This article was written by Jason Hunt over at Fake Teams
If you look hard at the Red Sox-Rangers game, you see something you may never see again. How it came to be, honestly, is one of the great unexplained mysteries. But Rangers' catcher Bengie Molina hit for the cycle yesterday against the Red Sox. He went 4 for 4 with a grand slam and a "triple" on a ball misplayed by the center fielder. Kudos to him for doing it, but I don't think that there's anyone less likely to have accomplished it than him. That said, if he is available in your league, he is worth a flyer if you need catching help. Since coming over to the Rangers, he is hitting .290 with 2 homers and 6 rbi. Nothing amazing, but he seems to be rejuvenated a bit with the team. Do keep your ears peeled though, as he left the game after that triple with a tweaked quadriceps muscle.
Stephen Strasburg threw 6 shutout innings last night en route to his 4th win of the season. I watched a large portion of the start, and it seems like the league is starting to get a book on him. I can't necessarily pin it on anything specifically I saw last night, but I thought that his first inning faceoff against Gaby Sanchez was telling, as Sanchez battled through 12 pitches before finally drawing a walk. It seems like the plan for some of his most recent opponents is to try to make him throw as many pitches as possible and see if he will give in when the count fills up. He'll need to continue to adapt, as he did last night as the game went on.
Ted Lilly had an excellent start against the Phillies yesterday as trade rumors swirl around him. He struck out 10 batters over 7 innings and allowed only 3 earned runs. I'm inclined to believe that Lilly could not only really help a contender, but potentially be even better if he can get out of Chicago. But we'll see, I suppose.
Ricky Romero rebounded with a nice start against the Orioles yesterday, striking out 5 over 7 shutout innings. Clearly, the Orioles aren't exactly an offense anyone particularly fears, but it is good to see Romero pitch better after a couple of bad starts in a row.
Jeff Keppinger went 2 for 4 with 3 runs batted in yesterday against the Pirates. Only for deeper leagues, but Keppinger qualifies at 2B, 3B and SS in a lot of leagues, and is hitting .289 on the season.
Jon Rauch had a bit of a blowup last night, as he only got 1 out and gave up 2 earned runs on 2 hits and 3 walks. He was pulled from the game and Jesse Crain came on to record the save. I really don't have a lot of concern about this right now, as he hasn't really had a bad outing in a while. Chalk it up to a bad day, but see how he does in his next save chance.
Manny Ramirez was pulled from the Dodgers' game in the first inning yesterday, apparently due to tightness in his right calf muscle. Not a good sign for a player who is fresh off the disabled list for an injury to his right leg. I'd be shocked if he played tomorrow, but he could return on Sunday.
The Padres were busy placing people on the disabled list, with both Mike Adams and Mat Latos going on the 15 day DL. Latos has been receiving a lot of grief because apparently he was hurt trying to avoid sneezing. Now, the Padres were hoping to limit his innings, and it sounds like his 15 day DL stint is just an easier way to bring up a pitcher to allow Latos to rest until near the end of the month. At least it's not a deer meat injury.
Barry Zito looked vintage yesterday, striking out 10 Mets over 8 shutout innings. I'm not sure where to put my weight on this one: Was Zito this good today, or were the Mets that bad today? I think he's still going to be reasonably good, and is probably a spot starter at this point in most leagues.