It hasn't been a banner year for San Diego baseball. The Padres have a mediocre 31-38 record and are buried alive in the NL West standings. Jake Peavy(notes) went from the trading block to the disabled list in June, Chris Young has been a mess, Chase Headley(notes) continues to struggle. Even one of the city's everlasting icons – The Famous Chicken – is contemplating retirement (The Chicken's act is mostly a road show these days, coming to a minor-league park near you.) Stay Classy, San Diego? It's hard to stay positive, period.
That all said, there's a good fantasy story with any of the 30 clubs, and this forgettable team actually has a bunch of unheralded fantasy gems flying under the radar right now, just waiting for your point-and-click. Let's go hunting for some waiver-wire gems.
Scott Hairston(notes) might not be the sexiest name in the outfield these days – his Q-rating didn't quality for Andy's timely pregame show Tuesday – but the Padres consider him one of their best offensive weapons and Hairston immediately went into the No. 3 spot in his first game off the DL Tuesday. The two best spots in the San Diego lineup are on either side of Adrian Gonzalez(notes) (cleanup Tuesday) – if you hit in front of Gonzalez the opponents are forced to throw you strikes (in theory), and if you hit after Gonzo you're going to get plenty of RBI chances as teams routinely pitch around the slugger. Hairston and No. 5 man Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes) both went 2-for-5 Tuesday (Gonzalez added his 24th homer) and Bud Black figures to keep this 3-4-5 combination together for a while.
It's convenient for the Pads that out-machine Brian Giles(notes) (.191/.277/.271) went on the DL Tuesday with a right knee contusion; he must have some juicy Polaroids on Black because the San Diego skipper has refused to bench the scuffling, aging outfielder. Hot prospect Kyle Blanks(notes) is going to take some at-bats away from the outfield crew when the Padres return home next week, but we won't worry about it while the club continues with play in AL parks.
It's easy to dismiss the Padres rotation out of hand now that Peavy and Young are out of the mix, but there are some spot-start candidates getting it done right now for the Friars. Kevin Correia(notes) has been outstanding over his last four turns (2.03 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 20 strikeouts in 26.2 innings) and Chad Gaudin(notes) has 19 whiffs in his last two turns after an outstanding effort at Seattle Tuesday (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 11 K). I'm not suggesting that these guys are going to be three-month stalwarts for your mixed-league clubs, but hey, pitching in roomy Petco Park half of the time is a cushy assignment. That established, I don't have the nerve to roll with either guy at Texas on the weekend, no matter that the recent games in Arlington have been low scoring. Let's revisit the Padres rotation when the Friars return home next week.
• Nothing has been determined for sure yet on Brandon Webb(notes) and his balky shoulder, but where there's smoke, there's often fire. Webb had another MRI Tuesday and the Arizona Republic is reporting that it's likely Webb will need surgery. The Diamondbacks pretty much are out of the playoff race already – Dr. Behrens discussed their pending yard sale earlier Tuesday – and it doesn't make sense to take any chances with Webb's long-term status. I'm certainly no doctor, but I'll be surprised if we see Webb on a mound again this year.
Jimenez started the problems with a 3-2 walk to Jeff Mathis(notes) (.212) but his defense let him down after that. Ian Stewart(notes) made two mental mistakes on back-to-back bunts; a hesitation and some indecision gave Erick Aybar(notes) a gift hit, and Stewart botched a force-out one batter later when he wasn't able to step on third base during a bang-bang play. Bobby Abreu(notes) followed with a clean single, plating two, and the Angels had their game-winning rally in the books.
Brian Fuentes(notes) worked the ninth for his 20th save, somehow coaxing his fairly-straight high-80s fastball past the Rockies for a couple of strikeouts (Garrett Atkins(notes) didn't swing during his at-bat, though he was punched out on a questionable call). Turn No. 2 for Sean O'Sullivan wasn't as exciting for the Angels (5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K, two gopher balls served to the surging Troy Tulowitzki(notes)), but the Rockies didn't get a hit off the Los Angeles bullpen.
• Matt Lindstrom(notes) had another ninth-inning meltdown in Florida, allowing four hits and three runs and frittering away Andrew Miller's(notes) brilliant turn (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K). Technically Lindstrom didn't get the blown save because the tying run scored on the watch of Brian Sanches(notes), but when you pitch this poorly with a game on the line, red ink goes on your file. Hedging against Lindstrom is a little tricky; Leo Nunez(notes) left Tuesday's game with an ankle sprain, and while Dan Meyer(notes) has been excellent most of the year, he can be a bit wild and he also has to fight against the left-handed closer bias. Fredi Gonzalez has been remarkably patient with Lindstrom through the first three months, but there comes a point where spotty results force a move. We'll see how the Marlins spin this in the next few days.
• Nothing tops Fangraphs when it comes to detailed component-stat analysis (a mandatory bookmark for any serious fantasy player), but if you're looking to get jiggy with the basic 5x5 stats in a variety of packages, give BaseballMonster.com a try. It's a sharp looking site, customizable to the nth degree, easy to use, and hard to step away from.
Not an Injury Blog: Roy Halladay(notes) (groin) had a bullpen session Tuesday and remains on schedule to rejoin the Jays Monday. … Raul Ibanez(notes) (groin) didn't want to go on the DL in the first place and should be able to get back to action when he's first eligible next week. … Ryan Howard(notes) (flu) got the call at DL Tuesday and stroked a run-scoring double. … David Bush (arm fatigue/home run whiplash) went on the disabled list Tuesday; if you watched his batting-practice act in Detroit on the weekend, you probably connected the dots on this one. … Alex Gordon(notes) (hip) is making decent progress and hopes to return to the Royals right after the All-Star break. … Aramis Ramirez(notes) (shoulder) should be able to take live batting practice by the weekend, Carrie Muskat reports, but the Cubs aren't discussing return timetables yet. … Jason Kubel(notes) has been one of Minnesota's best hitters this month, but a flu bug has kept him down the last few days. … Coco Crisp(notes) (shoulder) is officially out for the year. If you're looking for a replacement, consider the Funston-approved David DeJesus, who's settled into the leadoff spot. … Scott Kazmir(notes) (quad) says he's ready to rejoin the Tampa rotation; the club won't make a decision until after Kazmir throws in the bullpen Wednesday.
Speed Round: Manny Ramirez(notes) made his
Springfield Albuquerque Isotopes debut and went 0-for-2. The fan response was very favorable throughout. Ramirez wore his trademark No. 99 for the minor-league club; he's probably the second-most significant 99 in pop culture history at this point, behind Wayne Gretzky and ahead of Barbara Feldon. … Kevin Gregg threw a pair of hanging curves to Ryan Raburn in Detroit Tuesday; Raburn took the first one, then clubbed the second one out of the yard for a walk-off, two-run homer. Gregg's blown save becomes more interesting with Carlos Marmol coming around; Marmol struck out the side in the eighth. … Jhonny Peralta has eight hits and two homers over his last five games; welcome to the season, big guy. … Magglio Ordonez was back in Detroit's lineup and went 0-for-2 with a walk. … Order has been restored to the Toronto bullpen: Jason Frasor worked a smooth save Tuesday while a groin injury has Jeremy Accardo out of the picture. … Philadelphia's 10-1 rout at Tampa featured 46-year-old Jamie Moyer (6 IP, 1 R) outdueling 23-year-old David Price (4.1 IP, 10 R, 5 ER). Price doesn't have a quality start to his name through six turns this season.
Images courtesy Associated Press