AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Perhaps we should blame Marlon Byrd. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels' clubhouse was all abuzz Friday over a quote from Byrd saying that Lackey "better bring his A game" Saturday. Maybe word of that got back to the umpires, and that put them a bit on edge, because just two pitches into Lackey's 2009 debut, he was ejected for throwing at Rangers leadoff man Ian Kinsler.
After the game, Lackey was still upset over the ejection. "If you know anything about me, I'd go straight to the source if I was going to do something," Lackey told the Dallas Morning News. "If you've ever talked to me, I'd tell you I was going to do something, I'd tell you if I did it, I'd stand up and own up to it. I did not try to throw at him."
It sounds like perhaps Lackey might still have had Byrd's comment on his mind, but whether or not he would have "gone straight to the source" when facing Byrd is not something we're likely to find out anytime soon, as Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters he has no plans to put Lackey back on the mound Sunday. For that confrontation, if there is to be one, we'll have to wait until the end of June when the Angels return to Texas for another go-round.
Meanwhile, if John Lackey's Saturday was about as short as it can get, Micah Owings' Saturday was unexpectedly long. Owings, who started on Tuesday and threw 90 pitches in a seven-inning victory over Arizona, was pressed into emergency action when the Reds-Padres game went into extra innings and then some. Owings threw 81 pitches (or 40 1/2 "Lackey starts") in 5 2/3 innings of relief, and probably would have kept going had Nick Hundley not put him out of his misery with a walk-off home run in the 16th inning.
Reds manager Dusty Baker knew he was pushing Owings to the limit, but what could he do? "He was out of gas," Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "But we really didn't have much choice. We just had [Francisco] Cordero left. That was Owings' last inning. We were going to go as far with Cordero as we could."
As for Owings, he probably is dreaming of the day he can get a two-pitch outing and be done for the day. Don't expect to see him on the mound until late next week.
• Max Scherzer, on the other hand, did finally win his first major league game Saturday, with six scoreless innings against the Braves, and a bullpen by committee (Scott Schoeneweis, Juan Gutierrez, Esmerling Vasquez and Chad Qualls) preserved the shutout the rest of the way. Gerardo Parra went 3-for-6 with three RBIs to help spark the Diamondbacks' offense to the 12-0 win. Watch
• Who is Joe Nelson? Sounds like someone who should be riffing on movies with his robot pals, and not a guy earning big league saves, but that's exactly what Nelson is doing. The Rays pitcher got his second save of the season Saturday, as Troy Percival was given the night off. We're by no means suggesting this is a sign of things to come, but keep Nelson's name in the back of your mind, just in case. Stranger things have happened. Watch
• Mark Teixeira was a force to be reckoned with against the Twins on Saturday, going 4-for-4 and driving in all four Yankees runs over the first nine innings. However, the Twins kept right with the Yankees, and the game went into the 11th inning before Alex Rodriguez ended the contest with a two-run walk-off home run, scoring who else but Teixeira ahead of him. Watch
• For once, the Mets scored some runs for Johan Santana, and for once, they really needed to. Santana was very underwhelming, allowing six runs (four earned) in seven innings against the Giants; his ERA rose "all the way" to 1.36. However, Santana improved to 5-2 on the season, as his teammates roughed up Randy Johnson for seven runs and 11 hits over four innings. Clearly the gods of irony took the weekend off, as with the loss, Johnson loses out on the opportunity to go for his 300th career victory in Seattle next week. Watch
• Forget the swine flu, it appears hamstring injuries are becoming a pandemic among major league outfielders. Pittsburgh's Nyjer Morgan is likely out for the entire weekend after straining his left hamstring in Friday's game against Colorado; Brandon Moss had two hits as the starting left fielder Saturday. Meanwhile, Baltimore's Adam Jones missed his third straight game Saturday because of a strained right hamstring, but Jones could be back Sunday, especially since Felix Pie is not exactly wowing Orioles fans with his bat.
• He has hit 30 or more home runs in three of the past four seasons, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Jason Bay is slugging the ball as well as he has so far in 2009. Bay hit home run No. 11 on Saturday, and now has 40 RBIs in 128 at-bats. At this pace, Bay's final total would be, let's see, um, carry the two heck, it would be "ridonculous!" Watch
• Just a heads up to all you Magglio Ordonez owners. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ordonez will be out of action against the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week to attend to some undisclosed personal matters. The paper says manager Jim Leyland didn't announce the cause for Ordonez's absence or where he is headed, but did say that Magglio "might not be back" in time for the Thursday finale, either. Ordonez is in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, and should still be in the lineup Sunday against the A's, though, so don't bench him just yet.
Raul Ibanez, Phillies
Ibanez was 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs in Game 1 of a scheduled doubleheader Saturday, and the only thing that slowed him down in the nightcap was raindrops. Ibanez went 2-for-3 with another home run, his 13th of the season, and three more RBIs in the rain-shortened affair. Ibanez is now batting .368 for the season.
Robert Ray, Blue Jays
Hmm, not a bad Saturday for Ray: eight innings pitched, one unearned run, three hits and his first major league victory. As Jays manager Cito Gaston told the Toronto Star after the game, "We won as a team, but that kid battled for us. He's getting a little better each time out." Ray just might stick around longer than the team originally expected.
With his four RBIs against the Athletics on Saturday, Miguel Cabrera now has 23 games with four or more RBIs since 2006, most in the majors. Ryan Howard has 20 and David Ortiz has 19 over that same time, but the next player on that list, and rising with a bullet, is none other than Ibanez, who now has 18 such games.
• Andrew Miller also did just enough for the win Saturday, throwing five innings of two-run, four-hit ball after being activated from the 15-day disabled list by Florida to face the Dodgers. Outfielder Brett Carroll was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
• After several days of playing "wait and see," the Mets finally have seen the light, and placed Carlos Delgado on the 15-day disabled list because of a bad hip. The team recalled outfielder Angel Pagan from Triple-A Buffalo to fill the roster spot for now, but the New York Daily News reports that veteran Javier Valentin has been playing first base in the minors, just in case Delgado has to miss a significant amount of time.
• Frank Francisco had a good bullpen session Saturday, but the Rangers decided to take the cautious route and retroactively placed their closer on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Francisco will be eligible to pitch again next Friday. In the meantime, the team has recalled Warner Madrigal from Triple-A Oklahoma City as an extra arm in the 'pen.
• The Giants placed infielder Juan Uribe on the bereavement list so that he could take a few days to tend to a personal matter. Kevin Frandsen gets another chance to prove he's worthy of a major league roster spot after getting the call from Triple-A Fresno.
• The Phillies sent Andrew Carpenter back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the pitcher allowed five earned runs on eight hits in Saturday's major league debut. Carpenter was going back down regardless of how he performed, as his call-up was only necessitated by the unusual early season doubleheader against Washington. Reliever Sergio Escalona, who was acting as the closer for Double-A Reading, was recalled to work in middle relief.
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Stephania Bell: I think he comes back much better. He definitely had some physical issues to work out and the additional rehab and hip strengthening has apparently paid off. There's no doubt that the time away helped his mental state too. Combining the two, I think he should come back much better than when he left.
-- Full chat transcript
AJ Mass: Johan may have a better ERA and WHIP by a bit, absolutely. He's also pitching around two innings less a game than Roy will. At some point, more innings equals more fantasy value if the ratio stats are close.
-- Full chat transcript
Monday's fantasy chat schedule:
Christopher Harris, 11 a.m. ET
Matthew Berry, 3 p.m. ET
• Jeremy Bonderman, who hasn't pitched for the Tigers since last June, had a solid rehab outing for Class-A West Michigan on Saturday. Bonderman threw 94 pitches over seven innings, striking out four and walking only one. Another lengthy outing like this one, and Bonderman could well be deemed fit enough to return to the Tigers' rotation.
• P.J. Walters struggled a bit for St. Louis with a 9.58 ERA in five outings earlier this season, but he has rediscovered his stuff in Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander pitched all nine innings in the Redbirds' 6-1 win over Reno on Saturday, recording eight strikeouts and allowing an unearned run and only three hits in the complete game.