Tag:The Observations
Posted on: July 13, 2008 3:14 am
Edited on: July 13, 2008 3:16 am

Konerko, Cantu, Nolasco -- The Observations

It's been far too long.

How long? Too long. How too long? Fifteen days too long.

So let's cut out the chitchat and jump right in. It's The Observations, where-have-you-been-all-my-life edition.

So the Yankees drop Brett Gardner from the leadoff spot to ninth, and he reaches base four times. I think this kid has it all backwards.

Not sure how Brad B. Wilkerson got to replace Vernon Wells. Not sure how he got to bat fifth.

Jose B. Reyes has lapped David Wright as most deserving Met not to make the All-Star team.

Ryan Garko's five RBI came about five weeks too late. He's still Fantasy roadkill.

Matt Garza achieved his greatest feat of a breakout season. He made the Indians lineup look good.

When I rub my eyes and squint really hard, I see a .349 mark next to Jerry Hairston's name. No, wait -- that's .349.349. Hmm. Guess it's no trick after all.

Paul Konerko -- 2 good 2 be 4 gotten.

Jim Thome -- already remembered. Check out his stats since the beginning of June. That boy gonna be all right.

Ian Kinsler obviously doesn't like playing second fiddle to Chase Utley, and I'm not sure he does by much anymore.

I'd get excited over Troy Glaus' three hits in two games, but the All-Star break will crush his momentum and reset his streak gauge to factory default. Just you wait.

I never thought I'd say this, but Adam A. LaRoche needs to calm down.

Nate McLouth makes me sorry I ever doubted him.

Ryan Ludwick makes me wish I always doubted him. One three-hit game doesn't make up for six weeks of struggles.

Todd Wellemeyer has a 5.48 ERA over his last four starts. The world makes sense again.

No pitcher makes me feel more stupid than Wandy Rodriguez. Don't play matchups with him unless you want to get burned.

Jorge Cantu has two times as many home runs as Matt Kemp and nine times as many as Andruw Jones. Someone knock some Todd Wellemeyer into him.

With a 2.84 ERA over his last 13 starts, Ricky Nolasco might rival Justin Duchscherer for quietest rise to Fantasy acedom.

That's all for now.
Posted on: June 27, 2008 3:22 am
Edited on: June 27, 2008 3:23 am

Garza, Sheff, Wandy, Huff -- The Observations

We had a surprisingly busy night here tonight, despite a less-than-full baseball schedule and three men on duty instead of the usual two, so I'll have to keep this entry relatively short. Part of the problem is simple time management. I have to figure out how to work my new responsibilities into my daily routine. Yes, the departure of Gonos affects us all.

Speaking of new responsibilities, I make my video debut tomorrow, previewing the Week 14 Hitting Planner alongside Amber Wilson. I majored in broadcast news at Georgia, so it shouldn't be a complete disaster, but watch it just in case.

Look at that. I say I need to write a short entry today, and then I yap about stuff only marginally related to Fantasy Baseball. On to the let's-make-it-short-so-I-can-go-hom
e-and-sleep edition of The Observations.

So Matt Garza threw a one-hitter, struck out 10 batters, looked insanely good and lowered his WHIP from 1.33 to 1.21 with the performance. Guess who traded him to Dave Richard hours before the first pitch. Boy, do I feel sheepish.

I've played the role of skeptic with him more than anyone else in this office, but Evan Longoria has three hits in each of his last two games and a home run in three of his last four. I don't think we've seen the last cold streak from the rookie, but he has enough talent to make his hot streaks crazy good. Now's the time to start him.

So after missing two weeks battling tendinitis in his left ankle and his right elbow hanging by a thread, Albert Pujols goes 4-for-4. That kind of talent makes using a bat to the plate seem like cheating.

Speaking of Cardinals with balky elbows, Todd Wellemeyer, battling a sore one, threw five shutout innings at Detroit. Looks fine to me.

In three games off the disabled list after missing time with an oblique strain, Gary Sheffield has a home run, four hits and a home run. I don't want to get too excited, but ... OK, I'll tell you. I name him as a "good start" in tomorrow's Hitting Planner video. You now know either we work off a predetermined script or I can predict the future.

I really thought Aubrey Huff's hot hitting had heaved to the finish line, but he went 4-for-5 Thursday after going 0-for-8 the previous two days. No sense benching him now.

If you tore out your hair scrambling to get Clayton Kershaw off the waiver wire in late May, you feel a bit silly now, don't you?

Guess Garza kind of upstaged Rich Harden, huh? Eight innings. Two hits. What a second-rate performance.

With a season-worst five earned runs allowed Thursday at Toronto -- the second time he allowed more than two -- Edinson Volquez pushed his ERA above 2.00 for the first time all season. That makes the MLB ERA leader the one and only Justin Duchscherer. Stop me if you've heard this before.

Just because I don't want to have to do crazy after-hype with him like I did with the Duchscherer, Wandy Rodriguez has a 2.58 ERA and 1.15 WHIP after his eight-inning, nine-strikeout performance Thursday. His 2-3 record doesn't impress, but keep in mind he missed a few weeks because of a groin injury. He has a 3.80 ERA on the road after posting a 6.37 mark last year, and normalizing that exact same split helped Ervin Santana become the near Fantasy ace he is today. Time to pick up Rodriguez in all leagues.

That's all for now.
Posted on: June 22, 2008 3:59 am
Edited on: June 22, 2008 4:19 am

Bruce, Meche, Vlad, Jimenez -- The Observations

Sunday. Never was a day better designed for The Observations than Sunday.

Something about all those afternoon games made commenting on a full slate of activity so much easier, possibly because I didn't have to make my observations so late, at an hour when most of my thoughts instinctually returned to my head resting on a pillow. Whatever the reason, everything aligned so prettily, so perfectly.

And then I got the day off.

Fear not, my friends, for all is not lost. I can make The Observations work on Saturday, and I can make them better than ever before. Stronger. Faster. With more attention to detail. I can make The Observations so vivid and slap-you-in-the-face lifelike you'd think you observed them yourself.

Inhale. Exhale. It's The Observations, I-didn't-know-we-could-do-this-on-Satu
rday edition.

Even though Reds rookie Daryl Thompson got the win in his major-league debut, Yankees rookie Dan Giese impressed me more. He went deeper into the game, recorded more than twice as many strikeouts and didn't walk a batter. That doesn't mean Giese has mountains of upside or Thompson doesn't, but it's an observation worth making.

As much as I support leaving Corey Patterson out of the leadoff spot, what in the world is Jay Bruce doing there? The power-hitting rookie is batting .167 as the leadoff man. Coincidence? I think not.

Bobby Abreu has two hits in his last 33 at-bats. It had to be said.

If you gave up on Carlos Quentin, shame on you. He had a little hiccup, but he's batting .538 over his last four games, including a three-hit game Saturday.

I gave up on Jermaine Dye. Shame on me. Then again, I gave up on Quentin this spring and feel compelled to make reference to that one lineup decision in every past, present and future edition of The Observations. I can't observe it enough.

Give up on Jose A. Contreras. It's OK.

I don't know what happened to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who allowed seven runs in one inning en route to his first loss, but I predict it's an isolated incident.

For a team running out David Dellucci on an everyday basis, C.C. Sabathia deserves a trial run at designated hitter. By the way, the 290-pound lefty has worked seven innings or more in eight of his last nine starts. Yes, please.

I don't know what happened to Chan Ho Park, who struck out nine batters in five innings, but I suspect it'll never happen again.

Wandy Rodriguez is no longer idiot-proof, turning in a great start on the road right after a crummy one at home. Start him at your own risk (though he has pitched well more often than not).

If I admit I'd never heard of Tampa Bay right fielder Justin Ruggiano before he homered Saturday, do I lose my job?

Something has gotten into Jarrod Washburn -- something I neither like nor trust. But it's given him a 3.10 ERA over his last five starts and a second chance in AL-only leagues.

Yes, "prettily" is too a word.

Brian McCann stole a base, and he stole it standing up. Sell high.

At this point, I feel like I can safely attribute Jair Jurrjens' late-May struggles to an ongoing blister problem. He dominated for the second straight start Saturday and surrendered three runs only because of Omar Infante's incompetence at shortstop. I don't generally love 22-year-old pitchers in Fantasy, but I love this one.

Seth McClung -- we can only ignore him for so long.

Vladimir Guerrero -- just when I started to doubt him, he went out-of-his-mind crazy ... which is a little redundant, but thereby more accurate. Do you realize he's batting .446 in June? J.D. Drew can only dream.

It sounds silly, but Gil Meche has 17 strikeouts in his last 13 innings. He also has a 3.79 ERA since the beginning of May.

I'm convinced Jose Guillen, Troy Glaus and Corey C. Hart are in a three-way deathmatch to see who can best make up for lost time. If Prince Fielder gets involved, all bets are off.

As much as I've criticized him, I have to admit a 1.35 ERA and 20 innings pitched in his last three starts puts Ubaldo Jimenez back on my radar. Economizing is his biggest hurdle.

That's all for now.
Posted on: June 9, 2008 3:33 am
Edited on: June 9, 2008 3:37 am

Choo, Drew, Harang, Wood -- The Observations

Yes, it's the Jump-Right-in-without-Giving-a-Prop
er-Introduction edition of The Observations.

Joba Chamberlain almost reached the 80-pitch mark in his second start. Of course, as inefficiently as he uses them, 100 might barely get him through five innings.

In case you haven't noticed, Johnny Damon is batting .328 and making me wish I drafted him in a league or two this spring. Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated.

All aboard the Shin-Soo Choo train. The 25-year-old had two more hits Sunday and is batting .333 since coming off the DL. He doesn't have serious power, but his OPS in the minors usually raised a few eyebrows. Don't forget about him in AL-only leagues.

B.J. Ryan ended his losing streak with his 13th save Sunday. If you wonder how a relief pitcher can have a losing streak, you obviously don't know just how bad he'd been.

Some power hitters break their wrists and never look the same. Vernon Wells breaks his and never looks better.

Since Aaron Harang couldn't make his poor record match his good pitching, he decided to make his good pitching match his poor record. He has a 9.15 ERA over his last four starts, better justifying his 2-9 record. That Harang ... always a problem solver.

Can I keep using this same line? For five home runs in five games, I can. Hanley Ramirez is back, baby, and better than before!

The 225-pounder made a race of it, but mediocrity has finally caught up to Jorge Campillo.

J.D. who? J.D. Drew. If you've forgotten about him, I can't blame you, but his .942 OPS thanks to his good hitting of late is David Ortiz-like.

Erik Bedard has gone five innings or less in three of his last four starts. If not for seven two-hit innings against the Red Sox on May 28, people might start mistaking him for Chuck James.

Barry Zito has the same record as Aaron Harang. That statement is confusing on so many levels.

I don't mean to alarm you, but Nate McLouth went hitless Sunday and has a .241 batting average in 29 June at-bats. Again, I don't mean to alarm you.

Nick Swisher is batting .280 with two home runs in 25 June at-bats. I do mean to excite you. I don't have crazy confidence in the guy or think of him as more than a .260 hitter with 25-homer potential, but if someone dropped him in one of my leagues, I'd pick him up just in case I'm wrong.

So all that prospect talk over Gavin Floyd wasn't just a bad dream? He has a 1.07 WHIP, people. Sounds legit to me.

I could get a lot more excited about an increasingly rare Vladimir Guerrero home run if it didn't accompany a 1-for-5 performance at the plate. If you own him, you have no choice but to exercise patience.

Speaking of former stud outfielders batting around .250, Carlos Beltran is 1-for-13 over his last three games. Two years ago, he and Vlad were first-round picks, no questions asked.

For as much as Texas has surprised me, I get so much of what they have. I get Josh Hamilton. I get Milton Bradley. I don't get David Murphy, but his home-run rate is getting better rather than worse. In kind of an out-of-body experience, I watched myself trade for the Alan Ruck look-alike in an AL-only league. Let my Cameron go.

With 18 saves, a 0.82 WHIP and a 10-appearance scoreless streak, time to face the music: When it comes to this closer stuff, Kerry Wood is awfully good.

That's all for now.
Posted on: June 1, 2008 3:23 am
Edited on: June 1, 2008 5:28 am

Ross, Ellsbury, Torres, Floyd -- The Observations

Saturday is a day of observation -- so much so that I often have more than one.

Yes, it's the I-better-do-this-now-so-I-don't-have-to-do-it-at-home edition of The Observations.

Glendon Rusch allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, and I think it actually impressed the Rockies. Cheer up, Jorge De La Rosa. You could be Steve Trachsel.

Coors Field has nothing on Wrigley with the wind blowing out. Either that or Todd Helton got really strong over the weekend.

With two more hits Saturday, the long forgotten Jerry Hairston is now batting .344, including .405 over his last eight games. He's like Jeff Keppinger, only with speed, and clearly deserves a look in all Rotisserie leagues.

Jay Bruce ... what a drama queen.

Josh Banks' shutout would impress me a lot more if it didn't happen at San Francisco ... or if he didn't have a 4.63 ERA at Triple-A last year ... or 5.18 the year before. Yeah, leave him for NL-only leagues.

Don't worry about Grant Balfour swiping too many saves in Tampa Bay. Dan Wheeler allowed two baserunners at the beginning of the inning -- spun his tires, if you will -- forcing the Rays to play lefty-righty the rest of the way. He's still the go-to guy with Troy Percival sidelined.

Scott Kazmir, welcome to acedom. The left-hander has allowed two earned runs in his last 33 innings. I couldn't be more pleased.

Cliff Floyd might not bat against left-handers, but he has three home runs in his last four games, and his .899 OPS has me scared to walk alone at night. And yet he's owned in only five percent of leagues. AL-only owners, if you have a void, don't hesitate to fill it with Floyd. (It's a jingle, you see.)

Over the last three games, Jacoby Ellsbury has reached base seven times and stolen seven bases. Whoa.

Salomon Torres has racked up three saves already in Fantasy Week 9, and Eric Gagne had a good rate of opportunities, if not conversions. With the Brewers hardly counting down the days until Gagne returns, Torres deserves more of a look in Fantasy than he's gotten.

Ben Sheets nearly got his third complete game in only his 11th start. It's like the Brewers want him to get hurt.

Granted, he didn't have enough at-bats to qualify, but Cody Ross' .653 slugging percentage last year ranked second to no one. Yes, Cody Ross -- that 5-foot-9 reserve outfielder for the Marlins -- ahead of Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder and Matt Holliday. And now he has six home runs in his last eight games. I'm just saying.

Ricky Nolasco began the year so poorly you probably forgot about him, but he has a 2.76 ERA over his last five starts. Time to remember.

With two more home runs Saturday, Mark Reynolds has four in his last eight games. The race to the waiver wire is on for the streakiest player in baseball this side of Jack Cust ... or Michael Tucker. Remember him? Man ...

C.C. Sabathia and Jason Bergmann, welcome to the Roy Halladay club.

That's all for now.
Posted on: May 26, 2008 3:21 am
Edited on: June 1, 2008 2:10 pm

Lamb, Ryan, Pena, Volquez -- The Observations

If I can say one good thing about doing the blog at the end of hard day's work, it gives me a full slate of games to talk about. That's right, it's The Observations, I-don't-wanna edition.

C.C. Sabathia is needing forever and a day to make his ERA respectable again after that cataclysmic first half of April. He allowed one run in seven innings Sunday against the Rangers, giving him a 1.61 mark over his last seven starts, yet his season mark stands at 4.74.

Don't look now, but Justin Verlander, the other early-season disaster, has a 1.89 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over his last three starts. Actually, do look. You need to get him back in your starting lineup, after all.

I've decided Nate McLouth breaks from hitting home runs only when he wants three hits instead. Then again, he usually does both. Hang on -- I need to rethink this.

You probably haven't noticed, but Mike Lamb is bleating his brains out. With three more hits Sunday, he's batting .444 over his last five games. Don't forget this guy hit .316 with eight home runs during a two-month stretch for the Astros last season. AL-only owners, get him while he's hot.

Considering the lack of attention he's gotten, B.J. Ryan must have made the most boring remarkable recovery from Tommy John surgery yet. Thank your lucky stars if you have him because you probably got him late.

With starts like Sunday's, Aaron Cook is just mocking me.

In a world with Ervin Santana and Wandy Rodriguez, you want to hear the zaniest split yet? In his eight starts since April 7, Tom Glavine has a 1.78 ERA in the odd numbered ones and a 10.80 mark in the even numbered ones. In his eighth start during that stretch, he allowed six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Sunday against the Mets.

I'll update from Tuesday. Corey C. Hart had one home run in his first 41 games. He has five in his last eight. He had 24 last year in 140. One of these trends is not like the others.

Anyone who just jumped on the Tim Redding bandwagon should have waited a little longer: 5 2/3 innings, 10 hits, five earned runs -- probably signs of things to come.


Daniel Cabrera walked six Sunday. He walked zero, zero and one over his previous three starts. I'm not walking away just yet.

If you don't have Clayton Kershaw by now, you either don't follow baseball, don't play Fantasy or don't read any columns written by Eric Mack. With seven strikeouts in six innings, he looked like everything anyone wanted him to be.

Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina are both batting over .325 whether anyone knows it or not.

By asking him to work nearly two innings of relief two days after his last start, Dusty Baker took his first step toward ruining Edinson Volquez. Buyer beware in 2010.

On the other hand, the rubber-armed Aaron Harang got his Fantasy owners an extra nine strikeouts in the same game. Sweet.

Cutting Carlos Quentin before the start of this season -- my long-term keeper in one league since spring 2006 -- will likely go down as the biggest blunder of my Fantasy-playing career. My gosh, what have I done?

That's all for now.
Posted on: May 21, 2008 3:57 am
Edited on: May 21, 2008 3:58 am

McCann, Hart, Owings, Uggla -- The Observations

Oh-ho-ho no, you didn't want it to happen. None of us wanted to happen. But low and behold, it did. Yes, it's the I'm-late-getting-out-of-the-offic
e-for-the-start-of-my-weekend edition of The Observations.

Amid the growing nationwide man crush on Geovany Soto, Brian McCann's rebound season has gone relatively unnoticed. He homered in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday and is batting .321 with eight home runs. He's seeing the ball well and making good contact, meaning that .333, 24-homer 2006 season looks like a much better benchmark than that .270, 18-homer 2007.

Justin Verlander finally remembered how to pitch, striking out seven and allowing five baserunners in six innings against the Mariners. And he probably did it right after you gave in and benched him for the first time. It never fails.

Speaking of untimely benchings, Edgar Renteria's .152 batting average through 46 at-bats made more than a few of his Fantasy owners miss his 4-for-4, five-RBI day against the Mariners. I swear, why even change your lineup?

Daniel Cabrera's walk totals over his last four starts: two, one, zero, zero. We have liftoff.

So Alex Rodriguez homered in his first game back from nearly a month-long absence with a quad injury. Good. I'm sure he enjoyed it. But as many mind games as that guy plays with himself, you have to wonder if he might try to make up that whole month's worth of homers in the next two weeks. Don't get me wrong: I don't want go moving him off my Fantasy team now, but I worry. I always worry.

Corey C. Hart had one home run in his first 41 games. He has two in his last three. He had 24 last year in 140. One of these trends is not like the others.

So whose friends tomorrow should lend a more sympathetic ear: Justin Masterson's or Jorge Campillo's?

Jason Bergmann has done it twice in a row now -- thrown seven shutout innings against a good-hitting NL East opponent. He has a 0.93 WHIP in two starts since his promotion from Triple-A, striking out 14 batters in 14 innings. I know I'm a little biased after I built him up this spring, but surely those numbers get your attention.

I admit I got caught "selling high" on Micah Owings. After striking out 10 against the Marlins on Tuesday, he has 22 strikeouts in his last 20 innings and 52 in 56 2/3 this season. The trend has become too legit to quit.

John Lackey and Scott Kazmir: brothers in health, brothers in awesome.

You probably haven't heard, but Dan Uggla's quietly hot May has just brought him neck-and-neck with Chase Utley's noisily hot April. They stand tied in homers, 14-14. And oh yeah, Uggla leads in batting average, .323-.309. This development surprises nobody more than me.

With every Carlos Quentin home run, I lose some of my ability to love.

You don't think Frank Thomas wants to send a big I-told-you-so Toronto's way? Three home runs in two days suggest maybe he's finally gotten his 39-year-old body warmed up for the 162-game grind. And if a .237 average and six home runs don't impress you now, keep in mind he was hitting .178 with seven home runs through May 21 the last time he was in Oakland, when he ultimately hit .270 with 39 home runs.

That's all for now.
Posted on: May 18, 2008 7:18 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2008 7:22 pm

Lee, Braun, Dunn, Reynolds -- The Observations

You know you've gone too long without them. It's the week-long wait edition of The Observations:

The National League knows something the American League doesn't: how to hit Cliff Lee. The left-hander allowed more baserunners than innings pitched Sunday at Cincinnati for only the second time this season. So now, the Indians will either go Watergate and swipe the Reds' scouting report or just accept that Lee is capable of having a bad start. Obviously, you shouldn't panic if you own Lee in Fantasy. He couldn't maintain that pace forever.

I don't want to call Ben Francisco awesome because I don't want to lie, but he looks like he's effectively supplanted Franklin Gutierrez in right field, batting .372 through 43 at-bats. And if his name does, as I halfway suspect, translate to Ben Franklin, you have even more reason to add him in AL-only leagues.

Ryan J. Braun understands he can't lose his money, right?

If nothing else, I got Jose Guillen's impending hot streak right. His homer and four RBI on Sunday capped a week in which he hit .458, raising his season average to a no-longer-embarrassing .245.

Don't look now, but Edwin Jackson has allowed only one earned run in his last 20 1/3 innings. You know how they say look before you leap? Well, I say leap, but I already told you not to look. Yeah, I'm a bad role model.

Cardinals rookie reliever Chris Perez didn't get a save Sunday against the Rays, but he did pitch the top of the ninth inning in a tie game -- a situation normally reserved for closers. Hmm ...

Dunn has homered in four straight games, and for some reason, I can't make myself care.

Clint Barmes is one of those breakout players who gets better with every skeptic. I admit I have my doubts, but you have to start adding him now in mixed leagues. He's raised his average from .308 to .357 since May 5.

Remember when Jose Valverde had only two saves and a 9.00 ERA through April 23 and everyone wondered if he'd keep his job? Yeah, neither do I.

In all of Lance Berkman's many accomplishments this season, his base stealing has gone relatively unnoticed. But he swiped his eighth bag Sunday at Texas, putting him one short of his career high. I paid a dollar extra for Carlos Beltran in an auction because I didn't think Berkman would give me the stolen bases I needed. As I first theorized yesterday, I suck.

Milton Bradley just homered in consecutive games after missing time earlier this week with a sore shoulder. He's fine, and I love him and all of his OPS goodness.

After his fifth straight clunker of a start -- seven runs, 10 hits in five innings -- I have to wonder if Derek Lowe is hurt or otherwise impaired. He had tightness in his pitching elbow in late April, suspiciously the same time his struggles began. You probably can't trade him, and you don't want to cut him, but keep an eye out.

Remember when Mark Reynolds hit five quick home runs and looked like the next great power sensation? Well, he has almost as many stolen bases now (five) as homers (seven), and his slugging percentage is a Placido Polanco-like .395. I don't know what all that means, but I find it amusing. You've probably given up on Reynolds by now, but if you see him heat up again, pounce on him immediately. You want to take advantage of his hot streaks when they come.

That's all for now.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com