I’m not going to compete with fellow contributor David Weirs when it comes to the number of bullet points. Tenure is a beautiful thing.
• After early struggles, Angels’ closer Jordan Walden has lost his title, at least for the time being. Walden’s role will be handed over to left-hander Scott Downs while the 24-year-old flamethrower rights the ship. Walden’s issue has been his control, and he’s fallen behind to more batters than he’s gotten ahead of. Walden’s velocity has also been off a touch, but he’s still throwing 97 mph with his fastball, so it’s really nothing to worry about. Don’t drop Walden yet, as he can be far too dominant to give up on.
• Downs, who takes over the job, hasn’t exactly been good early this year, either. Downs’ strikeout rate dipped below the league-average during 2011, and he’s had even more trouble putting hitters away in 2012. However, Downs is a ground-ball machine, and as long as Mark Trumbo isn’t manning third in the ninth inning, he could have a few easy saves. I wouldn’t recommend adding Downs unless you’re desperate for a handful of saves and are supremely set in terms of strikeouts.
• The Yankees may have been using him out of the bullpen thus far, but David Phelps is going to be taking Freddy Garcia’s spot in the Bombers’ rotation. Garcia has been bumped from the starting five after his disastrous outing against the Tigers last week. Phelps was a starter in the minors, so this will not really be a transition for the youngster. With Andy Pettitte returning sometime soon, Phelps will need to prove he’s a better option than Phil Hughes if he wants to remain in the rotation. Grab Phelps in 14-team AL-only leagues and large keeper leagues.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Today: Joe Wieland (SDP) vs MIL
Milwaukee has a good lineup, and even though Petco won’t hurt them as much as other clubs, I still like Wieland at home.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Charlie Morton (PIT) at STL
Morton’s still a ground-ball machine, and he’s got room for error in St. Louis.