Has Roy Oswalt lost it? One might think so, the way he has been cuffed around in his first three starts for the Texas Rangers. However, digging deeper into his peripheral stats, there is little to suggest he is even struggling. His velocity is 91.9 m.p.h., pretty much his career norm. His 8.31 K/9 rate is actually better than his career mark of 7.36. His walks are down as is his rate of giving up fly balls. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, the stats that count the most — ERA (7.79) and WHIP (2.25) — stink. Where Oswalt is getting stung is in hits allowed — a whopping 35 of them in 17.1 innings. Opposing batters are tagging him at a .422 clip and he is giving up significantly more line drives than he usually does. Which means his pitches are catching too much of the plate, presumably with little movement, and the results are predictable. He conceded after a miserable outing on Tuesday against the White Sox that he was trying to hit the corners but wasn’t getting the calls. So rather than walk batters, he said: ‘Here, hit it’ ... and they did. One suggestion is that he’s still adjusting to the American League strike zone after a decade in the NL. We’ll find out more on Sunday when he faces the Twins. But it’s still too early to bail on him.
-- Carlos Lee’s trade from Houston to Miami should give most of his his fantasy stats a nice spike, especially if he remains in the No. 3 slot between Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton. Just don’t expect his meagre HR totals (four for the season) to improve much with new Marlins Park not conducive to the long ball. Lee replaces Gaby Sanchez who, mercifully, has landed back in triple-A after hitting .194.
-- Opening-day starter Jake Arrieta has been pulled from the Orioles rotation.
-- The starting OF for the Red Sox the past couple of weeks: Cody Ross, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava. At the same time, the starting OF for the double-A Portland Seadogs: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Ryan Sweeney.
-- Six weeks ago, we featured Alexi Amarista in our Waiver Watch section, noting that, along with his speed, he had shown surprising pop for a little guy in the Angels system last year. Well, that pop has popped up in San Diego recently with four HRs and 13 RBIs in the past two weeks, to go with a .483 AVG. Unfortunately, his penchant for trying to swing at everything thrown his way says it will be tough to keep this up.
-- The 28-year-old career minor-leaguer Luis Cruz steps in for injured Dee Gordon, and though he is on a nice 6-for-15 run, we expect the contending Dodgers are already trolling for a more reliable SS bat on the trade market.
-- Jim Thome played only four games at 1B for the Phillies this season before they dealt him to Baltimore a week ago. So, for AL-only leagues with five-game positional qualifying rules, he remains strictly a DH. And the chances of him sneaking in a pinch-hit at-bat as a 1B is also lessened by the fact that the starter at that corner, Chris Davis, is also a left-handed hitter.
-- Closing Time: Bobby Parnell has been perfect through his past 4 IPs, but Frank Francisco will regain the closer’s job with the Mets when he comes off the DL … Kyle Farnsworth has been activated but the Rays are sticking with Fernando Rodney.
With fantasy rating out of 5
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An eight-game hit streak has AVG soaring to .405 for the year with 5 HRs in just 74 ABs. He can’t possibly keep this up, but has all but assured his owners he’ll be in the OF mix once Emilio Bonifacio returns from the DL later this month.
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Since losing back-to-back games in early June, converted RP has allowed just 3 ERs in 28.2 innings — two of those in a 4-0 defeat to Miami on Thursday — with a splendid 33-7 K-BB ratio and 0.87 WHIP.
Most interesting here is that, in four ABs against RHPs, right-handed slugger has three hits, including two HRs. It’s too small a sample size to suggest he should have his platoon role expanded, but he may be worth taking a chance on.
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Didn’t we just do this a few weeks ago? After lasting only a day in his previous callup, top prospect appears to be up to stay, launching 4 HRs as part of an 8-for-26 (.296) start to his career.
Carlos Lee’s trade gives him another chance to establish himself. Was 12-for-36 with 2 HRs with Lee on the DL a month ago, but those 14 Ks underline why he hasn’t yet grabbed hold of the starting job.
The cavalry is on its way. Names expected back by the next weekend’s return from the all-star break: Nick Markakis, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Emilio Bonifacio, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Matt Capps, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Lance Berkman and Drew Storen … Dee Gordon dislocated his thumb diving headfirst into third on Wednesday and will be out until late August … Dustin Pedroia’s latest thumb injury will keep him out until early next month … Brian Roberts now has a tear in his right hip … Evan Longoria (hamstring) won’t resume baseball activities until after the break. Don’t expect him back until August … The Brewers are still unsure how long Shaun Marcum (elbow) will be out ... Jesus Montero has been trying to play through a mild concussion.
HOT AND NOT
Hitters, the past two weeks
Tyler Colvin COL
.370, 6 HRs, 19 RBIs
Garrett Jones PIT
.357, 4 HRs, 12 RBIs
Alex Rios CHW
.444, 3 HRs, 4 SBs
Norichika Aoki MIL
.420, 2 HRs, 6 SBs
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Dan Uggla ATL
.098 (4-for-41), 1 RBI
Drew Stubbs CIN
.103 (4-for-39), 3 SBs
Prince Fielder DET
DAY: 10 HRs, 23 RBIs, .336
NIGHT: 3 HRs, 35 RBIs, .268
No wonder my mixed-league Yahoo! team is faltering. Dug up my original draft list and my first three pitchers selected were Dan Haren (4th round, on the DL after a brutal June), Daniel Hudson (8th, done for the year) and Jordan Walden (9th, lost his closer’s job).