Bat Of The Weekend: Brandon Phillips – 6/12, 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
Phillips went 30-30 in a breakout 2007 campaign and entered 2008 as the top rated second baseman in some preseason rankings. Phillips got off to a slow start from a power perspective but is really beginning to turn it on as we head into May. The Reds’ 2B is a legitimate 30-30 threat and one of the elite players in fantasy baseball give his position.
Arm Of The Weekend: James Shields – 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (CG, W)
James Shields was nasty Sunday afternoon in Tampa, throwing a complete game 2 hitter and in the process giving the Rays their first series sweep of the rival Red Sox. Shields becomes the second straight Rays starter to take home top weekend honors, following Andy Sonnanstine. Don’t look now but the Rays starting pitching ranks among the best in baseball and will only improve once Scott Kazmir returns in early May.
Bottom Line: Geovany Soto – 0/8, 8 K
Eight strikeouts in eight at-bats, yikes. Someone send this man 2 golden sombreros courtesy of the FSE Bottom Line.
The youth movement dominates the weekend Top Five headlined by Josh Hamilton and Nate McLouth at the dish and strikeout machine Jonathon Sanchez on the mound.
Josh Hamilton - 8/13, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Nate McLouth – 4/12, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI
David Murphy – 6/13, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI
Matt Kemp – 5/12, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Alex Rios – 7/13, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Pat Maholm – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Vicente Padilla – 9 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Jonathon Sanchez – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (W)
Brian Burres – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (W)
Chien-Ming Wang – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (W)
Billy Wagner – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 Saves
Back to back Relief Stud honors for he has now tossed 10 scoreless innings to start the season while locking down 6 saves. The hit allowed by Wagner this weekend was the first he’s let up this season.
Struggling veteran pitchers are found early and often in this weekend’s Bottom Five. Barry Zito’s latest debacle moved him to 0-6 and possibly the bullpen while Matt Morris finds himself out of a job.
Alex Gordon - 1/11, 6 K
Casey Blake – 0/9, 5 K
Jim Thome – 1/9, 6 K
Gary Matthew Jr. – 0/10, 3 K
Kevin Youklis – 0/10, 3 K
Barry Zito – 3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (L)
Livan Hernandez – 2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (L)
Matt Morris – 1.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (L)
Miguel Batista – 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (L)
Ubaldo Jimenez – 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (ND)
Bob Howry – 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (L)
Once favored to be the closer in Chicago, Howry has struggled mightily thus far in 2008. He is now 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA and finds himself in Sweet Lou’s doghouse. If something should happen to Wood, it appears that at this point Carlos Marmol would most likely fill-in at closer.
Making A Case...
Scott Rolen – 4/11, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB
Rolen was a difference maker in his first weekend of play this season. The Blue Jays’ 3B did a little bit of everything cranking 2 doubles, a homer and even stealing a base. If he can stay healthy, Rolen will get every opportunity to succeed in Toronto and hit in the middle of an underrated lineup. He looks to be a decent option at a thin fantasy position.
John Lannan – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (W)
That makes 2 straight outings in which Lannan has tossed 7 innings of shutout ball. The Nats’ lefty exploded on the fantasy scene following an 11 strikeout performance against the Mets April 17th and hasn’t looked back allowing only a single run over his last three starts spanning 20 innings. Lannan will probably never put up double digit strikeout totals again this season, its not really his game, but he is proving to be a reliable fantasy starter capable of shutting down good offenses.
Fantasy Observations & Thoughts
- Josh Beckett struck out 13 but was outdueled by James Shields and those pesky Rays.
- Brandon Webb became the majors first pitcher to 6 wins (6-0) while Chien Ming-Wang moved to 5-0 throwing 7 shutout innings against the Indians.
- Edinson Volquez is now 4-0 after striking out 10 batters in Cincinnati’s win Sunday. The preseason trade of Josh Hamilton for Volquez is working out well for both teams.
- Strong outing for Clay Buchholz allowing 2 ER in 8 innings of work against the Rays. Despite being the tough luck loser, Buchholz is beginning to establish himself as a legit fantasy starter with big upside. The buy low window on the Red Sox phenom might be officially closed.
- Two homers yesterday for Carlos Delgado as he tries to work past a ridiculous 6/58 slump (.103 BA for those scoring at home). Delgado isn’t this bad, but he also doesn’t appear to have a ton of upside as age is catching up with the 35 year old slugger.
- John Smoltz struggled on Sunday at New York giving up homers to Delgado and Raul Casanova of all people. Smoltz is clearly bothered by pain in his throwing shoulder but has stated he will pitch through it. While we don’t doubt the toughness of the future Hall Of Famer, he seems destined for a DL stint at some point this season.
- Michael Cuddyer hit his first homer of the season after coming off the DL Friday. He is a nice buy low candidate right now.
- Kyle McClellan pitched three perfect innings to earn his first save of the season in the Cards 5-1 win over Houston. It looks like McClellan may be the team’s fallback option to closer Jason Isringhausen who struggled mightily last week.
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