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Fantasy Baseball Insiders Tonight 4/20: Giants’ Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez Allows One Run, K’s 10 in Loss

Wed, Apr 21, 2010

Insiders Tonight

Image courtesy of: Matt Goldman

Game No. 17 of 162 in Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ summer-long journey featured a revived Jose Reyes, and an impressive pitching performance from this week’s hottest pickup: Mike Pelfrey.

Game No. 17 – Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets

Jose Reyes had his best game of the young season Tuesday night against the Cubs, going 4-for-5 with a stolen base and two RBI. Two of his hits were bloop singles, while another was a hard-hit grounder up the middle. He made the most noise, however, with a two-run triple in the second, a well-hit ball that split the gap in left-center.

The Mets’ leadoff hitter is now batting .222 (10-for-45), and is an excellent buy-low option.

Despite Reyes’ four-hit night, Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey stole the fantasy headlines, shutting out the Cubs on three hits and three walks in seven innings.

The 26-year-old is now 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. (For more on Pelfrey, including a 2010 projection, click here)

Carlos Zambrano pitched six solid innings, working his slider/sinker combo in his most effective start of the season. A two-out walk issued to the pitcher Pelfrey in the second inning, however, allowed Reyes to deliver a two-run triple, the only runs Zambrano allowed on the night.

Zambrano walked three and struck out nine, lowering his ERA to 7.45 through three starts.

Alfonso Soriano collected a hit and coaxed his second base on balls of the season. He now has seven hits in his last five games since taking a day off last Thursday.

Other notes from around the league:

HITTERS

Hitter of the day: Ryan Ludwick (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI)

Ryan Ludwick went 3-for-4 with two runs, two HRs, and three RBI against the Diamondbacks Tuesday night.

St. Louis’ right fielder has flourished in the two-hole early this season, and is just two years removed from a 37-HR .299-batting average season. Though these totals are unreasonable to expect in 2010, the 31-year-old could approach 25 bombs and a .275 average.

Cristian Guzman went 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI batting in the two-hole Tuesday night against the Rockies.

The Nationals’ shortstop/second baseman is 8-for-14 in his last three games, raising his average to .362. The 32-year-old has limited power, but has always hit for a decent average. He’s worth a look in deep leagues, as Guzman could soon have 2B, SS, and OF eligibility.

Nationals’ catcher Ivan Rodriguez collected two more hits Tuesday night. Pudge is now 20-for-45 (.444) with eight multi-hit games this season. The 38-year-old’s red-hot start obviously won’t last, though he could be a solid catcher option in 12-team leagues this season.

Vernon Wells went 3-for-4 with two runs and another HR Tuesday night, his seventh of the season. (For more on Vernon Wells’ hot start, click here.)

Rafael Furcal went 2-for-5 with two runs, two steals, and an RBI Tuesday night. The Dodgers’ leadoff hitter is batting .333 (18-for-54) with 12 runs and six steals through 13 games.

The 32-year-old Furcal hasn’t hit 10-plus HRs or maintained a .300 average since 2006, and hasn’t stolen 25 bases since 2007. Given a full season without injury, however, Furcal appears capable of 30 steals with a .275 average.

Jason Heyward went 1-for-4 Tuesday night against the Phillies. His only hit was a two-out solo HR in the bottom of the ninth off Ryan Madson to force extra innings. The 20-year-old is batting .298 (14-for-47) with four HRs and 16 RBI through 13 games in 2010.

Jorge Cantu went 2-for-4 with a HR and two RBI against the Astros Tuesday night. The 28-year-old is tied for the league lead in RBI with 18, and has driven in a run in 13 of the 14 games he’s played in.

Lance Berkman went 1-for-4 with two RBI in his 2010 debut, after starting the season on the disabled list with a knee injury. Given 500 at-bats, the 34-year-old remains capable of blasting 25 HRs with a .300 average.

Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz each had three steals against knuckle-baller Tim Wakefield Tuesday night. Vladimir Guerrero also stole two bases, while Julio Borbon swiped one. If you need cheap steals this season, spot-start any player with decent speed against Wakefield.

PITCHERS

Pitcher of the day: Jonathan Sanchez (L, 7 IP, H, ER, 3 BB, 10 K)

Jonathan Sanchez tossed his second-consecutive game with seven-plus innings and 10-plus strikeouts in a tough-luck loss against the Padres Tuesday night. The 27-year-old southpaw allowed one run on one hit and three walks in seven innings, while fanning 10 batters. He is now second in baseball with 27 strikeouts through 19 1/3 innings.

After being roughed up in his first start against Atlanta, Sanchez has been lights-out against the light-hitting Pirates and Padres. His 1.86 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, however, should not be completely dismissed as a fluke. In 15 games after the All-Star Break last season, Sanchez posted a 3.83 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 98 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings, which doesn’t include the no-hitter he threw in his last start before the break.

The Giants’ No. 4 starter will be a great source for strikeouts this season, and may be on his way to a breakout season. He should be owned in all leagues.

Kevin Slowey tossed a gem against Cleveland Tuesday night, allowing just one run on five hits and zero walks in eight innings. He also struck out nine. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is now 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 18 1/3 innings.

Slowey’s incredible career walk rate (1.50) gives the 2005 second-rounder a chance to be a solid fantasy option in 2010.

Dave Bush turned in his second straight strong outing Tuesday night, shutting out the Pirates on three hits and four walks in seven innings. The Brewers’ starter now has a 2.41 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through three starts.

The 30-year-old is a great spot-start option given the right matchup.

Kyle Kendrick pitched a stellar game against the Braves Tuesday night, shutting them out through eight innings, while allowing just four hits and two walks.

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the 25-year-old Kendrick had allowed 11 earned runs in his two previous starts (combined 5 2/3 innings), both against the Nationals.

Kendrick is a ground ball pitcher, as he recorded 16 outs on the ground Tuesday night, and posted a 55.8 GB percentage in limited time last season. This, in addition to the quality run support he should receive, gives him a very slight chance of having fantasy value in deep leagues this season.

Padres’ starter Mat Latos pitched seven scoreless innings against the Giants Tuesday night, allowing just four hits and one walk. The 22-year-old struggled in his first two starts against the Rockies and Braves, but showed why Baseball America ranked him as the Padres’ No. 2 prospect in 2009.

Latos now has a 3.57 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. San Diego’s Petco Park is sure to aid his totals, but like most young pitchers, Latos will likely be very inconsistent this season.

RELIEVERS

Kevin Gregg allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning Tuesday night to record his first save since officially being named the Blue Jays’ closer last week.

The 31-year-old (who has averaged 28 saves over the last three seasons), now has four saves and a 1.42 ERA in six appearances this season.

Ryan Madson blew a 3-0 lead in the ninth against the Braves Tuesday night, his first blown save of the season. Filling in for the injured Brad Lidge, Madson has allowed 10 hits and six runs in seven innings this season.

Frank Francisco took the loss against the Red Sox Tuesday night. The recently-demoted closer entered a tie game in the ninth inning. He proceeded to load the bases (single, sac bunt, intentional walk, pop out to first, walk) before allowing the game-winning hit to the unknown Darnell McDonald.

Francisco has now allowed seven runs on 10 hits in just five innings this season. Neftali Feliz has a tight grip on the Rangers’ closing duties.

Fernando Rodney nailed down his fifth save of the season in Brian Fuentes’ absence Tuesday night. Fuentes is expected to return from a short DL-stint on Wednesday, and will reclaim the Angels’ ninth-inning duties according to manager Mike Scioscia. It’d be wise, however, to hold onto Rodney until Fuentes proves he can handle the job.

Check back all season long for more Fantasy Baseball Insider Tonight updates!

 

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