Tomasso DeRosa-US PRESSWIRE
Something like "The King ascended to his throne again," or perhaps "The Tigers' offense bowed down before the King."
Instead, let's keep this simple and point out that for the second start in a row, Hernandez was thoroughly in control through seven dominant innings, only this time he wasn't left in the game an inning too long to ruin his outing.
Hernandez threw seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball to beat the Tigers 5-0, striking out seven. With Brandon Morrow and J.J. Putz ready to shut the door, Hernandez was pulled after 87 pitches, giving the pitcher who had thrown 110 or more pitches in half of his starts this season a little breather, especially since he is still fighting a tight calf muscle that cramped up as his outing progressed.
In his previous outing against the Red Sox, he also allowed just two hits through seven innings, but he gave up five hits and a walk in the eighth inning, including two infield singles. He wound up being charged with four runs in that inning, but that scenario was not going to repeat in this game. Hernandez had gotten just nine total runs of support in his previous seven outings, and Saturday's win was his first since April 16.
The real positive in this start was that, for the first time this season, Hernandez didn't walk a batter, which is significant considering that Hernandez's walk rate is up more than a batter per nine innings this season. Hopefully that trend continues en route to Hernandez finally taking that next step to becoming the ace pitcher he has the ability to be.
There is no doubt about his stuff; it's as good as it's ever been this season. Now it's about finding more consistency from start-to-start.
Edinson Volquez, Reds
We keep calling for a cooldown for this rookie, but it sure hasn't happened yet. Volquez fired six strong innings Saturday to improve his record to 7-2 and his ERA dropped to an amazing 1.46.
Paul Konerko, White Sox
Another game, another oh-fer from Konerko. The normally reliable first baseman has gotten off to another slow start, entering June with an ugly .206 batting average.
Aaron Hill missed his second straight game Saturday because of a concussion, and he's not expected back in the lineup until Tuesday, at the earliest. Ryan Zimmerman took batting practice Saturday for the first time since injuring his shoulder, and he could be back in the lineup next week. According to The Washington Post, he still has occasional sharp pain when he swings. Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney are both about to begin rehab assignments for the Tigers, and could be back with the club sometime in June. Zumaya has topped out at 97 mph and Rodney at 93 mph in extended spring training work. J.D. Drew missed his second straight game with vertigo, and is day-to-day. Jack Wilson was out of the lineup Saturday because of a sore calf, but he should be starting again Sunday. Ryan Church hopes to return to the lineup Sunday after recovering from his second concussion, but that is not set in stone. The Tigers plan to rotate Armando Galarraga and Dontrelle Willis in their rotation, with the two pitchers switching the starting/relief roles every five days as they try and get Willis going again. Jayson Werth, suffering from a strained oblique, should be activated next weekend. Jason Jennings' season is finished after he underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his arm.
"I thought, 'Hey I'm moving around pretty well in the box.' Then I realized [the pitcher] was moving, not me."
-- Ryan Church, talking about his second concussion this season in Peter Gammons' latest blog Full Story
"It's been a strange five years for Shannon Stewart. Five seasons ago he was deemed the fourth-most valuable player in the American League by the MVP voters (don't get me started). Four seasons ago he spent a good chunk of the season on the DL. Three seasons ago he was worse than league-average for the first time in his career. Two seasons ago he missed most of the season and struggled again when he did play. Last season he did better, but still not anything like what a corner outfielder is supposed to do in the major leagues. And this year he seems to have bottomed out. It took him 148 at-bats to hit his first homer of 2008. It was the 115th of his career and probably will be one of his last."
-- Rob Neyer Full Story
• The Padres placed Shawn Estes on the disabled list because of a broken thumb on his pitching hand. That actually probably does some fantasy owners a favor, as they don't have to look at what is currently a decent ERA and ratio and be tempted into actually starting him. The fact is those numbers have only one way to go, and that's up.
• The Twins activated Nick Punto from the disabled list, and it appears he will take over a good portion of the shortstop duties from Brendan Harris, meaning Alexi Casilla's playing time should be reasonably safe at second base for the time being.
• The Red Sox activated Clay Buchholz from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A. His last rehab start was not great, and the team wants him to get back into form before considering him for the big-league rotation again.
• Francisco Liriano had his best outing of the season, giving up just one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings at Triple-A on Saturday night. He walked one and struck out seven, and is on track to hopefully have fantasy impact by the second half.
• J.A. Happ, who is on the cusp of the Phillies' rotation, didn't do himself any favors with his worst start of the season for the team's Triple-A club Saturday night. Happ gave up a whopping 13 hits and eight runs in five innings of work, with no walks and two strikeouts, as he was unable to show command within the strike zone.
• Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss continues to make his case for getting back to the big leagues, cracking three solo homers Saturday night at Triple-A as part of his 4-for-5 night. Moss is hitting .317 in 32 games since being sent down.