Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Miranda Warnings: A Moose is Loose in the Bronx!

Welcome to "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.

American League East: Not even the so-called "experts" saw this coming: New York Yankees SP Mike Mussina is the ace, the anchor of the Yankees rotation and one of the best pitchers in baseball! Mussina (8 IP, 6 hits, 0 BB, 7 K) brought his A-game to the mound yet again, this time against Minnesota Wednesday, for his Major League leading 13th win. Mussina has issued zero (yes, zero!) walks in his last three starts! Hard to believe, but Mussina went undrafted in one of the leagues that I'm in! ... I've discussed Toronto OF Adam Lind in previous "Miranda Warnings" and he's worth discussing again. Lind is starting to make some noise and showing up on some fantasy baseball GM's radars! Lind went 4-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI's versus Baltimore on Tuesday. Lind is hitting .379 in July! If you need OF help, don't forget about Lind!... Despite not having much protection in the lineup, Baltimore OF Nick Markakis continues to sustain stud status! Markakis went 2-for-4, including his 15th homer, three RBI's and two runs scored Tuesday versus Toronto. Markakis is a #1, or #2, fantasy outfielder and keeper-worthy in keeper leagues... I was skeptical about how soon Tampa 3B Evan Longoria would start producing. I blew it! Longoria went 2-for-5 Monday versus Oakland, with a homer and two RBI's, and now has a .274 BA, 19 HR's and 60 RBI's in 2008. Wow!... For those of you who think that Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia gets too much attention (i.e. overrated) because he plays in the Boston spotlight, think again! Pedroia has a 24-game road hitting streak and he's hitting an unheard of .332 on the road in 2008.

American League Central: Cleveland SS Jhonny Peralta continues to swing a hot stick. Peralta went 3-for-5, with an RBI and three runs scored versus the LA Angels Wednesday. In July, he's hitting .313, with 5 HR's, 17 RBIs and 15 runs scored. Those are awesome numbers for any player, but for a SS, those numbers are priceless!... Kansas City SS Mike Aviles' hitting streak ended at twelve games Wednesday, with an 0-for-4 against Detroit. However, Aviles' .313 average and surprising power has more than established him as KC's SS... Where would Detroit be without SP Armando Galarraga? Galarraga (7 IP, 3 hits, 1 BB, 7 K) was lights-out Wednesday versus Kansas City, while recording his eighth win!. The impressive youngsters ERA stands at 3.27... Speaking of lights-out, Minnesota SP Francisco Liriano has been tearing it up in the minors. Liriano allowed only two hits and two walks, to go along with 10 strikeouts, over seven shutout innings Tuesday. Liriano is 9-2, with a 3.13 ERA in 104 minor league innings in 2008. Minnesota isn't in need of another starting pitcher, so we may not see Liriano in the Major Leagues until August... Chicago SS Orlando Cabrera went 2-for-3, with two runs scored, an RBI and a SB versus Texas Wednesday. Cabrera isn't having a 2007-type season, but he remains a solid #2 fantasy SS.

American League West: LA Angels C Jeff Mathis went bonkers Wednesday, going 4-for-5, with a grand slam, two runs scored and six RBI's. Mathis will continue to see the bulk of playing-time for LA with regular C Mike Napoli on the disabled list... Oakland C Kurt Suzuki continues to struggle, going 0-for-4 in Monday's loss to Tampa. Suzuki is hitting just .252 in July and is, at best, a #2 fantasy catcher... There are several reasons why Seattle has struggled in 2008 and one reason is Miguel Batista. Batista (2 IP, 7 hits, 8 ER, 1 BB) was rocked Saturday against Cleveland. Batista's 2008 numbers are ghastly, 4-11 and a 6.89 ERA... Texas 1B/3B rookie Chris Davis has gone about his business quietly and effectively in 2008. He mashed the ball in Triple-A, earning a promotion to Texas in late June, where he's continued to mash the ball. Davis went 2-for-4, with a run scored Wednesday versus Chicago. In his last 10 games, Davis is batting .368, with three HR's and six RBI's. In 2008, Davis is hitting .278, with 8 HR's and 16 RBI's. Davis has ridiculous upside. He has Ryan Howard-type power potential, if he can limit his strikeouts.

National League East: Atlanta SP Mike Hampton (groin) threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday. The Braves believe he could return as early as next week. Hampton has missed the past two seasons recovering from elbow operations, as well as groin and hamstring issues. If you're counting on anything from Hampton in 2008 (or ever, for that matter!), you need to find a hobby other than fantasy baseball... Florida SP Ricky Nolasco has had as solid 2008, but has struggled lately. Nolasco (5 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) was roughed-up by Atlanta on Wednesday, his second consecutive tough outing. He needs to get it going soon, if Florida (and your fantasy team) are going to contend in August and September... Mets SP John Maine (7 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) defeated Philadelphia Wednesday to improve to 9-7 in 2008. This was a huge win for Maine, who has struggled in July... After missing June and most of July, Washington Nats 3B Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) has returned. Zimmerman went 3-for-5 Wednesday versus San Francisco. He seems healthy and a good bet to have a solid second-half... Philadelphia SP Brett Myers returned to the Phillies after spending several weeks in the minors working on his mechanics. Myers wasn't sharp (5 IP, 3 hits, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) against the Mets Wednesday, but he has lots of upside. Don't give up on him.

National League Central: Houston acquired SP Randy Wolf from San Diego. I'm calling it: Wolf is doomed! He goes from spacious Petco Park to cozy Minute Maid Park. Consider Wolf's home/road splits and you'll understand why I says Wolf is doomed. In San Diego, a 3.17 ERA. On the road, a 6.63 ERA. Enough said!... Just when it looked like Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks was going to lose playing time to newly acquired 2B Ray Durham, Weeks gets hot. Weeks went 3-for-4, with an RBI, versus St. Louis Wednesday. Weeks is 6-for-13, with five RBI's since Durham's arrival... When St.Louis SP Adam Wainwright (finger) sprained a finger on his throwing hand in early June, there was talk he wouldn't even require going on the disabled list. It's now been almost two months since he last pitched! St. Louis is saying they're hopeful he'll return by mid-August!... Did you really think that Chicago closer Kerry Wood would last an entire season without spending time on the DL? Wood will see a hand specialist on Thursday to determine why a blister on his right hand isn't healing properly. Wood has not pitched since July 11. Expect a DL-stint... Pittsburgh 2B Freddy Sanchez went 2-for-5, with an RBI Wednesday versus Houston. Sanchez has turned it on lately, going 9-for-17, with two homers and eight RBI's in his last five games... Cincinnati 3B Edwin Encarnacion is white-hot! Get him if you can! Encarnacion went 1-for-4, with a two-run homer Wednesday against San Diego. With more than two months still remaining in the 2008 season, Encarnacion already has a career-high 19 HR's!

National League West: Returning from a fractured testicle, Arizona C Chris Snyder went 1-for-4, with a three-run HR on Wednesday versus Chicago. Snyder is hitting .241, with 8 HR's and 37 RBIs in 2008. He's a solid #2 fantasy catcher... LA Dodgers OF Juan Pierre (knee) will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday. Pierre could be activated by the weekend. The Dodgers, and your fantasy team, can use his speed... San Francisco SP Tim Lincecum (6 IP, 6 hits, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K) struggled in a loss to Milwaukee Sunday. If SF can field a respectable offense in 2009, Tiny Tim will pay huge, huge dividends... Who leads NL rookies in BA? Just give up, cause you won't get it. It's San Diego 2B Edgar Gonzalez, with a .326 BA!... Colorado SP Ubaldo Jimenez (CG, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) was lights-out at home Tuesday, versus the LA Dodgers, improving to 6-9 in 2008. Jimenez is one of the very few pitchers who knows how to pitch at Coors Field. Jimenez' ERA at Coors Field is a hard-to-believe, rock-solid 2.58!

See you next week!

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