Jacoby Steals the Show
Playing in Philly on Thursday, Jacoby Ellsbury set a Red Sox club record with five stolen bases in a game. Ellsbury reached base five times going 3-for-4 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. In his last 10 games, Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .410/.500/.564 and is a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts. With the 3-hit-game, Ellsbury raised his season average to .268 and now has amassed a league-leading 21 SB in 23 attempts, along with 30 runs scored. The 29-year-old could be in for a fantastic year on the base paths and is on pace for over 60 steals. As long as he maintains his health, he should continue on that trajectory.
Wacha, Wacha, Wacha
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The much anticipated debut of the Cardinals' pitching prospect Michael Wacha finally happened on Thursday night. Wacha, a 21-year-old righty, was called up to make his first start against the Royals, and he delivered a very nice performance, not allowing a hit until the 5th inning. In all, Wacha would only allow two hits over seven innings with six strikeouts, and he didn't "Wacha-any-battas." His win was unfortunately ruined by Mitchell Boggs who allowed an 8th-inning homer to Jeff Francoeur. If Wacha is still available in your league, be the one to pick him up.
And let’s not allow this little tidbit to go unnoticed: Yadier Molina is the best game-managing and defensive catcher in the game. The way that he, together with the Cardinal coaches and organization as a whole, handles the pitching staff is above all other teams in the major leagues. What they are doing is eerily similar to the Braves back in the 1990s, when they were far and away the dominant pitching team in the NL. Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha could be an imposing trio for opposing offenses for the next few seasons. If Trevor Rosenthal is groomed to be a starter for next season, watch out. What the Phillies attempted to purchase with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the Red Birds may have produced a similar force from within. That’s nails.
Interleague Hot Shots:
- Rookie shortstop Nick Franklin hit his first and second career home runs Thursday against the Padres. The first homer went to dead center in Petco and the second was a moon shot to right.
- Mitch Moreland hit his eleventh home run of the season. It was a two run shot; David Murphy also homered for the Rangers.
- The Indians put up five straight two-out-hits against Homer Bailey, then two more off Alfredo Simon after he replaced Bailey. More amazingly, they scored 7 runs without the benefit of the long ball. Brantley, Gomes, Rayburn, Bourn (2), Kipnis and Cabrera all drove in runs in the 4th.
- Travis Wood pitched 6 innings, struck out 6 giving up 5 hits with 2 walks, but it was what he did with the bat that opened eyes Thursday. Wood stepped into the box with the bases juiced and jacked a 2-1 pitch over the left field ivy for a grand slam. Wood is known for being a good hitting pitcher; apparently Jake Peavy didn't get the memo. Luis Valbuena added his 6th homer and Nate Schierholtz also hit his 6th in the Cubs' victory over cross-town rivals.
- Doug Fister spun seven brilliant shutout innings with 12 strikeouts while allowing only 4 hits; he would be tabbed with a no decision. Fister has run into a string of bad luck lately with three straight starts without a win. He will face the Rays next week in Detroit.
- James Loney hit home run number five against the Marlins. More impressive than that is his .392/.392/.500 line in 170 at-bats.
- Dillon Gee had an out-of-body experience as he struck out a career-high 12 against the Yankees in 7.1 IP. Gee did not issue a walk and needed only 88 pitches to achieve his K total. I’m still not buying it.
- Alex Colome was pretty good in his major league debut, going 5.2 innings allowing 5 hits, 2 walks and striking out seven. It was a nice showing albeit against the Marlins. He’ll likely slide to the bullpen when Chris Archer is called up.
- Jim Johnson has bounced back with his second perfect inning in as many days to shut the door on an Orioles victory over the Nats. All is well again in Birdland. Johnson is 17-for-21 in save chances and should be trusted.
On or off the shelf: Injury Notes
- Matt Kemp was placed on the 15-Day DL with a hamstring strain. With the masses clamoring for Joc Pederson or Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers will likely turn to Tony Gwynn Jr. in Kemp’s absence. That’s pretty un-awesome for fantasy purposes. Scott Van Slyke could see an uptick in playing time. Now is a good time to buy low on Kemp.
- Bryce Harper could return to the Nats lineup on Friday. He hit Thursday and still has some knee soreness, but he’s a gamer and wants back on the field. I like that.
- Josh Hamilton was scratched yet again with back spasms. It seems like a day-to-day thing for now and no DL stint has been hinted at.
- Alex Cobb will start Tuesday for the Rays after his fingernail injury forced his start to be pushed back. In related news, Chris Archer will be called up to start Saturday versus the Indians. I like Archer but he is not an advisable option against one of the best offenses in baseball. You should still consider picking him up in hopes that he remains in the rotation.
- A.J. Ellis could join Matt Kemp on the DL with pain in his left side. Tim Federowicz has already been called up to serve as the backup catcher to Ramon Hernandez.
- Corey Hart could begin a rehab assignment next week. He’s been on the shelf after microfracture surgery on his knee in January. Expect him back by around mid-June.
- Peter Bourjos is slated to begin a rehab assignment Monday. With Mike Trout manning center field and doing well it could be tough to get everyday at-bats when he returns.
- Giancarlo Stanton will reduce his workload due to sore knees. What is he 67 years old? Is it just me or are these guys a bunch of pansies? There is no timetable for his return.
- I had a setback in my keyboard elbow rehab today and I think I strained a pinky toe while feeding my bulldog. I’m hoping its minor.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter: @CasKnowsRoto