Monday was the day of the pitcher and viewers were treated to some dominating performances in some big time game situations.
Ben Sheets - Milwaukee Brewers (SP)
9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K
Sheets has spent more time on the disabled list than on the field in recent years, making it extremely difficult to count on him for an entire fantasy season. But when healthy, Sheets is as good as anyone and can carry a team like the Brewers, not to mention your squad.
Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks (SP)
7 IP, 2 H, 5 K
Not sure if you watched this game, but if you did, you saw Haren pitching with a scowl on his face that made it appear as if the Red Sox lineup had somehow insulted his entire family heritage.
Whatever it was worked unbelievably well and Haren continues to move his way up the boards into fantasy baseball elite status.
Josh Beckett - Boston Red Sox (SP)
8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8 K
These are the kind of performances we've become accustomed to seeing from Beckett. Lasting deep into the ball game, high strikeout totals and low earned runs have become the calling card for the Red Sox ace, something has definitely not gone unnoticed in the fantasy world.
Too bad the Red Sox offense couldn't touch Dan Haren and the D-Backs relievers and score a couple of runs to secure the win for Beckett.
John Lackey - Los Angeles Angels
8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 6 K
Yes it was against the Washington Nationals, one of the worst teams in baseball. But these are the matchups you live off of in fantasy baseball and Lackey definitely made it pay off big. He's gone undefeated in the month of June and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Brian Bannister - Kansas City Royals
7 IP, 3 H, 5 K
Take notice my friends, Brian Bannister is not a fluke.
He's gone at least seven innings in four out of his last five starts on a below average Royals team. Despite their record, the Royals have a plethora of fantasy options that you should be keeping an eye on.
Brian Bannister nearly at the top of that list if you are in need of starting pitching.
Matt Holliday - Colorado Rockies (LF)
@ Kansas City Royals
2-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
All of you who used a first or second round draft pick on Holliday have to be encouraged by his production as of late. He's too good to struggle like he did early in the season and now that he's recovered from an assortment of injuries, Holliday could be primed for a big time resurgence over the next couple months.
Enjoy the ride.
Jose Guillen - Kansas City Royals (RF)
2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Another of the Royals young stars sure to be traded or leaving via free agency, Guillen continued to light it up in June and now has seven home runs and 24 RBI this month alone.
Johan Santana - New York Mets (SP)
7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 4 K
You're probably looking at that stat line and questioning my fantasy integrity.
But the numbers don't tell the whole story here. He gave up a grand slam to Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, the first home run by a pitcher in franchise history.
For as much money as you're paying him and for such a high fantasy draft pick, you've got to expect more from Santana. Now, he escaped from getting those runs added to his earned run total due to an error earlier in the inning, but to me, it's one more example of how he's just not the same pitcher he once was.
I'd be worried about him every time it's his turn in the rotation.
Eric Byrnes - Arizona Diamondbacks (LF)
0-5, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 R, 6 LOB
I've got to give this guy credit for coming back from tearing both his hamstrings a couple months back. But this performance was just hideous. Byrnes is lucky that Dan Haren pitched a gem because if they lost this game, he would have definitely been the goat.
Byrnes is a solid all around player and is one of those guys who you know will run through a wall if it means getting a hit in a key spot. He'll be fine and I would definitely keep plugging him into your lineup.