Players of the Night
A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees
vs. Tampa Bay Rays
8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 9 K
I thought CC Sabathia was supposed to be the ace of this staff?
Despite being relegated to the shadows of other Yankees free agent signings Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, Burnett has been sensational. Yesterday he shut down the Rays, notching nine strikeouts over eight innings of work.
With questions surrounding the defense playing behind him, Burnett's ability to throw and miss the opposition's bat makes him that much more valuable. Taking the burden off of the defense is a luxury the Yankees will take advantage of and once that offense kicks into high gear, Burnett may end up with 15-plus wins.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
vs. Los Angeles Lakers
25 points, 13 dimes, 4 boards
In the final month of the season, Williams' averages of 23 ppg and 11.3 apg are worthy of being considered the second best fantasy point guard in basketball.
Chris Paul of the Hornets is the clear cut number one and rightfully so, averaging 28.6 ppg and 11.4 apg this month. I don't think you can find a basketball authority not hailing from Illinois that would look you in the eye and say D. Will is better than Paul.
But that's not a knock on Williams so much as it is an indication of how special Paul truly is.
More after the jump...
John Buck, Kansas City Royals
vs. Cleveland Indians
2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R
Javier Vazquez, Atlanta Braves
vs. Florida Marlins
6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 12 K, W
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
vs. Tampa Bay Rays
3-5, HR, 3 RBI, R
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
vs. Philadelphia 76ers
31 points, 3 dimes, 2 steals, block, 7-for-9 from long distance
Michael Beasley, Miami Heat
vs. Atlanta Hawks
23 points, 13 boards, 2 dimes, 2 blocks
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
vs. Boston Celtics
25 points, 7 dimes, 5 boards, 2 steals
Bust of the Night
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox
vs. Oakland A's
1 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 0 K
That makes two consecutive horrid outings to start the season for Matsuzaka.
He was lifted early due to what the team is calling 'arm fatigue'. But ask Matsuzaka the same question and he'll tell you that 'I think I'm OK'.
Either way, you should monitor this situation closely. Arm fatigue, while sounding like nothing important, is something that could be caused by some serious injuries.
But think about it some more and you may want to blame these two early performances on an injury. At least that way you know it's something that can be fixed. A slump is something that will only go away when it's ready to.
Be patient and wait it out with Dice-K. While the schedule doesn't get much easier for the Sox (Oak, Bal, NY) in the very near future, games against the Indians (1-7) at the end of the month will be a prime time for a guy like Dice-K to get his mojo back.
At this point in the NBA season, the premier players in the game who we expect so much from are getting some much needed rest in anticipation of the playoffs.