By Andy Behrens
July 18, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : July 16
| July 17
In the post-4/18 world, we must remain vigilant.
April 18 was, of course, the date that Charlie Manuel removed Brett Myers, one of baseball's better starting pitchers, from the Philadelphia rotation and sent him to the bullpen. Exactly three months later, Myers is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and the Phillies have the worst team ERA in the National League (4.98).
So in the post-4/18 world, whenever an elite starter makes a relief appearance, it's news. And it happened Tuesday night …
"Look at this!" said an excited Bob Carpenter. "It is Roy Oswalt! In relief!"
The Astros' ace jogged across the outfield, headed toward the pitching mound with two outs in the seventh inning, his team leading 3-2.
"I thought the All-Star break was last week," continued Carpenter, the Washington Nationals play-by-play man. "We'll have to see what's going on here."
As it turned out, nothing too extraordinary was going on there. Oswalt had approached Phil Garner about replacing a regular throwing session with a game appearance. "I don't want to sit around for five days," Oswalt told the Astros' website. "I threw 30 warm-up pitches and three in the game, so it was the same thing."
Except that it freaked out a few thousand fantasy owners.
Well, stand down. Nothing to fret about. Oswalt induced a harmless fly ball from Robert Fick to record the final out in the seventh last night. He actually managed to pick up a hold, too, which probably helped a few of you in 6x6 leagues.
Despite his un-Oswalt-ian 1.41 WHIP and the atrocious statistical line he produced in his last start (5.1 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 2 BB), Roy Oswalt is an interesting buy-low candidate right now. In recent days, he's brought fairly unimpressive returns in Yahoo! trades: Mike Lowell in a one-for-one deal; Gary Matthews Jr. and Aaron Hill in a two-for-one; Oswalt and Octavio Dotel were dealt for Bobby Jenks in another league.
Don't deal for Oswalt with the expectation that he'll be flipped to a division leader, though. Astros general manager Tim Purpura recently told the Houston Chronicle, "I made it very clear to people we have no interest in trading any of our long-term guys – Roy, Carlos (Lee) and Lance (Berkman)." That doesn't mean they won't listen to offers, of course.
A quick follow-up to Monday's bit on planning for the head-to-head playoffs: Yes, there will be teams that clinch divisions early and choose to rest players. This happens. You'll have to adjust in September – and when I say "adjust," I mean you'll have to lose your fear of dropping players.
Let's say the Tigers clinch the AL Central on September 16 and immediately declare that Justin Verlander will have a 50-pitch limit in his final starts. Well, that would make him a mostly worthless pitcher in the head-to-head playoffs. Still, I can guarantee that many of you would be reluctant to let go of him. Week 25 is not the time to be loyal, though. In fact, it's the worst possible time for loyalty.
At the moment every race except the AL East is tight. Boston leads New York by eight games, but I don't think anyone is quite ready to declare that race finished. We're a long way from being able to confidently say that any team's starters will be shelved in the final weeks.
Matt Garza held the Detroit Tigers, baseball's most productive offense, to three hits and zero earned runs Tuesday night. Garza has yet to allow an earned run in his 15 innings this season. He has 10 Ks and only four walks. The 23-year-old Twins right-hander began the week owned in only 6.3 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that should change fairly soon.
Alex Gordon's batting average has skyrocketed to, um … OK, it's .236. But that's very close to it's high-water mark for the season. He stole a base and went 3-for-4 on Tuesday, and he's still got a fair chance to finish the season as a 15/15 guy.
Ryan Freel, who's only 47.1 percent-owned, has stolen two bases in each of his last two games. Farney was responsible for at least three of them, from what I understand. (Everyone remembers that whole "He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me" thing, right? That was easily the second-greatest Ryan Freel news item of all-time).
In other Reds' news, the 33.8 percent-owned Josh Hamilton will miss another two weeks with that sprained wrist. Prior to the injury, he'd hit safely in 12 of 13 game, and homered in five of them. Farney does not speak to him. Farney hates Josh Hamilton. The 26-year-old Hamilton is DL-eligible, and is certainly worth grabbing and stashing on your disabled list in mixed leagues.
Streamable starters for Thursday include Yovani Gallardo (23.2 percent-owned) versus Arizona, Sergio Mitre (29.3) versus Cincinnati, and … eh, no, I'm backing off Scott Baker (1.8). Not against Detroit. After adding Gallardo, you should just go ahead and hold onto him.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Wednesday, Jul 18, 2007 6:48 pm, EDT
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