-4 with a run and his first steal of the season. Over the past week, his BA has increased from .226 to .267. In terms of meeting draft expectations, he will undoubtedly disappoint, but his value is definitely on the rise ... Elijah Dukes(notes) aggravated his left hamstring. No information was released about the injury's severity or potential length of absence. For those in weekly leagues, it would be wise to deactivate him for the upcoming scoring period.
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