Tag Archive | "Bullpen"

Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

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Mike Minor Will Turn It Around Tonight

Posted on 26 May 2013 by Trish Vignola

The Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets were left in suspended animation last night, but does anyone care? The Atlanta Braves, currently in first, have won six consecutive games. On the flip side, the New York Mets, currently in fourth (thanks to the Marlins being slightly worse), have lost six straight at home.

MikeMinor

Nonetheless, the teams had to wait until today before seeing if both streaks would continue. They are set to complete a suspended game before meeting in the regularly scheduled one about an hour later this Saturday night. Friday’s game is tied 5-5 heading to the top of the ninth, with the Mets actually rallying to tie in the eighth in the midst of a downpour. They drew within one on a Daniel Murphy single and scoring again on a wild pitch.

“It was tough to see. As tough as it was to see, I’m sure it was tough to get a grip on the ball and footing on the mound,” Murphy said to the Associated Press. “So, equal playing field and we were really glad to tie the score up there, and we’ll come out tomorrow and see if we can win an inning.”

The ninth inning presents an interesting decision for both managers. Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez is considering putting Anthony Varvaro, who blew the save Friday, back on the mound. “I could even run Varvaro back out there,” Gonzalez told. “It’s like going back-to-back days.” Mets manager Terry Collins will also turn to his bullpen, as opposed to giving the ball to scheduled Saturday starter Dillon Gee to pitch in the suspended game.

Might as well give the game to Atlanta now.

“I’m going to start the game with a relief pitcher,” Collins said to the Associated Press.

Uggh.

“Otherwise, if the thing’s over in 10 minutes, the guy’s already warmed up, now he has to sit for an hour. That’s not what I want to happen.”

Once the first game is over, Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA) will try to put an end to his road struggles against the Mets. I hope, being that I’m starting him for my fantasy baseball team tonight. His outings have been good as of late, so I was more confident in starting him than Barry Zito. Atlanta has won his last three starts, during which the left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 19 2-3 innings.

Minor set a season high with nine strikeouts and surrendered two runs and three hits in six innings of a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday. Minor didn’t get the decision in that game. Ironically, Minor has a 5.63 ERA in seven career starts versus New York.

That’s his worst against any team he’s pitched at least 15 innings against. He’s turned in a pair of solid effort in his last two matchups, allowing three runs in 13 1-3 innings, but those games came at Atlanta. Minor, who went seven innings and gave up three runs in a 7-5 win over the Mets on May 3, has gone 1-1 with an 8.04 ERA in three career starts at Citi Field.

If the Mets though insist on running Ike Davis out there, fantasy owners like myself should be in pretty good shape for a Mike Minor turnaround.

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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

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Kansas City Royals – Contenders Or Pretenders?

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

As a baseball fan watching Kansas City suffer for years, I have to wonder if they are actually a good contender this season for the playoffs, or if this is just their 15 minutes of fame.

Kansas-City

There is certainly something for Royals’ fans to get excited about right now. At this point in the year, Kansas City is 17-10, when last season at this time they were only 10-20. A dramatic difference. Pitching, in particular, seems to be carrying most of the team, but their offense is not far behind.

Royal Pitching

Veterans like Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie are having stellar seasons. They have combined for 7 Wins to date, both with having an ERA under 2.50 and WHIP just above 1.00. According to ESPN, while Santana is owned in 97% of fantasy leagues, Guthrie is only owned in 50%. Guthrie brings a commendable work ethic to the team and I think would be a valuable pick-up if he is still available in your league. The right-hander excels at mixing all of his pitches to keep hitters off balance, and he recently threw his first major league shut-out.

The Royals’ starting rotation has been rounded out with the new additions of Wade Davis and James Shields. While Davis is has been struggling since joining Kansas City with a 4.75 ERA, he hopefully can get back down to that 2.43 ERA he finished with in 2012. And Shields may soon become the ace of the team, filling the void that Zack Greinke left. Both Davis and Shields are 2-2 this season.

The Royals’ bullpen has been strengthened with former-starting-pitchers-now-relievers, Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. Chen has not allowed an earned run yet this year in 5 appearances, and Hochevar has only given up 1 earned run in 7 appearances. Greg Holland is settling in nicely as a solid anchor for the bullpen. He has 7 saves so far this year and only 1 blown.

Royal Batting

Kansas City’s pitching has started off hot, but the fans are still waiting to see the promise the line-up showed during Spring Training this year. There are only three batters with an average above .300 right now, Jarrod Dyson is one of them and he only has 20 plate appearances so far.

The power is not quite there yet from their top hitters. It somehow got lost in the transition between Spring Training and the regular season. If this team can get their bats going and keep the pitching consistent, they can be a force for the entire summer.

Fantasy owners might want to watch players like Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas. They have all been showing signs of improving in their last 15 games, and might just break out of their slumps soon. Moustakas is only 39% owned in fantasy leagues which is obviously due to his struggle at the plate. If he can start making solid contact again, he will prove he deserves a position on your fantasy roster.

Even though the Kansas City line-up is not producing the way they are capable of, they can still be tough to beat in the American League Central. But if history is any indication, this poor team does not have a chance. If someone were to walk into the baseball world right now and not know anything about the Royals’ past, they would never know that they are usually toward the bottom of the AL Central division.

First place Detroit Tigers better take notice that Kansas City is only a half game back. Can they keep this up? Is this just a flash in the pan? If the starting pitching can continue eating up innings, their bullpen will be able to stay fresh for the long season. And if their bats start producing, then I would say that the Royals can shed the pretender branding and will be a contender in 2013.

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 26 August 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome back to another edition of Field of Streams, your in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. So on with the show! Here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned in less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, for the week of 08/27-09/02:

Marco Estrada (MIL)- Still plenty of available seats on the “Ponch” Estrada bandwagon, kids! Sure Estrada has only one win, but you can’t judge him on that. With a 9.03 K/9, a 1.88 BB/9 and a 3.18 SIERA the tools are in place. Sure he had a stretch of mediocre starts, if you want to base it on wins, or runs given up, but he should have two starts this week and the first one will be against the Cubbies. Not only do the Cubs not tend to score a ton of runs, but Ponch already dominated them last week, tossing a six inning, two hit shutout in which he struck out nine. You may not see an identical outing this week, but it should be pretty darned good. A second start would be against the Pirates, which could be a tougher outing, but I would risk streaming him in that start as well. (2.6% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Francisco Liriano (CWS)- That 5-10 record with an ERA over five on the season does not look all that appealing, but his xFIP is 3.91 and his K/9 is close to ten. Not to mention he has been quite good since joining the White Sox. He is 2-0 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a K/9 of 10.12. Now those numbers are also inflated by one clunker of a start against Oakland. Throw that start out and with the Pale Hose he has a 2.70 ERA, a .99 WHIP and a 9.64 K/9. He looks to be starting at Baltimore and Detroit this week though, no gimmie in either case. He did stymy the Yankees and Blue Jays in his last two starts so he may be alright this week. I say take the risk and stream him! (20.9% owned in ESPN and 41% in Yahoo!)

David Phelps (NYY)- Phelps has been solid out of the bullpen or as a starter for the Yanks this season, as evidenced by his 2.69 ERA and 9.33 K/9. With a SIERA 0f 3.16, it would seem that ERA will rise, but not a ton, so the numbers for the most part are legit. In his two starts since being slotted into the rotation, he has pitched well against the Rangers and Red Sox, holding both to under 3 earned runs. Ks may come down a bit, but will be more than solid. Plus, he will have a pretty good lineup behind him. He should start against Toronto and Baltimore this week and I have no problem recommending streaming him while he remains in the rotation. (1.2% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Bud Norris (HOU)- Two home starts for Bud this week, means he is worth a stream. I probably don’t need to elaborate here, but I will. Commence elaboration! At the Juice Box this season Norris has an ERA of 2.18, a WHIP of 1.06, a K/9 of 10.40 and an xFIP of 2.83. Hard to argue with those numbers. He should be good to go against the Giants and the Reds. (25.1% owned in ESPN and 31% in Yahoo!)

Patrick Corbin (ARI)- Seems like some people are starting to take notice of Patty Corbin, but his last two starts, especially the last one, have been less than spectacular. So now is the time to determine what you can actually get out of him. As a starter this season he has an ERA of 4.40 and a 1.33 WHIP with an xFIP of 3.81, so the numbers have not been dazzling. His K/9 has also been sub 7, but other than the last two starts he has been very, yes VERY, decent. He is definitely a pitcher worth keeping an eye or two on, but I would avoid him this week against the Reds and wait until he maybe strings a few more good starts together or has a more favorable matchup. (31.8% owned in ESPN and 16% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- The numbers are not really mind-blowing for Cobbsy. A 4.32 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a 6.71 K/9. Nothing earth shattering, right? Well his xFIP is 3.62 and he has been stellar throughout August, aside from one bad start against the Angels in which he could not escape the third inning. He followed that up with a complete game, four hit shutout though, so a nice little bounce back. In August he now has a 3.03 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and a 7.44 K/9. I like Cobb’s progress this season and while he is pitching against the Rangers in Arlington, I still feel like he is worth the start. (17.2% owned in ESPN and 16% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell (HOU)- Another Houston home start hero (see Norris, Bud), Harrell is facing the Reds in the Juice Box this week and becomes a super viable stream option. At home his ERA is 2.14, his WHIP is 1.22 and his K/9 of 7.14. Now the Reds are good, but Harrell just finds a way to get the job done at home, so I would stream him. As far as my confidence level with this recommendation though, I would say it is about 70-75%. (5.2% owned in ESPN and 13% in Yahoo!)

Mark Rogers (MIL)- Mr. Rogers pitched well, although not great, in his last outing against the Cubs. The Ks/9 are still stellar though as he struck out seven batters in five innings. The K/9 is 9.73 and as long as he keeps the walks below three per nine he should have success. His 3.32 xFIP and 3.33 SIERA indicate that he has been much better than his 5.02 ERA would have you believe. He faces the Pirates at home this week, where he has pitched extremely well and the Bucs are not very patient at the plate. Some may see this one as a tad bit risky, but I am making Mr. Rogers my wild card streaming pick of the week! (1.2% owned in ESPN and 2% in Yahoo!)

Zach McAllister (CLE)- Zach Attack has been a bit inconsistent which has many fantasy owners on the fence about what to expect from him. Zach has an ERA of 3.50, a WHIP of 1.22 and a K/9 of 7.90. His BABIP of .285 is lower then the league average, but not grossly lower and his xFIP of 3.99 is not great, but not terrible. Personally I am not sold on McAllister as a mainstay of a fantasy rotation, but I like him as a streaming spot starter from time to time. And by “from time to time” I mean this week against Oakland. I have no trouble starting him against the Athletics, but would be hesitant to throw him against the Rangers. (3.4% owned in ESPN and 9% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another edition of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this week, children? 1) Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris are must streams at home, B) Ks/9 are your BFFs, 4) Hop on the Marco “Ponch” Estrada train while you can and F) Francisco Liriano is working his way back to fantasy relevance. Good day and godspeed!

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11 Man Rotation Signals End of Days

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11 Man Rotation Signals End of Days

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Dennis Lawson

11?

The Rockies have announced that contrary to previous indications, the team has opted for an 11 man starting rotation.  According to manager Jim Tracy, each starting pitcher will have a pitch limit of 75 pitches.  Honestly, this might be the funniest thing to happen in baseball this year other than the Dickey/Wang pitching matchup.  75 pitches.  11 potential starting pitchers.  That works out to approximately 1 start every 2 weeks.  Awesome.  Kudos to the Rockies for thinking outside the box.  Too bad they stopped short of getting truly creative.  Here are just a few more ideas the team should consider to make it through the remainder of the season.

  1. At least 2 hours prior to game time, Jim Tracy should throw the names of all the pitchers who have not pitched in the previous 4 days into a batting helmet and pick a name out to determine the starting pitcher.
  2. Maybe that batting helmet should also include a few position players who can round out the bullpen.
  3. Insist on calling out the pitch count to the mound after every at-bat.  Light a fire under the pitcher to finish off the inning by pitching to contact.  That cannot possibly go awry.
  4. Hold a press conference to admit that this 11 man rotation only exists to confuse the Padres in hopes that the Friars won’t pass the Rockies in the standings.
  5. During the same press conference, team management should announce that this is all part of a master plan to rebuild the team completely by 2020.
  6. Trade Carlos Gonzalez and be sure to get a knuckle ball pitcher in return.  Just trading Car-Go would be big news, but trading him for 4-5 really bad pitchers would be huge.
  7. Stock the roster full of guys who can pitch, and put pitchers at whatever defensive positions they choose.
  8. Sign/obtain Aaron Miles, Felipe Lopez, and Chris Davis.
  9. Start promoting double headers with the Lingerie Football League.  Naturally, the fans would be required to watch the Rockies play first in order to make sure people showed up.
  10. Crazy idea.  The Rockies could actually go ahead and spend money on good pitchers.  That means that hiring someone like Jamie Moyer would never, ever happen again.
  11. Hold live tryouts during the 7th inning stretch.
  12. Sell tickets for people to actually sit in the humidor during games.
  13. Make a team announcement that the Rockies intend to become a AAA affiliate of whatever team steps up with the best offer for Troy Tulowitzki‘s abomination of a contract.
  14. Add a large white flag of surrender just below the Colorado state flag to show that they mean no harm to visiting teams.
  15. Take the entire team on a pilgrimage to some Mayan ruins to search for the lost calendar piece that shows that the end of the world.  Note that the Mayans played a death game involving a stone loop fixed high up on a wall.  Encourage team to play.

I have nothing against the Rockies and certainly enjoy watching Tulo play.  The problem is that the rest of the team remains practically unwatchable after several years of building around Tulo.  The implication?  Maybe the Rockies excel at doing baseball wrong.  Then again, a team that struggles to 14 games back before July 4th probably is not doing much right.

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Ozzie Guillen and I Have Way More in Common Than I Thought

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Ozzie Guillen and I Have Way More in Common Than I Thought

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Trish Vignola

Nothing has changed in the timeline for his return, the multifaceted Emilio Bonifacio is still due at some point back after the All-Star Break. Still, Tuesday was a crucial day for Emilio Bonifacio. That’s nice. I speculated pre-Full Spectrum Baseball Fantasy Baseball draft that Bonifacio was going to have a significant impact on the Marlins.

Heck. I even drafted him.

However, the only impact Bonifacio has made on my team is the space he takes up on my Disabled List.

The Marlins center fielder was examined and cleared by a team physician to increase his baseball activities. Bonifacio got the green light to start hitting and play catch. He is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The injury occurred in Cleveland on May 18, and he’s been on my disabled list since May 20. Sigh.

On Tuesday, Bonifacio began hitting off a tee. He also put a glove on and played catch. The injury is to his glove hand.

Before this, Bonifacio had taken practice swings in recent days. As previously mentioned, the team’s hope is to have him back after the All-Star break.

The Marlins come out of the break on July 13 at home against the Nationals.

“I don’t want to be rushed back,” Bonifacio said. Why should he? He has spent a whole season making me rethink my entire fantasy Baseball strategy. To be fair, I’ve also had David Robinson and any assortment of New York Mets bullpen at some point. Enough already. I’m glade Bonifacio is “feeling great,” but I really need him to get off his butt and start taking swings before I have to drop another person.

Who knew though that there was one person out there who understood what I was going through?

All the losing is trying Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen’s patience. Who can blame him?

Because Miami has a number of young players, the fiery Guillen has been careful not to lash out at his team. Instead, he’s been uplifting and encouraging. I just keep yelling at my Mac Book screen.

“I have to be careful how I treat these kids here,” the manager said. “I don’t have a veteran team. I don’t know how they’re going to handle it. I’m not going to put more pressure on them. I don’t need to say something they know. How you’re going to say it, how they’re going to digest it, how they’re going to take it.”

Veterans don’t take it well either. Ask Bobby Valentine or any of my players…who apparently can’t hear me yelling through my computer screen.

While he’s bitten his tongue, the manager cautioned he could be close to once again making headlines because of his emotions.

“I will, pretty soon,” Guillen said. “I want to be on ESPN. I want to be all over the news. I haven’t been there for a long time.”

Thank you. I’m always looking for writing topics.

Guillen continues, “I should. I make a lot of money when I’m doing that. Pretty soon I’m ready to erupt. But right now … I’m just trying to be positive the most that I can, because we need that.”

Bottom line for both Ozzie and myself is production. The Marlins have been an enigma, because they won 21 games in May, but have just five wins in June entering Tuesday. I dropped two spots in the rankings since Monday.

“I believe we have a good ballclub,” Guillen said. I’m not so sure I do.

Guillen continues, “I believe we do. Why? Because we’ve played good before. I know we’re going to play good again. The only thing I want is more consistency. I want the players to feel that way, how good they are.
“We went from the best team in baseball to the worst team in baseball. You can’t be that drastic. That’s why I’m confused. I think we have the talent.”

I have Jose Reyes AND Joey Votto. How could I have gone so wrong?

Guillen on Tuesday sported a cleaner look, shaving off his goatee. I don’t have one.

“I shaved it because I had more white hair than when I got here,” he joked. “Thank you to the Marlins. I look older.” Me too, Ozzie. Me too.

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