Pitching Derek Holland
8 2/3 IP, W, 2 hits, 1ER, 1.04 ERA 10 K, BB
Ok, I'm not going to lie, when I saw the name D. Holland, I had to look up his first name. But Derek was lights out for Texas last night.
I don't want to take any credit away from his gem last night, but 22-year-old is 4-6 on the year with an ERA of over 5.50, so chances of him repeating that outing are slim.
But Texas continues to be in the playoff hunt, and it's performances like that that may get them to October for the first time this decade.
Hitting Michael Young- Rangers
3-for-4, 2 home runs, 2 RBI, 3 runs
It's funny to think how before the season started, many felt Michael Young possibly had the worst contract in baseball for team owners. The aging infielder was coming off of numerically-decreasing seasons and Young was showing reluctance to moving over (again) to third base (Soriano pushed him to short following the A-Rod deal in 2003).
But in 2009, Young has been nothing but spectacular. His 16 homers already top his '08 totals and his .326 average anchors a Ranger lineup full of free-swingers. It doesn't look like he'll reach 100 RBI on the year for the third consecutive season, but Young has become more of a table setter with boppers like Kinsler, Cruz and a struggling Hamilton.
For fantasy keeper-league owners, it makes no sense to drop this guy after the season, but keep tabs on him in '10.
Quite a one-two punch the Giants have built, huh? If fantasy owners build a pitching staff as well as Brian Sabean, they're bound to have plenty of success. Especially this year.
Cain is tied for the league lead in wins with 12. Teammate Tim Lincecum is right behind him with 11. Lincecum leads the NL in strikeouts, Cain is in the top 15. Cain leads the NL in ERA, Lincecum is fourth.
Just as they've carried San Francisco this season - it's amazing a team with an offense that bad is nine games over .500 - Cain and Lincecum are sure to carry any fantasy team.
Tim Lincecum - Giants
CG, 4 H, 0 ER, 15 K
No hitters and perfect games aside, you won't see a more dominant pitching performance this season than what the reigning NL Cy Young award winner turned in last night. In fact, maybe Lincecum was even more dominant than those who's have thrown no-no's: by K'ing 15, he basically took luck out of the equation.
I am sure, however, that playing the lowly Pirates had something to do with it.
Could another Cy Young be on the way? He's fourth in the NL in ERA - and trailing the leaders by very little. At 11-3, he has the win numbers that so many covet. Lincecum leads the NL in strikeouts, too - and it's not even close.
vs. Tampa Bay
CG, 6 K, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 BB (Perfect Game)
Who else did you expect? Buehrle took the bump at roughly 1:10 PM yesterday and a little more than two-and-a-half hours later recorded the 18th perfect game in ML history. Fantasy Factor head honcho Ricky O'Donnell was there, and asked me to go. As much as I wanted to, I opted for work. I feel like a schmuck.
Anyway, Buehrle is already having a pretty solid year both in fantasy and reality. His 11 wins leads the American League (tied with Josh Beckett) and 3.24 ERA, to go along with his 1.10 WHIP have, with an exception of the south side of Chicago, kind of flown under the radar.
Maybe this sparks a run for the Chi-Sox, especially considering yesterday's win put them in a tie for first against Detroit.
Jair Jurrjens - Braves
7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9 K
Atlanta was hot after Padres ace Jake Peavy this offseason, but never completed the deal because of their reported refusal to include Jurrjens. Looks like a smart move. While Peavy is on the DL, the 23-year old Jurrjens is putting together quite a year. He doesn't strike too many guys out, and he walks more than he should, but the fact of the matter is that very few runners cross the plate when JJ is on the mound.
Jurrjens has the fifth lowest ERA in the NL (2.6) and a very respectable 1.2 WHIP. He's one of the top young pitchers in the NL, and, along with rookie Tommy Hanson, should give the Braves a formidable duo atop the rotation for years.
Pitching Andy Pettitte
7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, ND
The old man still has tricks up his sleeve. The 37-year-old gave up a homer to Nick Markakis in the top of the first, but was lights out the rest of the game, scattering four more hits through seven innings.
Pettitte owners will be happy to see this kind of outing especially after getting roughed up his previous two starts against Toronto and LAA.
While it is unsure as to whether or not this performance will turn the page on his season, the veteran is 8-5 on the year with an ERA of 4.62.
Hitting Matt Holliday-
4-5 2 home runs, 6 RBI, 4 runs, 2 doubles
Holliday's season has not been what many expected, and overall a pretty large disappointment. But yesterday's performance is more the '07 MVP runner-up we remember.
He his more than 1/6 of his season's home runs yesterday and six RBI is always a good day.
Much like the pitcher with a similar-sounding name, Matt will most likely be moved by the trade deadline, as Oakland is pretty pitiful and won't be competing anytime soon.
3-5 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 4 runs
Morneau continues his early MVP-like season in a collapse loss to Oakland. But the loss had nothing to do with the first basemen and his two-home run, seven-RBI performance.
There is no reason to think Morneau isn't going to hit 30 homers and driving in 125 runs, making his a must-keep in all fantasy leagues.
Roy Halladay - Blue Jays
Vs. Red Sox
W, CG, 6 H, 7 K, 1 R
There were a few very good pitching performances last night, but Halladay gets the nod for doing it against the Red Sox. If the Toronto ace keeps pitching like this, who knows what he'll go for on the open market. Could the White Sox be a suitor?
This was the first dominant game Halladay has pitched since June 7. He's been battling nagging injuries, of course, but it's nice to see him return to the form he showed earlier in the season.
He did it by inducing ground balls. He has as many yesterday (10) as he had fly balls.
Perhaps most impressive is how efficient Halladay was last night. He polished off the vaunted Boston lineup in just 105 pitches.
Josh Beckett - Red Sox
W, CG, 0 ER, 7 K, 3 H
Beckett started out strong - striking out five of the first nine batters he faced - and cruised against Kansas City on Sunday. It looked like the Royals hitters took an extra day off before the All-Star break.
Beckett started off the season slow, but has rebounded to claim his rightful place atop the best starters in the American League. He ends the first half 11-3, with a 3.35 ERA and 110 strikeouts. He's tied for the AL lead in wins, and ranks top ten in WHIP, strikeouts, and ERA.
Barry Zito - Giants
W, 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 6 K
Barry Zito? Yes, Barry Zito. The man still has the worst contract in baseball, but he's transformed himself into a serviceable back-end of the rotation starter. Not bad for $126 million.
Zito probably isn't much of an option in mixed leagues, but he's likely already taken in NL only leagues. Zito has a very average ERA - right at 4.4 - a decent amount of strikeouts, and, as the Giants continue to play well, should pile up a few wins.
Ricky Nolasco - Marlins
W, 8 IP, 3 H, 12 K
After an impressive 2008, Nolasco - who some of you Cubs fans may remember as the guy your team traded to get one-year of the Juan Pierre Experience - was supposed to break out this season. At first, it didn't happen. He got shelled early and went down the minors for a while. Since being recalled on June 7, though, Nolasco has been lights out.
He finished June 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA and an average of one strikeout per inning. Yesterday, Nolasco pitched his best game of the year against Pittsburgh.
Some may want to chalk to up to, you know, playing the Pirates, but Nolasco's peripherals have been good enough for long enough now that fantasy owners should expect more success in the future.
Is this really Jason Marquis? After being dependable but oh-so-mediocre in the N.L. Central for all those years, Marquis seems to have found a career rejuvanation center in the unlikeliest of places: Coors Field.
Marquis has been filthy the entire first half and should find himself in St. Louis for the All-Star game. His numbers speak for themselves: 10 wins, a sub-4 ERA, a respectable 1.3 WHIP.
What's more telling, though, is that Marquis is only owned in 27 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. His strikeout to walk numbers aren't good. He has to fall apart at some point, right?