MLB In Full Bloom - Rebuilding Keeper Rosters - 8/15/2014

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It's the middle of August and if you participate in a keeper league and your roster is not in contention, it's time to look forward to next year. There is plenty of things you can do in the final weeks of this season to improve your 2015 team. Let's face it, fantasy football grabs the majority of people's attenti0n and there are productive players to be had on the free agent wire with top prospects being called up in September when MLB clubs can expand rosters. The Chicago Cubs have already brought of Javier Baez and the San Diego Padres recently called up outfielder Rymer Liriano. Both these top prospects will see significant opportunity to contribute in 2015. We have seen several injuries to top talent since the All-Star break, headlined by Troy Tulowitzki, Paul Goldschmidt, and Carlos Gonzalez just to name a few. Since these guys are not helping their owners for the stretch run, you may be able to trade for them now. Be aware of any upcoming changes to your league format such as new rules, new owners, and scoring changes because this should all factor into your decisions. Finish strong over the final six weeks and don't take these final two months off. If you do, you will end of regretting it in March 2015!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • John Lackey allowed just two runs over seven innings and bounced back from a disastrous start in in previous outing, but he got a no-decision in Thursday's win against the Padres. Lackey gave up nine runs in five innings on Saturday, which was his second start with his new club. Last night, Lackey was so much better as he allowed five hits and struck out five. In 19 innings with the Cardinals, Lackey has a 6.16 ERA. He'll face the Reds on Tuesday at home in his next start.
  • Stephen Strasburg pitched seven strong innings, allowing only one unearned run en route to his ninth win as the Nats won on Thursday. It was a nice bounce-back start after getting rocked by the Braves in his previous start. Strasburg gave up only three hits and a pair of walks while striking out eight. The Mets only run came in the fourth after Ian Desmond allowed Daniel Murphy to advance to second on a fielding error. Strasburg now has a 3.53 ERA and he'll face the D'Backs at home in his next start on Tuesday.
  • Carlos Gonzalez (knee) will undergo season-ending surgery Monday, but he's expected to be ready for spring training. The expected rehab time for this type of surgery is 5-6 months, which means Gonzalez will be rounding into form right at the beginning of spring training. Drew Stubbs will likely see the day-to-day action in center field.
  • Max Scherzer threw eight shutout innings and struck out 14 Pirates on Thursday afternoon. He allowed just three hits and two walks in the victory. The big strikeout total helped Scherzer leapfrog Felix Hernandez and Stephen Strasburg for No. 2 in strikeouts across the league with 196. Scherzer hasn't been quite as masterful this year as he was last season, but he's been on fire lately with double-digit strikeout totals in three of his last five outings. The right-hander will look to keep it going in his next start against the Rays on Tuesday.
  • Dustin Pedroia had a productive night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a two-run ground-rule double in Thursday's win against the Astros. Pedroia capped off a seven-run sixth inning by knocking in Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley, Jr. with a double to right field. He had singled and scored previously in the inning. This performance was Pedroia's fourth multi-hit game in his last six games and he now owns a .285 BA with five home runs and 45 RBI.
  • Mike Fiers struck out 14 Cubs over six scoreless innings Thursday in the Brewers' 6-2 victory. Fiers joined Max Scherzer in striking out 14 today, but hi day was more impressive because he was given the chance to get just 18 outs total. In fact, Fiers is just the eighth pitcher ever to strike out 14 in an outing of six innings or less. Fiers is expected to get at least one more start with Kyle Lohse's next turn in doubt.
  • Thursday was the Opening Day of the Little League World Series and a great story is already beginning to take shape. The day belong to a team representing the state of Illinois and so much more. Jackie Robinson West is a team of little leaguers from Chicago's south side and the first all black team to make the World Series in over a decade and these guys can hit! This team is part of the urban initiative program that the little league began 15 years ago which was a big priority considering only 8% of major leaguers are African American. The first batter of the game, Pierce Jones put Illinois on top 1-0 with his first of three home runs! Jones finished going 4-for-4 with 3 HR and a triple for a total of 15 bases. Jackie Robinson West defeated Washington 12-2 and will face Nevada on Sunday.

MLB In Full Bloom - Tulowitzki's Season Is Over - 8/14/2014

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Troy Tulowitzki is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery for a labrum injury in his left hip on Friday. The Rockies made the announcement late Wednesday night that their star shortstop will miss the remaining 42 games on the Rockies schedule. Tulo was putting himself in a nice position for his first National League MVP prior to injuring his hip on a groundout in late July and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He owns a .340 batting average with 21 home runs, 52 RBI, and 71 runs scored in 91 games. Josh Rutledge will finish out the season as the Rockies’ primary shortstop. Unfortunately, the hits just keep on coming for Tulo and the Rockies and this injury continues a trend that clearly he is unable to stay healthy as he played in just 91 games this season, which is his second lowest total since becoming an everyday player in 2007. He has played in 150 games a season just twice in his career in 2007 and 2009 and both years the Rockies made the playoffs.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Carlos Gonzalez (knee) is probably done for the season along with Troy Tulowitzki. CarGo underwent a follow-up MRI on his left knee earlier this week and the news wasn't good there was more irritation in his knee than there was when Cargo had an MRI earlier this year. There's no reason at this point for the Rockies to push it with him since they are out of contention. Gonzalez played in just 70 games this year.
  • Ervin Santana allowed just two runs over six innings and improved to 12-6 on Wednesday against the Dodgers. Santana and the Braves behind 2-0 after allowing a pair of runs in the second, but he was able to keep the Dodgers scoreless from there. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out nine in the effort. Now with a 3.66 ERA, Santana will look to keep it going when he takes on the Pirates on the road next Monday.
  • Rymer Liriano hit his first major league home run in the Padres' win over the Rockies on Wednesday. He made his big league debut on Monday, and hit his first career big league home run in his third game. The home run hit the top of the fourth inning was a blast that landed at the top of the Western Metal Supply Company building at Petco Park. Liriano has an impressive set of tools and he has already been putting them on display in his first 12 plate appearances.
  • Adam Jones hit a tie-breaking three-run home run in the eighth inning and the Orioles came back to grab victory out of the Yankees' hands on Wednesday. Jonathan Schoop tied the game with a solo home run earlier in the eighth inning, and Jones knocked in three with his homer to left-center with two outs in the inning. It was Jones' only hit in four at-bats. He owns a .287 BA with 23 home runs and 75 RBI on the year.
  • Justin Masterson threw seven shutout innings on Wednesday as the Cardinals' got a 5-2 victory over the Marlins. This was a bit of a surprise after the right-hander struggled mightily in his first two starts after being traded to St. Louis. Masterson allowed only three Miami singles and did not walk a batter while inducing 15 groundball outs. Masterson will face the Reds at home for his next start.
  • The new MLB home plate collision rule, 7.13, erupted in controversy again in San Francisco in a game between the White Sox and the Giants. With runners on first and third, the Giants' Joe Panik hit a dribbler up the first-base line that Jose Abreu fielded well and threw to Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who estimated he caught the ball with seven feet to spare as pinch-runner Gregor Blanco slid into home and was tagged out easily. The Giants called for a review and after 4 minutes, 55 seconds the ruling came back that Blanco was safe because Flowers was blocking the plate before he had possession of the ball. Catchers are allowed to block the plate only once they have control of the ball. White Sox manager Robin Ventura went into an epic rant as he yelled at umpires and kicked dirt over home plate.
  • The Baltimore Orioles swept the two games with the Yankees in a rain-shortened series with a 5-3 win Wednesday night. The Orioles have been red hot and now have a 7 1/2 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays and a 8 game lead over the Bronx Bombers. The Orioles have dominated the Yankees this season as their 8-3 against New York, which is a .727 winning percentage. The O's are now 69-50, which is the third best record behind only the Athletics and the Angels.

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