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Roto Riteup: September 17, 2013

Today’s Roto Riteup is unofficially brought to you by the Harpoon’s UFO White that the present author enjoyed while writing.

On today’s agenda:
1. Cliff Lee‘s ridiculous day
2. Felix Hernandez‘s start gets pushed back
3. The return of Matt Kemp
4. Welcome back, Sean Marshall

Cliff Lee‘s ridiculous day
One of the few good things about pitchers hitting in the National League is that every once in a while, a pitcher puts on a show. This time it was Cliff Lee driving in four runs during his 3-for-4 day, including his first career triple. In addition to his big day at the plate, Lee also struck out 14 batters while gathering 14 swinging strikes and not allowing a walk. His eight innings of two run ball as well as his batting performance propelled him to his fourteenth win of the year. So it was a big day on both sides of the ball and it was a day of 14’s for Lee.

Lee is up to 33 strikeouts over his previous three starts, spanning 24 innings. Those starts have only come against one solid offensive ball club, the Atlanta Braves, but Lee is good enough that he can make even very good lineups look silly. Despite personal feelings on pitcher hitting, it is is part of the game and can be a part of what makes baseball so darn entertaining.

Felix Hernandez‘s start gets pushed back
Prior to a bullpen session yesterday, the Seattle Mariners had hoped that Felix Hernandez would be ready to make a start on Wednesday. Following the bullpen, the club said that they will be moving his start back to the weekend at the earliest. King Felix will throw another bullpen on Thursday and assuming that goes well, he’ll be cleared for a start over the weekend against the Los Angeles Angels.

Even if Felix was healthy enough to make a start on Wednesday, he would only be able to make one more start the rest of the season. If he makes a weekend start, he’ll still be able to make an additional start in the final series of the year. For those of you in head-to-head leagues that were counting on two starts from Felix, you should still get them.

The return of Matt Kemp
After some speculation as to whether or not Matt Kemp would return this season, the Los Angeles Dodgers activated him from the 15-day disabled list yesterday. Though he didn’t start, he did manage a pinch hit appearance. This has been a lost season for Kemp and given the crowded Dodgers outfield, it isn’t totally clear where Kemp will squeeze in plate appearances. With Andre Ethier tending to a sore ankle, Kemp may reclaim center field, though it isn’t 100% clear where and how often Kemp will play. Expect him to start most — but not all — games down the stretch in preparation for the post season.

Welcome back, Sean Marshall
Let us tread lightly around bullpen news, lest we finally begin the inevitable Roto Riteup vs Bullpen Report turf war. If you learned about gang rivalries from the same source as the present author, then the audience is in for a treat. Regardless of the consequences, Sean Marshall has been a personal favorite as a source of excellent ratios and holds for the past several years and has been activated. For anyone in holds leagues or looking for ratio help, Marshall could provide help despite being the third lefty in the pen according to manager Dusty Baker. Don’t pigeonhole Marshall as a run-of-the-mill LOOGY; he has held right-handed batters to a .318 wOBA for his career while dominating lefties and allowing a mere .276 wOBA. He is available in just about every league in the the three major sites.

It may have taken nearly the entire season, but Andrew Cashner threw a gem yesterday. His 93 Game score was the highest of the season and he faced the minimum 27 batters en route to his one-hitter. Our very own Eno Sarris will be along later today with more words on Cashner.