Tag Archive | "Last Seven Games"

Which Royals team will show up against Detroit?

It was a matter of time before the Kansas City Royals would lose a series after the All-Star break. And I’m not surprised it was against the lowly Miami Marlins. That’s the way baseball works. But even a team like the Marlins win games if their opponents can’t score runs, commit costly errors or give up key hits.

JamesShields3

Losing the series to the Marlins hasn’t finished the Royals season, but it was a lost opportunity for the team to close on Detroit and the Wild Card race. They’re 7.5 games back of Detroit and 4.5 games back in the Wild Card race after going 4-3 the last seven games. And losing Miguel Tejada for the season and a possible DL stint for Mike Moustakas makes it tougher to gain ground.

But it’s not all bad. After going on a 12-game winning streak, the Tigers went 2-4 their last six games. And the Royals did take two out of three against the Tigers right after the All-Star break. So far this season, the Royals are 5-3 against the Tigers. It won’t be easy, but they can beat them.

But the Tigers have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, led by Justin Verlander. Miguel Cabrera may be hurt, but he’s still an offensive threat. Tigers manager Jim Leyland will make sure the team doesn’t take the Royals for granted. And the games will be in Detroit, so the Royals will be in hostile territory against a motivated team.

How the Royals fare  against Detroit depends on which team shows up. If it’s the post All-Star break team with a lively offense, error-free defense, great starting pitching and a solid bullpen, they could win the series and gain ground on the Tigers. But if it’s the team that played the Marlins with their tepid defense, costly errors and some wobbly bullpen performances (I’m looking at you, Kelvin Herrera), the Tigers can solidify their lead in the A.L Central and the Royals playoff hopes will fade.

The players know this series against the Tigers is crucial. They know if they want to play meaningful games in September and make the playoffs, they have to beat the Tigers and keep winning series. Losing the series against the Tigers won’t end the Royals playoff hopes, but it will hurt their chances.

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St. Louis Cardinals have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

The St. Louis Cardinals landed Friday in Atlanta ready to begin an 11-game, 10-day road trip against three of the best teams in the National League with the best record in Major League Baseball. They had a lead in the NL Central and the best hitter in the league.

YadierMolinaSafe

A week later, the Cardinals have yet to win another game, the Pittsburgh Pirates have passed them for the division lead, and catcher Yadier Molina is on the disabled list with a knee injury.

The Cardinals haven’t had many bad weeks in 2013, but this past week has been about as bad of a week as anyone could imagine.

The Atlanta Braves swept the Cardinals in a three-game series through the weekend, and the Pirates won four games in three days to take a 2.5-game lead in the division heading into play Wednesday. Now the Cardinals get the joy of facing the Cincinnati Reds for three games in Cincinnati.

Much of the problem has been the shutdown of the most productive offense in the game.

The Cardinals still lead the National League with a .271 team batting average and continue to lead baseball by an incredibly large .040 margin with a team batting average of .334 with runners in scoring position.

However, they have not scored more than two runs in six of their last seven games to go with a .158 batting average in the last week. Plus, they will be without Molina and his .330 batting average for at least the next 15 days.

Granted, those are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad numbers, but the Cardinals do have a legitimate excuse based on the pitchers they have faced in those seven games.

Braves starters Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen have a combined earned-run average of 3.23, while the first four starters the Pirates threw against the Cardinals have a combined 2.49 ERA.

Those pitchers are going to shut down just about any team more often than not, and they put Cardinals hitters in their first slump of the season.

This won’t continue, of course. The Cardinals’ overall season numbers are some of the best in baseball for a reason. Just as the hot streak has mellowed (OK, plummeted), into a slump, the hitters will return to form before long.

If nothing else, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is a good hitters park, even though the Cardinals are scheduled to face Bronson Arroyo, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake, who have a combined 23-13 record with a 2.92 ERA.

The schedule also doesn’t get easier after the road trip is complete, as the Los Angeles Dodgers come to St. Louis for a four-game series next week.

This is quite a test, especially with Molina on the disabled list, but the rough stretch could pay dividends later in the season and the playoffs.

The crowds in Atlanta and Pittsburgh were the most electric of any fan bases the Cardinals have played in front of this season outside of St. Louis, and it is important for the team’s large group of young players to play in that type of environment.

A 95-mph fastball and sharp breaking pitch are great pitches at any time, but men who throw those pitches are rarely as consistent, especially when they feel the pressure of an important game.

Right now it is easy to look at the Cardinals situation as if the proverbial glass is half empty, but the team was unlikely to succeed in the playoffs if it cruised through the entire regular season without a hiccup at some point.

Sure, the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics took five of six games from the Cardinals in late June, but the Braves, Pirates and Reds are the teams the Cardinals will likely face in the playoffs.

In any case, it is better to lose those games in July instead of October.

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Kansas City Royals Power Rankings

It’s week two of the I70 Baseball Royals Power Rankings, and to say this week didn’t go well would be an understatement.  The Royals defense was atrocious and their hitting and pitching weren’t too far behind. Let’s take a look at the power rankings through May 12.

JeremyGuthrie

#5 Ervin Santana- (Previously: #2) Santana saw his ERA “balloon” to 2.79 with a couple of mediocre starts this week. The right hander gave up seven runs on 15 hits in 12 1/3 innings of work against the Orioles and Yankees. On the positive side he only walked one in the two starts and now sports a 39-6 K-BB ratio.

#4 Lorenzo Cain- (Previously: #1) Cain was due for a cold streak, and boy did he find one. He was just 4/20 on the week with two walks and five strikeouts. Cain is still amongst the team leaders in most every offensive category, but he only has one RBI in his last seven games.

#3 James Shields- (Previously: #5) Shields moves up in the rankings after allowing two runs over 16 innings in two fantastic starts. The week started off in controversy for Shields when he was pulled after 8 shutout innings against the White Sox. Of course, the bullpen lost that game and set the tone for a treacherous week. Shields now sits at 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA and 53 Ks in 58 innings.

#2 Jeremy Guthrie- (Previously: #3) Guthrie didn’t have his best stuff against his former team, but still managed six innings with only one run allowed. He’s now gone 18 starts without a loss and leads the team with a 2.28 ERA. One concern for Guthrie moving forward is his recent control issues. He’s averaged nearly three walks per outing in his last four starts.

#1 Alex Gordon- (Previously: #4) Alex Gordon responded to being moved to the three-hole with a bang and a hot week rose his average from .306 to .320. The 29 year-old right fielder now leads the team in doubles (8), home runs (6), RBI (28), average (.320), and slugging % (.548). Gordon has been the lone bright spot in an increasingly bad offense.

Honorable mention: Luke Hochevar- Before you throw anything at me, yes Hochevar has been terrible at letting inherited runners score BUT he’s been outstanding outside of that. In 12 1/3 innings, Hochevar has allowed 10 baserunners and struck out 13 batters. He has an ERA of 0.73 and a WHIP of 0.81. If we could simply convince Ned Yost not to bring him in with runners on, Hochevar may actually be an asset.

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Uncertainty

The St. Louis Cardinals have just come off a road trip, a key one, at 4-6. They still have the second Wild Card spot, thanks to the Pirates and Dodgers having some rough series of their own (up by 1/2 a game on LA and 1.5 on Pittsburgh, as of 10 AM Mon. 9/3), but it’s safe to say that the Cards probably didn’t get the job done.

Carlos Beltran slides in an attempt to field a ball hit by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. The play would result in a 2-run RBI single. (Source: AP)

After taking 3 of 4 from Cincinnati, the Cardinals went 2-5 in their last seven games. In a four-game stretch on the road trip, the Cardinals were outscored 32-1 by their opponent. Thankfully the Cardinals didn’t lose much ground in the Wild Card chase, but the team definitely could have used a little more breathing room heading into September.

The expanded rosters may just be the kick that the Cardinals need to push on to the playoffs. Reports are flying that top prospect Shelby Miller will be called up, and Chris Carpenter has begun throwing again and feels good.

In their remaining schedule, St. Louis faces just three teams with winning records: the Dodgers (Sept 14-16 in LA), Nationals (Sept 28-30) and Reds (Oct 1-3).

The narrative seems now to have pushed from a bad bullpen and streaky offense to bad pitching, a severely-slumping offense, and injuries with bad timing. Rafael Furcal may be out for 4-6 weeks or the rest of the season, no matter how long that happens to be. Whoever replaces him will be a downgrade, and just another hole that the Cards can’t fill.

Only time will tell what happens now, whether the Cardinals right the ship and stay in the playoff hunt or play themselves out of it. There aren’t any signs pointing in either direction at the moment, but it shouldn’t take long to find out what the rest of the season has in store for our beloved Redbirds. Where’s the Rally Squirrel when you need him?

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Royals Farm Report: September 2nd

Royals Farm Report: August 25th
Naturals, Storm Chasers, Cougars solidify playoff chances

Triple-A

Omaha

The Omaha Storm Chasers (Pacific Coast League) had a night to remember on Wednesday, as their win over Round Rock combined with Memphis’ loss allowed the Storm Chasers to clinch the American Northern Division title. This marks the first time since 1999 that the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate has made the postseason.

Who’s Hot

As he has all season, Luis Mendoza delivered for Omaha this week. He went six innings in each of his two starts since last week’s report, allowing a total of three runs. The 2011 PCL Pitcher of the Year has now won his last four starts, lowering his league-leading ERA to 2.18 in the process. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain had a big week at the plate. Though his 13-game hitting streak was snapped on Tuesday, Cain responded with a 5-for-5 performance in Wednesday’s crucial contest.

Who’s Not

Former Natural Cody Clark has slumped in recent days, as the catcher is just 1-for-23 in his last six games. Clark has not driven in a run since Aug. 18 and did not homer at all in the last month. Fellow backstop Manny Pina has just three hits in five games since rejoining Omaha following a stint in the big leagues.

Double-A

NWArk

Seven days ago, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) had a commanding six-game lead in the circuit’s North Division. At the time, the club’s magic number stood at seven. Since then, however, the Naturals have lost six of their last seven games and have fallen into a first-place tie with the red-hot Tulsa Drillers, winners of nine straight. The division’s second playoff spot will be decided from Sep. 3-5, when the teams meet in Tulsa on the final three days of the regular season.

Who’s Hot

The Naturals’ recent struggles are no fault of Tim Smith and Ben Theriot, as the two left-hand batters have hit well in recent days. Smith is 6-for-10 with a homer in his last three games, while Theriot is 8-for-11 in his last four. Third baseman Mario Lisson hit his 30th home run as a Natural on Wednesday, establishing a new franchise record. On the mound, southpaw Will Smith showed why he was selected as the Naturals’ Pitcher of the Year in his last start, allowing just an unearned run while racking up 10 strikeouts in a game for the first time this season.

Who’s Not

Promoted from Wilmington early this week, Elisaul Pimentel made his Double-A debut on Wednesday and got a rude welcome to the level. Pimentel allowed five runs in three innings, including back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning. Reliever Edgar Garcia allowed four home runs in the course of one outing on Monday, including two in the decisive tenth inning as the Drillers finished a sweep of the Naturals.

Class-A Advanced

BlueRocks

The Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) have been eliminated from playoff contention but did not go away quietly, posting a 4-3 record over the last seven days. The Blue Rocks have four more games in their 2011 campaign, which concludes at home on Labor Day against the Frederick Keys.

Who’s Hot

Allen Caldwell has pitched well since joining the Wilmington rotation about a week ago. In his most recent start, Caldwell allowed just one hit in 5 2/3 scoreless frames, striking out six in a win over Myrtle Beach. AZL Royals Pitcher of the Year Andrew Stueve made the jump to Wilmington last week and has not allowed a run through three innings with the Blue Rocks. Though he is hitless in his last two games, Yem Prades racked up a pair of multi-hit games within the last week and leads the team with a .297 batting average.

Who’s Not

In what has been another up-and-down season for the right-hander Tim Melville had a rough start on Tuesday, as he was tagged for four runs on six hits in just 4 2/3 against the Pelicans. Melville also issued five walks in the contest. Offensively, outfielder Whit Merrifield went just 3-for-20 in six games since last week’s report.

Class-A

KCC

Like Triple-A Omaha, the Kane County Cougars (Midwest League) wrapped up a playoff spot on Wednesday, in their case with a win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Former Natural and Northwest Arkansas resident Vance Wilson has a chance to get his club a Midwest League title in his first year as a minor-league manager.

Who’s Hot

Though he endured an 0-for-12 stretch earlier in the week, former Arkansas Razorback Brett Eibner helped Kane County secure their postseason future with a pair of multi-hit games in the last two days. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Eibner went 4-for-8 with a double, a triple and three walks. On the mound, right-handerJason Adam has excelled of late, allowing just one run over five innings in each of his last two starts.

Who’s Not

Though his league-leading ERA remains below 2.00, Greg Billo has now been roughed up in three consecutive starts. On Aug. 27 against Peoria, Billo yielded four runs on a season-high 11 hits. The right-hander is expected to have one more start to right the ship before postseason play begins. 18-year-old Cheslor Cuthbertis experiencing the grind of a full professional season for the first time, and the lengthy schedule may be taking its toll. Cuthbert hit just .124 with four extra-base hits in the month of August, but his season stat line still shows a player who is holding his own as one of the youngest bats in the league.

Short Season/Rookie

Idaho

The Idaho Falls Chukars (Pioneer League) are the team in the organization that will play the deepest into September during the regular season. While all the full-season teams will wrap up by Labor Day, the Chukars’ 2011 campaign does not conclude until Sep. 8. Still technically alive for postseason play, the Chukars must make up a six-game deficit in a little over a week.

Who’s Hot

Right-hander Edwin Carl put the finishing touches on a ridiculous Pioneer League campaign with three strikeouts in two innings on Aug. 26 before a promotion to Kane County. Carl departs the Chukars with an absurd total of 71 strikeouts – against three walks – in 33 innings out of the Idaho Falls ‘pen. Named Idaho Falls Player of the Year, Runey Davis notched a hit in all but one of his games last week to keep his batting average level at .331 with an impressive .437 on-base percentage. Challenged by a promotion to this level, 2011 draftee Cameron Gallagher is 2-for-7 with a homer early into his stint with the Chukars.

Who’s Not

Reliever Jose Sanchez was tagged for a pair of losses in his last two appearances, allowing a total of nine earned runs in five innings of work. Even though nine of the runs he has allowed have been unearned, Sanchez still has a bloated 9.19 ERA. At the plate, catcher Tyler Smith has one hit in his last nine at bats and is hitting just .188 with a lone double in his time in the Pioneer League.

Burlington

One of two affiliates to conclude their respective seasons this week are the Burlington Royals (Appalachian League), who dropped their final three contests to finish the year at 24-44, tied with the Bristol White Sox for the worst record in their league.

Who’s Hot

Selected as Burlington’s Player of the Year, outfielder Jorge Bonifacio finished the season with hits in nine of his last 10 games. Bonifacio led the club with 20 doubles and finished tied for second with seven home runs. On the mound, Nick Graffeo ended his run with the B-Royals with a win over Greeneville in his final start. Posting a 2.04 ERA while splitting time between the ‘pen and the rotation, Graffeo was deservedly honored as the club’s Pitcher of the Year.

Who’s Not

Though he homered in the season finale, Murray Watts finished the season with just two hits in his final eight games. After struggling at Kane County earlier in the year, Watts hit just .222 with Burlington and will work through the offseason to realize the power potential residing in his 6’7” frame. Reliever Andrea Pizziconiended the season by allowing six runs between his last two appearances, taking the loss against Johnson City on Aug. 28.

AZL

The AZL Royals (Arizona League) also concluded their season this past week, finishing the complex league season in last place at 22-34. Still, the true purpose of the circuit should not be forgotten, as the past two and a half months have given recent draftees and international signees valuable reps in their first taste of professional baseball.

Who’s Hot

Terrance Gore put the finishing touches on a solid run with the AZL Royals with a three-hit game on Aug. 28 against the Padres’ affiliate. In 35 games in Arizona, Gore hit .340 with a .447 on-base percentage and was not caught in 17 stolen base attempts. D’Andre Toney matched Gore with a .340 average and finished the season even better. Toney had three hits in each of the last two games and totaled two triples, a homer and six RBI in those contests.

Who’s Not

Collectively, the club’s pitching staff had trouble finding consistent success, thanks in part to the notably hitter-friendly weather down in Arizona. The team’s pitchers combined for a 6.11 ERA. Cesar Ogando finished the season by allowing three runs in four innings, wrapping his stint in Arizona with a 10.52 ERA. With that said, at just 19 years old, Ogando’s best days of baseball are undoubtedly still in front of him.

Former Naturals outside the Kansas City organization

Last week brought one of the proudest moments in the baseball career of Juan Abreu, who made his Major League debut with the Astros on 8/29. Abreu became the 23rd player to reach the big leagues after playing for the Naturals. Though he allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning, Abreu fanned a pair and will have a chance to establish himself in the season’s final month.

In departing for Houston, Abreu left the Pacific Coast League, the circuit in which Blake Johnson is currently plying his trade. Johnson currently has a 6.17 ERA for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, allowing a run in each of his last four appearances. Over in the International League, Jordan Parraz has continued his solid season for the Yankees’ Triple-A club. Parraz has hit safely in four of his last five games and carries a solid .361 on-base percentage with Scranton/Wilkes Barre. In the same league as Parraz is Ben Swaggerty, who so far has an 8.02 ERA in 14 games with Gwinnett.

At the Double-A level, Jeff Howell is hitting at a .370 clip with five extra-base hits through his first seven games with the Portland Sea Dogs, Boston’s Eastern League club. He now plays in the same league as Chris McConnell, who is now hitting just .213 for Harrisburg.

Down in the Southern League, Ernesto Mejia continues to lead the group of former Naturals now playing for the Mississippi Braves. Mejia knocked in three runs within the last week, giving him 89 RBI to go along with his 35 doubles and 22 homers. Among Mejia’s teammates with the M-Braves are Ed Lucas (.263 AVG, .335 OBP) and Rowdy Hardy (3.14 ERA).

At the Advanced-A level, Harold Mozingo has a solid 3.26 ERA for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Finally, a pair of former Naturals remains among the walking wounded, asDan Cortes (Seattle Mariners) and Jose Duarte (Jupiter Hammerheads) both reside on the disabled list.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

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2011 Key Player: Alex Gordon

More bizarre predictions have been made, but not many have been the butt of more chat room razzing than Alex Gordon’s proclamation last September that he’s “going to dominate next year.”

Now sure, kids use the word dominate very loosely these days. But for a guy who’s barely proven he belongs on a major league roster, domination would seem like a stretch regardless of your definition.

But now, “next year” is upon us. Time for Alex Gordon to put up or shut up. And after a few days of his flailing about like we’re accustomed to, he’s spent a few days doing just what he said he’d do.

He’s dominating.

It looked like more of the same from Gordon just 10 days ago. He started the spring with a .067 average. He had Royals brass talking about how hard he’d worked in the off-season and blaming his timing for the rotten start. But to the purveyors of the box scores, it appeared our beliefs were just being confirmed.

Alex Gordon is never going to get it. He’s never going to be even a good major league player, much less live up to his prodigious potential.

But something seems to have clicked. In the last seven games (as of Tuesday) he’s gone 10-17 with three homers and raised his average to .367.

Now that’s domination.

I know, I know, it’s just spring training. But for a guy who has as much talent as Gordon has, and who works as hard as he reportedly does, don’t you think there might still be hope?

Several factors might, just might, be working in his favor.

First, the expectations on him have been lowered considerably. There’s no longer the pressure on him to be the next George Brett. Right now we’d settle for the next Jorge Orta.

Second, there are new kids in town who are getting all the attention these days. All eyes are on Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer now, leaving Gordon to go about his business of just trying to do the job.

Third, perhaps a position change really did do him some good. While it didn’t make a lot of sense in the short term because it left the team trying to make do with the likes of Wilson Betemit and Josh Fields, it may make sense in the long run. It gave Gordon a chance to play without Moustakas breathing down his neck, and to use his athletic ability away from the hot corner. He’s said he can relax more in the outfield, so maybe it will make a difference.

Fourth, he seems to have really taken to Kevin Seitzer. The two are working hard to break down Gordon’s swing, much like Tiger Woods’ did his en route to “domination.” At least that’s the comparison manager Ned Yost made recently in the Kansas City Star.

“It takes time,” Yost said. “It’s like several years ago when Tiger Woods completely remade his (golf) swing. He was already the best player in the world, but he knew he had to change his swing to reach the next level. And that took time (before it worked).”

Gordon is a very hard worker by all accounts. A hard worker coupled with a good coach just might begin to coax out the type of results Gordon would appear capable of.

Fifth, he’s got a manager who believes he can succeed and is giving him every opportunity to do so. When Gordon was scuffling early on, Yost made sure Gordon got more than his fair share of at-bats, believing he could work through the issues. Yost never makes anything but positive comments regarding Gordon. Yost really seems committed to standing by him.

Sixth, Gordon isn’t exactly surrounded by entrenched outfielders. Jeff Francouer and Melky Cabrera are, in many respects, on the same short leash as Gordon. They are all trying to recover the sparkle they had as prospects. Mitch Meier is nothing more than a role player. So if the team decides to deal an outfielder at mid-season, or to give up on any one of them, Gordon wouldn’t be on any more shaky ground than the others.

Add to that that, there really aren’t any corner outfield prospects chomping at his heels. I doubt Paulo Orlando or David Lough are causing Gordon to lose much sleep. Wil Myers is still a year or more away. Why should the Royals give up on Gordon now, with nothing much on the horizon?

And last, Gordon has one thing in his corner that is easily overlooked – on base percentage. Every year of his career, Gordon’s OBP has been about 80-100 points higher than his average. While we’d all like for him to compete for batting titles, his walks could make him more valuable than meets the eye. When you consider his combination of power and speed on the basepaths, a .260 batting average is something you could live with.

I’ve contended for the last couple of years that Gordon’s success or failure will have a giant impact on the morale of the Royals franchise. I don’t say that anymore.

With our every hope and dream now pinned on the farm system, the franchise could survive the failure of one player, even if that player was the second pick in the 2005 draft. The franchise will move on, with or without Alex Gordon. But that might just be for the best.

If three years from now Gordon is batting sixth in the Kansas City lineup, hitting .260 and getting on base at a .340 clip, knocking out 25 homers and playing solid left field, I’ll bet the Royals will be playoff contenders.

In which case Gordon may not be the next George Brett, but he’ll be dominating nonetheless.

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Cardinals Fantasy Report – Short Week

This week the Cardinals have a short week. They host Milwaukee for two games and host San Francisco for a three game weekend series.

Albert Pujols continued his hot hitting last week. The last 10 games, he batted .452 with four home runs, 11 RBI’s and scored 14 runs. On the season he is now batting .315 with 30 home runs and 86 RBI’s. Pujols is showing why he was the number one pick in most fantasy drafts this year. Fantasy owners who picked him are reaping the rewards. Keep him active in all formats is always the obvious decision.

Matt Holliday ended a nine game hitting streak on Sunday. He continues to be one of the most productive outfielders in the second half. Holliday is batting .327 with five home runs, 22 RBI’s, scoring 17 runs since the All-star break. On the season he is batting .306 with 21 home runs, 73 RBI’s, 32 doubles, seven stolen bases, and scoring 69 runs. Those stats have Holliday in the top 10 amongst outfielders and should be active in all fantasy formats.

Colby Rasmus started to come around in the Reds series. He batted .285 with one home run, six RBI’s, and scored four runs. Then in the Cubs series, he had no hits but did walk five times. Rasmus looks to turn it around this week. This season he is batting .412 with three home runs, seven RBI’s, and scoring eight runs in 12 games against the Brewers and Giants. Rasmus is still frustrating owners since he has not found any long term consistency. Rasmus is worth starting in most 12 team leagues.

Jon Jay is not going to help your team in all fantasy categories. Before Sunday, in his last seven games, he batted .400 with four doubles and scoring eight runs. Jay’s batting average dropped to .365 after going 0-3 Sunday. As long as he is getting on base and hitting doubles, Jay should be active in most deep fantasy formats.

Adam Wainwright has taken the lead as the number one scoring fantasy pitcher in standard mixed leagues. He should hang on to that spot this week pitching at home against the Brewers. At home this season, he is 11-0 with three complete games, 1.22 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and striking out 76. In eight of his last 10 starts, Wainwright has allowed one or fewer runs. He is an elite must start fantasy in all formats.

Chris Carpenter was 4-0 with a 1.79 ERA over his last six starts before Saturday. He took the loss and allowed three earned runs while giving up six hits, striking out three and walking none. Carpenter’s next start is against the Giants. Even though he had a slight setback, he continues to be a top flight pitcher and should be a must start in all fantasy formats.

Jaime Garcia was not scheduled to start this week. The Cardinals thought about giving him time to rest until a fifth starter was needed on August 24. Garcia will pitch Tuesday against the Brewers. In his last start against the Brewers, he took the win while allowing no runs, striking out seven, and walking two. With this matchup, consider starting him this week. Ryan Franklin looks to have shaken off his recent meltdown. He picked up two saves while allowing no earned runs last week. Franklin looks safe to start in most leagues.

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Cardinals Fantasy Report

This week the Cardinals travel to Cincinnati for three games and host Chicago for a three game weekend series. Look for a good week from these Cardinals to give your fantasy team a boost.

Albert Pujols showed last week that having a batting average under .300 was just temporary. The last seven games, he has batted .500 with five home runs, 11 RBI’s, and scored 10 runs. Pujols is now batting .310 with 28 home runs, and 82 RBI’s. He looks to be on track for another MVP season and making fantasy owners very happy. This season he is batting .338 with seven home runs and 20 RBI’s against the Reds and Cubs. Matt Holliday should have a good week. This season against the Reds and Cubs he is batting .353 with two home runs and 11 RBI’s. On the season he is batting .299 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI’s. Those stats put Holliday in outfield elite status. As always Pujols and Holliday should be active in all fantasy formats.

Colby Rasmus has been a mystery as of late. He has been inconsistent and it has become difficult to know when he should be in the line-up. The last seven games Rasmus is batted .333 with two home runs, five RBI’s, and scored seven runs. Those are the stats fantasy owners can live with. This season against the Reds and Cubs, he is batting .232 with three home runs, seven RBI’s, while striking out 21 times in 16 games. With those stats I recommend to sit Rasmus this week. Jon Jay will not put up the power numbers as a typical outfielder. He is batting .371 and an on base percentage of .417. As long as he continues to get on base, take a flier on him. Jay can definitely help a team which needs batting average help.

Adam Wainwright showed fantasy owners why he is an elite fantasy starting pitcher with a complete game two hit shutout against the Marlins in his last start. This season he is 16-6 with a 2.07 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 154 strikeouts. He is currently scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Cincinnati. Wainwright is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts against the Reds. He is a must start in all fantasy formats. Chris Carpenter is currently scheduled to pitch Monday against Cincinnati. He has not lost to the Reds in the last two seasons going 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA. This season in three starts against the Reds he is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 15 strikeouts, and three walks over 21 innings pitched. With those numbers, Carpenter has to be a must start pitcher in all fantasy formats.

Jaime Garcia is currently scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Cincinnati. In two starts against the Reds this season he is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA. Even though Garcia was knocked around against Houston in his last start, hopefully he can rebound and give a strong outing. So far he is 9-5 with a 2.52 ERA. He remains a solid option in all fantasy formats. Ryan Franklin had another bad outing on Saturday. He was charged with his second blown save of the season. With two bad outings in a row, confidence that Franklin will finish the season out strong is diminishing. His fantasy value is still solid in mixed leagues but I would monitor his performances this week. If Franklin continues to pitch like his last two outings, he will join the find and replace group.

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