Tulowitzki set to return to action
It's funny how much can change in a week. A week ago Clint Barmes was one of the most-added players in fantasy; now he's literally the most-dropped player. Worse, Troy Tulowitzki is set to come off the disabled list Tuesday and resume shortstop duties, pushing Barmes back to second base where he could find himself fighting for playing time with Jonathan Herrera, who has reached base in 28 of his past 30 games. Ouch.
Starting pitcher rankings for July 27
|11||Jorge De La Rosa||L||PIT||5||3-2||5.65||1.50||0-1||8.56||1.61|
• Despite an ugly 5.65 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in seven starts this season, hear me out: Jorge De La Rosa is worth a look versus the Pirates. The high-strikeout southpaw is a veritable fantasy gold mine in the right situation, and it's hard to believe a matchup against the third-worst offense versus left-handers doesn't apply. And even though De La Rosa has allowed 13 runs in 13 2/3 innings since returning, his latest start against the Marlins -- six innings pitched, two runs allowed and eight strikeouts -- is closer to the truth. He's actually quite similar to Jonathan Sanchez and could be a great value buy for the final two months.
• Few pitchers are more maligned in the fantasy world than Carl Pavano, so it's nice to see him put together another legitimately great season. He's averaged just 1.1 walks per nine innings since June, and he's beginning to put himself in must-start territory against all but the best offenses. He ranks 12th only because the rest of the day's pitching is so strong, not because he's anything but a great option for Tuesday.
• The difference between the NL and the AL? Brett Myers can face three division rivals, the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs, and walk away allowing just four runs in 22 2/3 innings. That said, Myers has been the real deal for some time now, and it's a bit perplexing why the ESPN universe has been so cautious in endorsing him. Solid No. 3 starters who don't pile up K's can be underrated, but don't make that mistake when Myers faces the Cubs again Tuesday.
• I rank James Shields nearly every week, and even though I've witnessed his numbers slowly climb and get worse and worse, it's never actually felt as though there's been a lot to worry about. Aside from the boatload of home runs he allows, it's hard to go wrong with him, and like any other above-average pitcher, if you bench him against the toughest offenses he'll usually reward you with a quality start. And despite the 6.66 ERA he's allowed since June, I still feel more or less the same about Shields, and recommend him at home versus the banged-up Tigers. This is mostly a gut call, as recent results definitely don't call for it, but it's important to judge a pitcher by his expected future performance and not to overpenalize (or overhype) a pitcher off his recent past.
Hitter matchup ratings for July 27
Nyjer Morgan, OF, Nationals: Batting .324 with five steals since the break, Morgan is swinging the bat about as well as it gets for him. He has gone 5-for-10 with a pair of doubles against Tommy Hanson in his career -- and 3-for-4 this season -- so Morgan could continue to stay hot.
Aaron Hill, 2B, Blue Jays: Still struggling to get his average above the Mendoza Line, here's hoping Kevin Millwood can help. Right-handed hitters are batting .281 and slugging .478 off Millwood, with Hill himself going 8-for-22 (.364) with two doubles and a homer in his career versus Millwood.
Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs: Lee simply crushes Myers, amassing hits half of the time (17-for-34) while hitting for power at will, accumulating four doubles, three homers and a triple along the way.
Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals: Something of a long shot considering Carl Pavano has struck him out seven times in 15 career at-bats, but it's Gordon's two homers -- and potential as an everyday third baseman now that Alberto Callaspo has been traded -- that give his owners hope.
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox: The streaky slugger is mired in a slump again, but there's reason to believe a matchup against Jered Weaver could change his fortunes. Ortiz has yet to face Weaver this season but is 7-for-20 (.350) with a pair of long balls in his career against the right-hander. It's also worth noting that 18 of Ortiz's 19 homers have come off righties; he's slugging .648 off them.
Miguel Olivo, C, Rockies: Not only has Olivo struck out nine times in his past 15 at-bats, he's also 1-for-9 with four K's versus Cole Hamels lifetime. Don't be surprised to see Chris Iannetta get a start behind the plate for the Rockies.
Adam Dunn, 1B, Nationals: Tommy Hanson has sent Dunn down on strikes six times in 11 at-bats, hardly leaving room for Dunn to salvage much production. Indeed, Dunn is 1-for-11 off Hanson, although that one hit did leave the park.
Vernon Wells, OF, and Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays: Wells' numbers have dropped substantially every month, and in July they have officially cratered, with just one home run and a .217 average this month. He has blasted two home runs against Kevin Millwood, but on the whole has been dominated, batting .160 in 25 at-bats. Lind is worse, going hitless in 13 unlucky at-bats.
Luke Scott, OF, Orioles: He hasn't missed a beat since returning, going deep four times in just 27 at-bats since the All-Star break, but expect Ricky Romero to extinguish this fire. Scott's numbers have always dropped against southpaws, so it only makes sense that one of the better ones would hold Scott to one hit (a home run, of course) in nine at-bats.
Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros: For the second time in a week, Berkman will face Lilly, and the smart money continues to be on Lilly. Not only is Berkman hitting below the Mendoza Line against southpaws this season, he's even worse versus Lilly in his career, hitting a futile .103 in 29 at-bats.
Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day
Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays: He's expensive but should be worth it against Kevin Millwood. He's 4-for-9 (.444) lifetime off the right-hander, with all four of his hits going for extra bases. That includes two home runs, a double and a triple; this season alone, Bautista is 2-for-6 with a double and a homer.
Injury list: Out
David DeJesus, OF, Royals (15-day DL, thumb)
Carlos Guillen, 2B/3B/OF, Tigers (15-day DL, calf)
Orlando Hudson, 2B, Twins (15-day DL, oblique): The Twins made a quick decision to put Hudson on the DL, so it will be interesting to see if he misses more time than the minimum.
Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers (15-day DL, ankle)
Injury list: Day-to-day
Andrew Bailey, RP, Athletics (back)
Rod Barajas, C, Mets (oblique; doubtful)
Russell Branyan, 1B, Mariners (back)
Rajai Davis, OF, Athletics (hamstring)
Johnny Damon, OF, Tigers (illness)
Jim Edmonds, OF, Brewers (Achilles)
Corey Hart, OF, Brewers (wrist)
Fred Lewis, OF, Blue Jays (ankle)
Victor Martinez, 1B/C, Red Sox (thumb): V-Mart is expected to be activated in time to enter Monday's starting lineup.
Scott Rolen, 3B, Reds (hamstring): Rolen hasn't played since July 16, but hopes to return during the three-game series against the Brewers, which could mean as early as Monday.
Denard Span, OF, Twins (illness)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies (15-day DL, wrist; expected to return Tuesday)
Four weatherproof games for Tuesday: Reds-Brewers, Cubs-Astros, Tigers-Rays and Orioles-Blue Jays.
Aside from scattered storms in Arlington, Texas (up to a 50 percent chance), Mother Nature looks set to cooperate once again.
Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.
FANTASY TOP HEADLINES
- Harris: Will Jordan Reed become top-tier TE?
- Matthew Berry: Love (and extra hate) for Week 8
- Fantasy Football Week 8 quarterback rankings
- Karabell: Week 8 flex rankings