In Monday’s matinee, Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee struggled from the onset and surrendered five runs in four innings of work to suffer his seventh loss of the season. As dominant as Lee has seemed this season, his ERA is much worse on the road. Although he should be started in all formats, Lee owners should be careful starting him during playoff time on the road.
San Diego’s Chris Denorfia received the start in place of injured Cameron Maybin. Denorfia sparked San Diego’s offense by going 2 for 5 with two runs, an RBI, and two stolen bases. Although he does not receive regular playing time, Denorfia possesses enough power and speed to be valuable if he becomes a regular starter.
Remember when Aaron Harang was a highly touted fantasy starter? He seems to be returning to form in San Diego where he earned his ninth win. Although he was far from superb with six innings pitched, four earned runs, and only two strikeouts, Harang had previously not allowed more than three runs in a start since May 14th and has not lost a decision since May 2nd. He is worthy of a roster spot in deep and NL-Only leagues.
Heath Bell recorded his 29th save this season as his name continues to pop up in trade rumors. The Padres’ closer lowered his ERA to 2.40 and has blown only two save opportunities this season. Since Bell is rumored to being dealt in a trade, it will be imperative to note whether his new team uses him in the closer or set-up role.
Derek Jeter began the week on the right foot with three hits, two runs, two RBI’s and his 4th homerun of the season. Jeter’s numbers have been unimpressive this season, but he has raised his average to .273 with six multi-hit games and three stolen bases this month.
Mark Teixeira hit his 27th homerun of the season along with two hits, one run, and three RBI’s. Big Tex’s average stands at only .243, but his power numbers have certainly risen from 2010. Over the course of his career, Teixeira has shown improvement post-All Star break. He may be a decent trade target especially with A-Rod returning in a few weeks.
The Seattle Mariners continued to capsize by losing their 16th game of the season. Jason Vargas suffered his ninth loss of the year and watched his ERA climb over 4. The right-hander has been thrashed three starts in a row against the potent offenses of the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Yankees. Vargas should be held in deep leagues, but benched until a more favorable matchup in his sights.
The Halos’ suffered a heartbreaker as Dan Haren threw a gem with 7.2 innings and allowed only one run, while fanning ten. Unfortunately, closer Jordan Walden could not protect the lead from Cleveland. Monday night marked Walden’s seventh blown save, but Coach Scioscia has not hinted to any role changes. However, keep an eye on Scott Downs as a replacement if Walden’s troubles persist.
Pittsburgh’s James McDonald tamed Atlanta’s potent offense, which is struggling as of late. McDonald lasted only 5.1 innings, but struck out nine and earned his seventh win of the season. More importantly, McDonald did not walk a batter, which is an area that he has struggled this season. The Bucs’ started deserves a roster spot, especially in deep and NL-Only leagues.
Is Daniel Murphy on your fantasy radar? The Mets’ utility player went 2 for 5 with a run and two RBI’s. This was Murphy’s ninth multi-hit game of July. With eligibility in most leagues at first base, second base, third base, and outfield, Murphy can be a valuable add if he is still available on the waiver wire for your team down the stretch.
The Texas Rangers celebrated the end of the lockout by posting an NFL size score of 20 against the Minnesota Twins. Several Rangers had monster games in the rout. In fact, all starters recorded at least two hits. Ian Kinsler compiled four hits, two runs, four RBI, and his 16th homerun. Michael Young added three hits, two runs, three RBI’s, and his ninth homerun. Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli each recorded four hits. Texas is 21-5 this month and continues to increase their division lead in the AL West.
Chicago White Sox veteran Mark Buehrle has quietly rebounded from his April struggles. Buehrle threw six innings with four strikeouts, while scattering ten hits. He has not allowed more than three runs since April 22nd and has returned to a very dependable starter.
Paul Konerko produced two runs, two RBI’s, and hit his 23rd homerun of the season. The ChiSox veteran has cooled recently with only one homerun this month. Konerko continues to shine, while Adam Dunn remains in a funk this season. Both sluggers will need to get hot for Chicago to make a run at catching Cleveland and Detroit at the top of the division.
Kyle McClellan may have finally ended his rough patch as he earned his seventh win with five strikeouts. Although Houston’s offense is weaker than most, it was a positive sign for McClellan who had not recorded a win since May 19th and has watched his ERA soar over 4. Before starting the Cards’ right-hander weekly, see if he can put together a few quality starts, especially over better offenses.
Oakland’s Conor Jackson went 2 for 4 with two RBI’s and a run to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays. Jackson has four multi-hit games over his last seven and may be worthy of roster consideration in deep leagues, especially with eligible at first base and outfield.
Andre Ethier hit his 10th homerun as he posted two hits, two runs, and three RBI’s as the Blue Crew defeated Colorado. Ethier is having a July to forget with only seven RBI’s and a .224 average.
Jon Lester returned from the disabled list with 5.1 innings and six strikeouts in a no decision against Kansas City. Lester owners should be pleased with this performance and confident that their pitcher is fully recovered from his lateral injury.
Good luck this week!