It was another action packed Monday with ten games on the agenda. Did your team begin the week on top, or are you already playing catch-up? Let’s review some of Monday’s highlights and lowlights.
Denard Span’s performance on Monday put smiles on his owners’ faces. Span earned three hits, a run, two RBI’s, a stolen base, and a homerun. The Twins’ outfielder has been relatively disappointing this season, but did have a productive evening. His numbers may suffer as Minnesota’s offense has struggled all season long, but can help in stolen bases and runs.
After returning from the DL, veteran slugger Jim Thome showed absolutely no rust by hitting two homeruns, one of which soared 465 feet. Thome will receive sporadic starts at DH and continues to be a consistent power source, but his value should be reserved for deep leagues.
Matt Capps blew his second save in a row, and third in the last five attempts against Seattle. Capps has been inconsistent as Minnesota’s closer, so Joe Nathan’s return may be imminent.
Jack Cust hit his first bomb of the year and ended the night with two runs and two RBI’s. Cust’s only value to fantasy owners is power, which seems to be running short this season. He has a tendency to streak, which may mean this was either a fortunate game or the beginning of something more.
Welcome back Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. Both Texas sluggers went yard and need to be started in all formats. Cruz and Hamilton appear to be healthy and ready to make up for lost time in Texas’ potent lineup.
Alexi Ogando continued his marvelous season with a five-hit shutout. The former reliever improved to 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA and has allowed opponents to two runs or less in all starts except one. Ogando is likely owned in every league, but pick him up if he is available and consider trading for him if you can find a doubting owner.
Adam Dunn has become one of baseball’s most consistent sluggers over the years, but cannot get a break in Chicago. Dunn went 0 for 4, and is only 3 for his last 32. The Chicago White Sox offense has been starving recently after a solid start. Hold on to Dunn as he has a track record of rebounding.
After going 1 for his 13, Corey Hart rewarded fantasy owners and Milwaukee Brewers fans’ generously. Hart tied club records with a three home run “hat trick” , while tallying seven RBI’s as Milwaukee pounded Washington 11-3. He iced the cake with a stolen base as well. Hart can be streaky, but has remarkable fantasy potential with his combination of speed and power. These were his first three homeruns of the season. Hart should be started in all formats and is dangerous when on a hot streak.
Despite a terrible start to the season, Yovani Gallardo has returned to form. He earned his fourth win in a row with seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts, while only allowing one earned run. Gallardo has struck out nine in back-to-back games and appears to have escaped his early season funk.
Asdrubal Cabrera has moved from fantasy sleeper to MVP candidate as he continues to destroy opposing pitching. Cabrera led Cleveland’s comeback against Boston by going 3 for 4 with his tenth homerun. Cleveland’s shortstop is on fire with 8 for his last 9 with three homeruns in his last two games. Fluke or not, get Cabrera now as he is posting top 10 fantasy statistics at the shallow position of shortstop.
Clay Bucholz may not be treating his bullpen to dinner on Monday night after they failed to hold his win. Bucholz has certainly come around in May by holding opponents to two runs or less in his last five starts.
Although Carl Crawford was unable to come through in the clutch on Monday night, he did record two hits, two runs, an RBI, and his second homerun of the season. Crawford is still not hitting like his usual self, but is gradually turning his disappointing season around and will hopefully return to the top of the order.
Dustin Pedroia left the game in the eighth inning after slipping as he rounded second base. Although he walked to the dugout with his own strength, this was the same foot that Pedroia had was surgically repaired in September. Pedroia will likely sit out Tuesday’s game, but hopefully will return to lineup soon without any DL stint.
Jose Bautista bashed his 19th homerun of the season and third in the last three games. He continues to hit the cover off the ball and is performing at an MVP level. Bautista is on pace to return as homerun king, while contributing in every offensive category.
Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia’s damage came from the eighth hole with two hits and four RBI’s. With at least two hits in four of his last seven games and tied for the lead in homeruns among catchers, Arencibia has enjoyed a great beginning to the season and may start even more often if he continues swinging a sizzling bat.
Bartolo Colon was roughed up by Toronto as he surrendered six runs over six innings. Colon still managed to fan eight batters and has been one of New York’s best pitchers this season. Many expect Colon’s run to end, but his consistency and K rate make him a must start in most fantasy leagues.
Finally, Albert Pujols hit his eighth homerun of the season after a 106 at-bat drought, which was the longest stretch of his career. Pujols was the first player taken off the board in most drafts and has not rewarded his owners for their selection thus far. However, Pujols is one of the best talents in the game and will likely break out from this rough patch. Don’t make any desperate or drastic moves with him at this point.
Blame it on improved health or the expertise of pitching coach Dave Duncan, but Kyle Lohse is pitching like an ace for St Louis this season. He threw eight innings with only one earned run, while striking out five to earn his sixth victory of the season. Lohse has shown amazing consistency as he has only allowed more than two runs in two starts this season.
The closer carousel may have ended in St Louis as Fernando Salas does not appear to be surrendering the job anytime soon. With his eighth save in eight chances, Salas appears to own the job and is also sporting a stunning 1.27 ERA.
Although he did not earn a win, Jered Weaver was back on track in Oakland as he earned a no decision while pitching seven innings with five K’s with one earned run. Weaver is winless this month as he has not dominated May as he did in April, but impressed on Monday night. Weaver is a top tiered pitcher and should continue to be started.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen struggled yet again as Kenley Jansen failed to close Clayton Kershaw’s win by allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With Broxton and Padilla injured, questions marks on the next closer in Los Angeles may remain unanswered, but Matt Guerrier may be the leading candidate.
Victor Martinez’ led the offense in Detroit’s win by going 1 for 3 with two RBI’s and a run. V-Mart has raised his almost fifty points in May. Martinez has been on a roll since returning from injury and is posting a strong stat line.
The Philadelphia Phillies celebrated Chase Utley’s first game of the season with a ten run onslaught against the spiraling Cincinnati Reds who lost their sixth game in a row. Utley’s return was an inglorious 0 for 5, but patient owners are still rejoicing finally placing him in their lineups.
Jimmy Rollins continued his success as Philadelphia’s leadoff bat with his third homerun of the season along with two runs and three RBI’s. J-Roll has improved from 2010, but still has not return to his 2007 MVP form. However, Rollins is still an offensive force of speed and some power, especially when Philadelphia’s offense is firing on all cylinders.
Bronson Arroyo was the victim of Philadelphia’s offensive explosion as he gave up nine runs on only 2.2 innings as his ERA jumped to 5.28. Arroyo should be considered a spot start in most leagues or at least benched until he displays more consistency.
Jay Bruce was the only Cincinnati batter that could figure out Cole Hamels on Monday. Bruce went 3 for 4 with his 12th home run along with a run and three RBI’s. With 11 hits in his last 18 at-bats, Bruce is “en fuego” this month despite his team’s losing streak. Bruce has shown power, speed, and an improved batting average this season and does not appear to be slowing down.
Good luck this week!