Monday night had an undercard feel to it; we can't open our presents until Stephen Strasburg(notes) and Michael Stanton(notes) drop on Tuesday night. But every night on the MLB schedule matters in our numbers racket; let's keep our focus and try to get through the nine-game slate that just went down.
• Jason Hammel(notes) couldn't get anyone out in April (a groin injury played a role in that), but he's stepped up nicely following a short trip to the disabled list. Hammel worked 7.1 scoreless innings against the Astros Monday (here's your scouting video), and his five starts post-injury have been very useful for our purposes: 33 IP, 32 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 29 K. The Blue Jays present a trickier matchup on the weekend, but at minimum let's add Hammel to the Stream Police. He's available in 97 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Wandy Rodriguez(notes) didn't have his best stuff on the other side but he worked through it, allowing just three runs over seven innings (9 H, 2 BB, 2 K). I can't see how anyone wants to use him this weekend at Yankee Stadium, however.
• When the Mariners are finally ready to shop Cliff Lee(notes), they better get a boatload in return. Lee kept his snappy Seattle campaign rolling along Monday, taking a shutout into the ninth at Arlington and securing his fourth victory (9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K). He's got a ridiculous 57 strikeouts against just four walks on the year.
The Mariners are struggling for offense and they just lost Mike Sweeney(notes) to the disabled list, so rookie first baseman Mike Carp(notes) is in town for a look-see. Carp had 10 homers in 50 games at Triple-A Tacoma but the rest of his stat line doesn't blow you away (.250/.319/.457; 42 strikeouts in 184 at-bats). He went 1-for-4 with a run scored out of the No. 5 hole Monday. The M's also dropped Chone Figgins(notes) to the ninth spot in the order; he responded with a 3-for-4 evening (one steal, one caught stealing).
• The Carlos Silva(notes) reinvention tour continued Monday at Pittsburgh, as the much-distrusted righty cruised past the Bucs over seven innings (4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K). Silva is getting good mileage out of an improved sinker and change this year. Ryan Theriot(notes) broke out of a lengthy slump, posting a 3-4-2-0 line and stealing a couple of bases. The forever-underrated Marlon Byrd(notes) (4-1-3-2) also sparked the Chicago offense.
• The Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) matrix is difficult to figure out and at times it seems foolish to even try. I suppose his victory at Cleveland Monday wasn't a total shock (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K), but you know all about the crazy swings found in his 2010 game logs. He gets a rematch with the Phillies this weekend, the team he shockingly one-hit back on May 22. Do you have the onions to dial up Dice-K on Saturday?
The talented-but-erratic Scott Kazmir(notes) might as well be a left-handed version of Matsuzaka. Kazmir toyed with the Athletics on Monday (6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K) but I'm not going near him against the Dodgers on the weekend.
• For a while it looked like Cole Hamels(notes) was going to throw this week's no-hitter, but his biggest 2010 problem – the gopher ball – bit him against the Padres in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez's(notes) front-row homer (his first of two on the night) was San Diego's first hit of the game, and Scott Hairston(notes) followed with a deeper shot to the left-field seats. Hairston's average doesn't earn him any fantasy cred, but there's some categorical juice here – he's got seven homers and three steals over 101 at-bats. You know me, I'm a Hairston Sympathizer, through and through.
Wade LeBlanc(notes) threw seven bagels at the Phillies, getting 10 ground-ball outs along the way and lowering his ERA to 3.21 on the year. Still, it's hard to buy in on him – he's carrying a 1.45 WHIP and he's only got 37 strikeouts (against 22 walks) over 56 innings. You have my blessing to stream him against Seattle and Baltimore in his next two turns (both at Petco), but then it's time to duck and run.
• Johnny Cueto(notes) gave us a second clunker in a row, getting knocked around for 10 hits and four runs over six innings against the Giants. Cueto was lucky to escape with a lead; the Giants had a runner thrown out at the plate, and the top of the sixth ended on a fly ball to the warning track in center, stranding three. Barry Zito(notes) wasn't particularly sharp on the other side (5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K); the Giants got the victory because of excellent bullpen work (four relievers combined for 3.1 hitless innings).
• Throw Austin Kearns(notes) a bone and put him on your mixed-league roster, would you? He's on a 7-for-17 binge with two homers and two steals over his last four games, and the Indians generally bat him third or fourth in the order, which can't be ignored. Grady Sizemore(notes) is done for the year and Matt LaPorta(notes) is back in the minors, so the runway is clear. Now it's time for the Indians to showcase Kearns (and Russell Branyan(notes)) and hope they can flip those guys in 4-6 weeks when the trading season kicks in.
Kings of Pain: The Mark DeRosa(notes) rehab assignment is on hiatus for now, and it's starting to look like season-ending wrist surgery is just a matter of time. … David Freese(notes) (ankle) will probably be out of the lineup until Friday, while teammate Colby Rasmus(notes) (calf) remains day-to-day. … Eric Chavez(notes) (neck) took batting practice Monday, if you're dreaming of some miracle comeback season from him. … Chipper Jones(notes) (finger) took a cortisone shot and is hoping to get back to action Tuesday. He's missed five games in a row. … Bengie Molina(notes) got the day off Monday, the combination of a sore elbow and a messy 8-for-66 slump. Buster Posey(notes) caught in his place, the first behnd-the-plate start for the rookie.
Brian Roberts(notes) (back) was held out of his extended spring training game Monday and he's going to see a doctor on Tuesday. The Orioles keep whistling an optimistic tune here, but given where the team is in the standings, it's hard to expect too much from Roberts over the final four months. … Josh Hamilton(notes) got back at it Monday, going 1-for-4. He recently had a cortisone shot in his knee. … Erik Bedard(notes) (shoulder) threw in the bullpen Monday but he's not close to a major-league return. … Jorge De La Rosa(notes) (finger) is finally able to throw breaking pitches again, a key step forward in his rehab. … Huston Street(notes) (shoulder) will work in consecutive rehab games this week, then head back to Denver Saturday for re-evaluation. … Rajai Davis(notes) tweaked his hamstring while legging out a triple and was forced out of Monday's game early. … David Ortiz(notes) (hand) was able to go Monday but he took the collar, dropping him into an 0-for-17 skid.
Speed Round: Perhaps Todd Helton's(notes) slow start is tied to a vision problem; he was fitted for soft contacts Monday. "I needed contacts, that's all I know," Helton told the Denver Post. "It wasn't bad. It's going to take some adjusting to them, I know that. So we'll see." Helton went 0-for-3 with an RBI against Houston, dropping his average to .246. … Marco Scutaro(notes) ripped three hits at Cleveland and is on a 23-for-47 streak.. … Dan Haren(notes) finally kept the ball in the park Monday, albeit he was dodging trouble all night against the Braves (5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K). His teammates helped out by crushing Derek Lowe(notes) (seven runs), and the Arizona bullpen only allowed one run over the final 3.1 innings, though shaky Chad Qualls(notes) walked the bases full before escaping in the ninth. … Carlos Monasterios(notes) got a win and a quality start against St. Louis, but when you see three walks against no strikeouts, dump it in the fluke file. He's not someone I'd trust in a mixer. Every Dodger position player scored a run en route to the 12-count; even Manny Ramirez(notes) got in on the action (he only comes out at night, after all). … Jonathan Papelbon(notes) went on the bereavement list Monday, which means Daniel Bard(notes) will close as needed for the next few days. Bard got the ninth-inning assignment in Cleveland but it wasn't a save situation. … Ryan Ludwick(notes) knocked a couple of homers at Chavez Ravine. If nothing else, we can conclude that last week's thumb issue isn't a lingering problem here.