AP Photo/Tom Mihalek
Of course, it's nothing to worry about if you're a Boston Red Sox fan. Bartolo Colon is hardly a good long-term fantasy asset, and 60-year-old Mike Timlin did the rest of the damage. Two old, past-their-prime pitchers got hit. Things are still fine for the defending champs.
Things are also fine in Philly. Fantasy owners have enjoyed the play of potential MVP Chase Utley and suddenly trusted Burrell, but Howard's owners are still complaining about a batting average that topped the .220 mark on Monday for the first time since April 5. Howard's triple was a bomb to center field that ticked off the glove of diving center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and seeing the speed and head-first slide to third base was quite a rousing sight, but the two opposite-field home runs Howard hit earlier off Colon were more telling.
When the lefty hitting Howard is hitting the ball 400 feet to left field, good things are happening with his swing, and he's showing progress the past few weeks. In fact, while you were whining about his average, Howard has been terribly hot, with a pair of multi-homer games since Friday, and four games with four or more RBIs over his past eight games. The last major leaguer with four such RBI games in an eight-game span was Albert Belle in 2000. All told, despite the slow start, Howard is tied with San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez for the NL lead in RBIs, and those first basemen each have 19 home runs, just three behind Utley. Howard is on pace for 43 home runs and 140 RBIs, pretty much what he did in 2007.
Well, the batting average does remain low, and if you're one of the rare fantasy players in a league in which hitters' strikeouts count, then Howard shouldn't be coveted, since he's on pace to break his own major league record for whiffs. But hey, you're getting the power. Howard's batting average isn't likely to approach .300 -- he somehow hit .313 in 2006 -- if he continues this pace for 218 strikeouts. He also isn't hitting many singles, which means he's become an all-or-nothing hitter, a similar-but-better version of Adam Dunn. By the way, you probably think Dunn is a lot older than Howard, since this is his eighth season and Howard's fifth. Actually, Dunn is all of 10 days older, that's it.
Don't sweat this shocking revelation in fantasy, though. Dunn hits 40 homers every year, and you know if you draft him, you would have been smart to select Ichiro Suzuki a few rounds earlier. Howard isn't at that point yet, where you have to assume he's hurting your batting average, but he's probably on his way. He's still capable of lifting that average well above .220, maybe into the .260 range again.
As for the odds of Howard and Burrell each hitting a three-bagger in the same game, the duo entered the proceedings with combined career totals of 15 triples in 1,699 games. Just call it one of those nights, Red Sox fans, and go get 'em Tuesday.
Andrew Miller, Marlins
He's not been consistent, but Miller keeps showing why he was such a highly-touted prospect with the Tigers. He threw his second consecutive 7-inning, 1-run start, allowing a total of 13 baserunners in that span, striking out nine.
Mike Pelfrey, Mets
He may have gotten the "W," but at what price? Pelfrey gave up six runs on eight hits, walked two but struck out none. Cut him a bit of slack, though, as the peripheral stats are similar to a previous start in which he went six shutout innings. Everything evens out in the end.
"[Mets GM Omar] Minaya and his assistant, Tony Bernazard, walked around the lobby of the team hotel Monday 'like grim reapers,' in the eyes of a staff member. And after weeks of leak-fed speculation and boardroom backstabbing and indecision, they did their bidding, fired manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first-base coach Tom Nieto. Even the writers of "The Sopranos" could not have invented a more recklessly handled hit. "
-- Buster Olney Full Story
• The Tigers thought they were welcoming back Fernando Rodney from the DL, after not pitching in the majors this season due to right shoulder tendinitis, then watched in horror as he gave up three runs while getting one out Monday. Rodney helped turn a 4-3 lead into an 8-4 deficit. Joel Zumaya, who allowed an unearned run in an inning of work for Triple-A Toledo on Monday, should pass Rodney as the Tigers' setup man when he comes off the DL later this week.
• Ten days after designating Sidney Ponson for assignment, the Rangers released the portly Aruban knight. Ponson was 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts for Texas, but look closer at the 1.563 WHIP, his track record and how good a teammate he is. Even the desperate Yankees likely will avoid Ponson.
• For the second straight Monday, the Nationals optioned right-hander Tyler Clippard to Triple-A Columbus. Clippard has a 1.839 WHIP after two starts, and who knows when he'll get a third? Catcher Paul Lo Duca is expected to come off the DL to fill the roster spot Tuesday.
• Felix Pie, who didn't hit with the Cubs and isn't doing much better at Triple-A Iowa with a .215 batting average, doubled, homered and knocked in four runs Monday against Nashville. Pie has five home runs and three stolen bases in 32 games for Iowa, and a .267 on-base percentage. Jim Edmonds, no matter how he does, is safe for now.
• Remember George Kottaras, who was supposed to be the catcher of the future for the Padres? Kottaras homered for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, his 11th of the season, but the 25-year-old is hitting .217. A lefty hitter, he's hitting .199 against right-handed pitching. Kottaras was acquired by Boston from San Diego in September 2006 in the David Wells trade. If and when captain Jason Varitek is done, Kottaras probably isn't the replacement.
• Dodgers middle infield prospect Chin-lung Hu, demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas a week ago, was placed on the minor league DL with blurry vision in his right eye. Hu hasn't done much hitting for the past year, which was proven when the Dodgers had to trade for Angel Berroa. There's still no sign of when Rafael Furcal will be back.