Jeff Niemann is the man! I was a little late jumping on board with him, but once he put up those stellar Spring numbers I came around. Just in time to draft him once and trade Homer Bailey and Octavio Dotel for him before the season started. He took care of the Boston lineup tonight (7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K) and John Lackey was pounded for 8 ER in 3.1 Innings. Not that Lackey’s previous numbers were bad, but the decline was fairly obvious. I’m not going to call him a bust, but I wasn’t going to spend a mid Rd pick for what I projected (1.30 WHIP, 7.0 K/9). Bartlett (.245) went 3 for 5 with 3 Runs and a RBI, Crawford (2 for 2, R, RBI) stole his 6th base, Longoria (1 for 5) scored a Run and knocked in two and BJ Upton hit a 3 Run HR, his 4th of the season. Even Pat Burrell had 3 hits in 4 AB. Reid Brignac (.364) got the start at 2B, pushing Zobrist to RF, he went 1 for 4 with a Run. Not a good day for the Boston offense (5 hits). Jeremy Hermida provided the only help with a 2 Run HR in the 7th. Pedroia, VMart, Youk and Papi went without a hit. Cameron was a late scratch, he has the same symptoms from when he passed a kidney stone.
Craig Stammen shut down the Rocks, throwing 8 IP of 2 Run ball. He gave up 5 Hits, a walk and struck out 5. His numbers are still ugly tho (1.60 WHIP, 8.16 ERA), time to move along. Aaron Cook sucks (5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BB, 3 IP), we all know this. Matt Capps got his 6th Save! Fowler sat in favor of Seth Smith (0 for 4), CarGo also went 0 for 4, Helton (Run) and Tulo each went 2 for 4, Ian Stewart went 1 for 3 with a Run, and Barmes went 1 for 3 with a RBI. Nyjer Morgan went 2 for 3 with a BB, RBI and was caught stealing. Adam Dunn went 1 for 2, scored 2 Runs and Walked twice. Ivan Rodriguez is on fire, he had another multi hit game (2 for 4) and scored a Run. Willie Harris (2 for 3, 4 RBI) got the start in RF and hit a 3 Run HR. Olivio (0 for 3) got the start, knocked in a Run and threw out base-cleptos Nyjer Morgan and Willy Tavares.
Brandon Morrow looked great tonight (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K), Brian Bannister did not (6 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 5.1 IP). DeJesus went 1 for 3 with a RBI, Jose Guillen went 2 for 4, Alex Gordon (0 for 2) took a walk and scored a Run. Fred Lewis (.111) got the start in LF and led off again, going 0 for 4. Lyle Overbay finally did something (2 for 2, 2 BB, 2 R). Jose Bautista (2 HR, 5 RBI) and Travis Snider (2 for 5, solo HR) provided most of the offense. 10,314 showed up to the game, the lowest attendance in the 22-year history of Rogers Centre. Podsednik (family emergency) missed the game, he should be back tomorrows.
Jonathon Niese gave up 8 Hits, 3 Walks in 5.2 Innings, but didn’t give up an Earned Run. He struck out 7, but had to settle for the no decision. Randy Wells was pretty efficient on the other side (6 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K). Jenry Mejia seems to be doing well in his bullpen role, I grabbed him today in a holds league. He pitched the 8th and 9th today, striking out 2, walking 2 (no hits). The story of the day was the Mets calling up Ike Davis from AAA. He hit 6th, going 2 for 4 with a RBI in his debut. You can read more about him here at Fanhouse and Roto Arcade. David Wright (1 for 3, R) stole his 5th base. Jeff Francoeur (0 for 4) went hitless… again. He has a 3 game 0 for streak after his 10 game hit streak. Marlon Byrd hit leadoff, he went 3 for 5 with a RBI. Soriano went 2 for 4 with a double. Ted Lilly could make his return this weekend against MIL.
All attempts to abolish the penny have failed, Congress has failed and so have the Diamondbacks. Brad Penny threw 7 strong Innings, giving up 2 ER, 8 H and a BB. He struck out 5 and had a 9/7 GB/FB split. The Dave Duncan magic is working, 60% GB% this year, up from his usual 40-sum%. The Ks wont be pretty, but his BB/9 was 1.29 entering the game and he looked good again. He is looking like the Joel Pineiro of 2010 with a slightly better K Rate. Rodrigo López had a decent game for ARI (7 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 3 K) after having a strong Spring. I wouldn’t recommend him tho. Ryan Franklin closed the door for his 5th Save. Drew (Run), LaRoche (Run), Reynolds (2 RBI) and Snyder all went 2 for 4. Justin Upton (.212) is in a mini slump, he has 5 hits in the past 9 games. Matt Holliday (3 for 5, HR, 2 RBI) and Colby Rasmus (2 for 5, R, RBI) did most of the damage for the Cardinals. Holliday has 4 HR now, he also hit his 4th double. Felipe Lopez (1 for 3) stole two bases. Conor Jackson hit the 15-day DL (hammy).
Matt Cain (6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 K) and Clayton Richard (6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K) had strong performances, neither got the Win. Heath Bell blew the Save, his 1st, but Tim Stauffer was credited with the W after a David Eckstein bottom of the 10th walk off HR. Behold the power of Eckstein. Chase Headley went hitless, but stole a base. Kyle Blanks went 2 for 4. Aubrey Huff (.292) and Schierholtz (.353) had 2 hits, Schierholtz stole a base. Juan Uribe 2 for 3 with a solo shot off Heath Bell, that is back-to-back games with a HR for him.
Joel Pineiro (7.1 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 4 K), Kevin Jepsen and Fernando Rodney shut out the Tigers. I don’t think too many ppl thought Pineiro could repeat the 1.14 BB/9, so that WHIP (1.08) will rise a bit when his BABIP (.245 before tonight) corrects itself. He is still useful tho, especially in leagues that do not use an Innings cap. He hasn’t lost the ground ball magic he learned from Dave Duncan (4.50 GB/FB, 67% GB% entering today, 12/8 GB/FB vs DET). Fernando Rodney hasn’t allowed a hit or walk in his last 5 appearances, he now has 4 Saves. Even Dontrelle Willis pitched well (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K). Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez each went 2 for 4. Detroit was shutout, but at least they had 9 hits; the Angels only had 4. Howie Kendrick had 2, going 2 for 2 with a walk and a Run. Jeff Mathis got the start at Catcher again, he went 1 for 3 with a Run. Mathis has a hit in every game so far, I purged myself of Mike Napoli.
Doug Fister was fist pumping all night long on the Seattle dance floors. Fister only allowed 1 ER, 3 H and 1 BB over 7 Innings, striking out 3. He took a no-hitter into the 7th Inning. Brad Bergesen looks like a demotion candidate (2.2 IP, 4 ER, 2.61 WHIP, 12.19 ERA) for Tillman or Arrieta. Ty Wiggington (1 for 3, .294) hit his 5th HR. Wieters (.286) went 2 for 4 with a Run. Casey Kotchman (2 for 4, 3 RBI) hit his 3rd HR, Ichiro (.321) went 2 for 4 with a Run. Franklin Gutierrez (.426) had another multi-hit game, his 7th on the year. Chone Figgins (.217) is hitless in the past 4 games. Lopez, Griffey Jr and Milton Bradley each had a hit and a RBI. Felix Pie will miss 3 months due to a torn latissimus dorsi muscle, whatever that is. He tore it on Opening Day and played thru the pain. Miguel Tejada (groin) hopes to play tomorrow. Safeco hosted the small crowd in it’s history (14,528).