After months of trying, I finally got caught up on Breaking Bad last night. Three words: Best. Show. EVER! I just wish I had been as efficient as the guy I know who decided to start watching the series last Friday, and has seen 33 episodes since.
Thursday's strong effort from Edinson Volquez raised our streaming starter record to 53-39 for the season. The weekend picks are Oakland's Tommy Milone (owned in 25.7 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) against the Mariners today, Dillon Gee (9.4 percent owned) versus the Cubs on Saturday, and Cleveland's under-the-radar Zach McAllister (0.2 percent owned) against the Rays on Sunday. McAllister has a 3.93 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP in six starts this season, with 33 strikeouts against seven walks in 36 2/3 innings.
On to the news:
- Phillies 1B Ryan Howard will make his 2012 debut tonight after missing the first three months of the season with an Achilles injury. Howard has been hitting pretty well during his minor-league rehab stint, with 10 hits (including a homer) in 20 at bats. The Phillies have 78 games remaining, so assuming that Howard stays healthy, 15 homers seems reasonable. He's still available in 15.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, so check your league's free-agent pool.
- Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has been placed on the DL after his latest thumb injury. The earliest Pedroia can return is July 19, but since he got hurt the first time he hasn't hit much. I wouldn't recommend cutting Pedroia yet, but I'm worried about his fantasy value moving forward.
- The Miami Herald reports that Mike Stanton's knee injury will keep him out of the Marlins' lineup today, with Saturday and Sunday uncertain, and arthroscopic surgery a possibility. Hopefully, we'll know more details over the weekend.
- Dodgers SS Dee Gordon will miss six weeks due to a torn tendon in his right thumb. Gordon has 30 stolen bases this season despite a .280 on-base percentage, which translates to roughly 173 stolen bases for a normal hitter, give or take a few.
- Speaking of elite speed, Reds SS prospect Billy Hamilton has 101 stolen bases in 80 games at Class A, and could be headed to Double A very soon.
- Derek Holland is penciled in to come off the DL and start Saturday for the Rangers.
- As feared, Angels SP Dan Haren has landed on the DL due to a sore back. Haren is aiming for a return during the July 17-19 series at Detroit. Hopefully, his missing fastball will accompany him.
- The Seattle Times reports that the Mariners have recalled slugging, whiff-prone OF Carlos Peguero (24 HR between Triple A and MLB this season), and that the move could lead to the demotion of the disappointing Jesus Montero. AL-only owners should try to grab Peguero.
- After getting two hits and three RBI last night, Royals 1B Eric Hosmer is batting .326 with seven runs and six RBI over his last 11 games. It looks like he finally might be coming around.
- The Braves have placed RP Jonny Venters on the DL with elbow inflammation. It's apparently not too serious.
- Keep your ears open for news about injured Orioles Mark Reynolds (thumb) and Chris Davis (strained trap muscle). Reynolds thinks he'll be able to play tonight.
- It sounds like Astros OF Jordan Schafer has taken up residence in his manager's doghouse. This won't end well.
- Royals SP Luke Hochevar left Thursday's game after five innings because of a sprained ankle. Hochevar isn't scheduled to start again until after the All-Star break, so this is probably nothing to worry about.
- Two months ago, you'd have cared if the Dodgers had activated RP Javy Guerra from the DL. Now, not so much.
- Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy might be only a couple of weeks away from coming off the DL.
- Mets OF Andres Torres might be on his way to the DL due to a sore back.
- After suffering an injury on Tuesday, Pirates OF Alex Presley has been placed on the seven-day concussion DL.
- Drew Storen is still on target to return to the Nationals - as a setup man - next week. Speaking of the Nats, here's an excellent column by Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post about why Stephen Strasburg should be shut down when his innings limit (reportedly 160 or 170) is reached, regardless of whether the team is still in contention. Strasburg's potential shutdown will become the most fascinating story of baseball's second half. Many ex-player analysts are going to have meltdowns over this.
See you back here tomorrow morning.