Really, Cubs? One of your players stepped into the batter's box with this on his head? At least they won the game.
Francisco Liriano's latest gem raised our streaming starter record to 50-33, and gave him a 2.67 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings since returning to the Twins' rotation five starts ago. Not bad, even if I still think it's part of a dastardly plan to make me pick him up in a bunch of leagues and then see him start to stink it up again.
Today's pick is Dillon Gee (seven consecutive quality starts, owned in 14.9 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) against the Cubs, while Wednesday's selection is Kevin Millwood (2.3 percent owned) in the friendly confines of Safeco Field versus the A's.
On to the news:
- After two months of obliterating Triple-A pitching (.349 BA, 23 HR, 1.120 OPS in 68 games), 1B Anthony Rizzo will make his Cubs' debut tonight, and bat third or fourth. The 22-year-old Rizzo is an excellent prospect, but if we want to nitpick, his walk rate (22 BB in 278 PA) hasn't been great this season, and his .365 BABIP is likely to settle down. I've only seen highlights of Rizzo, and I know how well-regarded he is, but he's a rookie, and will probably struggle at times, so don't kick a good player off your standard mixed-league roster to make room for him. I just went through the list of fantasy first basemen (leaving out multi-positional catchers Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana), and counted 19 guys I'd pick over Rizzo for the rest of 2012. Maybe he'll take the big leagues by storm like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, but some inconsistency is likely. Contact me on Facebook or Twitter if you have any specific "Rizzo or _______?" questions.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says that Glen Perkins and Jared Burton will share closer duties while Matt Capps is on the DL. Even though Burton saved games on Sunday and Monday, Perkins is still this blog's preferred pickup.
- Nice game, Mat Latos. Let's see a few more of those.
- The Red Sox are targeting a Friday return from the DL for SP Josh Beckett (shoulder).
- Tigers catcher Alex Avila will probably play through pain in his sore knee, which means that he could avoid the DL but get scratched occasionally, like last night. In other Tiger news, Drew Smyly comes off the DL to start tonight's game.
- Shaun Marcum's sore elbow isn't getting better, so his planned weekend return is off the table.
- The Cubs aren't sure when SP Ryan Dempster will return from the DL, but his rehab seems to be going well.
- Pencil in Rays SP Jeremy Hellickson to be activated in time for a Saturday start against the Tigers.
- Astros 2B Jose Altuve is still day-to-day with a hamstring issue, while Bud Norris could come off the DL to start as soon as Thursday. We should know more about Norris tomorrow, and you should plan to bench Altuve today unless you hear good news.
- I'll be in the FOXSports.com fantasy chat room today at 2 p.m. ET. Make sure to stop by!
- Trevor Bauer has not yet been confirmed as Thursday's starter for the Diamondbacks, but that still appears to be the plan.
- Don't get too excited yet, but one Reds' beat writer thinks the team could promote SS Billy Hamilton in September. If you haven't heard about Hamilton yet, he has a .423 on-base percentage and 87 stolen bases in 69 games this season at the Reds' Class A affiliate in Bakersfield, and is probably one of baseball's 25 best prospects. In a couple of years, he's going to be a fantasy game changer.
- Fantasy tease Luke Hochevar threw a shutout for the Royals last night, and has a 1.13 ERA over his last three starts. I can see taking a chance on Hochevar in a deeper mixed league, and if my AL keeper league is any indication, he might also be available in AL-only formats.
- The Dodgers aren't expecting OF Matt Kemp to come off the DL until after the All-Star break. That's two weeks away, so it's not as bad as it sounds.
- Signs still point to Wednesday being Chase Utley Day in Philly.
- NL-only owners should keep infielder Drew Sutton on their radar, as he just got picked up by the Pirates. Sutton can hit a little bit, and incumbent SS Clint Barmes (.528 OPS) can't.
- 1B Aubrey Huff projects as a part-time player when he comes off the DL for the Giants.
- Padres 1B Yonder Alonso will probably return to action tonight after missing a couple games with a sore knee.
- Chris Carpenter's rehab isn't going very well. Fantasy owners shouldn't be waiting for him, anyway.
- According to minor-league guru Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, the agent for Rangers SP prospect Martin Perez tweeted last night that Perez is headed to the majors. Stay tuned, as the Rangers haven't yet announced anything.
- Blue Jays SP Henderson Alvarez left Tuesday's game with a sore elbow, and his prognosis is TBD. As friend of the blog Tim McLeod noted last night, "the winner of Survivor-Blue Jays Edition would be Ricky Romero."
- Keep an eye on information about Bryce Harper's back issues. There's nothing to worry about ... yet.
See you back here tomorrow morning.