Monday, July 4 – 11:20 PM
An encouraging quote was all it took. After making the wise decision to bench Adam Dunn for a week in which he appeared in just four games, going hitless in 11 at-bats, he’s right back in my lineup. Why? Despite going 0-for-4 yesterday, Dunn came away feeling good about his approach at the plate. “I don’t know what it was, something actually felt normal for once,” the first-half bust said. “Hopefully that will carry over to tomorrow and we can kind of get it done.” I just had a gut feeling that a hot stretch was in the cards. Tonight, I was rewarded for my loyalty. Not only did Dunn launch his first home run in more than three weeks, but he posted just his second multi-hit game since May 14. Hard to believe, I know. Could this be the start of a resurrection? Maybe. Maybe not. At this point, like Dunn, all I can do is hope.
Tuesday, July 5 – 10:45 PM
Whenever your fantasy starting pitcher lasts just five innings, it’s disappointing. When he lasts just five innings while giving up zero runs, it’s curious. And when he lasts just five innings while giving up zero runs and finishes with a pitch count of 62, you know something is wrong. But there’s only so much you can learn from a box score. So after digesting this series of alarming numbers, I go to my team page to learn that Scott Baker was lifted early from today’s outing due to a mild elbow strain. Even though the injury is termed not serious, considering Baker’s history of arm troubles, I’m more than a little concerned that a DL stint lies in his future.
Thursday, July 7 – 7:35 AM
Thanks to my late-May acquisition of Huston Street, I haven’t had to think about closers for awhile, but with the July 31 trade deadline looming, there are plenty of potential saves on the waiver wire. Look, why wouldn’t the Mets trade Francisco Rodriguez? Yeah, the Amazins’ have been a pleasant surprise this year, but they’re still hovering around .500, and that’s not going to cut it when it comes to making the playoffs. I understand the whole vesting option factor in K-Rod’s contract that would pay him 17.5 million bucks for 2012 if he finishes 55 games this year, but if he gets traded to a team that uses him in a setup role, he won’t be finishing many games, so this isn’t as big of a deal as it’s being made out to be. Anyway, who would likely close in the event of a Rodriguez trade? Meet Bobby Parnell, the guy who has given up just two runs over his last 18 2/3 innings of work, striking out 22 in the process. Before he becomes a household name, I’m making this pickup. My philosophy with potential closers is simple. As long as you have the roster room, you might as well scoop them up. Even if you’re not in dire need for saves, at least you’re keeping saves away from your competition, and there’s plenty of value in that.
Thursday, July 7 – 5:15 PM
I’m hearing that Charlie Blackmon might need season-ending foot surgery after fracturing a bone in his left foot while sliding into third base today. Remember when I wondered if seven FAAB dollars was too much to spend for him? For a few weeks, I looked like a genius. Now? Not so much. Well, the Blackmon era was fun while it lasted.
Friday, July 8 – 7:24 AM
The e-mail in my MLB.com inbox is time-stamped 4:11 AM. What can possibly be so important that it needs to be shared in the middle of the night, you might ask? Apparently, while most of the country was sleeping, the Angels decided to call up top prospect Mike Trout. The team says the move was made solely out of necessity, with starting center fielder Peter Bourjos suffering from a hamstring injury. But if the 19-year-old Trout, arguably the game’s No. 1 prospect, gets off to a hot start, it’ll be awfully hard for the Angels to say “Nice job, kid. We’ll see you in September.” That’s just not happening. I say he has better than a 50/50 chance of staying in the big leagues for good. Through 75 games at Double-A this season, Trout is batting .324 with nine homers, 28 steals, 69 runs scored and a .950 OPS. Unfortunately for me, waivers in my money league run each night, and since I’m dead last in waiver priority, it’s looking like I’m out of luck. To put it simply, the odds I get Trout are equal to the odds that the other 12 owners in my league are either out of internet access or are vacationing somewhere on a deserted island. I’ll put in a claim anyway. Miracles do happen.