AL MVP Race.
Adrian Gonzalez continued his assault on the American League Thursday, doubling, hitting a solo homer and drawing two walks in a win over the Rays. The homer came in the ninth inning of Rays closer Kyle Farnsworth and gave the Red Sox an insurance run. A-Gone has been simply unconscious in June, hitting a blistering .429 with four homers and 15 RBI over 13 games. He now boasts a .347 batting mark, 14 homers and 61 RBI for the year.
Peas in a pod.Bill Chuck: The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista has not had too many bad months over the last couple of seasons, but he's scuffling this month. As reported by Mark Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, Jays manager John Farrell was asked if he thinks it’s a sign of frustration over the fact that he often gets pitched around? “No, I wouldn’t say it’s from frustration,” Farrell said. “The one thing that Jose is very clear on is that when he’s gotten loaded with the proper swing mechanics it allows him to get ready earlier, which enables him to see the ball earlier in the flight to home plate. When he’s a little bit late, he doesn’t have the same clarity and I think that’s why we’re seeing some of the swings that you’re referring to.” When you take a look at his overall swing rate this month, you can see he's swinging at pitches all over the zone:
Ian Kennedy struck out 10 and allowed just an unearned run over eight innings Thursday against the Giants. Unfortunately, J.J. Putz blew a one-run lead in the ninth, costing Kennedy his eighth victory. Kennedy struck out 10 for the second time this season. It's the fifth time already that he's pitched at least eight innings and allowed one or no runs.
Pitching U.Phil Hughes, out since April 15 with inflammation in his shoulder, will start on Sunday for the Class A Staten Island Yankees in a road game against the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets' Single-A affiliate. The goal is for him to throw 65 pitches as he builds himself back up to rejoin the starting rotation. If the outing goes well, he would likely need 2-3 more starts as part of his rehabilitation assignment and could be pitching for the Yanks in the first week of July."
Brandon Beachy (oblique) allowed just one run Thursday in a five-inning rehab start at Triple-A Gwinnett. Beachy scattered four hits and struck out eight batters while needing only 88 pitches. The right-hander is scheduled to make another rehab appearance on June 21 before potentially returning to the major league starting rotation. For now, Mike Minor will continue to fill in
Fresh from the Cafe PressMike Minor got knocked around by the Mets Thursday, surrendering five runs on seven hits and three walks over only 4 1/3 innings before escaping with a no-decision in the 9-8 extra innings win. The Braves spotted the lefty a 6-2 lead, but Minor fell apart in the fifth inning, allowing a pair of walks and a single before Scott Proctor came on and served up a three-run bomb. He had put up three straight quality outings, but it’s worth noting that they came against the Pirates, Padres and Astros.
Join the ClubBrandon Gray, Evaluating Speedy Outfielders: There comes a time for most teams where 3-4 stolen bases a week can bring back great value. Maybe it’s to grab 2-3 more points in rotisserie league, or win a category in H2H. Unfortunately, as owners, we often group all of these players as one of the same, not factoring in their additional abilities or lack there of. In this article, I aim to find the best base stealing outfielders for you to pick up or try to acquire via trade.
Worst catcher in baseballDon Mattingly is frustrated with SP Chad Billingsley's lack of effectiveness this year. "Ultimately, you have to go out and tell yourself you're not going to make mistakes, that you're going to throw the ball where you want to throw it," Mattingly said. "I don't have any magic words. You've got to get yourself ready to play and to pitch to each guy." Billingsley is 1-2 with an 11.19 ERA and 30 hits in 13 2/3 innings in his last three starts. C Rod Barajas said Billingsley was unable to spot his fastball Wednesday, and his curveball was not sharp
Props to all of you that bought low!Jack Moore: After the top tier of catchers rolls off the board, finding any sort of productilaion at backstop is a godsend. Those lucky enough to wind up with Alex Avila know exactly what I mean. Despite a rather mediocre season in 2010, Avila has exploded in 2011. Through 220 plate appearances, Avila has a fantastic .304/.367/.550 (AVG/OBP/SLG) line. Throw in nine homers, 24 runs scored, 38 RBI, and even three stolen bases, and Avila has clearly been among the elite catchers to begin 2011. In case you haven't caught on, as with most of the Under the Microscope pieces so far, regression is in store for Avila. He's not capable of sustaining a. 360 BABIP and he probably doesn't have the power to maintain a .246 isolated power either. As things settle themselves with Avila over the next three and a half months, will he still look like a bargain at catcher?
Seattle's newest outfielder?Adam Lind went 2-for-4 and hit his 14th homer Thursday against the Orioles. Lind homered in all three games against the Orioles and now has his OPS over 1.000 for the season. On a per-game basis, he's homering at the same rate as the AL leaders. He has 14 in 44 games for the season, while the league leaders are all at 21
The Curse of Barry Bonds!Eno Sarris: Dustin Ackley is with the Mariners, and in your deep keeper leagues he's already gone. But what about mixed redraft leagues? In those leagues, some managers are still struggling along with Chone Figgins and Aaron Hill at the position, and they might need help. With Brett Lawrie around the corner, there's some confusion. Which second baseman should help the most, this year? Which is the best non-keeper pickup?
lol.The Pittsburgh Pirates, 34-33, are over .500 this late in the season for the first time since 1999.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he has considered batting the starting pitcher eighth in the lineup as a possible way to help the offense.