Posts Tagged ‘Michael Cuddyer’

Starting Nine: American League Central

January 12, 2010

Yesterday, I took at the starting nine position players for each American League East team. Today, I will cover the starting nine position players for each American League Central team.

Remember, these lineups are as of today. Obviously these will change as the offseason continues. I will update these lineups as the season approaches.

Here are the starting lineups for each American League Central team:

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Joe Mauer, C

3. Justin Morneau, 1B

4. Michael Cuddyer, RF

5. Jason Kubel, DH

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. J.J. Hardy, SS

8. Brendan Harris, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Quick Take – The Twins have as good a one through five as anyone in baseball. They desperately need a third and second baseman. Orlando Hudson would be a nice addition.

Chicago White Sox

1. Juan Pierre, LF

2. Gordon Beckham, 2B

3. Carlos Quentin, RF

4. Paul Konerko, 1B

5. Alex Rios, CF

6. Alexei Ramirez, SS

7. A.J. Pierzynski, C

8. Mark Teahen, 3B

9. Mark Kotsay, DH

Quick Take – Perhaps there is no lineup that is harder to put together than the White Sox’s. This lineup could go in nine different directions. They need a DH and bringing back Jim Thome would make sense.

Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Carlos Guillen, DH

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Magglio Ordonez, RF

5. Brandon Inge, 3B

6. Ryan Raburn, LF

7. Gerald Laird, C

8. Adam Everett, SS

9. Scott Sizemore, 2B

Quick Take – Another hard lineup to put together. Jackson and Sizemore could flip-flop in the order. I don’t see a reason to ever pitch to Cabrera.

Kansas City Royals

1. Scott Podsednik, CF

2. David DeJesus, LF

3. Billy Butler, 1B

4. Jose Guillen, RF

5. Alex Gordon, 3B

6. Alberto Callaspo, 2B

7. Josh Fields, DH

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

9. Jason Kendall, C

Quick Take – This lineup is going to have a hard time scoring runs. This year might be make or break for Gordon.

Cleveland Indians

1. Azdrubal Cabrera, SS

2. Michael Brantley, LF

3. Grady Sizemore, CF

4. Shin-Soo Choo, RF

5. Travis Hafner, DH

6. Jhonny Peralta, 3B

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B

8. Lou Marson, C

9. Luis Valbuena, 2B

Quick Take – I like putting Brantley in the two-hole because of the speed and high OBP ability he showed in the minors. Sizemore moves down to the three-hole and takes on the role of a run producer.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the American League West.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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New York Yankees Roll, Win Game One

October 8, 2009

Everything went according to plan for the New York Yankees in Game One of their American League Division series against the Minnesota Twins.

The Yankees got six and two-thirds solid innings from CC Sabathia, they used the long ball to their advantage like they have been all year, and even got Alex Rodriguez to contribute in their 7-2 victory over the Twins.

Believe it or not, the Twins actually had a 2-0 lead in this game heading into the third inning. They got a clutch two-out hit from Michael Cuddyer and then Joe Mauer scored on a passed ball by Jorge Posada to make it 2-0.

I’ll just say this–Posada was awful defensively in this game. Could a catcher look anymore clueless behind the plate than Posada did last night? Jose Molina is so much better than him defensively it’s ridiculous.

Matsui went yard last night

Matsui went yard last night

But after the Twins took that 2-0 lead, the Yankees came right back to tie the game on a Derek Jeter two-run homerun. As soon as Jeter hit that HR, you kind of felt that the Yankees would win this game.

Hideki Matsui broke the game open with a two-run HR in the fifth off of Francisco Liriano and the rest was history. What the heck happened to Liriano? He is the only pitcher I can think of, who has gotten worse after Tommy John surgery.

I think the Twins will be much, much more competitive for the rest of this series. Ron Gardenhire said his club was “gassed” before the start of Game One. It’s usually not a good sign when your manager says that before a game.

The day off today should serve the Twins well. They should finally be able to get some sleep, regroup, and like I said, be much better throughout this series.

Game Two is Friday at 6:07 ET.

One last side note to this game. Major League Baseball really needs to end their relationship with TBS. Their coverage of baseball is awful.

How many times did they show Jay Z and Kate Hudson in this game? It seemed like 100 times. We get it TBS–there are stars in New York. It’s nothing new.

Uma Thurman and Julia Roberts live around the corner from me–big deal.

I want to watch baseball. I don’t want to see Craig Sager in his purple clown suits, I don’t want to see David Aldridge (a basketball guy) doing baseball interviews, and I don’t want to Jay Z and Kate Hudson every five minutes.

I just want to watch baseball.

Twins And Tigers Remind Us All What Is Great About Baseball

October 7, 2009

When people ask me what was the greatest baseball game I ever saw, I always say it was Game Six of the 1986 National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.

The Mets won that game 7-6 in 16 innings to advance to the World Series. It was a game that was filled with so much drama, passion, and intensity that you could feel it with every pitch through the television set.

It was one of those rare sporting events that was so great, you know you were watching a classic as it unfolded and you would never forget where you were that day.

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Nathan played in an all-time game last night

Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers gave everyone one of those games.

The Twins beat the Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings in a one-game playoff to clinch the American League Central title. For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes last night there were no salaries, no free agency, no arbitration, and no steroids.

Last night it was about two teams playing their guts out and leaving everything on field. The Twins and Tigers not only captured the 58,088 screaming fans in the Metrodome, but they captured millions watching at home.

They captured four friends, who weren’t Twins or Tigers fan, but were so into the game that they were texting back and forth on practically every situation that occurred. We all knew we were watching one of the best games we ever saw.

They even captured non-baseball fans like the girl sitting next to me at the bar last night. I could tell she didn’t know the difference between a curveball or a beachball, but she was taken in by game. “I can’t believe they got out that” she said referring to Joe Nathan getting out of a first and third jam with one out in the ninth.

There will always be people out there who say athletes — and in particular baseball players don’t care because they get paid so much.

Tell that to Tigers’ 3B Brandon Inge, who played the majority of the second-half on a knee so bad, he will require surgery at the end of the year.

Tell that to Fernando Rodney, who gave everything he had for three innings last night when he is only used to pitching one and deserved a better fate.

Tell that to catchers Gerald Laird and Joe Mauer, who after catching nearly 400 combined pitches, were blocking balls in the dirt in the 11th and 12th innings so textbook that you could show them to any kid who wants to become a catcher.

Tell that to Orlando Cabrera, a guy, who for some reason goes from team to team and all he does is win.

Tell that to Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire, two of the class acts in baseball, who managed last night’s game like a father would manage his son in a Little League game.

Were there mistakes in this game? Sure there were. Alexi Casilla not tagging up properly in the bottom of the 10th. Ryan Raburn’s unnecessary attempt at a diving catch, which led to a Michael Cuddyer triple in the bottom of the 10th. Miguel Cabrera not running hard from the get-go on Inge’s chopper to second in the 11th.

In any sporting event — especially one that goes into extra innings,  you can question a play in the game or a player’s actions. However, that doesn’t take away from how great the overall game was.

The Twins and Tigers gave us a show that captivated baseball.

For four-hours and thirty-seven minutes, the Twins and Tigers reminded us all what is great about America’s National Pastime.

Fantasy Week In Review, September 14-20

September 21, 2009

For the majority of fantasy baseball leagues, the playoffs are well underway. Since most leagues don’t allow pickups during the playoffs unless someone is injured, I am not going to list the potential pickups for this week.

Here are the fantasy studs and players who might be ruining some teams playoff chances.

Fantasy Studs

Miguel Olivo:.253/4/13. What was amazing about Olivo’s performance last week was that he walked three times. That accounted for a quarter of his walks for the 2009 season. Olivio has walked just 14 times this year.

Michael Cuddyer: .292/4/11. Cuddyer is filling in just fine for the injured Justin Morneau.

Wieters has turned it on in September

Wieters has turned it on in September

Matt Wieters: .480/2/10. Wieters has finally come around. It appears Wieters is getting more comfortable at the plate with each passing game.

Mark Teixeira: .520/2/9. Teixeira is making one last push for the AL MVP award.

Jason Bay: .471/3/9. Bay got off to a torrid start, slowed down in the middle months, and is now turning it on again.

Cliff Lee: 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA with 15 K’s in 20 IP. After a couple of rough starts, Lee bounced back nicely last week.

Jake Peavy: 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA and 13 K’s in 12 IP. It’s good to finally talk about Peavy on the field, rather than an off the field injury. Peavy still has his good stuff as his 13 K’s in 12 IP indicates.

Joe Nathan: Four saves with a 2.45 ERA and six K’s in 3.2 IP. With the Minnesota Twins on a hot streak, Nathan has been the beneficiary of some increased save opportunities.

Reasons for Concern

Roy Oswalt: The Houston Astros shut down their ace last week for the remainder of the season because of lingering back soreness. Was Oswalt another casualty of the World Baseball Classic.

In 2009, Oswalt had the lowest wins of his career (8), highest ERA of his career (4.12), had a higher WHIP than last year (1.241), and his K/9 rate dropped from last year (6.8 in 2009 and 7.1 in 2008).

With a full winter’s rest, I expect Oswalt to bounce back in 2009.

Is Hudson out of a job in LA?

Is Hudson out of a job in LA?

Orlando Hudson: It looks like Hudson will be splitting time with Ronnie Belliard the rest of the way. Hudson has struggled in September, only hitting .250 with a .690 OPS. Belliard, on the other hand has been raking this month.

Belliard is batting .308 with an impressive .903 OPS and is second on the team in RBI with 13.

If you have a better option at second base than Hudson–go with him.

Remember, you can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter at www.twitter.com/theghostofmlg

Live Blog: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

September 20, 2009

Despite not having one of the best players in baseball for the remainder of the year in Justin Morneau, the Minnesota Twins are making serious late-season push towards the playoffs.

Yesterday, the Twins cut the Detroit Tigers lead in the AL Central to just three games. With the AL Central race heating up, I thought I would do a live blog of today’s game between the two AL Central rivals.

Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins

Date: 9/19/09

Starting Lineups:

Detroit Tigers

1. Curtis Granderson, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 2B

3. Carlos Guillen, LF

4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

5. Aubrey Huff, DH

6. Magglio Ordonez, RF

7. Brandon Inge, 3B

8. Gerald Laird, C

9. Adam Everett, SS

Justin Verlander, P

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Orlando Cabrera, SS

3. Joe Mauer, C

4. Jason Kubel, RF

5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B

6. Delmon Young, LF

7. Jose Morales, DH

8. Brian Buscher, 3B

9. Nick Punto, 2B

Carl Pavano, P

Top 1st

Dick Bramer and Rod Allen calling the game for Fox today. Glad to see Fox has their D team doing the game today. On the mound for the Twins is Carl Pavano who is 4-0 lifetime versus the Tigers.

Every New York Yankee fan just threw their remote at the TV.

First pitch of the game to Granderson is fouled off out of play. Granderson’s average is down to .250. He really needs to pick up here.

Maybe some other time as Granderson strikes out looking on three pitches.

Polanco rips a single up the middle. One on and nobody out for Guillen. Guillen has been hampered all year by injuries.

Jim Leyland, trying to create some offense put on a hit and run, but Guillen fouls the ball off. Polanco gets to second base anyway as Pavano throws a wild pitch.

Guillen goes down swinging as Pavano throws a nasty changeup to get Guillen. Two outs now.

On an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera bloops one to center. Polanco, running all the way with two outs — scores easily. Tigers take an early lead, 1-0.

Big two-out RBI for Cabrera.

Huff pops out to short to end the inning.

The Tigers push across a run and lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.

Bottom 1st

Cy Young award candidate Justin Verlander on the mound for the Tigers. He gets Span to ground out weakly to first for the first out of the inning.

Verlander pacing himself with 96 mph fastballs to Cabrera. Verlander gets Cabrera to pop up to second for the second out.

Now comes up the 2009 AL MVP and one of the nicest athletes I have ever met, Joe Mauer.

My lord Mauer is awesome. Mauer just turns on a 96 mph fastball and launches one into the upper deck in rightfield. That ball was freakin’ crushed.

Game tied at one.

Kubel rips one, but right to Cabrera to end the inning.

But the Twins pull even, and after one in Minnesota, we are tied at one.

Top 2nd

I gotta tell ya, Ordonez’s bat looks slower than Gary Carter’s did at the end of his career. The Tigers are so pleased to be paying Ordonez $18 million next year. Worst contract in baseball next year, hands down.

Ordonez grounds out to third for the first out.

Ouch! Inge gets hit right on the elbow. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

Laird bloops one to right for a single. Inge stops at second. First and second with one out for Everett.

Everett hits a groundball in the hole between first and second, but Punto cuts the ball off and gets Everett at first. Inge and Laird move up a base.

Granderson, not wasting any time, swings at the first pitch and lines one deep to center, but Span tracks it down to make the catch. Granderson has had two AB’s and has seen four pitches. Way to work the count Curtis.

Bottom 2nd

Awesome crowd on hand at the Metrodome. It looks like there is a sellout.

Cuddyer flies out to deep center for the first out.

The ever-so-disappointing Young hits a seeing eye single up the middle.

If I were in the Twins dugout, I would say just sit on the fastball. Verlander’s curve is all over the place and he has yet to throw it for a strike.

Verlander can’t locate his fastball either as he walks Morales. First and second with one out for Buscher.

The Twins really could use a third baseman next year. Maybe Garrett Atkins makes sense for them. Verlander just overpowers Buscher and strikes him out on three pitches.

Wow, Punto is really battling Verlander. He has fouled off pitch after pitch.

Punto hits a grounder in the hole, but is robbed by a great defensive play by Cabrera. He dove to right, caught the ball, and then made a perfect throw to Everett to force out Morales.

After two complete, it’s the Tigers one and the Twins one

Top 3rd

Pavano is a first-pitch strike throwing machine. First-pitch strikes to nine of the 11 batters he has faced so far. Yankee fans are just fuming right now.

Polanco is such a professional hitter. Pavano throws an outside fastball and Polanco just goes with the pitch and serves it to rightfield for a single.

Guillen just looks like a shell of his former self. He pops up to third for the first out. My take on the Tigers so far is that they just look like an old team.

Cabrera rips one to rightfield for a single. Polanco stops at second.

Up is Huff who is sporting a nice beard. He kind of looks like a young Bert Blyleven. Ironically, Huff isn’t going to the Hall of Fame either.

Huff becomes the third Tigers batter this inning to go to the opposite field for a single. Huff’s single brings home Polanco and the Tigers lead 2-1. Cabrera stops at second.

It’s kind of weird. Pavano appears to be pitching well, but he has given up six hits in just 2.1 innings so far.

Ordonez really does stink. He taps one back to the mound and Pavano gets the force at second. That ball was hit so slowly that the Twins couldn’t turn two on the play.

Pavano escapes further damage as Inge hits a can-of-corn to center.

But the Tigers take a 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third.

Bottom 3rd

Fox just showed Ernie Harwell’s speech from Wednesday night. What a class act he is. He looks healthier at 91 than I do at 32.

Span starts off the inning with a single to left.

On an 0-1 count, Span tries to steal second and is gunned down by Laird. Laird threw a pea to second base. Span was out by a good foot.

Verlander throws his best offspead pitch of the day and strikes out Cabrera on a wicked changeup. Two outs.

Wow, Verlander’s curve isn’t working today, but his changeup is. He strikes out Mauer on a sweet changeup down and away.

After three, it’s still 2-1 Tigers

Top 4th

Just saw a commercial for Bud Light Golden Wheat. I bet that tastes awful. If regular Bud Light runs right through you, I can only imagine what Golden Wheat will do.

Laird flies out to shallow right for the first out.

Kick save and a beauty by Pavano. Everett hits one up the middle, the ball kicks off Pavano’s cleat to third, and Buscher gets Everett at first. Pavano wins that battle of former over-hyped Red Sox prospects.

Granderson singles to left. It seems the Tigers are taking an opposite field approach to hitting Pavano.

With Granderson running, Polanco just flicks his bat on a low and outside pitch and bloops one to right for a single. Granderson continues running and gets to third.

Another opposite field hit for the Tigers. The Tigers have eight hits and all of them are either up the middle or to the opposite field.

Guillen strikes out looking to end the inning. Not sure what Guillen was looking at or for. That pitch was right down the middle.

Bottom 4th

Fox just showed a view of the new Target Field. Can’t wait till Opening Day 2010 when it’s 25 degrees at game time.

Kubel grounds out to second for the first out.

Cuddyer swings at the first pitch and flies out to center for the second out.

Verlander pumps one up to 97 mph and strikes out Young. Hey look at that. Our first one-two-three inning of the day.

Top 5th

I have no idea what just happened. Cabrera hits a little flare to rightfield and Punto actually out-ran the ball, tried to turn around to catch it, and dropped the ball.

It goes down as a hit and another opposite field hit for the Tigers.

Huff chops one to short, but the ball is hit to slowly to turn two. Cabrera is forced at second for the first out.

Ordonez hits one sharply through the hole between short and third for a single. Huff stops at second. That is now 10 hits for the Tigers — all singles.

Inge bloops one down the rightfield line for a single. Good job by Kubel of trapping that ball. If that got by him, it might have gone for a triple.

Bases loaded for Laird. Pavano will try to get a double play ball from the slow footed Tigers’ catcher.

And right on cue, Laird hits into a tailor made six-four-three double play.

Pavano dances out of trouble again. It’s still 2-1 Tigers going into the bottom of the fifth.

Bottom 5th

Jose Morales leading it off for the Tigers. Morales loops one to left for a single.

Fox just showed Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants highlights. Brad Penny is getting rocked in LA. Not surprised. It was bound to happen.

Buscher has seen six pitches and six strikes. Again, he was overmatched and struck out. One out.

Punto hits a lazy fly ball to center for the second out.

Span swings at the first pitch and flies out to rightcenter for the third out. Verlander without his best stuff is shutting down the Twins.

2-1 Tigers after five.

Top 6th

Everett swings at the first pitch and pops it up to short.

Granderson hits one sharply to second, but Punto is all over it and gets Granderson at first. Two outs.

Let’s see if Pavano can get his first one-two-three inning. He does. Polanco grounds to third to end the inning.

If the Tigers lose this game they will be really kicking themselves in the but. They have had tons of chances to blow this game open.

Bottom 6th

I love Orlando Cabrera. I wish the Red Sox resigned him. He is just a winning player.

Cabrera, right on cue, singles to right.

Every time Mauer comes to the plate, there is an electricity in the air. That is how good he is right now. Every time he is up, you expect something to happen.

Good battle here between Mauer and Verlander. 3-2 count and Mauer has fouled off a couple of 97 mph fastballs from Verlander.

Another nice play by Miguel Cabrera. Mauer hit one into the hole, but Cabrera makes another diving stop. Since Orlando Cabrera was running, Cabrera just stepped on first for the out.

Great pitching by Verlander. Knowing Kubel is looking for a fastball, Verlander pulls the string and gets Kubel out in front and Kubel grounds weakly up the middle. Everett gets Kubel at first for the second out.

Cuddyer hits a two-hopper to second for the third out. The Twins strand a runner at third. This is where not having Morneau in the lineup kills the Twins

Top 7th

I can’t believe this John Mellencamp “This is our country” commercial is still playing. It’s sooooo 2007.

Pavano still in there for the Twins. Despite giving up what seems like 20 singles, he has pitched well today.

Guillen flies to Span for the first out of the inning.

Young makes a nice diving catch to rob Cabrera of a hit. Young has the fatest face with a body that doesn’t match. He is like the anti-Kirby Puckett.

Pavano gets Huff looking for strike three. That was a sweet slider that got the inside corner. So after not having a one-two-three inning through the first five — Pavano has retired six in a row.

Pavano’s day is probably done. Who do you think Yankees fans hate more? Pavano or Jaret Wright?

Bottom 7th

Holy shnikies! What a play by Inge. He extends to rob Young of a double, but Young beats Inge’s throw to first. Still, what a great play by Inge. That ball was ticketed for at least a double.

Carlos Gomez comes on to pinch run for Young. Speaking of Gomez, how bad has that Johan Santana trade been for the Twins?

Look for Gomez to steal at some point.

Morales flies out to left for the first out.

I have to tell you. I have been beyond impressed with Laird in this game. Gomez tried to steal second and Laird gunned him down. Laird has such a quick release.

Buscher grounds to second to end the inning. On a positive note, Buscher actually made contact against Verlander.

Top 8th

Jesse Crain comes in to replace Pavano. A solid effort from Pavano. Seven innings and only two runs. I think the Twins will take that every time.

Crain gets Ordonez and his beyond slow swing to ground to first for the first out.

Inge flies to Kubel in right for the second out. Crain throwing heat. He has been in the upper-90’s all inning.

Easy inning for Crain as Laird grounds out to second.

Bottom 8th

Verlander still on the mound for the Tigers. He has thrown 110 pitches so far. My guess is Leyland let’s him throw 160 pitches today if it means a Tigers win.

Verlander still has it as he blows away Punto for the first out.

Span gets the Twins going with a single down the leftfield line. Nice play by Don Kelly, who replaced Guillen in left to cut the ball off and hold Span to a single.

I am going to admit, I have no idea who Don Kelly is.

3-2 count now to Cabrera. Do you send Span? I would.

If I didn’t know who Kelly was before, I do know. Cabrera hits a routine flyball to left, but Kelly last the ball in the roof. The ball drops and Span ends up at third and Cabrera ends up with a double.

Leyland is going to ring this kid’s neck. Poor sap.

Mauer is being intentionally walked to load the bases for Kubel.

Big spot her for Kubel. Bases loaded with one out. This is Verlander’s game. He is pumping it up to 98 on the gun.

Kubel bloops one to left for a single and what great baserunning by Cabrera. He got an outstanding jump and scored behind Span to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

And with that hit, Verlander exits the game.

Brandon Lyon comes on to replace Verlander. I don’t care what his numbers are — he stinks.

BOOM!!! Who needs Morneau? Cuddyer just crushes one to leftcenter field. 6-2 Twins. I can’t believe there are people out there who think Lyon is good.

Gomez flies to rightcenter and Clete Thomas, who replaced Ordonez for defense makes a nice running catch for the second out.

This is the problem if the Tigers even make the playoffs. Even if Verlander gives you seven, solid innings, who is going to pitch the eighth? Lyon is going to pitch the eigth in Yankee Stadium? No thank you.

Lyon gets Morales swinging to end the inning. But the damage was done.

The Twins score five big runs and take a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.

Bottom 9th

Jose Mijares on to close out the game for the Twins. Mijares looks like a left-handed Juan Berenguer.

Mijares makes quick work of Everett, as Everett flies out to Span for the first out.

Boy, someone needs to talke to Granderson. His team is down by four runs and he goes up there swinging at the first pitch. He pops up to second for the second out.

Polanco keeps the Tigers alive as he doubles to leftcenter field.

With Ryan Raburn announced as the pinch-hitter for Don Kelly, Ron Gardenhire is going to make an unneccessary pitching change. He will bring in Matt Guerrier to face Raburn.

Can Mijares not get out Raburn? I mean come on.

Well, what I think doesn’t matter as Raburn grounds back to the mound to end the game.

Twins win 6-2 and now they are just two games back of the Tigers. The Twins won this three-game series and they will go for the sweep tomorrow.

Justin Morneau Out; Daisuke Matsuzaka In

September 15, 2009

Let’s start with the bad news first.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Twins MVP candidate Justin Morneau will miss the remainder of the season because of a stress fracture in his lower back. This just sucks out loud if you are a Twins fan.

No Morneau means no playoffs for the Twins

No Morneau means no playoffs for the Twins

Morneau has a fracture of the L5 vertebra in his lower back, but will not need surgery. The recovery time is expected to be three months and Morneau should be ready by Spring Training in 2010.

Morneau is having a typical Morneau season — .271 with 30 HR’s and 100 RBI in 135 games for the Twins. Despite being only 5.5 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, it will be almost impossible for the Twins to catch the Tigers without their star first baseman.

Look for Michael Cuddyer to get the majority of playing time at first in place of Morneau.

Now for the good news, or maybe not based on how he has pitched this year. Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5, 8.23 ERA) will make his first start for the Boston Red Sox since June 19th, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tonight at Fenway Park.

Dice-K needs to step up

Dice-K needs to step up

I can honestly tell you that I have no idea what to expect from Matsuzaka tonight. He could pitch his typical two hits, four walks, five strikeouts, and one run in five innings or he could get bombed by a solid Angels lineup in three innings of work. Neither would shock me.

Here is what I do know. The Red Sox desperately need Matsuzaka to pitch like he did in 2008 (18-3, 2.90 ERA) in order for them to have a chance at a World Series title in 2009.

I have confidence in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz in the first three spots in the Red Sox playoff rotation. I have ZERO confidence in Tim Wakefield and Paul Byrd in Game Four of any playoff series. This is where Matsuzaka comes in.

If he can come back healthy and pitch with as much determination as he shows when he pitches for Japan in the WBC, then the Red Sox will have a solid one through four heading into the postseason.

Fantasy Week In Review 5/18-5/24

May 26, 2009

Since I missed my weekly fantasy week in review post last week because of a family matter I needed to attend, I was planning on doing a super 2 week fantasy review this week. Unfortunately that is not going to happen. Why? Because there isn’t a site out there that gives stats for the past 14 days!!! Every site is either 7 days, 30 days, etc… Very frustrating. Does anyone know of a site that gives 14 day stats?

That being said, I will do my normal fantasy week in review this week. Here are the fantasy studs, the players who are of concern, injury news and potential pickups for the week of 5/18 – 5/24.

Fantasy Studs

Joe Mauer – .458/4/13/.516. The best catcher in baseball, might soon become the best player in baseball.

Jason Bartlett – .385/2/13/.469. I thought this guy was only supposed to play defense?

Michael Cuddyer – .448/4/12. Any player who hits for the cycle is a fantasy stud.

Mark Teixeira – .444/5/10. I guess having Arod hitting behind you really does help.

Brandon McCarthy – 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 IP. Threw the very rare CGSO last week and at 25, looks to be coming into his own.

Madson has been lights out lately

Madson has been lights out lately

Joel Pineiro – 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 IP. 2 Quality Starts and a CGSO makes for a very good week.

Ryan Madson – 3 Holds with 0.00 ERA and 5 K’s in 3.2 IP. If your in a league that counts holds as a stat (one of my leagues does), then Madson is your guy. Right now he is the best set-up guy in the game.

Reasons For Concern

Brad Lidge – 2 blown saves, 6 hits, 2 walks and a 15.43 ERA in 2.1 IP. After not blowing a save in 2008, Lidge has now 4 blown saves in 2009. Lidge looked terrible against the Yankees. He has a 9.15 ERA on the season and is now wearing a special insole in his cleat which is designed to alleviate pain in his knee. There are a lot of reasons to be concerned with Lidge at this point.

Ricky Nolasco – Things have gotten so bad for Nolasco that he was sent down to the Minors after Friday’s start. If I had Nolasco on any of my fantasy teams, I wouldn’t drop him. I just think he has hit an extreme rough patch and he is too good to be this bad. He could help your team out in the second half of the season.

Chris Davis – .053/0/0. Everyone’s preseason mancrush struck out 10 times in 19 AB’s last week. On the season, Davis has K’d 66 times in just 150 plate appearances. That is almost half the time!!!

Scott Kazmir – Kazmir has been awful this year and was placed on the 15 Day DL last week. As I wrote, I am a little skeptical of this move. I could be wrong, but I think this is more the Rays asking Kazmir to take a time out rather than Kazmir having a serious leg injury.

Travis Snider – The Blue Jays sent the struggling Snider to Triple A last week. I guess if I pick you to win the Rookie of the Year award, you will be sent to the minors. I also predicted Cameron Maybin to win the award in the NL. Good times. I do however, expect both Snider and Maybin to be called back up in the second half.

Injuries

Chris Iannetta – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a strained right hamstring. This hurts because Iannetta was hitting .276/5/13/.364 in May.

Mike Aviles – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a strained right forearm. Aviles has fallen flat on his face this year and will not be missed by fantasy owners.

Rich Harden – Placed on the 15 Day DL with a bad back. Harden is halfway to filling his quota of two trips to the DL per year.

Losing Weeks is a big blow

Losing Weeks is a big blow

Edison Volquez – Placed on the 15 Day DLwith back spasms. I am not too concerned with this injury. Volquez should be ready to go the first week of June.

Rickie Weeks – Out for the year with a wrist injury. Crushing blow not only to fantasy teams but more importantly the Brewers. Weeks was headed for a breakout 2009.

Potential Pickups

Tommy Hanson – Hanson is ready and it is only a matter of time before he gets called up. Snag him before someone else in your league does. Especially if you are in a keeper league.

Anthony Swarzak – Swarzak threw 7 scoreless innings against the Brewers in his major league debut. He was one of the Twins’ best prospects before he was called up, so the potential is there.

Derek Holland – I really like Holland. He just reminds me of a young Steve Avery on the Braves, not the washed up Avery on the Red Sox. He pitched well in his first start of the season against the Astros. He only made one bad pitch and that was to Berkman in the 5th. Expect some rookie growing pains, but he should be in the Rangers’ rotation for the long haul.

Ryan Madson – Madson might be worth picking up if you have a roster spot. If Lidge continues to pitch like The Ghost of Wayne Gomes, then Madson would be next in line for save opportunities.