MLB In Full Bloom - Mike Leake Dazzles In Dominant Effort - 6/27/2014

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Mike Leake held the San Francisco Giants to one run over eight innings, striking out 12, to lead the Reds to a 3-1 victory on Thursday. Leake's only mistake was an Adam Duvall solo homer in the seventh inning when the Reds held a 3-0 lead. Leake has won three straight starts as he has benefited from 19 runs of support he didn't need, allowing just six runs over 21 innings. Leake will carry a solid 3.41 ERA into a nice matchup when he takes the mound in San Diego on Tuesday. The wins have been coming in bunches of late for Cincinnati, which has won five of its last six games and eight of 11. The club improved to 40-38 to move two games above a .500 record for the first time this season. It's a particularly opportune time for a hot club to face a first-place team, as the reeling Giants have lost 12 of their last 16 games.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Josh Beckett threw seven shutout innings, scattering four hits, in a no-decision against the Cardinals on Thursday. Beckett struck out four and walked two to neutralize Adam Wainwright in a fierce 1-0 Dodgers' victory. Beckett is on a roll as he has thrown 14 straight shutout innings and allowed just four runs over his past 29 innings pitched. Beckett entered the game with a 1.58 ERA over his last six outings. Now, he owns a shocking 6-2 record and 2.11 ERA. He'll face the Indians next week.
  • Ryan Braun went 2-for-3 with two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored in Thursday's win over the Rockies. Braun walked and scored in the first inning, then singled and scored in the fifth. His eighth-inning stolen base was his eight of the season in 11 attempts, and he is now batting .284 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI. At 49-32, the Brewers lead the Major Leagues in victories and is off to its best 81-game start in a franchise history that dates to 1969 -- two games better than the previous mark set in 1979 and matched in 2007.
  • Rick Porcello earned his 10th win with a three-hit shutout over the Rangers on Thursday. It marked the second complete game and the first shutout of his career.  Porcello allowed three hits, walked three, and struck out six on the evening. He is having the best season of his career following years of mediocrity, now the proud owner of a 3.41 ERA in 97 2/3 innings. He'll look to keep the ball rolling in next week's home start against the Athletics.
  • Chase Utley went 3-for-7 with an RBI single and a walk-off two-run home run in Thursday's 14-inning victory over the Marlins. It was Utley's first walk-off hit since 2007 and it was the Phillies' only extra-base hit on the night. Utley has been in a bad slump at the plate, but still maintains a respectable .296 batting average with six home runs and 37 RBI on the season.
  • Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) had an MRI on his right shoulder showed on Thursday and it showed no structural damage. Ramirez hasn't played since aggravating his shoulder injury on Monday, but he will avoid the disabled list for now. He remains day-to-day with irritation of the A/C joint in his shoulder.
  • Bryce Harper (thumb) could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Monday. Harper played in right field for Double-A Harrisburg last night, and is scheduled to play nine innings in center field Saturday and then play in left field Sunday. If everything goes will, which it has to this point, he could be in the lineup versus the Rockies Monday. Harper has been on the shelf since late April with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.

MLB In Full Bloom - Should Fantasy Owners Own Lincecum? - 6/26/2014

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Tim Lincecum's days of dominating opponents may be in the past. That doesn't mean he can't dial up flashes of the Freak he once was especially against the San Diego Padres. Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win. Lincecum retired the final 23 batters after walking Chase Headley in the second inning. Though the Padres hit a few balls hard, Giants fielders didn't need to make any exceptional plays to preserve Lincecum's gem. Now let's get practical for fantasy purposes about whether or not fantasy owners should own Lincecum. He was facing a Padres club that has produced by far the fewest runs in the major leagues this season and he still owns a rough 4.42 ERA in 91 2/3 total innings this year. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to mediocrity in his next outing against the Cardinals. In his previous start before Wednesday’s no-hitter, Lincecum was knocked around by the Diamondbacks for four earned runs on seven hits and struck out just one batter across six rough innings. He was also blown up for eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings earlier this month by the Reds. Let's let Tim enjoy the moment, but fantasy owners should not expect this type of performance again this year.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Alex Wood threw seven scoreless innings giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out four as the Braves blanked the Astros in Houston on Tuesday night. Wood probably could have worked longer as he was pulled at 79 pitches, but it’s understandable that the Braves didn’t want to push it in his first major league start since May 4. Wood obviously needs to be owned in all standard mixed fantasy leagues and NL-Only league formats. He gets the Mets and Diamondbacks next week.
  • David Price impressed scouts Wednesday, striking out 11 batters while throwing 8 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win over the Pirates. Price became the first pitcher since Johan Santana in 2004 to record five straight 10-strikeout games. Price walked just one and allowed only five hits on Tuesday night and had his shutout broken up with one out in the ninth inning when Andrew McCutchen hit a home run.
  • Nelson Cruz went 1-for-5 with an eighth-inning grand slam that tied the game in Wednesday's 12-inning victory over the White Sox. The Orioles weren't able to get anything going offensively until Cruz erased a 4-0 deficit with one swing. Cruz blasted a grand slam off of reliever Javy Guerra, which allowed the Orioles to eventually notch a walk-off win. Cruz's excellent season continues, as he is batting .293 with 24 home runs and 64 RBI.
  • Garrett Richards allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings while striking out five to pick up a win against the Twins on Wednesday. Richards may not have had his best stuff Wednesday as he tied a season-high with five walks in the contest, but he kept the Twins off balance for most of the night en route to picking up his eighth win of the season. In the first two innings, Richard's fastball was clocked between 97-99 mph. He now has seven consecutive starts in which he has allowed just five hits or less in a game. He'll face the White Sox on Monday.
  • Jose Abreu blasted his 23rd home of the season Wednesday in a 2-for-5 effort against the Orioles. Abreu hit a solo laser off Ubaldo Jimenez in the fourth inning. The home run tied Abreu with Nelson Cruz for second in the league with 23. Cruz moved ahead later in the game when he hit a clutch grand slam. Abreu is now hitting .276 with 61 RBI in his rookie season.
  • Manny Ramirez will join the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on Thursday as a player/coach, the Cubs announced Wednesday. Ramirez, 42, was signed by the Cubs in late May and has been at the Cubs' spring training facility in Arizona working with minor league and rehabbing players while getting into game shape himself. He will be mostly a coach than a player as the Cubs have their top right-hander power hitting prospects in Kris Bryant and Javier Baez at Iowa. Ramirez was one of the best power hitter of his day and Theo Epstein hopes that Ramirez can provide a little bit of knowledge to the younger players.
  • A Native American group is planning to file a $9 billion federal lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians and their "offensive" Chief Wahoo logo. The suit is expected to be filed next month. Local supporters of the Chief Wahoo logo say it is only a small minority of people who are offended by the logo. The Indians have been gradually phasing out the Chief Wahoo logo over the last few years, replacing it with the red block letter "C" logo.
  • Happy 40th birthday to Derek Jeter!

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