AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
One of the reasons many fantasy players like to play the game is to try to emulate guys like Theo Epstein and Omar Minaya -- to show they can do a better job of wheeling and dealing. However, recently, it appears that more and more major league teams are taking a page from the fantasy owner handbook and are introducing the tactic known as "streaming" to the big leagues.
What is streaming? Well, with a limited roster, fantasy owners often will artificially expand their pitching options by simply dropping a pitcher after getting his stats from a start, then signing a new one for one day, and repeating the process over and over again in order to maximize their chances of getting wins and strikeouts. This is especially effective in head-to-head leagues, where an owner adopting this strategy can win his game on sheer volume alone.
In the past, one of the major arguments against the use of such a strategy was that it was "unrealistic" and could never happen in "real baseball." But quite frankly, I'm not so sure that's true anymore ...
• Livan Hernandez pitched Wednesday for the Washington Nationals, only a day after being signed by the team. He went six innings, striking out six and allowing only two runs against the Cubs. Manager Jim Riggleman expects the team to call up several more starters next week, including Collin Balester, Shairon Martis and Ross Detwiler. He told The Washington Post that he'll simply trot them all out there instead of simply going with a traditional five-man rotation, in order to protect the younger starting pitchers' arms. Sounds an awful lot like streaming to me.
• Of course, Boston isn't keeping "extra arms" around. The Red Sox are simply letting them go. In what appears to be a more traditional form of streaming, the Red Sox have released Brad Penny. Now that Tim Wakefield is back from the disabled list -- throwing seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the White Sox on Wednesday -- they agreed to let Penny get picked up by another team, just as they did with John Smoltz earlier this month. Certainly, when Paul Byrd suddenly appears in the starting rotation at some point in September, the telltale signs of a streaming team will appear even more evident.
It's not just streaming. It appears the Tigers have discovered a "loophole" in the baseball rules and have no problem "exploiting" it:
• Armando Galarraga has been sent to Triple-A Toledo. It's not your typical demotion, however, as the Tigers pitcher has been struggling with elbow inflammation and likely will never actually take the mound for the Mud Hens. By sending him to the minors, rather than by placing him on the 15-day disabled list, the Tigers hope to be able to rest Galarraga's arm and recall him in about 10 days. In the meantime, they'll call up Nate Robertson to make a five-inning start on Saturday, then probably send him right back to Ohio.
What's next? Having trades agreed to by teams, only to have them "vetoed" later on? Sheesh!
• Jake Peavy might not be ready to start for the White Sox on Saturday. So says pitching coach Don Cooper, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, "Right now, it doesn't look like he's going to be making that start. [Tonight] we'll try again." The try again part refers to Peavy having his long-toss session shut down after only 10 tosses on Wednesday. Cooper thinks Peavy needs to make one more rehab start in the minors. We'll have to see whether management agrees or not.
• "Zep" is finishing his 2009 strong. We're talking about Toronto's Marc Rzepczynski, who took a no-hitter into the sixth, eventually leaving the game after allowing a single to Pat Burrell and a two-run shot to Gabe Kapler. The youngster is likely to make only one more start this season, as the Blue Jays protect his arm for 2010, where his fantasy value should be riding high. Scott Kazmir also had a no-decision in the game, despite 10 strikeouts, as J.P. Howell blew his seventh save of the season, allowing Toronto to win 3-2.
• David Ortiz hit two home runs, including a walk-off winner -- the 10th of his career -- to lead the Red Sox to a 3-2 win over the White Sox. Other names who went yard Wednesday night include Torii Hunter, with his first homer since coming off the DL; Prince Fielder, who hit his 34th of the season in a loss to the Reds; and young Matt LaPorta, who is hitting .346 since his August call-up.
• Josh Johnson continued his mastery over the Mets, improving to 7-0 lifetime against the New Yorkers with a seven-strikeout performance on Wednesday night. He allowed three runs in six innings but still won his 13th game of the season, thanks to Hanley Ramirez, who went 3-for-3, increasing his August average to .447.
• Alfonso Soriano returned to the Cubs' lineup after missing two games with a sore left knee and went 1-for-4 against the Nationals. Disgruntled outfielder Milton Bradley homered and drove in three runs, but most of the Chicago offense came after starter Rich Harden had left the game. Harden lowered his ERA to 3.99, allowing two runs in six innings, but had to settle for a no-decision.
• Joel Pineiro did get the win for St. Louis, throwing eight innings of two-run ball to improve to 13-9 on the year. Pineiro, 7-0 with a 2.65 ERA in his last 10 starts, outdueled Roy Oswalt, who never recovered after giving up three runs in the first inning, including a two-run double by Mark DeRosa.
• Atlanta's Brian McCann went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs, his fifth round-tripper in his last nine games. Unfortunately, for Braves' fans, the Padres scored 12 runs over the last four innings, including two RBIs from Adrian Gonzalez, for a 12-5 victory.
• Seattle's Jose Lopez also continued a recent power surge, with his fourth home run in seven games. Mariners fans enjoyed the outcome of this one, though, as David Aardsma recorded his 30th save of the season and Seattle ended up beating the A's 5-3.
Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Attempting to prove that the Rockies can't come back from every early-inning deficit, Ethier slugged home runs in the first and fourth innings against Colorado. He went 3-for-4 on the night, driving in three and giving Randy Wolf, who held the Rockies to just five hits, plenty of cushion in a 6-1 victory for Los Angeles.
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Although Ryan Madson (not Brad Lidge) blew the save, either way, Hamels deserved better. He held the Pirates scoreless over eight innings, scattering seven hits and striking out seven, but came away with a no-decision when his tenuous 1-0 lead was sabotaged by a Brandon Moss home run. Ryan Howard won the game for Philadelphia with a three-run blast in the 10th, which probably left Hamels wondering where that power went while he was still on the mound.
With a single in the fifth inning Wednesday, Vladimir Guerrero recorded his 1,000th hit in an Angels uniform. He is only the eighth player in franchise history to reach that milestone and becomes a member of an even more exclusive club, as he joins Dave Winfield as the only two major leaguers to get 1,000 hits for a team in both the American and National Leagues. Guerrero had 1,215 hits in eight seasons with the Expos.
• Angels starter Joe Saunders was activated from the 15-day disabled list and went right to work, taking the mound on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers. He went five innings and allowed only two runs, both coming on a home run by Adam Everett. He struck out six and walked two and got the win. Shane Loux was designated for assignment to make room for Saunders on the roster.
• An injured Met? It can't possibly be! Oliver Perez was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the team announced the pitcher will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a tendon in his right knee. Lance "Off-off" Broadway, with a 6.17 ERA in the minors this season takes his spot on the roster.
• Justin Upton returned to action for the Diamondbacks after having been out since straining his right oblique muscle attempting a steal on Aug. 5. He went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored against San Francisco, and looks to be good going forward. Rock Hoover Jr. -- a.k.a. Daniel Schlereth -- was sent to Triple-A Reno upon Upton's return.
• Brett Carroll was recalled by the Florida Marlins, filling the open roster spot that was created when Nick Johnson went on the disabled list. Ross Gload, Wes Helms, Jorge Cantu and Gaby Sanchez are already in the mix for playing time at the corners in place of Johnson, while Carroll shouldn't expect much more than pinch-hit appearances.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft: Probably somewhere around 12th-15th, if I had to guess. Just not an elite team nor do I think it will be next year, so I'd hesitate to forecast top-tier closer value from him. Underrated kid, though.
-- Full chat transcript
Eric Karabell: I'm not real concerned about him. He's still in my top-10 pitchers for 2010. This is not a serious surgery that should set him back. I'd certainly drop him out of the top spot, where he went this season, but at the back of the top 10, sure.
-- Full chat transcript
Thursday's fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Jason Grey, 3 p.m. ET
• Outfielder Michael Restovich hit his second home run in two games, and his 18th of the season, for Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday. The slugger's power is certainly legit, but he is definitely one of those "all-or-nothing" hitters, with 107 strikeouts in 447 at-bats this season. So, basically, he's the White Sox's next Jim Thome -- and far cheaper, too. Food for thought.
• After a brief and mostly forgettable stint with the Padres earlier this season, pitcher Josh Banks seems to be putting things together with Triple-A Portland. On Wednesday, Banks went eight innings, allowing only one run and striking out seven in a no-decision. It was the fifth quality start in six outings in August for the right-hander. Banks is the Pacific Coast League's active ERA leader and appears ready for another try in San Diego when rosters expand in September.
• Boston's Junichi Tazawa is 2-0 at Fenway Park with a 0.82 ERA, but that WHIP (1.45 at home, 1.87 overall) spells trouble ahead, with a capital T, making him a huge fantasy risk.
• Houston outfielder Michael Bourn has been playing great lately, having reached base safely in 18 straight games. The pitcher who last kept him off the bases? Chris Carpenter, Thursday's starter against the Astros.
• White Sox pitcher John Danks has struggled against the Red Sox lately, with a 6.06 ERA in his last three starts against Boston. However, he's 6-3 away from home and 3-1 so far in August.
• For more on Thursday's games, check Daily Notes.