Check out Monday’s highlights…and a few lowlights to gear your fantasy team up a win this week.
Clayton Kershaw was in the zone on Monday night in an interleague matchup versus the Detroit Tigers with a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. After a rough start to June, Kershaw has allowed only one run over his last sixteen innings and is one of the few bright spots for the Blue Crew.
Los Angeles Dodger’s first basemen James Loney accrued three hits and two runs in the win over Detroit. Loney’s numbers this month are not jaw-dropping, but he is worthy of attention in deep leagues as he has raised his batting average 37 points since June 5th including five multi-hit games.
Jered Weaver appears to be back on track with his seventh quality start in a row against the struggling Florida Marlins. Weaver won his ninth game of the year with seven innings pitched, while fanning six and allowing only one run.
Anibal Sanchez threw eight innings and struck out eight in a losing effort against the Los Angeles Angels. Florida is in a terrible funk with eleven straight losses and the recent firing of their manager. However, the Marlins’ have enough talent to rebound so keep starting your fantasy studs.
Evan Longoria hit his sixth homerun of the season while compiling two hits, two runs, and four RBI’s. Longoria has not produced yet this season and has been hampered with injury. Longoria should continue to be started as he has the capability to produce first round offensive statistics when healthy.
Jeff Niemann’s return to the rotation was positive with six shutout innings and five strikeouts in an interleague matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers. Niemann was Jekyll & Hyde last season with seven wins and an ERA under two before the All-Star Break, then an ERA over seven thereafter. The Rays’ pitcher has a solid skill set, but needs to show more consistency before being consistently started.
Tim Hudson earned only his second win over his last eight starts. The Atlanta veteran was in prime form with eight shutout innings and a season high eight K’s. Hudson produced his teams only runs with a two-run shot against Toronto’s Ricky Romero. He is a must-start in all leagues when healthy and dropped his ERA to 3.73 with Monday’s excellent outing.
Adam Lind went 0-for-4 against Atlanta. After a scorching first half of June, Lind is in a mini-slump as he is 1 for his last 11. Lind’s performance this season has been incredible so he should continue to be started.
Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta continued his solid start by winning his ninth game. Arrieta only lasted five innings with only 2 K’s. His ERA and WHIP leave much to be desired, but he has earned five wins over his last eight starts.
Nick Markakis earned three hits and two runs in Baltimore’s win over Pittsburgh on Monday night. The Orioles’ outfielder is only hitting .265 with five homeruns, but has been on the upswing in June. Markakis may still produce a 15-15 season, especially with Baltimore’s improved offense.
Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto was a late scratch on Monday with a stiff neck and is now set to start in Tuesday’s matchup.
New York Yankees’ started Ivan Nova threw his best game of the season in an interleague battle against the Cincinnati Reds. Nova only surrendered one run over eight innings, while fanning seven. The Yankees’ right-hander should only be owned in deep league as he has proven to be relatively inconsistent this season.
In a battle off crosstown rivals, the Cubs’ Starlin Castro hit his second home run of the season with a stat line of two hits, one run, and three RBI’s. Castro is currently batting .318 and has nine multi-hit games in June thus far.
If the Chisox were higher in the AL Central Standings, Paul Konerko may be in contention for early MVP rumors. Chicago’s veteran first basemen continues to provide owners consistent offensive numbers as he hit his 20th home run of the season and is batting .327 with 58 RBI’s. Konerko’s year-to-date stats parallel or even rank higher than many top tier first basemen drafted well before him. With an impressive 2010, there is no reason to see Konerko’s output as a fluke. Do not sell high.
Carlos Pena hit his 12th home run of the season and fifth in June on Monday. Pena is only hitting .220, but has been continuing to improve since ending April at an awful .159. The Cubs’ first basemen appears to adjusted to his new surroundings, but he still is likely to experience a combination of droughts and hot streaks for the remainder of the season.
Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre anchored the Rangers’ offense against the Houston Astros in a battle of the Lone Star state. The two sluggers combined for five hits, three runs, and four RBI’s. Although Beltre has performed well thus far, Hamilton’s numbers are modest. With his early season injury in the rear view mirror, Hamilton may be on the verge of a breakout.
No Carl Crawford? No Problem! Boston broke out the lumber with the San Diego Padres in town. The Beantown Bombers scored 14 runs including 10 in the seventh inning. Several Red Sox batters produced with Adrian Gonzalez captaining the charge by earning three hits, two runs and three RBI’s. A-Gone is leading the majors in batting average and RBI’s, while leading Boston’s steamrolling offense.
Jason Giambi was in the lineup as DH in Monday’s interleague matchup against Cleveland. He hit his seventh homerun of the season and continues to shine when given playing time. Giambi is worthy of a roster spot when Colorado is on the road in interleague play. He will generally only see pinch hitting opportunities without the DH spot.
Who’s been bitten by the injury bug?
First and foremost, Albert Pujols will be sidelined for approximately 4-6 weeks after a wrist injury in Sunday’s game against Kansas City. Although owners cannot be pleased with this news, they must be happy knowing that he will return in late July/early August.
Carl Crawford will also be taking a seat for a couple weeks with a strained hamstring. Boston’s outfielder was beginning to feel comfortable after early season struggles. Boston rather play it safe than sorry with their star. Expect Crawford back when he becomes eligible after his 15-day DL stint.
Boston also sent starting pitcher Clay Bucholz to the disabled list after lingering back issues. The young Red Sox pitcher has pitched exceptionally well after a rough start. Like Crawford, Bucholz should also return to action following his disabled list stint.
Keep an eye on the interleague matchups as the DH spot will open up for some teams and close for others.
Best of luck!