Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Miranda Warnings": Sightings!

Welcome to Week #13 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 SportsJudge.com. I'm your host Michael Miranda.

A few players who have performed well below expectations in 2008 have recently been "sighted" (i.e. shown signs of life). These players are featured in this weeks "Miranda Warnings".

American League East: There have been Alex Rios (pictured, above) sightings recently! The Blue Jays outfielder is, finally, showing signs of life. Rios went 4-for-6, including his fourth home run, Tuesday versus Cincinnati. Unbelievably, the home run was his first in almost two months! His previous homer came on May 1! Rios has multiple hits in four of his last five games... Scorching-hot Yankees OF Johnny Damon might land on the disabled list for the first time in his career. The troublesome left arch that plagued Damon throughout 2007 has returned. He was unable to start Tuesday's game versus Pittsburgh and he looks doubtful for the remainder of the week. This situation bears monitoring because when Damon was asked about his status for Wednesday versus Pittsburgh, he replied: "it would take a miracle to play on Wednesday". Stay tuned!... Baltimore 2B Brian Roberts went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored in Tuesday's win over the Cubs, extending his hitting streak to 11 games... As predicted in last week's "Miranda Warnings", Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford seemed poised to snap out of his Junk funk. Crawford blasted two homers, scored two runs, and had five RBI's in Wednesday's win over Florida! Crawford has a .438 average, 3 HR's and 11 RBIs during his current eight-game hitting streak... Boston DH David Ortiz (wrist) took some swings off a tee Tuesday. There were no setbacks. Big Papi is still about three weeks away from swinging against live pitching.

American League Central: C.C. Sabathia (7 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K) was lights-out against the Dodgers Saturday. Unfortunately, the Indian bats were silent and Sabathia ended up with a no-decision. Sabathia lowered his ERA to a season-low 4.06 mark. If Cleveland (as expected) falls out of the AL Central race, Sabathia (a free agent after 2008) could be a major target for pitching-starved teams as baseball approaches its trading deadline (Thursday, July 31 @ 4 p.m. EST)... Kansas City closer Joakim Soria collected his 21st save Wednesday versus Colorado. Soria is 8-for-8 in his last eight save opportunities. His ERA is 1.29!... In Detroit, there's been a Gary Sheffield sighting! Sheffield (oblique), on the DL since late May, went 4-for-5, with a run scored and a walk-off RBI single on Wednesday versus St.Louis. Sheffield is 5-for-9 since returning from the disabled list. I'm not big on Sheffield, as he's an injury waiting to happen... Immensely talented Minnesota OF Carlos Gomez snapped an 0-for-11 drought, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a run and two stolen bases Wednesday versus San Diego. Remember Gomez, because in the not-so-distant future he will be a better version of Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford. Think Crawford, but with lots more speed. Take this to the bank: in his prime, Gomez will regularly post a .280-.290 BA, 15-20 HR's, 80-90 RBI's, 100+ runs scored and 80+ SB's! Wow!... Chicago OF Jermaine Dye has been on a tear lately, cracking his 17th homer of the season against the Dodgers Tuesday. Dye has seven HR's and 17 RBIs over his last eight games! Wow!

American League West: LA Angels OF Vladimir Guerrero was not in the starting lineup Wednesday after leaving Tuesday's game versus Washington with "flu-like symptoms." Vlad should be back by this weekend... There was a Joe Blanton sighting in Oakland! Blanton (7 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) was sharp Tuesday against Philadelphia, "improving" his record to 4-10. Blanton is a decent #4 or #5 fantasy starting pitcher... Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (ankle) will miss his next start, Sunday versus San Diego. Hernandez suffered a badly sprained ankle Monday versus the Mets. Don't dismiss a DL stint. Stay tuned... Milton Bradley (quad) was out of the Rangers starting lineup for the seventh straight game Wednesday. Bradley is injured, again, which is why I have no faith in him. Bradley is solid when he plays. Unfortunately, he's injured more often, than not.

National League East: Atlanta OF Jeff Francoeur was sighted recently! Francoeur might be snapping out of his year-long slump. Francoeur went 2-for-4 Tuesday against Milwaukee, snapping an 0-for-12 slump. Francoeur is hitting .248! Ouch!... I wasn't kidding in last week's "Miranda Warnings" when I called the New York Mets, the New York Mess! Tuesday, playing at home versus the Mariners, the worst team in baseball, "the Mess" got torched 11-0! P Oliver Perez (5 IP, 7 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) had yet another rocky outing. When the Mets finally realize they need to change player personnel (not just Manager Willie Randolph), you can expect Perez to be one of the first, if not the first, to go. How bad is Perez? In 83.1 IP, he has 52 (yes, 52) walks! His ERA stands at 5.29 and his WHIP stands at 1.56! Ugh!... Florida 1B Mike Jacobs cranked his 18th homer Wednesday versus Tampa. Yes, Jacobs' homers are nice, but don't kid yourself into thinking he's a quality 1B. His .239 BA and extremely long slumps drag down a fantasy roster and indicate that he's a below-average 1B... Washington 1B Nick Johnson (wrist surgery) will miss the rest of the season. Shocker! This guy is just as bad (never, ever healthy) as Texas OF Milton Bradley (see AL West report above)... Even the best hitters have slumps. Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley was 1-for-29 entering Wednesday's game versus Oakland! Utley went 4-for-5 versus the Athletics and you can be sure that another hot-streak is not too far away.

National League Central: Houston 1B Lance Berkman went 2-for-4 (two doubles) Wednesday against Texas. Berkman is hitting .360 with a .443 OBP! Can you say MVP?... Milwaukee P Ben Sheets is making a Cy Young push. Sheets had his seventh consecutive quality start (6 IP minimum, 3 ER or less) to lower his ERA to 2.59. He's now 9-1. If he can remain healthy ( a big "if"), he might win the NL Cy Young... St. Louis OF Ryan Ludwick has come back down to earth. Ludwick is 7-for-44 since June 12. Ludwick was out of the lineup Wednesday versus Detroit... Chicago closer Kerry Wood continues to dominate. Wood struck out the side versus Baltimore Wednesday for his 20th save... In Pittsburgh, there was an Adam LaRoche sighting! LaRoche went 3-for-5, with two RBIs and one run scored Tuesday versus the Yankees. Despite the big game, the three hits "lifted" LaRoche's average to .224 in 2008... Cincinnati OF Jay Bruce has been slumping lately, while seeing his BA dip below .300 (.296) for the first time since he began his Major League career. However, Bruce has hit safely in six of his last seven games. In the not-so-distant future, Bruce will be a superstar.

National League West
: I'm calling it: Arizona OF Justin Upton's demotion to Triple-A is imminent. After going 2-for-2 May 3rd versus the Mets, Upton's BA was at a scalding .346! Fast-forward to Wednesday versus Boston. After going 0-for-2 versus the Red Sox, Upton is at a season-low .240, while being overmatched by major league pitching. Upton is a special talent, sure to be a stud one day, but he's not ready yet... According to mlb.com, Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw will remain in the Dodgers' starting rotation for the foreseeable future. "As long as we feel he's making progress, I'm comfortable with the fact he's throwing the ball every five days," said Dodgers Manager Joe Torre. Kershaw is winless, with a 4.34 ERA in 2008... There was a Barry Zito sighting Wednesday! The San Francisco Giants pitcher was brilliant versus Cleveland (6 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 4 K), "raising" his record to 3-11... San Diego P Chris Young (face) is on the road back. Young was injured on May 21, when a line drive off the bat of Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols hit him in the face and broke his nose. Young has been throwing bullpen sessions, but there is no timetable for his return... Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki's struggles continue and, as a result, he was out of the Rockies lineup Wednesday. Tulowitzki (quad) is just 3-for-20 since returning from the DL. Tulo's BA is at .152!

See you next week!





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