McCann’s day off

Day off? Are you kidding me? (Icon/SMI)

Brian McCann didn’t start in yesterday’s’s Braves-Astros game, but he certainly finished it. After observing the first eight innings from the bench, over which the Braves were held scoreless thanks to an impressive Wandy Rodriguez performance, he blasted a solo home run in the ninth to send the game into extra innings. Then in the 11th he sent another baseball skyward into the stands to double his home run total on the year to four and give the Braves the win. 2011 won’t go down as a good year to draft an elite catcher but, at least if you snagged McCann or Victor Martinez, you are not livid at the Twins for waiting until Joe Mauer is healthy enough to catch to return. The fill-in, Drew Butera, is OPS-ing .278. I think even I could come close to that.

Troy Tulowitzki—Hit a home run to give him 11 on the year. His average has pretty much steadily dropped from its peak of .365 on April 16 to the .255 it is today. Still, you know he’s gonna bust out like Leann Tweeden’s chest for a few weeks sometime this season and get his numbers back up there.

Ubaldo Jimenez—Went seven innings, gave up three runs, got seven Ks but not the win. Kept his wild side in line issuing just one walk, which is nice to see.

Alex Rodriguez—Blasted two home runs, off James Shields, no less. He’s on pace for his usual 30 home runs but the average and speed have largely disappeared.

Elliot Johnson—Hit his second home run in as many games starting in place of the difficult to pronounce and watch Reid Brignac. Johnson is not much of a power guy and strikes out too much hit for a high average, but he did steal 30 bases in Triple-A last year so he has speed. If given continued at-bats, which he appears to be earning, Johnson could hit .250-.260 with a pocketful of homers and 15-to-20 steals. If that sounds potentially useful to you, pick him up.

Brett Gardner—3-for-4 with one of the hits a bunt single. He’s starting to get on base more but still has only five steals compared to six caught stealings. I definitely would not give up on Gardner yet but sorry for this.

Matt Garza—Gave up no earned runs (but three unearned) in six innings when his peripherals finally aren’t good (four walks, three strikeouts). Go figure.

Edinson Volquez—Allowed just four baserunners in six innings with nine Ks in what was probably his best start of the season. He has upside but the last time he showed it was three years ago. I trust him about as much as a Vince Offer commercial.

Scott Rolen—Another multi-hit game since coming off the DL five days ago and has raised his batting average 71 points to .288. In that lineup Rolen should be able to put up impressive run/RBI totals if he keeps hitting. What? You don’t really care about run and RBI totals? Yeah, me neither when I think about it.

Brent Lillibridge—Went 1-for-3 batting leadoff instead of Juan Pierre. He has played well this season and might see more at-bats at Pierre’s expense. He may look like high school sophomore but that shouldn’t stop those of you in 16+ team mixed leagues and AL-onlys from giving him a shot. Note the second base eligibility.

David Wright—The Mets came to their sense (they only have one) and have agreed to put Wright on the DL. It’s the right move for Wright, I believe. They claim he will miss the minimum 15 days but I can already envision the newest Mets injury saga unfolding: Wright struggles to hit, especially for power and then claims he rushed back from the injury or the medical staff misdiagnosed it. He returns to the DL and this time takes his time rehabbing since the Mets are out of contention anyway. Wright owners, start praying and eying a replacement.

Travis Buck—Started his second game for the Indians because of Grady Sizemore‘s injury. I’m an A’s fan so I remember his promising 2007 season and he was hitting well at Triple-A earlier this year before being promoted. Either way he’s an empty average player at best and he’s only playing for the couple of weeks while Grady is out, so not much to see here.

Jaime Garcia—Another brilliant start from Jaime, going eight innings, allowing six baserunners and just one run (zero earned), and ringing up five. His ERA is now 1.64. Don’t be the sheep that follows me off the cliff and trades him as I did in the F&F league. Hitters still look lost swinging way above that sinking cutter of his. He has two tough match-ups against the Royals and Rockies coming up so we’ll see how he fares.

Yadier Molina—Got another three hits giving him his fourth multi-hit game in as many. If your catcher is of the droppable variety, ride the Hot Yadi round the block.

Chris Denorfia—Went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .348 in 73 at-bats this season. He can hit for average and reach low double-digit homers and steals. There is reason to give Denorfia some love in 14+ mixed leagues.

Gio Gonzalez—Allowed just one hit and one walk in seven scoreless against the overAngelchievers and got all the run support an A’s pitcher could ever ask for.

Retroactive Review: Ace
Looking back at some of Justin Verlander's most interesting moments.

Coco Crisp—Led the A’s offensive surge with a 3-for-4 night and is now dropping in hits like Lady Gaga Christina Perri. Enjoy him while he’s healthy.

Hiroki Kuroda—Scattered six hits and punched out seven in seven and two-thirds scoreless innings, stifling the Brewers’ offense. Yup he’s good and you already knew that.

Matt Guerrier—Picked up the save with Vicente Padilla out with forearm tightness or stiffness, whatever. Guerrier could come out with a few more saves from this mess, so look to add him where possible.

Francisco Liriano—I have no advice to give on Liriano except to note that he pitched well last night after doing poorly in his previous start after throwing a no-hitter in the start before after looking like crap in the start before… am I detecting a pattern here?

Dustin Ackley—According to Dave Cameron, the retired ice hockey centre turned British politician turned English football player turned American baseball analyst, Ackley could get the nod as soon as today and at most in a few weeks. Apparently Ackley has a graceful swing and great hands but he just doesn’t have the minor league numbers to get me too excited just yet. If someone in your league thinks he’s the next uber-prospect to get the call, let them use their waiver claim or half their FAAB budget to get him. I’m keeping my Ackley expectations in check for this season.

Saves: Huston Street picked up save 14 with a one-hit, one-strikeout inning, Nick Masset got his first save since Francisco Cordero pitched four days in a row (I tried to pick him up in the F&F league last night but Derek stupidly dropped him the night before so he was on waivers), Sergio Santos got save number eight in a hitless inning, Matt Guerrier impressively struck out two to pick up his first save in a clean ninth, and Matt Capps walked one and struck out one for his sixth save.

Blown Saves: Mark Melancon blew his second save after giving up one of the aforementioned McCann bombs. His job should be safe for now though.

Personal Fantasy Update: Completed a trade with Vince in the THT Writers League netting me Jay Bruce for Jose Tabata, Ricky Romero, C.J. Wilson, and Leo Nunez. Why haven’t any of the other writers been mentioning the league? I don’t know, maybe because my team is in first with 96 points and second place has 81.

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