Closing Time: Carlos Gonzalez, how soon is now?

We all understand the danger of falling in love with a Colorado outfielder – Jim Tracy is a little jumpy with the lineup card – but Carlos Gonzalez(notes) is forcing his way into the mixed-league conversation. Gonzalez collected three more hits in Sunday's victory over Chicago, making him 7-for-15 for the series. Since the All-Star break the man known as CarGo is sitting on a .442/.490/.698 line, and let's not forget all the prospect buzz tied to Gonzalez in recent years.

The Rockies have shielded Gonzalez from left-handed pitching most of the year (you can't take anything from his 7-for-21 sample), but at some point it's time to get him in there and see if he can handle the assignment. Will Tracy let Gonzalez take some rips against southpaw Tom Gorzelanny(notes) on Monday? I sure would, but the Rockies seldom ask my advice on these matters. At least Colorado faces five right-handers in its next seven games; Gonzalez looks like a solid play in medium and deep leagues for this marking period.

For a while Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler(notes) had settled into a de-facto platoon in center field, but Tracy opted to play them together in two of the three games on the weekend. Tracy conceded to the Denver Post a week ago that his ideal lineup would eventually have Gonzalez in left and Fowler in center; perhaps he's ready to go that way now. Sorry it went down this way, Seth Smith(notes) believers, but in a crowded outfield, somehow has to lose.

The ball was jumping at a hot and humid Comerica Park Sunday, much to the dismay of anyone hitched up to Jarrod Washburn(notes) (6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K) and Scott Baker(notes) (4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 K). That established, the starters allowed four home runs and a gaggle of line drives, so perhaps they got what they deserved. Washburn at least catches a break with next week's schedule – while his rotation mates have to pitch in Boston during a four-game set, Washburn's next assignment is a home date against the lowest-scoring team in the league, Kansas City.

Brett Anderson(notes) had a useful line at Kansas City Sunday (6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K), giving him five quality starts in his last seven turns (plenty of tasty video here). Anderson might not have the ceiling of teammate Trevor Cahill(notes), but Anderson certainly looks like the most appealing Oakland starter for the balance of 2009. Luke Hochevar(notes) was passable on the other side (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 K), but a couple of pedestrian hitters took him over the wall (Bobby Crosby's(notes) first of two; Ryan Sweeney(notes)). Those light-blue Kansas City jerseys make my eyes bleed.

Derek Holland(notes) is the latest example of how young pitching can and will break your heart. His 10-strikeout gem against the Mariners three starts ago was wasted in the fantasy world – there was no case for having Holland active at the time – but his follow-up to that gem was a clunker at Oakland of all places (4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). With that we slap Holland back on the restricted list, only to be frustrated when he mows down the high-scoring Angels Sunday (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K).

If you've got a good feel on what Holland will do this week against the Red Sox, show your work in the comments (Holland might be better off getting the Red Sox at Arlington; Boston is far more dangerous playing at Fenway Park). There's reason to be excited on Holland in a keeper league, but in the redraft world we need a little consistency and reliability and we need it now.

Just when you think it's safe to trust Scott Kazmir(notes), he takes a blowtorch to your ERA and WHIP. A Sunday assignment in Seattle seemed harmless enough but Kazmir struggled with location and couldn't get through five innings (9 H, 7 R, 3 K). He'll pitch against Toronto (and "undecided") next week but I'm not interested. My gut tells me there's about a 40 percent chance of Kazmir being moved in the off-season.

Injury Blog: Brett Cecil(notes) will miss at least one start as he deals with a left knee problem. … Aaron Cook(notes) is dealing with turf toe and won't pitch until Saturday at the earliest. … Post-concussion issues kept Scott Rolen(notes) on the sidelines Sunday. Adam Rosales(notes) took his place and stroked three hits, including a second-row homer. … A tight upper back put Mark DeRosa(notes) on Sunday's bench. … Chris Tillman's(notes) poor turn this week was related to a sore groin muscle, according to the Baltimore Sun. He's not expected to miss his next assignment.

Speed Round: Junichi Tazawa(notes) gets the first chance to replace John Smoltz(notes) in the Boston rotation, starting with Tuesday's home matchup against Detroit and the struggling Rick Porcello(notes). You know all the caveats about chasing wins, but I'm still a little bit temped on this one. Tazawa spent most of the summer at Double-A, posting a 2.57 ERA and 1.08 WHIP along with 88 strikeouts over 98 innings. … Just four strikeouts for Johan Santana(notes) at San Diego, but there's nothing wrong with an eight-inning, one-one performance. His next turn comes back at Citi Field, where he's been outstanding most of the year. … Joe Maddon says Gregg Zaun(notes) will start two games in the Angels series, with Dioner Navarro(notes) getting the other game. … Phil Hughes(notes) was rested Sunday after pitching in four of the previous five games. Phil Coke(notes) wound up blowing Andy Pettitte's(notes) win (courtesy of Victor Martinez's laser into the left-field seats), but the Yanks answered in the bottom of the inning with four runs against Daniel Bard(notes) (Johnny Damon(notes) and Mark Teixeira(notes) found the seats in that sequence; video here and here). … Aubrey Huff(notes) has cleared waivers and would be a reasonable target for a contending club looking for a veteran bat. … If there's a more underrated ballplayer in the AL than Franklin Gutierrez(notes), I don't know who it is. Gutierrez quietly has a .300 average and 14 homers and he's become one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. … The Shane Victorino ejection was one of the most ridiculous things I've seen all season. Keep your head, blue.

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