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Fire and ice

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Unless you've totally isolated yourself from the sporting world for a couple of days, you're aware that Ken Griffey Jr. finally hit number 500 on Father's Day. Given his history, Junior owners would love to see more holidays fabricated in his father's honor. Junior hit his first and 400th career homers on his father's birthday.

This mighty blow continued the misery of St. Louis starter Matt Morris (2-1, but carrying an ERA of 7.00 in his last three starts), and while Griffey has gotten the headlines for his home runs, his batting average slowly is climbing to respectability (.260).

On the flipside, the Rocket came crashing back to earth, as Roger Clemens experienced two straight rough outings (0-2 with an ERA of 8.43).

This week, I'm taking a look into who's been heating up and who's been put on ice, with a focus on the past seven days. Everyone is aware of the monster weeks turned in by Jim Thome and Jason Schmidt, so I'll applaud their efforts and move on.

On Fire

Edgardo Alfonzo, San Francisco Giants
Next up: Los Angeles, Oakland
Alfonzo has been a veritable whipping boy for the pundits and scribes (myself included) throughout the season. For the first two months, he failed to protect Barry Bonds and contributed mightily to Bonds' frightening total of 51 intentional walks.

In June, it's been a different story, as he has hit .295 with 19 RBIs. He also came up huge this week, capping it with a dramatic grand slam home run in the eighth inning on Sunday to break a scoreless tie. Even with a great week in the books, upcoming series against Los Angeles and Oakland make Alfonzo a wait-and-see fantasy play.

Edgardo Alfonzo: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.429 2 10 7

Jose Vidro, Montreal Expos
Next up: Philadelphia, Toronto
The Expos left the cupboard bare for Vidro coming into the season. He responded with soft totals to start the year (.229 through the end of May) and found his way onto the waiver wire in a number of leagues. He's been on fire during the month of June (.366 with 2 HRs and 16 RBIs). Not coincidentally, the rest of the team decided to wake up around him by scoring 28 runs in a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox.

Jose Vidro: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.423 2 10 7

Angel Berroa, Kansas City Royals
Next up: Detroit, St. Louis
Berroa struggled to start the season and later found himself on the disabled list. Through May, he hit a paltry .222 with 10 RBIs. He has rebounded nicely in the month of June by hitting .300. His four-stolen base game last weekend may be a sign of things to come, as the Royals are desperate to start generating some offense. Berroa stands as a nice option for managers struggling in the middle infield.

Angel Berroa: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R SB
.423 1 6 5 4

Jose Cruz, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Next up: Toronto, Florida
Here's a guy that drives fantasy owners insane. Cruz goes through periods where he can't hit the broad side of a barn, let alone a 95-mph heater (.237 through May 31). And then there are stretches like now, when he's making consistent solid contact and driving the ball (.300 with 3 HRs and 14 RBIs in June). I suggest getting on board this latest streak and riding it out.

Jose Cruz: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.368 2 7 8

Casey Blake, Cleveland Indians
Next up: Chicago White Sox, Colorado
Blake has been a pleasant surprise for the Tribe after several years of failing to crack the starting lineup. This young offense, led by Blake, Travis Hafner and possible All-Star Victor Martinez is battling for the AL Central lead, in case you missed it. How unexpectedly good have they been? They've actually outscored the vaunted New York Yankees offense (through Monday) as the trio of Blake, Hafner and Martinez has combined to drive in 137 runs! Blake makes for a viable addition at your third base or corner infield positions. He'll hit 25 HRs before it's done.

Casey Blake: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.333 2 9 6

Mark Hendrickson, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Next up: Saturday (6/26) vs. Florida
The former NBA player is a key component of the Devil Rays' current run. He started out miserably and appeared to be running out of chances at the big-league level. But he's turned it around with four victories in the month of June. Hendrickson isn't going to strike out many hitters, but he provides great short-term help in three categories. I say short-term because he eventually will be facing a steady diet of the bigs of the AL East: Boston, New York and (a finally healthy) Toronto.

Mark Hendrickson: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
2-0 1.32 0.95 2

Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
Next up: Saturday (6/26) vs. Milwaukee
Santana has gotten into a groove after a rough return from the disabled list. He's not only getting Ws with the scrappy Twins but also bringing big strikeout totals and maintaining a low ERA and WHIP in the run-happy AL Central. There's no chance that he's available on the waiver wire, but this is a four-category hurler worthy of parting with some extra pop or speed you may be carrying.

Johan Santana: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
2-0 2.25 0.56 19

Jose Lima, Los Angeles Dodgers
Next up: Friday (6/25) vs. Anaheim
If you can't get into the emotion that pours from Lima on the hill, then you're just not a baseball fan. On Sunday night, he pitched against the Yankees on the grand stage and showed his customary exuberance. This reclamation project by the Dodgers has paid off and has them battling for the division lead. He's finally pitching in a spacious ballpark after years in the homer-happy areas of Houston and Detroit. Lima is a nice add to the back end of your rotation.

Jose Lima: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
2-0 2.77 0.62 6

Jung Bong, Cincinnati Reds
Next up: Saturday (6/26) vs. Pittsburgh
Bong has pitched well in his last two outings after a horrible start in Oakland two weeks back. I sat and watched the A's have their way with him that day (4 earned runs and 9 hits in 3.1 innings of work) and thought to myself, so that's why Atlanta parted ways with him. But he has settled in with starts against Texas and St. Louis. He next gets a chance to face the Pirates. With the runs being generated in Cincinnati, he's worthy of a spot start.

Jung Bong: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
1-0 3.00 1.25 11

On Ice

Barry Zito, Oakland Athletics
Next up: Friday (6/25) vs. San Francisco
Zito clearly has been affected by the departure of pitching guru Rick Peterson. Through mid-June, he's been roughed up regularly and shows no sign of coming out of it. He also is walking more hitters than normal and his WHIP is an uncharacteristic 1.52. And with the A's scoring less runs than in seasons past, there's no margin for error. You never can release Zito outright, but you might think about dealing him to your league's resident A's fan or let somebody else pray for a resurgence.

Barry Zito: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
0-1 5.40 2.20 10

Shawn Chacon, Colorado Rockies
Next up: Milwaukee, Cleveland
As I reported last week, Chacon makes you check your pulse with each outing. This week he was able to close the door on three games, but the rest of the stats took at a beating. The loss and blown saves this week were no surprises, but his other numbers will absolutely obliterate your roto stats. Look to the waiver wire for new closers Mike Koplove and Shingo Takatsu.

Shawn Chacon: Last Seven Days
W-L SV ERA WHIP K
0-1 3 15.75 3.00 5

Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox
Next up: Thursday (6/24) vs. Minnesota
The usually reliable Wakefield has struggled mightily of late, watching his ERA balloon to a frightening 4.92. Even more frightening is that these outings took place against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, two teams that have never faced him. The knuckleball usually mesmerizes hitters on the first go-round. Alas, this was not to be. Even the most staunch supporters of the Red Sox have to let him head back to the waiver wire.

Tim Wakefield: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
0-1 6.87 2.52 5

Sidney Ponson, Baltimore Orioles
Next up: Thursday (6/24) vs. New York Yankees
I'm almost tired of beating up on old Sidney. This will be his last mention in a column unless he goes on a hot streak. Baltimore brass even is starting to toss around the notion of a demotion to the bullpen unless he cleans up his act in a hurry. Ponson won't go without a fight, but there's no indication that he'll get back on track anytime soon. Hit the wire for the streaking pitchers above.

Sidney Ponson: Last Seven Days
W-L ERA WHIP K
0-2 6.59 1.83 5

Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
Next up: Florida, Baltimore
Chipper has slumped horribly since returning from injury. The hope had been to start him off slowly by utilizing him as the designated hitter. Well, they've been successful in keeping him from aggravating the injury, but his bat has been slowed as well. He's hit a pathetic .151. Maybe he'll get to face Ponson this weekend? Wow, broke my rule already.

Chipper Jones: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.208 1 1 2

Jorge Posada, New York Yankees
Next up: Baltimore, NY Mets
Posada single-handedly carried the Yankees during the early part of the season as A-Rod, Derek Jeter and company struggled. As often occurs with catchers as the weather heats up, Posada has fallen back to earth. For the month, he's hitting more than 100 points worse than he did in April and May (.192 with 1 HR and 5 RBIs). Of course you have to stick it out for the long haul if you own Posada, but if you don't, you may just be able to steal him from his frustrated owner in your league.

Jorge Posada: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.200 0 2 1

Jeff Kent, Houston Astros
Next up: Pittsburgh, Texas
Kent followed up his tremendous hitting streak with an uninspired stretch for the Astros. His performance in the four game set against the Cubs was reminiscent of his slow start to the 2004 campaign (1 for 15 with 0 HRs or RBIs). For the season, he's been potent with 10 HRs, 48 RBIs and a .290 batting average. No need to panic here, as he'll get healthy with series against Pittsburgh and Texas this week.

Jeff Kent: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.115 0 3 3

Carlos Lee, Chicago White Sox
Next up: Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs
Lee fared slightly better than Kent during this period, but has scuffled mightily since the end of his 28-game hitting streak. His four-hit game against the Expos on June 18 lies in the middle of an 0-for-22 slump. With that said, Lee did hit .381 during the 28-game streak, raising his average from a feeble .230. Fantasy owners need to ride it out and wait for the next wave of offense.

Carlos Lee: Last Seven Days
BA HR RBI R
.156 1 4 4

This weekend we get to see another round of interleague matchups. We'll see the natural "city pride" battles (Chicago and New York) and the bevy of forced geographic matchups. Is there really a rivalry between the Orioles and the Braves? That one could be a battle of owners, I guess.

Until then, check the waiver wire in your league. There's bound to be help just a click away.

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