Ron Chenoy/US Presswire
Speaking to the point of Cy Young status, if Jimenez ever needed a "statement" start to get voters thinking, Sunday was it. He defeated, of all pitchers, last year's Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, the pitcher most people for the majority of the season believed was the leading candidate to win again.
Jimenez's eight innings of two-run, six-hit, nine-strikeout baseball also advanced him from 22nd among starting pitchers on the Player Rater entering the game to 17th, putting him a stone's throw away from the top 10. His full-season paces are now 16 wins, 201 strikeouts, a 3.36 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
To think, if only Jimenez hadn't had three terrible starts in April, he might have been getting more attention before now. Sunday represented the 22nd consecutive start in which he has pitched at least six innings, and he has 18 quality starts and an average of 7.06 innings per start during that span. He's also 11-6 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 135 K's in 155 1/3 innings in those turns.
What's more, Jimenez's true talent is probably a lot closer to -- if not better than -- his past 22 starts. He has made great advances in his walk rate, shaving it from 4.7 per nine innings in 2008 to 3.4 this year, and in his performance against left-handed hitters, dropping his .726 OPS allowed against them in 2008 to .695 this year. Those who still doubt Jimenez -- and really the Rockies as a team -- are being foolish.
• On Sunday, we saw a feat even rarer than a perfect game; Eric Bruntlett completed an unassisted triple play to conclude the Phillies' 9-7 victory. It's the 15th unassisted triple play and just the second to complete a game (the first was by Johnny Neun in 1927), whereas there have been 18 perfect games in baseball history. Yes, this might seem a meaningless tidbit for fantasy, but let's also consider that it helped Brad Lidge convert his 25th save of the season, and third in a row. It helps show how quickly a game can turn on a dime; the Mets had a run in and runners on first and second against Lidge and Jeff Francoeur's line drive probably would have squeaked through to center field and narrowed the gap to one run had Bruntlett not been covering second base due to the Mets' having put the runners in motion.
• Apparently a league switch was all John Smoltz needed to get his season back on track. In his Cardinals debut, he tossed five shutout innings of three-hit baseball, striking out nine hitters. That the performance came at Petco Park means you shouldn't take it too much to heart, but it does demonstrate his NL-only appeal in his new digs. Smoltz tossed 75 pitches on Sunday; he should be a bit more stretched out for his next start later in the week.
• Jake Fox went 4-for-4 with one home run and two RBIs, bringing his season batting average to .305. If you project his offensive numbers over a 500 at-bat season, he'd have 30 homers and 113 RBIs, and this is a guy who belted 31 homers with 105 RBIs in the minors last season. Maybe the Cubs aren't prepared to gamble with Fox as an everyday outfielder this season, but if they can't find a spot for him to play every day in 2010, they'll truly be wasting his talent.
• Hideki Matsui hit two more home runs at Fenway Park, his second multihomer game there in his past three and his third multihomer game in his past seven. He's hitting .290 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 17 games in the month of August, and for you matchups seekers, be aware that he's now a .331 hitter with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 44 career games at Fenway.
• Travis Snider had his second standout performance since his promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas, going 3-for-3 with one home run, one walk and two runs scored. He's batting .333 (6-for-18) with two homers and four walks in six games since being recalled, and should be owned in a lot more than the 8.3 percent of ESPN.com leagues in which he's currently unavailable.
• It's that time of year when young pitchers' workloads come under scrutiny, and the latest is that of the Tigers' Rick Porcello. According to the team's official Web site, manager Jim Leyland is watching the number of innings for both Porcello and rookie reliever Ryan Perry. Porcello, who threw 125 innings for Class A Lakeland in 2008, is already at 117 2/3 this season, and the Tigers have the possibility of extra frames for the rookie if they advance to the postseason. Like Joba Chamberlain in New York, Porcello might skip a turn or two in September as these teams look to rein in their young starters' inning totals.
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
He homered for the second consecutive day, and in this game was 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs. With that, Cuddyer is on pace for 29 homers, 84 RBIs, 97 runs scored and an .861 OPS, which compares favorably with his career year of 2006 (24 homers, 109 RBIs, 102 runs scored and .866 OPS).
Fausto Carmona, Indians
Going by game score, this was his best performance since May 17, 2008, as Carmona went seven innings and limited the Mariners to one run on five hits while striking out eight. Since his recall from the minors, Carmona has a 2.79 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in five starts, not once allowing more than three earned runs in an outing.
Mark Buehrle was on top of the world on July 23, as he threw a perfect game against the Rays, but since then he has fallen on hard times. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Buehrle holds the record for most consecutive winless starts following a perfect game with six; he's 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in them.
• With Harang hitting the DL, the Reds activated Scott Rolen and immediately inserted him into the lineup as the third baseman and No. 5 hitter. He went 0-for-3 with two walks, two strikeouts and one run scored. Rolen appears safe to activate in NL-only and deep mixed leagues.
• The Phillies placed Greg Dobbs on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf, and purchased Miguel Cairo's contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The Phillies are hardly short on pinch hitters, what with Matt Stairs still on their bench, so Dobbs' absence might not even be noticed. Cairo will serve as middle infield depth, but he's not anyone fantasy owners should consider.
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Jayson Stark: There's no compelling candidate for rookie of the year right now. Not for me. So this will be a big last month and a half. But same with the Cy and MVP voting. This is going to be a fascinating year. Zack Greinke and Joe Mauer have clearly had the best seasons. But are voters going to vote for them? The Cy Young voters have shown they still rely way too heavily on wins, and the Royals actually have a losing record when Greinke starts. And Mauer's team has a chance to fall out of every race, not that it's his fault. So are voters still going to vote for him, or does that make Mark Teixeira the man. Right now, those would be my two picks. But September plot lines always figure into the voting.
-- Full chat transcript
Monday's fantasy chat schedule:
Christopher Harris, 11 a.m. ET
Matthew Berry, 3 p.m. ET
• According to MLB.com, Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, is likely to make his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League. He and fellow Nationals prospect Drew Storen will play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, and Strasburg will probably be a part of the Rising Stars Showcase in Surprise, Ariz., on Nov. 7. The AFL tends to be a good starting point for prospects aiming for a quick ascent to the major leagues; Brian Matusz participated in the 2008 AFL and is currently a member of the Orioles' rotation. Strasburg might even reach Washington earlier in 2010 than Matusz did this summer.
• Jesus Guzman went 4-for-5 with one double and one home run for Triple-A Fresno, and is now batting .325 with 15 home runs, 66 RBIs and an .888 OPS in 107 games for the team. He saw brief time with the Giants earlier in the season, but is unlikely to see regular playing time the rest of the season with the team still in contention and now sporting a Ryan Garko/Travis Ishikawa platoon at first base. Fantasy owners should probably root Guzman is traded to an American League team this winter, so that he could get a shot at regular designated hitter duties somewhere.
• David Freese, whom you might remember as the guy who was supposed to be the Cardinals' Opening Day third baseman, hit safely in his 10th consecutive game for Triple-A Memphis, going 2-for-3 with a home run. He's batting .394 (13-for-33) with four doubles and four homers during his streak, and .299 with an .877 OPS in 41 games overall for Memphis. Freese has battled some injury issues this year, but he might get a look with the Cardinals as a bench player in September. Unfortunately, he's unlikely to receive regular at-bats, as the team acquired Mark DeRosa to man his position in the meantime.
• The Red Sox -- and fantasy owners of their hitters -- must be salivating over facing the White Sox's Jose Contreras at Fenway Park. He has a 10.26 ERA, 1.80 WHIP and has allowed a .301 batting average, seven home runs and a .942 OPS in seven career games (six starts) at that venue.
• The Twins have to be happy to have Scott Baker on the mound, as he's about their only reliable starting pitcher lately. Since the All-Star break, he's 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in seven starts, while the six other pitchers who have started for the Twins are a combined 6-14 with a 7.82 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 27 starts. Baker is also 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in his career against Baltimore.
• For more on Monday's games, check Daily Notes.