The Dodgers, to the frustration of everyone, will use Ronald Belisario and Brandon League in the 9th inning with Kenley Jansen (heart) on the sidelines. Way to clarify that situation for us Mr. Mattingly. I’d favor Belisario, 60/40, for 9th inning work. Also, Chad Billingsley will have platlet-rich plasma injections in his elbow in the hopes that it will help him return before the end of the season. It may, or may not, get him back out on the field this season.
The Giants plan on getting Joaquin Arias more time on the field. Good idea Giants. Arias is hitting .429 with 15 RBIs in just 56 at-bats in the month of August (that average leads baseball by the way). He’s not a great hitter, not even close, but he’s rolling right now making him a wonderful NL-only option at the moment.
Carlos Pena has been told his playing time will be cut. Shocker. When you’re hitting .188 with just 16 homers you should have your playing time reduced. Looks like Jeff Keppinger will get more time at first base against left-handed pitchers. Seems like a good thing since, oh, Keppinger thinks he’s Ted Williams against lefties this year as he’s hitting .411 with a 1.005 OPS through 90 at-bats.
Alex Rodriguez (hand) could return from the DL as early as Monday. Hand/wrist injuries traditionally sap the power of batters a wee bit, so it would be wise not to expect him to have some massive month of September, but at least he might have a month to help out fantasy squads.
Josh Vitters has failed, miserably, to do anything for the Cubs. He’s been awful at the plate going 5-for-54. That’s less than a .100 batting average folks (.093). The team doesn’t want the youngster to think he’s the worst player of all-time, so they are going to manage his workload moving forward. That’s code for they are going to bench him an awful lot. Hard to believe, but Luis Valbuena appears likely to get an awful lot of work at the hot corner (that’s not code – you want to add Valbuena in NL-only leagues if he is available, even if he can’t really hit either: .227/.319/.384 in 920 career at-bats. Maybe that’s why no one has bothered to add him to their team at Fleaflicker). Speaking of youngsters, Brett Jackson’s numbers are still poor – .216 average and 37 Ks in 74 at-bats (to state it differently, he’s striking out in literally half his at-bats) – but unlikely Vitters there seems to be some short-term hope. Jackson has been a highly effective offensive performer over his last seven games with three homers, six RBIs and six runs scored. At least one of the Cubs’ youngsters is showing something.
HITTERS FOR FRIDAY
Stephen Drew vs. Aaron Cook: .342 in 38 at-bats
Jonny Gomes vs. Aaron Cook: .500-3-6 in 14 at-bats
Torii Hunter vs. Kevin Millwood: .405-2-13 in 42 at-bats
Dan Uggla vs. Roy Halladay: .355-3-7 in 31 at-bats
Chris Young vs. Aaron Harang: .316-3-5 in 19 at-bats
HITTERS FOR SATURDAY
Aaron Hill vs. Josh BeckettL .412-1-8 in 34 at-bats
Ryan Howard vs. Tim Hudson: .344-7-17 in 61 at-bats
Adam Lind vs. Jeff Niemann: .448-3-9 in 29 at-bats
Joe Mauer vs. Luke Hochevar: .500-1-3 in 26 at-bats
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Max Scherzer: .385-1-5 in 26 at-bats
PITCHERS FOR FRIDAY
Dan Haren vs. Mariners: 11-6, 2.69 ERA in his career.
Hiroki Kuroda: 8-straight starts 3 or fewer ERs (11 ERs total).
Adam Wainwright vs. Nats: 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA last seven starts this year.
PITCHERS FOR SATURDAY
Homer Bailey vs. Astros: 4-0, 1.33 ERA vs. ‘Stros. Club hitting .225 since All-Star Break.
Kyle Lohse vs. Nats: 5-0, 2.34 ERA, 1.08 WHIP over last nine starts
Max Scherzer vs. W.Sox: 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 81 Ks in 75.2 IP vs. W.Sox.
DAILY JOUST CONTESTS
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By Ray Flowers