AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid
In his first start after hurling a perfect game against the Rays, Mark Buehrle made a run at yet another one against the Twins, as his line was unblemished through five innings with a major league-record 45 straight batters retired in the course of three starts. Alexi Casilla broke things up with a two-out walk in the sixth on a close 3-2 pitch, and then the doors came off with a Denard Span single and a Joe Mauer double (that Scott Podsednik should have caught). After all that perfection, Buehrle retired just two of the next nine batters he faced to give up five runs and the lead, but was still the talk of the night, even in defeat.
Credit to the Twins' Scott Baker who hung in with Buehrle, allowing a solo homer to Jermaine Dye in his six innings of work to keep the game close and allow his teammates to finally get to the White Sox southpaw, who has a 3.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP to go with his 11 wins this season.
As I wrote on March 12, Buehrle has often been overlooked and underappreciated in fantasy play, but he just keeps bringing the goods: "The draft position of Mark Buehrle can vary wildly from league to league. Some owners value the reliability and stability of the White Sox lefty and make him a prominent part of their pitching staffs, but that 'same old, same old' mentality drops him down the draft lists of many owners who are looking for something more than that. Even though I love the concept of upside as much as anyone, a guy with a career 3.80 ERA and 1.27 WHIP who has thrown 200-plus innings for eight straight seasons can always have a place on my roster."
As it turns out, perhaps Buehrle had some upside after all, and despite his hiccups in the later innings Tuesday, he should continue to be money in the bank for the balance of the season.
• Ben Francisco continues to swing a hot bat for the Indians. After going 2-for-4 with a homer Tuesday, the outfielder is hitting .318 in July with four homers and two steals and is slugging .606. He's owned in less than two percent of ESPN leagues for those that like to play the hot hand.
• Bartolo Colon will be scratched from his start today due to elbow soreness, and everyone else will move up a day, with Jose Contreras taking the ball Wednesday. Clayton Richard would likely move back into the rotation if Colon needs yet another stint on the disabled list.
• An MRI revealed a tear in Randy Johnson's rotator cuff, and he was moved to the 60-day disabled list. He will miss at least another month, with no guarantee he can pitch in September. It's safe to drop him at this point.
• Patience is starting to pay off, as Matt Wieters is also heating up. The Orioles catcher knocked out four hits, and has at least one hit in six straight games to bump his average up to .273.
• Brian Fuentes failed to record an out for the second straight night, allowing four straight runners to reach before being pulled. Fuentes has not retired the past eight batters he's faced, allowing six hits -- including two homers -- and two walks. Jason Bulger had to bail him out to nail down a save. There was no immediate word of any health issue, but there's certainly some cause for concern at this point.
• Chien-Ming Wang's season is over, as he will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday. He finishes the year with an ERA just under 10; it was not quite the comeback season many were expecting.• Roy Oswalt is headed back to Houston for a back examination after leaving his start in the second inning with what was initially diagnosed as a left lower back strain. "I didn't think it was anything major," Oswalt told the team Web site. "I went out there the first inning and felt OK, not great. I can walk, but can't do anything strenuous." We'll have to see how this plays out, but it's possible he could miss at least one start.
Adam Kennedy, Athletics
Kennedy led the A's to a come-from-behind victory with a career-high five hits in their 11-inning contest with the Red Sox. He also drove in three runs, including the game-winner.
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Wainwright threw eight shutout innings to win his 12th game of the season and lower his ERA to 2.80. The Cardinals righty has worked at least seven innings and not allowed more than two runs in each of his past seven starts and eight of his past nine.
Really, what else could the stat of the night be? Mark Buehrle's 45 consecutive batters retired eclipsed the previous mark of 41 set by Jim Barr in 1972 and equaled by Buehrle's teammate Bobby Jenks in 2007. Despite the game unraveling for Buehrle thereafter, it was still quite an accomplishment.
• The Astros called up top pitching prospect Bud Norris from Triple-A. Norris had 112 strikeouts in 120 innings and a 2.63 ERA there. Initially expected to work out of the 'pen, Norris could start if Oswalt's injury turns out to be a bit more serious. Either way, owners in deep NL leagues need to consider him.
• The Cubs activated Ryan Dempster (fractured toe) from the disabled list, and he allowed five runs in five innings Tuesday. He threw more than two-thirds of his pitches for strikes, so that's a good sign that he should be reasonably fine going forward.
• Both second baseman David Eckstein and catcher Henry Blanco had been on the disabled list with right hamstring injuries, but both returned to the Padres' lineup Tuesday. However, neither should be a fantasy consideration. The Padres also received pitcher Sean Gallagher from Oakland to complete the Scott Hairston trade, and the move back to the NL and a good pitcher's park should be a good thing for Gallagher, who now becomes a deep sleeper for 2010.
• The D-backs activated catcher Chris Snyder from the disabled list, but it was noteworthy that Miguel Montero remained in the lineup even with a tough lefty (Cole Hamels) on the mound. Manager A.J. Hinch said Montero will get the majority of the games behind the plate due to his hot bat, and that Snyder will see action in a couple of games per week.
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AJ Mass: De La Rosa certainly has stats that belie his current success, and Chris Volstad is a good pickup as well. Just two names off the top of my head. Losing a 10-3 guy is tough, but he's not a 3.00 ERA kind of pitcher, so you can salvage the roster spot.
-- Full chat transcript
Brendan Roberts: Funny you mention him I picked him up in that aforementioned big-money league, and I did a little "happy dance." A renowned second-half pitcher who takes advantage of tired hitters with sinkers early in counts. It seems to me that a lot of hitters are more aggressive late in the year because they have less energy for drawn-out at-bats. That's when Lowe gets them to ground out to shortstop. Won't get you many K's, but definitely a viable every-week starter in any setup.
-- Full chat transcript
Wednesday's fantasy chat schedule:
Tristan H. Cockcroft, 11 a.m. ET
Eric Karabell, 3 p.m. ET
• Junichi Tazawa's Triple-A debut was a success. The Boston right-hander allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings of work, giving up just three baserunners and fanning two. Tazawa had a 2.57 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A before being promoted. He'll be caught in a numbers game for the foreseeable future, but it's clear he's adjusted very well to his first year stateside.
• While Buehrle was weaving some early magic in the Metrodome, Angels Triple-A hurler Sean O'Sullivan was doing the same against Sacramento, spinning a no-hitter Tuesday night, allowing just one walk in the seventh inning. It was O'Sullivan's first outing since returning to the minors. Sullivan had three wins and a 3.72 ERA in five big league starts, but there's no room for him in the rotation at the moment.
• Top Orioles pitching prospect Chris Tillman makes his much-awaited big league debut Wednesday, and you couldn't ask for a better assignment, as he draws the Royals' anemic offense at home. Tillman struck out 99 in 96 2/3 innings at Triple-A with a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts to earn his promotion. Pitching in the AL East will do him no favors, but he's a definite sleeper.
• Fresh off outdueling Zack Greinke, Scott Feldman takes the mound for the Rangers against Detroit in Arlington. Granted, the strikeout numbers aren't quite there for the righty, but having posted a 3.04 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with nine wins in 17 starts this year, it's somewhat astonishing to see he's owned in just seven percent of ESPN leagues. His home and road splits are also very similar.
• For more on Wednesday's games, check out the MLB Daily Notes.