Programming note: You're getting an uncommonly early Closing Time today, because we had a six-pack of afternoon games on the schedule and a few injuries to document. But don't fret, if there's actionable news in the late games, then we may have a CT after-party.
That would be Drew Storen pictured above, not Sean Burnett, getting the traditional post-save handshake from Ivan Rodriguez. Storen recorded his second save of the season on Wednesday, getting the final four outs in Washington's 8-6 win over St. Louis, in the first game of a double-header. (Give Jayson Werth an assist for making a nice sliding catch on the final out). Drew hasn't allowed a run in any of his last nine appearances, so the fantasy ratios are friendly (0.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP).
Burnett had eighth inning duty on Wednesday afternoon, entering the game to face a treacherous portion of the Cards' order. He managed to record two outs, but also yielded three singles, the last of which resulted in an RBI for Albert Pujols. Burnett has allowed an earned run in each of his last three appearances, and hasn't earned a save since April 12. Storen, meanwhile, has saved two games in four days. If your faith in Storen never wavered despite the messy spring, you've been rewarded. Well played, patient gamer.
One more note from Game 1 of the Nats-Cards twinbill: Ryan Franklin pitched two innings for St. Louis, allowing a homer to Laynce Nix. He entered the game with his team trailing by two runs in the seventh. Jason Motte took the final frame for the Cardinals in the loss. So that means Mitchell Boggs is available tonight, Mr. La Russa, should a late lead present itself.
• Chris Narveson gave his fantasy owners five sharp innings on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, he was actually asked to pitch six frames, and the final inning wasn't so clean. Placido Polanco's three-run homer spoiled what was shaping up to be another fine start from Narveson. Still, the soft-tossing-yet-mystifying lefty gave us another four Ks, and his ERA remains a perfectly respectable 2.19.
• Ty Wigginton had a homer and four RBIs in Colorado's mauling of Matt Cain. Video here. He'll have a clean path to playing time following the Ian Stewart demotion, and he's only 18 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues, despite years of Pianowski propaganda. Add as needed. Per his usual, Wigginton offers multi-position eligibility.
• The Jed Lowrie hit parade continued on Wednesday, not that you expected anything else. He went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, because that's all he knows how to do. Like Wiggy, he gives you eligibility at multiple roster spots (2B and SS already, and he's three starts away from earning his 3B badge). Lowrie, 27, wasn't a huge power or speed threat in the minors, but he lived on-base (.380 OBP). He's obviously killing the ball at the moment, and the team context is nice.
• As expected, Cody Ross' return from the DL resulted in the Giants optioning Brandon Belt to Fresno (on his birthday, which seems cold). Here's Andrew Baggarly with some thoughts from Belt:
"It's just a bunch of people coming back and not enough spots. Obviously, I have some things to work on. it's best to get some games and at-bats to figure them out."
What does Belt need to work on?
"Just looking at the video, it seems so minor what I have to do. I'm dropping the barrel just a bit and I'm fouling off balls. It seems like it's something that can be so easily fixed. That's what makes it frustrating. With some more at-bats, I'm confident I can get this fixed really soon."
Belt was hitting just .192/.300/.269 at the time of the demotion, so there's really no arguing with the move. Just as opening day seemed like the right time to sell high on Belt (as discussed in live chat), this seems like a decent time to make a play for him in dynasty formats. Nothing happened over the first 17 games of his season to change his profile as a prospect worth owning, long-term.
• You can't get too excited by Rick Porcello's line from Wednesday's win, because the Mariners were the opponent. But still, the numbers were useful: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, BB, 6 Ks. Porcello should get Seattle in his next appearance, too, so if you streamed him for Wednesday's layup start, prepare to do the same next week.
• The opener between the Cubs and Pads lasted at least three hours longer than necessary. The only memorable highlight was when a group seagulls briefly interrupted the game in the tenth, with a picnic on the infield (pictured left). Not sure what they were eating. Maybe pizza crust, maybe a hot dog bun. My kid thought it looked like a human ear, but I told her that was unlikely. The point is, at that stage in the game, watching birds eat was a lot more entertaining than watching the Padres attempt to score runs.
San Diego starter Dustin Moseley was burned by his team's atrocious lineup yet again. He allowed just one unearned run over six innings, striking out four, yet took a no-decision. He's now 0-3 through four starts, with a 1.40 ERA.
• Not completely sure about the details surrounding this image-of-the-year candidate, but I believe Dave Duncan had just cast a Stinging Hex on Tony La Russa, in an attempt to disguise his identity.
• Rangers prospect Martin Perez tossed a storm-shortened five-inning perfect game on Tuesday, for which he apparently receives full credit in the Texas League record books. The left-hander struck out three batters in his abbreviated perfecto. In Perez's previous Double-A outing, he pitched five scoreless frames, piling up nine Ks.
• This bullet has no fantasy utility, so feel free to scroll onward if you like. But if you're so inclined, please consider casting a vote for Tim Raines in this completely meaningless Web poll. Because c'mon, Dawson should not win. That's crazy.
• While we're discussing Expos and Nats, please be advised that America's sleeper, Ian Desmond, will soon take a 1-3 day paternity leave to be with Lady Desmond as she gives birth to the couple's first child, E6 Ian Jr. (Or if it's a girl...um...Iannetta? No, that seems wrong).
• And another Nats note: Apparently Washington has been kicking the tires on BJ Upton recently, scouting the Rays center fielder as a potential trade target. No offer or deal is expected anytime soon, if ever, but AL/NL-only managers should take note nonetheless. Any move that shakes up the Tampa outfield would create an opportunity for prospect-of-interest Desmond Jennings.
• Andrew Bailey (forearm/elbow) threw another bullpen session on Wednesday, and Oakland manager Bob Geren called it "his best yet." He has a few more days of long-tossing and bullpens ahead, however, before the A's send him out for a rehab assignment. Until Bailey returns, Brian Fuentes will continue to terrify those of us who own him.
Merely a Flesh Wound: Pablo Sandoval suffered a right triceps strain during BP on Wednesday, but the injury is reportedly considered minor — enough to send him to the bench, hopefully not enough to send him to the DL. ... No, David Aardsma's first minor league rehab appearance at Tacoma did not go particularly well: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, HR, 2 BB, 0 K. He reportedly worked in the low-90s, perhaps a tick or two below his usual velocity. But here's the good news: Aardsma's surgically repaired hip held up just fine, according to this tweet from the man himself. ... Corey Hart (oblique) went 0-for-3 in the second game of his minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday. Not a great beginning to his visit to Triple-A, as he's now 0-for-5, but it's still progress. ... Various Twins are infected with something flu-like at the moment, as both Delmon Young and Justin Morneau were sidelined again on Wednesday. ... Johnny Damon (finger) was still too bruised for the lineup, but declared himself available for pinch-hitting/running.
Logan Morrison (foot strain) is in a walking boot, and was thus out of the lineup on Wednesday, receiving an MRI. No results expected until Thursday. And it sounds like random motorists aren't so happy with him, for whatever reason. ... Jason Bay is expected to return to the Mets lineup on Thursday. No word yet on the return of his power, but Tuesday's two-homer performance was clearly a good sign. ... Carlos Lee reportedly hyper-extended his left elbow during a collision with David Wright on Tuesday, although El Caballo later said, "I'm fine. I think I'll be OK." ... Aaron Hill was MRI'd after feeling tightness in his right hamstring while stealing a base on Tuesday. Jayson Nix gets the start in Hill's absence on Wednesday.
Photos via AP Images (Storen) and US Presswire (Belt)