Stephen Strasburg was spectacular in Thursday afternoon's victory over the Marlins, but his success didn't come as a result of an overpowering fastball. Strasburg held the Marlins to just three hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings, striking out 12 in the victory. We know Strasburg possesses a high-velocity fastball, but his domination Thursday was a result resulted of his devastating changeup. Strasburg's name has lost some of its luster in recent years as he's dealt with injuries and the burden of high expectations, but Thursday was a good reminder of how high his ceiling really is for a 25-year old that has not yet reached his prime. He's still got the ability to be the best pitcher in baseball on a given day and, if he can put it all together, in a given year.
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Jim Johnson ran into more trouble Wednesday at Minnesota’s Target Field as he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks to blow a 4-2 ninth-inning lead for the Athletics. Oakland rallied in extra innings to pull out a 7-4 victory over the host Twins. After the latest poor outing by Johnson, A’s manager Bob Melvin has removed him from the closer role. Johnson was acquired this winter from the Orioles for second base prospect Jemile Weeks and has been downright horrendous. Johnson has given up nine hits, six walks, and seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings with the A’s. Ryan Cook was activated from the disabled list and should be owned in AL-Only leagues and deep mixed fantasy leagues. Cook owns a respectable 2.53 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 149 1/3 career major league innings. Luke Gregerson could also get some save opportunities as well.
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