Closing Time: Moyer owns Fish (again), Harden rebounds, trades rumored, injuries updated

And we're back, gamers. Mr. Pianowski can't be with us tonight because he still hasn't returned from the ESPYs. Dude got the gift bag and took off. Never made it to the red carpet. Awkward, since he was supposed to present with Shane Mosley and Sue Bird. He was a shuffleboard nominee, too. Until Scott surfaces, I'll be your guide. Let's get to it.

There are few obvious reasons to own Jamie Moyer(notes) in fantasy leagues, and we are not prepared to endorse him now. He's on the wrong side of 35 40 45, his ERA is 5.58 and his K/9 is 5.05. But on a night that lacked much actionable fantasy news, it's tough not to begin with a pitcher who tosses seven one-hit innings, even if the guy can't hit 79 mph without a breeze at his back.

It's also getting hard to ignore Moyer's record against Florida. After tonight's effort, he's 13-2 against the Marlins with a 2.83 ERA. It's a shame he didn't get to face 'em regularly until he turned 43. "You have to tip your hat to Moyer," Fredi Gonzalez told reporters. "It seems we're always saying that."

The Phils and Fish play each other 10 more times this year, and they'll finish with a three-game series in Philadelphia, October 2-4. Let's say you're a head-to-head manager in championship week and Moyer's sitting out there among the un-owned probables. And let's also say he's starting against Florida on the final weekend of the fantasy season. Do you add?

Dunno. Under certain dire circumstances, sure. But Moyer is a tough pull. I'm feeling the full, terrible crushing weight of this decision already, and it's still just a far-off hypothetical. We should move on...

Rich Harden(notes) began the second-half with an excellent six-inning effort against the Nats: 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He's been a disaster during day games so far this year (1-5, 7.38 ERA), but an ace by night (5-1, 2.41). The day/night split was not an issue last year; consider it more of a curiosity. "I've had some tough games at home with the wind blowing out and the ball carrying," Harden told's Carrie Muskat.

In other Cubs news, BJ Ryan(notes) was signed to a minor league deal. That seems unlikely to help, but you never know. He's obviously no threat to enter the closing picture. The Cubs don't fix anyone.

The highlight of my week may have been this very special Basketball Jones production. It's short. Watch it all. Pay close attention at the 0:45 mark, when Tas honors Toronto legend Tony Batista(notes). Fabulous. (Pictured). There really aren't enough Batista tributes.

The Baltimore Sun offered a little George Sherrill trade speculation on Wednesday:

A little more than two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles are one of only a handful of teams entrenched as sellers, and they have a few pieces that have already intrigued playoff contenders.

Closer George Sherrill(notes) has been the most popular target. However, the Orioles, who still have Sherrill under control for two more seasons, will only move him if they get what they perceive as "closer" -- not situational left-hander -- value in return. The Florida Marlins still look like the best fit as they need bullpen help and have a number of corner infield prospects that intrigue the Orioles.

Sherrill hardly seems like enough of a trade chip if one of Florida's high-end corner infield prospects is on the other side of the deal (Logan Morrison being the best of them). But the key news there is that the O's are listening to offers, and Sherrill could move. Jim Johnson(notes) figures to be the handcuff.

There were a few Matt Holliday(notes)/Yunel Escobar trade rumors out there -- specifically here -- but's Mark Bowman reports the following:

Early Thursday evening, a Braves source once again confirmed that the club hasn't made a single attempt to even explore the possibility of moving Escobar.

Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), this was a rather smooth play. Cliff Lee(notes) finally won, going the distance against Seattle. Lee has allowed three runs or less in 16 of his last 18 starts, yet he has just five wins.

Following a pair of useful no-decisions, Homer Bailey(notes) was rocked by the Brewers: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks. Note his reaction to Prince Fielder's opposite-field shot. His next start could be mess (at LAD), but he's in line to get San Diego in two weeks.

Rafael Soriano(notes) was his usual dominant self against the Mets in the ninth, earning his 13th save. He faced only lefties, allowing no hits and striking out two. (Mike Gonzalez(notes) apparently needs more recovery time). Soriano has given up only four hits over his last 14 innings, and he has 60 Ks in 43.2 IP this season. Seattle, you traded him for Horacio Ramirez(notes).

Ervin Santana(notes) went eight innings and got the win at Oakland, but the AP recap killed the buzz dead:

“His stuff isn’t quite the same as last year, but he has plenty not only to compete but to win,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

Jake Peavy(notes) (ankle) is out of the boot. "I'm just walking around pain free and feeling like I'm ready to get strong and work toward getting out on the field," he says. But Padres general manager Kevin Towers has no interest in compromising Peavy's trade value: "I'd much rather have him ready for 2010 than risking more serious injury by coming back too early this year."

Prospect Mat Latos is on his way, but his innings are likely to be limited by the Pads. The 21-year-old righty is 5-1 at Double-A with a 1.91 ERA and 46 Ks in 47 innings.

Smallish notes, not quite bullet-worthy: Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez(notes) went 2-for-5 against the Pads and he stole his sixth base since the June call-up. No confirmed reports of giant squid at the park, but they can't be held back much longer. ... For those of you monitoring Ian Snell's(notes) minor league progress: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K. Needless to say, the walks are the concern. Here's the box score. Note that Lastings Milledge(notes) went 2-for-3 in the same game for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Lance Berkman(notes) is dealing with "a mild left calf strain," according to the Houston Chronicle. Consider him day-to-day until further notice. ... Edwin Encarnacion(notes) went 3-for-3 for the Reds with a homer and four RBIs. He's just 31 percent owned in PLUS leagues and not such a bad gamble. ... Jose Reyes is apparently the least-injured of the many injured Mets. But of course there's no timetable. There's never a timetable. ... Carlos Quentin(notes) went 2-for-4 for Charlotte, and his return can't be far off. ... Here's Mark Buehrle(notes) (via the Tribune) on the possibility that he might help recruit Roy Halladay(notes): "I don't know how good a recruiter I am," Buehrle said with a chuckle. "The last guy I called was Torii Hunter(notes), and two weeks later he signed with L.A."


Photos via US Presswire

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