AP Photo/John Bazemore
Consider this: The Mets didn't score off Kenshin Kawakami until the sixth inning, when a bases-loaded walk and a fielder's choice groundout became the "clutch RBIs" that gave Santana his "run support." The runs were the first the team had scored in 19 innings. Then, once Santana left the game, Chipper Jones immediately greeted Pedro Feliciano with a home run, and the Mets needed four pitchers to get out of the eighth inning.
The Mets' bullpen, other than K-Rod, is incredibly shaky, and with the team inexplicably averaging only 3.14 runs scored when Santana's on the mound, he won't frequently leave the game with a lead, regardless of his past history of second-half success.
That's why we would much rather have a guy like Dan Haren. Sure, the naysayers are all over the splits: the 4.12 second-half ERA and the 1.32 WHIP. We're not buying it. Haren hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in a game since May 23 and is getting 4.47 runs per game from his offense, far more than Santana. On Saturday, Haren started his second half with an eight-inning, one-run outing that lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.96. His WHIP for the year is now 0.80, and he's won a Steve Carlton-esque 26 percent of Arizona's games this season.
Sorry, Johan. We're going with Danny the rest of the way.Previous editions: July 17: Harden loves the night | July 13: Ludwick back on track
• The American League has quality pitching, too, and two of the best dueled on Saturday in Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia earned the win with seven innings of shutout ball for New York, and he improved to 9-6 on the season. Justin Verlander was matching him zero for zero until Alex Rodriguez hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh that barely cleared the right-field wall. Such is life for Verlander this season, who is 6-0 at home but 4-5 on the road.
• The Phillies and Marlins were rained out Saturday after 1½ innings. The game will start from scratch, but no makeup date has been announced. The most likely scenario would see the two teams squaring off for a doubleheader in late September. As for the scheduled starters, Joe Blanton will have his start moved to Tuesday, with the rest of the rotation moved back one day from there. Josh Johnson simply will wait until Friday to get back on the mound against the Dodgers.
• Jonathan Broxton, sore toe and all, pitched for the first time in eight days and earned his 21st save of the season against the Astros. The outing was a bit rocky, as he walked two and allowed a hit, but he managed to register three strikeouts in the ninth inning and kept Houston off the scoreboard. One of Broxton's two walks was to pinch hitter Lance Berkman, who has been bothered with a calf strain of late. After he walked, Wandy Rodriguez pinch ran for him, so it remains to be seen whether Berkman will be back in the Astros' starting lineup on Sunday.
• Scott Kazmir left his start against the Royals after warming up in the seventh inning with cramps in his pitching arm. Kazmir had an IV after the game and said he feels fine now. So do his fantasy owners, who breathe a sigh of relief that it isn't anything more serious. The Rays ended up scoring three runs in the eighth inning after Zack Greinke left the game for Kansas City, so neither starter factored into the decision.
• A scary moment in San Diego, as Edgar Gonzalez was drilled in the head by a Jason Hammel pitch and needed to be carted off the field. He was taken to the hospital but was conscious. Adrian Gonzalez, his brother, left the game as well to be by Edgar's side as he underwent a battery of tests. Expect news later Sunday on the full extent of the injury.
• Joe Crede left Saturday's game with a mild sprain in his shoulder. Crede thinks he got hurt making some diving plays Friday, but he wasn't concerned until he started to feel numb in the eighth inning Saturday. Brendan Harris came in to replace him and likely will start on Sunday while Crede gets everything checked out.
• Maybe it wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, but it might well have been the pinkie that broke Alfonso Soriano's slump. After a feared broken finger earlier in the week turned out to be just jammed, Soriano finally slugged a home run in his return to the lineup Saturday, his first in 120 at-bats. Soriano hit sixth in the lineup again, as he has for much of July. He probably will stay there for now, as Kosuke Fukudome reached base three times in the leadoff spot for Chicago.
• It's hard to spell Marc Rzepczynski's name, but he certainly can spell W-I-N. "Zep" earned his first major league victory on Saturday when he beat the Red Sox 6-2. He's the fourth Blue Jays pitcher to earn his first major league victory this season, joining Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil and Bobby Ray. Who needs Roy Halladay?
• Jermaine Dye, All-Star snub, continued his terrific 2009 campaign on Saturday by smashing his 21st home run of the season, a two-run shot that helped extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Mark Buehrle threw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball to earn his 10th victory of the season, but he had to be nervous when he watched Bobby Jenks allow two Orioles to score in the ninth to cut the lead to 4-3 before he finally retired Nick Markakis on a grounder to earn his 21st save.
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Cruz went 3-for-4 on Saturday, including a solo homer off Minnesota's Scott Baker, his 23rd of the season. Unfortunately for Texas, that was the only run it would get on the night. The Rangers have hit only .192 during their past six games, while Cruz has hit .316 during that same stretch.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
The 21-year-old struck out five Astros and allowed no runs on only two hits in seven strong innings Saturday. Kershaw is 5-0 in his past six starts and in the process has lowered his ERA from 4.13 to 2.95.
With an RBI on Saturday, Albert Pujols has 90 on the season and has joined a very exclusive club. Only four other players in major league history have reached that milestone in each of their first nine seasons: Bob Johnson, who played with the A's in the '30s, and Hall of Famers Al Simmons, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.
• Boston shortstop Jed Lowrie returned to the team after a three-month layoff, during which he had surgery on his left wrist. He homered off Toronto's Jesse Carlson in the seventh inning of the Red Sox's loss on Saturday. Clay Buchholz was sent right on back to Triple-A Pawtucket after his Friday win on the hill.
• After hearing a pop while throwing Friday, Joel Zumaya is headed back to Detroit for an MRI, and the team immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. As Detroit manager Jim Leyland said on the Tigers' official Web site, "It's so unsettled -- he could be back pitching in two weeks, or he could miss the rest of the year." That doesn't sound all that optimistic.
• Gil Meche's back spasms haven't let up. The Royals sent him to the 15-day disabled list and activated Sidney Ponson from the DL to take his start on Monday, at home against the Angels. Meche has gone 0-4 in his past five starts, so something definitely is up with him. The team hopes he'll be able to throw again in about a week.
• Mark DeRosa may have gone 0-for-4 on Saturday, but at least he was back in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform again. He played third base and hit second in the lineup for the Cards in his first game back from the disabled list. Infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir returned to Triple-A Memphis.
Stephania Bell: Can't say serious yet. They are calling it a mild calf strain, so I'll take their word for it right now. He's day-to-day. Duchscherer may be a mid-August return, and it looks like they're planning on the bullpen, at least initially. The first target will be to see if he actually is able to start a rehab assignment by late July. If he's strong enough to do that, then I think mid-August seems reasonable.
-- Full chat transcript
Pierre Becquey: I expect much of the same from Scherzer. Not too many wins, but a K per inning, a 1.35 WHIP and his ERA just under 4.00. If they limit him to 160-170 innings, then I think he can step it up with a 1.25 WHIP and 3.25-3.50 ERA next season, close in on 200 innings and be a major K stud. I also think that, while Liriano's ceiling is higher should he solve his issues, Scherzer is safer and therefore the better keeper. I'd rank both him and Liriano above Danks.
-- Full chat transcript
Monday's fantasy chat schedule:
Christopher Harris, 11 a.m. ET
Matthew Berry, 3 p.m. ET
• After Jason Schmidt went 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Albuquerque, the Dodgers apparently decided that he was healthy enough to pitch in the majors for the first time in more than two years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the team has announced that Schmidt will start Monday against the Reds. "We're going to see what we have," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told the newspaper. You should see what he has as well before rushing to the waiver wire.
• Troy Glaus is nearing a return to the big leagues and will head to Triple-A Memphis on Sunday after a rehab assignment in Class A Palm Beach. That's the good news. So what's the bad? The Cardinals have been playing Glaus in left field, hoping to take some of the pressure off his ailing throwing arm. However, if he can't make the throw from third to first without discomfort, the first time a runner tags up from third, Glaus will be in for a pain-filled treat. We're not sure this experiment will end well.
• Roy Halladay has been shaky and perhaps even distracted by trade talk, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his past three games, but we expect him to rebound against Boston in what could well be an audition for his new teammates.
• Oakland's Brett Anderson is 2-0 with an 0.49 ERA in his past three, and the Angels in the outfield aren't exactly the regulars, with Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero on the shelf, so we'll take a chance on him Sunday.
• Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs has hit .343 with seven homers and 22 RBIs against the Nationals in the past three seasons. That's a great matchup to start the second half of the season.