Felix Doubront is scheduled to make one more rehab start before rejoining the Cubs to pitch when they have a doubleheader on August 30. Doubront may be a viable NL-only option with the move to the new league, but I’d wait at least one start to see how he’s throwing, and even then I’d be mindful of the matchups.
Edwin Jackson was placed on the 15-day DL with a lat strain that he’s been trying to pitch through for some time now. Jackson was bombed by the Giants for seven runs in his last outing against the Giants and his 6.09 ERA is among the worst in MLB. You can send your thank you notes to Jackson courtesy of the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill.
Joey Votto finally spoke to the media about his injury…and did little more than complain about what’s been written about him. And he offered no new information about his injury So, we’re left with the same information we’ve had all along. He’s eligible to come off the 60-day DL on September 4 but has yet to perform any baseball activities. He was recently cleared to begin jogging and he had a positive strength test, so there’s that. This is looking more like a mid-September return every day that goes by, if at all.
Hanley Ramirez is taking batting practice as he tries to return quickly from an oblique injury. According to Ramirez, he will be back when eligible this coming Sunday. We’ll see.
As expected, the injury updates about Garrett Richards are bad; he has a torn patella tendon and will be out for the rest of the season. But news is really worse than that; surgery is scheduled for today and the expected recovery period is six to nine months, which will carry this tragedy well into next spring. Richards finishes his season with a 13-4 record, a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 168 IP. He almost certain would have been in the mix for the AL Cy Young Award.
Yan Gomes was hit on the side of his catcher’s mask by a deflected pitch and was forced to leave Thursday’s game with a possible concussion. The timing of this couldn’t be worse for Gomes, who is batting .351 with five homers, 17 RBIs and a .974 OPS since the All Star break. Roberto Perez will likely take over as the starting catcher if Gomes is out for any length of time. Perez is not a recommended Fantasy option. The Indians organization is devoid of catching help above the Double-A level, so they’re in a real bind unless Carlos Santana starts catching again. Santana has caught just 11 games this season.
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Kennys Vargas hit his fourth home run yesterday in his 19th game with the Twins so far, mainly as the DH. He’s also driven in 17 runs, scored another 12 and is batting a healthy .316. Of course, this all comes with a 20:3 K:BB ratio and an unsustainable .377 BABIP. The power is very real but I’d be shocked if he kept the batting average for long. Still, he could easily hit another half-dozen bombs with regular playing time, which appears to be in the cards for Vargas the rest of the way.
Gordon Beckham was traded to the Angels yesterday for the proverbial player to be named, some cash and a couple pounds of bubble gum. He brings his .221/.263/.336 triple slash to Anaheim, where he will serve as little more than bench depth for the Angels. The White Sox are going to give rookie Carlos Sanchez a look at second base and Marcus Semien will return when rosters expand September 1. Sanchez batted .293/.349/.412 over 494 PA at Triple-A Charlotte this season, with improved power and 16 stolen bases, but he isn’t considered the White Sox best option at the keystone for next season. That honor would go to Micah Johnson but he’s been shut down for the season with hamstring injury. Sanchez and Semien will likely split duties at second base for the rest of the season, but neither is recommended for Fantasy play.
Josh Hamilton is playing without confidence according manager Mike Scioscia, and it shows in his performance. Since the All Star break, Hamilton is slashing just .223/.280/.366 with 40 strikeouts in 125 PA (that’s a 32 percent K rate!). His .149 ISO is a career low and his .371 BABIP tells us that he’s been very lucky to even be hitting this well.
With Garrett Richards gone for the season, the new Angels ace looks like Matt Shoemaker, who put up another strong performance last night against the Red Sox. He tossed 7.1 innings of one-hit ball and struck out nine batters while walking just one. That brings Shoemaker’s record to 12-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 103.2 IP. He has 102 strikeouts with only 19 walks for the season. Shoemaker has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last seven starts. Shoemaker has plenty of innings left in that arm for the rest of this season and is a terrific trade target if your league isn’t done with trades yet.
Glen Perkins notched save number 32 last night. He has a 2.48 ERA and 64 Ks in 54.1 IP. Perkins isn’t considered an elite closer but he’s been one of the most consistent ninth inning men over the last three seasons. He now has 84 saves with a 2.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 5.49 K/BB ratio since taking over as the Twins closer in 2012.
Alex Wood has been one of the pitchers that have suffered most with the Braves sputtering offense, which seems to disappear when he’s on the mound. He took a no-decision last night despite allowing just two runs over 7.1 innings. He’s allowed two runs or less in six of his nine losses and he’s received just 3.02 runs per game of support from his Braves teammates this season. He’s gotten two runs or less of support in 10 of his starts this season. His ERA over his last nine starts is 2.86.
There are a couple of interesting looking matchups today, not the least of which features Drew Smyly of the Ray going against rookie Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays. Smyly has been sharp since the trade that brought him to Tampa Bay. Over his last three starts he is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. Stroman is coming off his worst outing of the season in which he coughed up five runs and didn’t get out of the first inning. He is 0-2 with an 8.23 ERA over his last three starts.
Also of interest tonight is the matchup between Tim Hudson of the Giants and Doug Fister of the Nationals. Hudson has scuffled lately; he’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA over his last three starts. Meanwhile, Fister has been nothing short of brilliant lately. He hasn’t surrendered a run in his last 21 innings, his August ERA is 0.64 and his season ERA is down to 2.20. The Nationals have won 10 straight games and have a good shot at extending that streak tonight with Fister on the mound.