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Miller went seven innings and held the Orioles to one run and one hit. While he suffered the misfortune of a no-decision when the Marlins' bullpen blew a 6-1 lead, the left-hander's outing shouldn't look any less impressive. It was his 10th start of the season, but only his fourth quality start; two of them came in his past three turns. He also managed the third-best game score of his career: 73.
Miller's performance also brought his stat line to a 3.47 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in eight starts since being activated from the disabled list. That's an impressive strikeout rate. He's generating a healthy share of ground ball outs (1.56:1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio for the season), and he lacks a steep platoon split, limiting right-handed hitters to a .235 batting average and .647 OPS.
That said, it isn't the first time in Miller's Marlins career, let alone his entire career, that he has mounted a short-term hot streak. In a nine-start span from May 4 to June 16 of last season, he managed a 2.77 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and struck out 44 in 52 innings. He cooled shortly thereafter, and spent some time on the disabled list. Miller's 2009 hot streak posts more negatives, most disconcerting are his 4.1 walks per nine innings since his return from the DL on May 16.
Still, we're talking about a young pitcher, 24, scouts loved three short years ago. That presents Miller plenty of time to get his career on track, and it's his K rate in his recent starts that mkaes him such an appealing sleeper. And he's available in more than 98 percent of ESPN leagues.
• Since being rocked for eight runs on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Marlins on June 14, Brian Tallet has now tallied 11 innings allowing one run on eight hits in his past two starts. He tossed six shutout frames and struck out seven Reds Tuesday. He now has eight quality starts in his past 11 tries, during which time his ERA is 3.66 and his WHIP 1.12 (and that includes his June 14 outing). Tallet continues to make his case for fantasy consideration, and while you have to pick and choose his matchups, he's a heck of a lot more useful from that angle than people think.
• That was an impressive outing by Joel Pineiro, who continues to be a decent deeper-league play. On Tuesday, he shut out the Mets on two hits, recording a whopping 22 of his 27 outs on the ground. Twenty-two! Sure, no one seems to believe Pineiro has a prayer of keeping up his current pace, but those same people are probably glossing over his ground out-to-air out ratio that stands at a career-high 2.18:1, his home runs per nine innings are a career-best 0.22 and his walks per nine are a career-low 1.18. Guys with numbers like that, in the "minimizing-mistakes" categories, are not bad fantasy choices.
• What a mediocre past two starts David Price has put forth. With his 10-run (five earned), 4 1/3-inning nightmare on Tuesday, he has allowed 15 runs (10 earned), 17 hits and four home runs in 11 1/3 innings during those two starts. Sure, assignments at Coors Field and at home versus the Phillies are as challenging as they come, but even battling the tricky matchups, a pitcher with Price's talent needs to fare better than that. It's sure not helping that he's going the Joba Chamberlain route of pitch inefficiency; he has 20 walks in 30 1/3 innings in his six starts.
• Matt Wieters has rolled in his home games, but Tuesday's performance was especially meaningful because it was the first time in his career that he had a multi-hit effort and/or a home run in a road contest. A .324 hitter with a .900 OPS in 10 games at Camden Yards thus far, Wieters has just .179/.528 numbers in his first eight career road games, though Tuesday's output was a good start. For one thing, it came at Land Shark Stadium, a notorious pitcher-friendly venue, and with another good road performance or two he'd recapture must-start status.
• Jason Frasor, widely considered the Blue Jays' stand-in closer with Scott Downs on the disabled list, finally recorded his first save since taking over the job, tossing a shutout inning and limiting the Reds to one hit. The most telling detail regarding his role: Jeremy Accardo, who had Toronto's previous save, wasn't used, despite having a day's rest; neither was B.J. Ryan, who had two days' rest.
• Sticking with the closer theme, Kerry Wood stunk for a third consecutive outing, but this time he came through with the save, his ninth of the season. It sure was an adventure, though. He walked two batters, allowed two hits and one run before recording the final two outs of the game. In fact, he allowed the tying run to reach third base and the winning run to reach second before inducing an Adam LaRoche fly ball to end things. In his past three outings, Wood has surrendered four runs on six hits and three walks in two innings. By the way, his two opponents in those games, the Cubs and Pirates, aren't exactly elite offenses. Keep an eye on the right-hander; with his injury history, he might not be entirely healthy.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Don't tell him that your slot in the lineup is irrelevant. Since being demoted from the leadoff spot on May 31, Ellsbury has batted .356 with two home runs and nine stolen bases in 17 games, including a 4-for-4, two-triple, one-steal performance on Tuesday. He's apparently motivated. He is on pace to steal 72 bases for the season, and has his OPS up to .768, the highest it has been all year.
David Huff, Indians
Though the rookie got off to a sluggish start in his big-league career, he might be turning the corner. He held the Pirates scoreless for eight innings on their home field, limiting them to four hits, for his third major league victory. He's now 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in his past four starts, but his 0.59:1 ground out-to-air out ratio during that span is a tad worrisome for a guy with a so-so strikeout rate.
The Yankees have now played seven consecutive games against starting pitchers they had never seen before (i.e. pitchers making their first career starts against the Yankees), and they've won only two of them. Those seven starting pitchers, three of whom are rookies, were a combined 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and allowed only three home runs. Tommy Hanson was the latest to defeat them, tossing 5 1/3 shutout innings for the victory Tuesday, and the Yankees will actually extend the streak to eight on Wednesday, when they battle Kenshin Kawakami.
• As expected, the Reds activated Joey Votto from the DL, placing Wilkin Castillo on the 15-day DL with a season-ending shoulder injury to open a roster spot. Votto batted third and went 1-for-4. He's safe to activate in all leagues.
• Ditto the return of Grady Sizemore, activated from the DL, with the Indians demoting Trevor Crowe to Triple-A Columbus to free up roster room. Sizemore was the No. 2 hitter, with Jamey Carroll leading off, on Tuesday in his return game, and went 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs. By all means activate him.
• The Padres placed Brian Giles on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion, activating fellow outfielder Scott Hairston from the DL in his place. Hairston batted third against Seatte left-hander Garrett Olson, the right spot for him considering the matchup and the team's alternative options, and went 2-for-5 with an RBI. It's not an insignificant swap. At the time of his activation, Hairston had an OPS more than 400 points higher than Giles. He also started 17 of 19 Padres games before landing on the DL, batting no lower than fourth in the order in any of them. Needless to say, Hairston has great sleeper potential.
• Chris Snyder landed on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain, the Diamondbacks purchasing the contract of Luke Carlin from Triple-A Reno to take his place on the roster. Carlin was having a decent year for Reno, batting .287 with an .810 OPS in 44 games, but he was a dreadful batsman in a big-league stint with the Padres last season. He'll serve as the backup to Miguel Montero, 7-for-28 with one home run in seven games since Snyder got hurt. Grab Montero in deeper leagues.
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AJ Mass: I would hope so. You can't do that to his arm -- build him up, take him down, build him up again. I'd expect him to stay in the rotation the rest of this season. And as his pitch count increases, so will his impact.
-- Full chat transcript
Brendan Roberts: Yeah, I read that. You know what, I do kinda believe it. I hear from sources that he has been working hard to correct his problems and working hard on his hitting it just hadn't translated to games just yet. I think eventually it will. This week? Probably Wieters, given the matchups.
-- Full chat transcript
Wednesday's fantasy chat schedule:
Tristan H. Cockcroft, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
• Speaking of Parra, who as mentioned above has already been ruled out for Saturday's start for the Brewers, the left-hander tossed seven innings of one-run, five-hit baseball, but lost in a 1-0 game. He tossed 93 pitches, guaranteeing his unavailability for Saturday, but considering he now has back-to-back quality starts for Triple-A Nashville, the Brewers might now be regretting their decision. Expect to see Parra back with the big club in the near future.
• Dana Eveland, who you might remember as "that guy not good enough to stick in the Oakland rotation," tossed seven innings and allowed only one run on one hit for Triple-A Sacramento. That marked his fourth consecutive win and quality start, and since his demotion, he's 6-0 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and has a 2.33:1 ground out-to-air out ratio in 10 starts. Eveland has already been a contender for spot starts created by Athletics doubleheaders in recent weeks, and if another permanent rotation spot opens soon, he'll probably be next in line.
• Speaking of multi-homer games, Franklin Gutierrez had a two-homer performance against San Diego's Josh Geer when they last battled on June 18, and that game was played in Petco Park, hardly a hitters' haven. Back at Safeco Field, where he's a .304 hitter (31-for-102) this year, Gutierrez is at a greater advantage.