It's all about auditions for Tom Gorzelanny(notes) these days. He's trying out for a 2010 spot on the Cubs, and his strong turn at Milwaukee on Monday night could make him fantasy-viable later in the week.
Gorzelanny was pressed into a spot start against the Brewers and came through nicely, working around two solo homers and striking out nine over five innings. Don't be fooled by his lofty ERA since joining the Cubs; he's fanned 32 batters over 30.1 innings (five starts, six relief appearances) and this recent turn will likely get him another start at San Francisco on the weekend.
"We like Gorzelanny," Lou Piniella told the team's official site. "He's got a spot here, whether it's pitching in the middle of the bullpen or whether it's as a fourth or fifth starter. We'll have to wait and see what happens over the winter."
Gorzelanny certainly passed the eye test at Miller Park, hitting the mid-90s consistently and commanding three different pitches (take a peek). He's still just 27. If nothing else, let's scribble him on the post-hype sleeper list for next spring.
• I'm not the biggest Nick Blackburn(notes) fan out there but it wasn't that surprising to see him toy with the White Sox on Monday; the Pale Hose look like they've packed it in for the year. Blackburn's game generally is throw strikes and let them hit it, but he had better movement than usual on this night and collected six strikeouts to go along with his seven scoreless innings. Lefty Brian Duensing(notes) gets Chicago on Wednesday but I'm not going to limit him to the streamer file; he's pitched well enough to get the call for the balance of 2009.
• Not much to say about Dave Clark's managerial debut in Houston (so long, Cecil Cooper); Wandy Rodriguez(notes) had a rare poor start and the Astros didn't do too much against Kyle Lohse(notes) and two St. Louis relievers. It will be interesting to see if the Astros are more aggressive on the bases under Clark; Houston didn't attempt any steals Monday, but that could be tied to the game situation (down 6-1 after three innings), a lack of baserunners (just six hits and one walk) and the presence of star catcher Yadier Molina(notes) behind the plate (if he doesn't win a Gold Glove, something has gone horribly wrong).
• Wade LeBlanc(notes) has a good thing going for the Padres of late, allowing just four runs over his last four starts (24 innings), including five solid innings at Pittsburgh on Monday. That's the good news. Flip side, it's hard to feel confident about him at Arizona later this week, and he's still been somewhat of a smoke-and-mirrors show, carying a FIP over 5 (too many walks, not enough whiffs). Perhaps we'll revisit LeBlanc in the last week of the season when he gets the Giants at Petco.
Streaming on a Wednesday: Wade Davis(notes) has been excellent in two of his three starts and now he gets a home date with Seattle, a good draw. Go get him. … It's weird to have Homer Bailey(notes) in the trust file and his ERA over the last month (1.83) isn't supported by his WHIP (1.32), but still, you have to feel good about him at Pittsburgh. … John Smoltz(notes) has adjusted well to NL life and looked fine in his last turn; go ahead and use him at Houston.
Speed Round: Jose Reyes (hamstring) took batting practice Monday and has hopes of playing again this year, for some reason. … Mark DeRosa(notes) has been lost at the plate for most of the month but you wouldn't know it Monday; he clocked a pair of rockets out of the park at Houston and also had a run-scoring double. … Tim Wakefield(notes) couldn't throw strikes (seven walks) or hold baserunners (five steals) over a rocky five innings at Kansas City. He can't be trusted for fantasy over the balance of the year, and I doubt the Red Sox will use him in any significant role for the playoffs. … As mediocre as Brian Fuentes(notes) has been for much of this year, you can't deny that Mike Scioscia is very good to his closers. Fuentes got the final two outs against the Yanks, locking up save No. 44.
It was a scary moment when Denard Span took a pitch off the helmet midway through Minnesota's win at Chicago, but the outfielder was able to walk off the field without assistance. … Kevin Millwood(notes) had plenty to celebrate on Monday; his 11th victory of the year and the vesting of his 2010 option (to the tune of $12 million). … Ted Lilly(notes) is dealing with a sore shoulder, which means Jeff Samardzija(notes) will get another spot start Wednesday (none for me, thanks). … Andy Pettitte(notes) was passable in his return to the Yanks rotation, allowing three runs in six innings at Los Angeles. He'll get the Red Sox at the Stadium on Saturday. … The pesky Nick Punto(notes) wants your attention; he's at .340 this month with five steals (including three in the last two games), and you know he'll continue to play while the Twins fight for a playoff spot.