by Moonlight Graham

Pitchers and Hitters

Despite the fact that the Red Sox took a beating last week in the Bronx, Josh fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhBeckett, Clay Bucholz and Jon Lester all turned in solid performances on the hill…   Baltimore’s Aubrey Huff has cleared waivers and can now be dealt… Despite posting stellar numbers in Seattle, Jarrod Washburn has been brutal in two starts since being traded to Detroit.  Some guys seem to thrive on mediocre teams… Angels’ OF Vlad Guerrero is 10 for 28 with 4 HR since returning from the DL… Since the All Star break, Twins’ starters have an ERA of 5.97, severely limiting Joe Nathan’s save opportunities… Ichiro Suzuki is 30 hits shy of becoming the first Major Leaguer with 200 hits in 9 consecutive seasons… Milwaukee’s Manny Parra is 4-0, 1.10 since returning from the minors… The Phillies have moved Jamie Moyer into the bullpen to clear a spot in the rotation for Pedro Martinez.  Hard to imagine Moyer will have any Fantasy Baseball value as a reliever… San Diego rookie Mat Latos has 4 wins in his first 5 starts… Nyjer Morgan is hitting .362 since coming to Washington from Pittsburgh… Troy Tulowitzki, fresh off a 7 RBI game that featured a cycle, is now batting cleanup for the Rockies… Is there any MLB player that gets less respect than Adam Dunn?  On his way to his fifth straight 40 HR season, Dunn almost had to beg for a contract last winter before signing with the Nationals… Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera are all nursing minor injuries.  Don’t be surprised if Yankee manager Joe Girardi takes advantage of their six game lead and gives each an occasional day off… The Brewers’ sent the struggling J.J. Hardy to the minors and presented Fantasy Baseball owners with an opportunity for some quick, cheap SB by handing the SS job to rookie Alcides Escobar, who had 42 SB when called up… Boston’s Kevin Youkilis will not appeal the five game suspension for his ridiculous overreaction to being plunked Monday night by Rick Porcello… Porcello was also handed a 5 game ban but will only miss one turn in the Tigers’ rotation… 30 of Rays’ 1B Carlos Pena’s 85 H have been HR.

Buy Low

In Detroit, Magglio Ordonez has turned in three straight solid performances vs. RHP and may be on the verge of getting his full time job back.  He’s not the Magglio we all know and love but, he could help you down the stretch… Seattle’s Franklin Gutierrez has been moved up to the second spot in the order and should see a bump in R…

Sell High

Kenji Johjima is losing playing time to Rob Johnson and hasn’t made consecutive starts in a month… Not only did Tampa Bay drop B.J. Upton to ninth in the batting order, he’s pissing and moaning about it; not a good sign… Roy Oswalt was cuffed around in his first start off the DL and may be more valuable to you in a trade…

Grab Bag

Kyle Davies makes his second consecutive appearance in the Grab Bag after a strong outing vs. Minnesota.  He’s worth a shot, especially in AL only leagues… Royals’ 1B Billy Butler has 36 doubles and is a FA in most mixed leagues.  Don’t forget his September power surge last year… Denard Span was 9-14 vs. Detroit last weekend and seems to have jumped ahead of Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez in the crowded Minnesota outfield… If you’re looking for W in your AL only league, Seattle’s Ryan Rowland-Smith might be a nice pickup based on his two solid outings since coming off the DL… Trent Oeltjen has started his MLB career with a .500 BA over his first 6 games and will be a regular in the D’Backs’ OF with Chris Young gone… Don’t look now but Barry Zito is 3-0 2.19 over his last 4 starts…

Drop Zone

Can’t believe there will be much playing time left for Scott Podsednik in Chicago now that Alex Rios is on board.  There may only be pinch running and an occasional start… Jose Contreras is 0-4 6.75 over his last five and doesn’t even warrant a spot on a deep, AL only roster. Dump him before Ozzie Guillen does… Tampa plans to use a platoon behind the plate, giving Gregg Zaun most of the AB and rendering Dioner Navarro worthless… Patience has finally run out in Arizona for OF Chris Young who was dispatched to the minors this week…

Sick Bay

Carlos Delgado has experienced a setback in his rehab and will probably not return this season… Justin Duchscherrer returns to Oakland’s rotation this weekend after being out all year with elbow and back issues… Cubs’ 3B Aramis Ramirez is experiencing soreness in the shoulder he dislocated in May… Chad Billingsley missed a start for the Dodgers with a strained hamstring but should avoid the DL…

While injuries have certainly been a prevailing theme for many MLB teams, two managers have been pulling rabbits out of hats all year long. In Los Angeles, both fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhJoe Torre and Mike Scioscia have their squads atop the division despite depleted rosters that would have sent lesser teams to the bottom of the standings. Torre has been without Manny Ramirez since April and has seen a complete power outage from C Russell Martin. Scioscia has had to deal with the death of Nick Adenhart, injuries to starters Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Ervin Santana while also struggling along without Vladimir Guerrero… It’s absolutely ridiculous that steroid cheat Manny Ramirez gets to do a Minor League rehab before his 50 game suspension is complete. If suspended farmhands have to sit out the whole sentence, why not the big boys?.. Joey Votto returned to the Reds’ lineup last week and picked up right where he left off. After sitting out more than a month, Votto revealed that his emotional problems stemmed from the difficulty he’s had in coping with his dad’s death. Funny how, sometimes, we forget that many of these big leaguers are still just kids. Good luck, Joey… The Marlins got a glimpse of why Andrew Miller was the focal point of the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers. In his last start, Miller gave up a leadoff double vs. the Orioles and then not another knock through 7 IP… Though having hit just 1 HR, Andrew McCutchen has surprised in Pittsburgh with 14 RBI in his first 18 G… When you sit down for your Fantasy Baseball Draft next year, remember that Heath Bell, likely a very, very late pick in mixed drafts, is leading the NL in S while Brad Lidge has blown 7 S already. Never, ever, reach for relievers or chase saves. They always come into the league… Mark Teixeira’s offensive prowess was unquestioned when he signed with the Yankees. What many (me) didn’t know was how smooth he is in the field. He is the very definition of an all- around player… Hope you heeded some Moonlight wisdom about Gil Meche. Since throwing 132 pitches in a complete game, Meche has allowed 13 ER in just 8 IP over 2 starts. Another victim of the pitch count police as he isn’t used to the extra work… Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the AL’s best record since April 30th… Jimmy Rollins returns to the Phillies’ lineup on Tuesday, hoping that his four game vacation will help pull him off the Mendoza line… David Aardsma is turning into a dominant closer for the Mariners… Quick, who is currently the best pitcher in the AL? My vote goes to Josh Beckett. Healthy now, he looks very much like the 2007 version that won 20 G…

Buy Low- Not surprising to find a Colorado Rockie leading this list, as they are the hottest team in the game. Troy Tulowitzki leads the charge, raising his BA more than 40 points over the last two weeks while rediscovering the power he displayed during his stellar rookie year… John Danks has put two dominating performances back to back as the White Sox rotation has started to turn things around… Been waiting all year to add Francisco Liriano to this list. The projected Twins’ ace has looked like his old self in his last two outings…

Sell High- Jesse Palmer currently sports a 7-1 record for the Angels. Make a point of that and deal him before your trade partner notices that he doesn’t strike anyone out and has a 5.16 ERA… Despite vying for the NL batting lead, Pablo Sandoval hasn’t logged any time behind the plate; significantly lowering his value heading into next season’s Fantasy Baseball Draft. If yours is not a keeper league, you might consider moving him for a lot of help in return…

Grab Bag- Mike MacDougal has been a nice surprise for the Nationals since taking over as closer… I know it was only the Mets, baseball’s version of a AAAA team, but Chien Ming Wang turned in his second straight solid performance vs. the Amazins on Sunday. If you’re looking for pitching, you could take a flier on much worse… Oakland turns to Gio Gonzalez after losing Josh Outman to Tommy John surgery. Gonzalez, long a top prospect, was 4-1 2.50 at AAA Sacramento… Chad Gaudin shut out the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday; his third straight dominant outing for Seattle. His K total has spiked over that time as well…

Drop Zone- Bill Hall may have seen his last day as the Brewers staring 3B. With his BA at .197 and Mat Gamel playing well, Hall doesn’t figure to see the field anytime soon… It pains me to write the name Vladimir Guerrero in this spot but that’s just where Vladdy’s power outage has landed him. Take him out of your lineup until he starts driving the ball… Getting close to the time to give up the ghost on the struggling Elijah Dukes…

Sick Bay- It’s starting to become more likely that Brandon Webb won’t be returning to the D’Back’s anytime soon. He’ll seek the opinions of three specialists this week as to what might be wrong with his shoulder and could be out for the season… Braves’ SS Yunel Escobar is trying to play through a hip problem that has forced him to the bench on occasion… Jose Reyes took ground balls and BP over the weekend but still appears to be out until after the break… Carlos Quentin is in the midst of a running program but is no closer to returning from a foot injury…

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