Fantasy Baseball

A little off base: Some lousy pitching lately

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Gerrit Ritt

Gerrit is a fantasy editor for FOXSports.com.MORE>>
 
   
 
The division and wild card races are at a fever pitch, a trade or two are still being made, David Ortiz is attempting to clear his name, Pedro Martinez is prepared to make his '09 debut ... but all I wanna talk about are the numbers, baby!! It was a big-time week for the hitters, as they took pitchers behind the woodshed for the most part. About 20-30 players had .400 averages or better over the last 7-8 days, with ERAs rising everywhere you look. That'll be prevalent enough when you see the stats, but it's extremely significant to those of us watching our crucial playoff stretches either strengthened or going up in smoke, thanks to someone like Jair Jurrjens getting lit up like a Christmas tree! Let's see how all the numbers ended up, and poke some fun at a few of them, just because.

Player of the Week

This was an easy one. It's been a while since anyone clubbed six home runs in a week, but that's just what Mark Reynolds did for the Diamondbacks, as they've now won six of their last nine games. The man hit every category last week, batting 13-for-29 (.448) with those six dongs, 10 RBI, six runs, four walks and he stole a base to boot. The MVP candidate keeps getting it done and now has a .290 average with 36 home runs, 80 RBI, 76 runs scored and a ridiculous 21 steals. This for a third baseman who set the all-time single-season strikeout record just last year. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, WAS — 12-for-23 (.522), 4 HR, 7 RBI, 10 runs, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 BB, 1.217 SLG%
Billy Butler, 1B, KC — 14-for-26 (.538), 2 HR, 10 RBI, 6 runs, 5 2B, 4 BB, .600 OBP
Joe Mauer, C, MIN — 12-for-25 (.480), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 runs, 3 BB
Adam Dunn, OF, WAS — 9-for-24 (.375), 4 HR, 9 RBI, 7 runs, 4 BB
Albert Pujols, 1B, STL — 11-for-20 (.550), 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 runs, 5 2B, 2 BB
Jason Bartlett, SS, TB — 10-for-25 (.400), 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7 runs, 1 SB, 6 BB
Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA — 12-for-29 (.414), 5 RBI, 7 runs, 3 2B, 4 SB, BB
Carl Crawford, OF, TB — 10-for-29 (.345), HR, 7 RBI, 2 runs, 2 2B, 4 SB
Johnny Damon, OF, NYY — 10-for-29 (.345), 4 HR, 6 RBI, 7 runs, BB
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE — 10-for-23 (.435), 3 RBI, 3 runs, 4 SB, 2 2B, 2 BB

Ugly Line of the Week

Now, this is what I was talking about up top. You're gonna find a ton of ugly lines this week, and most of them are coming from the pitchers. And in what was likely the worst week of the season for the mound men, our boy K-Rod was the most damaged of them all. Yeah, Francisco Rodriguez, the all-time single-season saves record holder, had a week to forget, with seven runs given up in just two innings of work. That'll happen when you allow six hits and walk four batters, letting 10 of the 16 batters who face you get on base. It resulted in a fairly cute 31.50 ERA and even sexier 5.00 WHIP. Congrats, sir. In a week of big numbers, you put up the biggest! Joakim Soria, KC — 1 IP, 3 ER, 4 hits, 1 K, 27.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP
John Smoltz, BOS — 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 hits, 4 BB, 3 K, 21.60 ERA, 3.90 WHIP
Kyle Lohse, STL — 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 hits, 2 BB, 0 K, 16.88 ERA, 3.38 WHIP
Chad Gaudin, SD — 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 hits, 2 BB, 3 K, 16.20 ERA, 3.30 WHIP
Brian Bannister, KC — 4 IP, 7 ER, 7 hits, 3 BB, 1 K, 15.75 ERA, 2.50 WHIP
Jarrod Washburn, DET — 11.1 IP, 11 ER, 16 hits, 3 BB, 5 K, 8.74 ERA, 1.68 WHIP
Chone Figgins, LAA — 0-for-16 (.000), 3 runs, 2 SB, 5 BB
Jason Varitek, BOS — 1-for-19 (.053), 2B
David Ortiz, BOS — 1-for-18 (.056), 3 BB
Aramis Ramirez, CHC — 1-for-18 (.056), 2B, 1 run, 2 BB
Clint Barmes, COL — 1-for-16 (.063), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 run

It's Ugly, Yet Somehow Beautiful Too

Ben Zobrist's week wasn't one of his best, yet he somehow managed to turn something good out of a 2-for-20 (.100) performance at the plate. Despite the ugly average, Zobrist and a pair of RBI, a pair of runs, a stolen base and a pretty damn strong .379 on base percentage, thanks primarily to the nine walks he induced from opposing pitchers! It was the most walks drawn by any player in the big leagues over the last eight days and turned what could have been an ugly week for some owners into a relatively salvageable one.

Don't Look Now, But Milty's Turning It Around

The overall numbers still don't look impressive by any means, but it finally seems as if Milton Bradley is turning it on at just the right time for the Cubbies. He's hit safely in 18 of his last 24 games, including last week's 8-for-15 (.533) showing. There weren't any dingers involved, but a pair of doubles, a pair of RBI, a pair of runs and four walks at least make him worth looking at again. For OBP players, the .631 number he put up was a monster, and the .347 batting average over those last 24 games is well above what he did last year in an All-Star season for Texas, and it's improved his average from .236 to .265 overall. He still has just two home runs in his last 28 games, though. So, he remains a borderline fantasy starter until that number takes a change for the better.

Who The Hell Is THAT Guy!?!

You may have heard of Mike MacDougal in the past, but it was likely well in the past. He spent most of last season on the DL and in the minors, pitching only 16 games in relief for the White Sox, and he hasn't had more than one save in a season since 2005 when he was with Kansas City. He's pitched in middle relief, dealt with pain, then had to deal with a trade to the worst team in baseball: the Nationals. However, something's happened recently ... Washington's started to win games, and MacDougal just happens to be the team's closer at just the right time. Who knew!?! Last week was a banner one for both he and the team, as they've won eight in a row overall, with MacDougal saving five of them. He hasn't allowed a run in any of those outings, giving up just three hits, two walks and striking out three. Never thought I'd say this again, but Mike MacDougal's a fantasy option you should be jumping on while the jumping's good.

Who The Hell Is THAT Guy!?! — Part 2

He hasn't been around too long, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been swooped up in just about every league out there. That's because Padres youngster Mat Latos has won four straight starts (4-1), pitching to an impressive 2.10 ERA over that time, not giving up more than two runs in any of his five outings thus far. He also has 23 strikeouts against just nine walks in 29 2/3 innings, which is good news for a rookie pitcher, even though he does have the benefit of throwing at Petco Park most days. If you can still grab him, I recommend you do so before the rest of your league finds out who this guy is, although something tells me it's likely too late already.

Pitcher of the Week

He's one of the top fantasy pitchers in the game for a reason, though he's rarely talked about when you discuss that list. Javier Vazquez wins ballgames (10-7), pitches to a tremendous ERA (2.90) and he strikes people out at alarming rates (171 — third in MLB). So, why then isn't he more of a household name than he is? I wish I could tell you, because he lived up to it this past week. Vazquez won both games he started, giving up just three runs, nine hits and four walks in 15 innings, while striking out 13. His 1.80 ERA and 0.87 WHIP on the week are plenty good enough to win this category, especially given the overall lack of pitching around the league. J.A. Happ, PHI — CG shutout, 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 hits, 2 BB, 10 K, 0.67 WHIP
Andy Pettitte, NYY — Win, 13.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 hits, 6 BB, 10 K, 0.66 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

Wielding the Magic Wandy

Here's another guy who doesn't always get the respect he deserves, but Wandy Rodriguez should be getting it. After throwing seven shutout innings and picking up a win last week against Milwaukee, the man's now won six straight decisions (11-6) and hasn't given up more than one run in any of his last seven starts, resulting in a ridiculous 0.77 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over that stretch. He'll get the Brewers again in his next start, with Arizona after that, in what is sure to continue his hot streak.

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