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Roto Riteup: April 7, 2013

Apparently there were some basketball games on last night. I guess I was too busy watching baseball. I’d say I made the right call.

On today’s agenda:
1. The John Lackey roller coaster continues
2. Trevor Bauer could use a GPS to find the zone
3. Is Carl Crawford back?
4. Another Milwaukee Brewer bat goes down

The latest chapter of the John Lackey saga
The good news about Lackey is that in his first start since September of 2011, Lackey was sharp to the tune of eight strikeouts against just one walk against the Toronto Blue Jays. His fastball averaged just over 92 mph and even touched 94. He allowed six base runners and surrendered a pair of runs in his 4.1 innings of work. Of course, the bad news is that he lasted just 4.1 innings and in doing so he has re-injured his pitching arm. The initial diagnosis is that he has a strained right bicep — luckily no elbow or shoulder damage has been discovered yet — but an MRI is taking place today to determine further details. Although he wasn’t owned in many leagues, if his fastball really is back, then Lackey’s effectiveness should be back as well. As we all know, an effective starter in Boston is certainly a nice stream candidate or waiver wire pick up. For now, we’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach.

Trevor Bauer struggles
A good news/bad news report for Bauer would lean heavily towards bad news in terms of things to say. He allowed three runs on 105 pitches, but lasted a mere five innings. One good thing is that his strikeout and hits allowed ratio was a clean 2:2, but he also allowed seven (!) walks. In this case, the first inning was a microcosm of the entire start, as Bauer walked the very first four batters he faced. Bauer was making a start for the injured Scott Kazmir and figures to be sent back down after yesterday’s start. One start is hard to judge a player on, but in this case everything that people were skeptical about shined through in one brilliantly disastrous fashion. His control was clearly an issue and he surrendered a home run. He still has a very good upside as a fantasy starter, but there are clearly things for him to work on in the minors.

Carl Crawford speeds up and heats up
He isn’t speeding up and heating up in the frictional sense of the word, but Crawford went 2-for-2 in stolen bases attempts yesterday and also collected a pair of singles and drew a walk. He is now hitting .438 on the year and is now 2-for-4 on the year in steal attempts. The inauspicious start of the year in the steals department led some to worry early, but successfully stealing in both attempts yesterday should help quell some doubts. Hitting lead off for the Dodgers should provide plenty of run scoring chances for him, and he hasn’t been shy about running in front of the powerful bats there either. With already four tries in five games, Crawford just might return to his running hey day of the early and mid 2000’s.

Aramis Ramirez to the disabled list
The Milwaukee injury bug claims yet another victim, as starting third baseman Aramis Ramirez is going to be on the shelf for at least 15 days with a sprained left knee. For fellow Ramirez owners or just Brewers fans, an MRI revealed no structural damage. Unfortunately, third base is already extremely thin and losing an (arguably) top 50 player and top five third basemen hurts especially badly. If you’re in the market for a short term replacement third basemen, I suggest Lonnie Chisenhall. With a starting job in Cleveland and an idea of what to do at the plate, he makes for a good stop-gap measure. Chisenhall should be available in over 95% of ESPN leagues, 90% of Yahoo! formats, and just under half CBS leagues.