MLB In Full Bloom - Justin Verlander Gets Back On Track - 6/23/2014

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On Saturday afternoon, vintage Justin Verlander returned and gave fantasy owners the opportunity breathe a little easier until the next start. Verlander rebounded with one of his strongest efforts of the season against the Indians on Saturday, permitting only two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings. A solo home run by Carlos Santana in the fourth inning was Verlander's lone mistake on the night. Otherwise, the veteran right-hander looked sharp with eight strikeouts and tied a season low with one walk. Verlander will look to build off this performance with a road start at Houston on Friday. He left the game in line for the win but ultimately came away with a no decision. Nobody knows, but expect Verlander to be more like himself as the season continues to move into the second half of the season.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Johnny Cueto gave up three runs, but just one earned while striking out eight over eight innings in Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Cueto gave up seven hits, walked one batter and hit another. He threw 120 pitches in the outing and suffered a hamstring cramp while running the bases, but he gutted it out to lower his ERA to a league-best 1.86. He'll look to keep it going in his next start in San Francisco.
  • Madison Bumgarner pitched a gem Sunday that included seven strikeouts and two hits allowed and no earned runs in a winning effort against the Diamondbacks. Bumgarner improved his record to an impressive 9-4. He's gone at least seven innings in his last six starts while going 4-1 during that same stretch. Bumgarner is providing quality starts for the Giants and his fantasy owners on a regular basis.
  • Michael Wacha (shoulder) will end up on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss Sunday's start. Wacha had his start skipped apparently to preserve his arm. The Cardinals could be losing two pitchers to the disabled list in the next few days, as Jaime Garcia is also dealing with a shoulder injury. Carlos Martinez filled in for Wacha yesterday and earned the win and will likely stay in the rotation to fill one of the spots, but who will take the other turn is unclear at this point.
  • Joe Smith allowed a home run to Brad Snyder in the ninth inning of Sunday's win over the Rangers. But he struck out two of the other three batters he faced to protect the Angels' late lead. It was a non-save situation, but Smith appears to be the next in line to get a chance to be the Angels closer. He is currently in a committee at closer with Ernesto Frieri, Mike Morin, and maybe a few others.
  • The San Diego Padres fired executive vice president/general manager Josh Byrnes on Sunday morning. Byrnes took over as GM of the Padres in October 2011 when then-GM Jed Hoyer left for the position of GM with the Cubs. Before that, Byrnes had been VP of baseball operations for the Padres for a year. The Padres entered Sunday with a 32-43 record, 12.5 games out in the NL West. Many players on the roster are under performing offensively and it just has not happened for Byrnes.
  • Alex Torres of the San Diego Padres made history in his relief appearance Saturday night against the Giants, becoming the first major league pitcher to wear a padded cap in a regular-season game. The hat looks ridiculous, but Torres said that it does feel different than the regular hat. The hat is manufactured by isoBlox and approved by MLB and they are available to any player who wants one.
  • Angels batting coach Don Baylor could return to the Angels bench by the end of the month. Baylor broke his leg on Opening Day when he participated in the first pitch ceremony with Vladimir Guerrero. Baylor has a doctor's appointment on Tuesday to decide if he is ready to to travel with the Angels.