fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhIf I may, I’d like to get up on my Bullpen Soapbox again. Last week, the Royals lost three straight to the Rays after taking leads into the eighth inning. In all three games, premier closer Joakim Soria was warming up but was never summoned. Why? Because it was the eighth inning, that’s why. Forget the matchups, it was the eighth inning. Manager Trey Hillman explained that he didn’t want to push Soria, who’s had Tommy John surgery, by asking him to get five outs. Fine. But if he can only get three, why do they have to be in the ninth? Why can’t he start the eighth? Why can’t he come into the middle of an inning? Why does no one else ask these questions? Tony LaRussa strikes again…It’s interesting that the ineptitude of the Mets, Marlins and Braves may be the reason behind Roy Halladay remaining in Toronto. Since the Phillies emerged as the front runner for Halladay’s services, they’ve opened up a huge lead over the aforementioned teams and may now feel that they don’t need Halladay… A word of caution to fantasy owners patting themselves on the back for selecting All Star hurler, Jason Marquis: He is 60-43 lifetime in the first half and 30-37 in the second half… Despite hammering the ball at every opportunity, Jake Fox may see his AB reduced because he is serving as the Cubs’ backup C. His three hits Sunday, including his 5th HR should be an indication to Chicago that they need to find another backup… Dodgers’ closer, Jonathan Broxton, will deal with a toe injury for the rest of the year. He missed a few games recently but will not go on the DL. Off season surgery is possible… Cardinals’ hurler Joel Pineiro, the latest to receive a career makeover from pitching coach Dave Duncan. He hasn’t walked a batter in over 33 IP and has his ERA below 3.00… Jeremy Guthrie gave the Orioles a strong 8 IP in his first start since July 7th. He had been suffering from a viral infection… The Red Sox, disappointed by their lack of production at the top of the lineup, will continue to shuffle J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot… Look for the A’s to run more over the course of the second half in order to create some offense. They could be a cheap source of SB… Have to give credit where it’s due. Despite terrible reviews in this column, (and peripheral stats to back them up), Detroit closer Fernando Rodney is 20-20 in S.

Buy Low- Felipe Lopez, traded this week from Arizona to Milwaukee, should become a fixture at the top of the Brewers’ lineup as they search for production from anyone not named Braun or Fielder… Yunel Escobar, despite a few trips to manger Bobby Cox’s doghouse, is leading the Braves in RBI… Royals’ hurler Luke Hochevar struck out nine on Sunday and seems to be completely over his rough start. Right now, he’s throwing better than Zach Greinke…

Sell High- In Cleveland, Kerry Wood’s 5.23 ERA is not the biggest problem faced by his owners. Wood has just 16 save opportunities to this point. Deal him to someone desperate for saves but not all that attentive to statistics… Red Sox OF Jason Bay is still leading the AL in RBI but has seen his BA drop to .254. He might bring a bunch of help in a trade… While still carrying a respectable .285 BA, Jorge Cantu has seen his power numbers fall…

Grab Bag- San Diego called up top pitching prospect, Mat Latos who gave up 2 R on 3 H over 4 IP in his debut. Latos was 8-1 over two Minor League levels with a miniscule 1.36 ERA… The Twins, looking for a little offense from the 2B position, signed Mark Grudzielanek, who might be a nice addition in an AL only format… There may not be a hotter hitter in the majors then Seattle OF Franklin Gutierrez. He’s a FA in many mixed leagues… With Frank Francisco on the DL, Texas will give most of its save opportunities to C.J. Wilson

Drop Zone- What does Dusty Baker have against Aaron Harang? He ruined him last year by using him in relief on a “throw day” and tossed him right back into the mud this year by bringing him back after a two hour rain delay; just to qualify for a win. Hope Harang enjoyed it as he hasn’t had one since. He’s 0-6, 5.08 in his last ten starts… In Florida, Andrew Miller, the Marlins’ prize in the Miguel Cabrera deal, just does not look ready for the big leagues… The Brewers sent Mat Gamel down to AAA to make room for Felipe Lopez… It’s time to get rid of Boston’s Nick Green in your AL only league as Jed Lowrie will get most of the time at SS now that he’s healthy…

Sick Bay- Reds’ C Ramon Hernandez finally succumbed to the pain in his knee and had arthroscopic surgery this week… Astros’ 1B/OF Lance Berkman has missed a number of recent games due to a strained calf… Joel Zumaya is out indefinitely with pain in his right shoulder… Kansas City’s Gil Meche remains on the DL with a bad back… The Twins’ Kevin Slowey, eligible to come off the DL, is still not ready… Tampa P Scott Kazmir is still experiencing cramping in his left forearm…

Farm Fresh- Perhaps establishing himself as the proverbial “4A” player, Ian Snell has dominated since being sent down to AAA by Pittsburgh. He’s 2-1, 0.34 in four starts after going 2-8, 5.36 with the Pirates…

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