On a night that featured a loss by the recently mass-added Max Scherzer, and a win by the recently mass-dropped Johnny Cueto, we should actually begin with someone else. For once.
Let's discuss Baltimore left-hander Garrett Olson. The 24-year-old had his second straight useful start for the O's tonight, going 6.1 innings against Oakland, allowing only four hits, walking one, and striking out seven. That's 13 Ks in 13 innings for Olson, and his ERA is 2.08.
Despite the fact that he doesn't really have overwhelming velocity -- he may not have hit 90 mph on Monday -- the Ks are real enough. He struck out 120 batters in 128.0 innings at Triple-A last season, and he whiffed 25 in 24.1 minor league innings so far this year.
Don't confuse this with hype, though. No one's telling you to lean heavily on Olson or any other Baltimore pitcher. This isn't really a must-add player. But the 1.9 percent-owned Olson can help you this weekend, assuming he'll start against Kansas City. The Royals are last in the A.L. in runs scored, and they were shutout by Ervin Santana today.
Olson belongs on a roster in most A.L.-only leagues, and head-to-head owners should consider him a short-term spot-starter. The same can also be said of his Monday opponent, Dana Eveland, a player we've mentioned before. The left-handed Eveland throws a bit harder than Olson, and he's struck out nearly a batter-per-inning in the minors (406 Ks in 413.2 IP).
Now onto the guys we've really hyped...
• Scherzer didn't locate his secondary pitches well on Monday, as this recap makes clear. His velocity was there, but the Phillies have some guys who can hit. Chase Utley smoked a 96 mph fastball down the first base line for a double to begin that four-run third inning. Scherzer still struck out five, but he threw 92 pitches in just four innings. It was somewhat reminiscent of this game, actually. Same opposing team, and nearly the same date.
• Cueto was very good today, striking out eight and allowing three runs in six innings against the Cubs. A couple of those Ks may have been ump-aided, but still. Francisco Cordero tried to blow the save (2 H, 2 BB), but couldn't quite pull it off.
Follow this link, admire Felix Pie's catch to rob Ken Griffey Jr. of his 598th career home run, and then check out the bomb that Adam Dunn hit in the third. It nearly cleared the back row of seats in right-center, roughly 463 feet from home plate.
• If you started both Javier Vazquez and Dustin McGowan today, this was your fantasy line: 15.0 IP, 1 W, 15 K, 0.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP. McGowan got the win, Vazquez had nine of the Ks.
• Tough loss for Brian Fuentes tonight, as Albert Pujols scored from second base on a groundout in the ninth to give the Cardinals a 6-5 lead. (Highlights here). Jason Isringhausen collected an uneventful save.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka picked up a five-inning win, allowing only two hits, striking out one...and walking eight. Eight! If you own him in a K/BB league, maybe it's time to just punt the category.
• The Angels' Brandon Wood hit a solo home run against Kansas City in the ninth tonight. Wood is a 23-year-old prospect of interest, though he's only on the radar in dynasty leagues right now. The 51.4 percent-owned Erick Aybar tripled and went 2-for-4.
• Wladimir Balentien went 2-for-3 and hit his second homer of the season for Seattle. He raised his average to .238. It might not get much higher than that -- he's only a season removed from a .230 average at Double-A -- but the power is legit.