Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Miranda Warnings": Bad Break!

Welcome to Week #11 of "Miranda Warnings", your weekly guide to what's happening in the world of Major League Baseball, from a fantasy baseball perspective. Every Wednesday, throughout baseball's regular season, "Miranda Warnings" will appear on I'm your host Michael Miranda.

For the second consecutive week, "Miranda Warnings" leads off with major injury news. Last week, it was David Ortiz (wrist). This weeks major injury news? See my NL Central report below.

National League East: Long-before the recent rumblings began, "Miranda Warnings" predicted Mets Manager Willie Randolph was treading water (see 5/7 edition of "Miranda Warnings"). In fact, the writing is now on the wall. After being swept in four games by the "mighty" San Diego Padres last weekend, it's only a matter of time before Mets management comes to its senses... After not going on the disabled list for an incredible 21 seasons, Atlanta P Tom Glavine (elbow) is on the DL for the second time in 2008! Expect top prospect Charlie Morton to be called up from Triple-A to start in Glavine's place, June 15 against the LA Angels. Morton is worth keeping an eye on. According to, Morton has impressive numbers (5-2, 2.05 ERA, 79 IP, 72 K, 27 BB, .181 BA against)... Marlins 3B/1B is playing out of his mind! Cantu blasted two more homers Wednesday off Phillies P Cole Hamels, giving him 14 homers in 2008!... The "face" of the Washington Nationals, 3B Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder), is expected to miss an additional 4 to 6 more weeks... Remember Ryan Howard's awful April/May start? After driving in four runs versus Atlanta on Sunday, Howard has 15 HR's and 49 RBI's! His .208 BA hurts, but his 49 RBI's rank Howard fifth in the Majors.

National League Central: The Cubs suffered a huge blow when OF Alfonso Soriano (pictured, above) fractured a finger after being hit by a pitch in Wednesday's game versus Atlanta. The injury will sideline "Sori" for a minimum of six weeks! Ouch!... After playing through several nagging injuries the last several years, Cardinals stud 1B Albert Pujols finally met an injury that requires time on the DL. Pujols has a strained calf and will miss a minimum of three weeks. Again, ouch!... Houston SS Miguel Tejada wast 3-for-4 with a solo homer, his eighth, in Wednesday's loss to Milwaukee. Tejada is having a very nice season for the Astros (8 HR, 40 RBIs, 48 runs)... Don't expect Brewers closer Eric Gagne (shoulder) to retain his role when he returns. P Salomon Torres recorded his seventh save of the year in Sunday's win over the Rockies and has been a God-send for Milwaukee's bullpen. Torres has a 2.50 ERA in '08... Pirates C Ryan Doumit is on fire, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run in a win over the Nationals Wednesday. Doumit went 4-for-4, including a homer, Tuesday. Doumit has an impressive eight homers in 2008... Reds P Johnny Cueto was lit-up by the Albert Pujols'-less Cardinals Wednesday, allowing six earned runs, five hits and a staggering eight walks in only five innings! Cueto remains a young stud who, like most other young stud hurlers, will be very inconsistent.

National League West: Arizona 3B Mark Reynolds went 1-for-5 and delivered a clutch game-tying three-run homer off Mets closer Billy Wagner on Wednesday. Although he sports a low BA (.258), Reynolds has lots of pop... Dodgers 3B Andy LaRoche has returned! LaRoche was sidelined since Spring Training by a torn thumb ligament. LaRoche homered Wednesday versus San Diego. He'll see time at 1B, 2B and 3B. Keep an eye on him as he was once a highly touted prospect... Giants P Tim Lincecum continues to dazzle, striking out nine and walking three in seven scoreless innings of six-hit ball, in a no-decision versus Colorado on Wednesday. Lincecum is now 8-1, with a 1.99 ERA! Wow!... Padres ace Jake Peavy (elbow) will be activated from the 15-day disabled list and start on June 13 against the Dodgers... Speaking of players returning from injury, Colorado OF Matt Holliday (hamstring) was 0-for-3 Tuesday against the Giants. Holliday's return is great news for the Rockies and for Holliday owners. Holliday is hitting .316, with eight homers, 26 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 2008.

American League East: Toronto OF Vernon Wells (wrist) returned to action much sooner than anticipated. Since his return from the disabled list, Wells is 7-for-16, with two homers and three RBI's... Orioles OF Nick Markakis is heating up. Markakis went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored on Tuesday versus Boston. He's hitting .486 with one homer, five RBIs and six runs scored in June... Rays 3B Evan Longoria continues to improve. In his last seven games, Longoria's is hitting .423 with three homers... Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-4 with a stolen base Wednesday versus Baltimore, showing no signs of a wrist injury. The stolen base was Ellsbury's Major League-best 29th of the year... I thought Yankee P Mike Mussina was "done". I was wrong, as "Moose" has reinvented himself. No longer able to rely on overpowering the opposition, Mussina has nine wins while resorting to lots of change-ups, off-speed pitches and "painting the corners". And, the results are undeniable. Mussina is 8-1 with a 3.11 ERA in his last 10 starts!

American League Central: Cleveland called up 2B Josh Barfield from Triple-A to replace the anemic Asdrubal Cabrera. Barfield was batting only .255 in the minors, so don't expect much from him with the Indians... I'm pretty sure that Kansas City OF Jose Guillen was wearing a Superman outfit underneath his Royals uniform this past weekend versus the Yankees. Although he is not considered an elite player, Guillen had one of the all-time great four-game series performances, going 9-for-16 with four homers, 10 (yes, 10) RBI's and three assists! Guillen is a very underrated talent... It appears that the heavy workload Tigers P Dontrelle Willis endured while in Florida has caught up to him. Willis was pounded for eight ER in 1 1/3 innings against Cleveland Monday. Tuesday, Willis was demoted to Class A. Not Triple-A. Not Double-A. But, Class A! Ouch!... Minnesota P Francisco Liriano (remember him?) delivered another strong Triple-A outing Tuesday, allowing just one run in six innings. Liriano allowed just six hits and one walk. Although there is no time-table for his return, Liriano could be in Minnesota in the very near future... Chicago P Jose Contreras finally had a bad outing. Contreras was lit-up for six ER and 13 hits by the Tigers on Tuesday. Contreras remains a decent #4 or #5 fantasy pitcher.

American League West: Angels P Jered Weaver (8 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) was brilliant against the Rays on Tuesday and evened his record at 6-6... Oakland OF Jack Cust went 2-for-2 with one run scored, a pair of walks and three RBI's in Wednesday's 8-4 win over the Yankees. Cust provides nice power (11 HR's), but is extremely streaky (.257 BA) and not recommended, except in the deepest of fantasy leagues... Seattle OF Ichiro Suzuki stole two more bases (# 27 and 28), in Wednesday's win over the Blue Jays. Ichiro is on pace for 60+ steals!... I consider myself extremely knowledgeable when it comes to fantasy baseball. Heck, if I weren't knowledgeable about fantasy baseball, I wouldn't be writing this fantasy baseball column! Despite my knowledge, I was/am clueless about Texas OF David Murphy and how he has put together his totally unexpected, crazy numbers in 2008. I had never heard of this guy until 2008 (admit it, you never heard of him either)! After launching two homers and driving in five runs in Wednesday's win over Kansas City, Murphy has a solid .293 BA, a ridiculous 10 HR's, an equally ridiculous 46 RBI's and 5 SB's!

See you next week!

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