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The Lineup Card: Nathan Cementing Closer Role

Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno

Paul is a 22-year veteran of the STATS INC reporter network, scoring play by play for the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs. He is also the creator of the statistical platform which evolved into the NHL's Real Time Scoring System, which was unveiled in 1992. You can also hear him on XM Sirius and nextsportsstar.com, talking hockey and baseball.In addition to all of Toronto's teams, he is also a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups (all times Eastern):

Marlins (Clay Hensley - R) vs Nationals (John Lannan - L) 12:35
Mets (Chris Capuano - L) vs Reds (Homer Bailey - R) 12:35
Angels (Joel Pineiro - R) vs Tigers (Brad Penny - R) 1:05
Royals (Luke Hochevar - R) vs Red Sox (Josh Beckett - R) 1:35
Cubs (Randy Wells - R) vs Brewers (Shaun Marcum - R) 2:10
Diamondbacks (Daniel Hudson - R) vs Padres (Mat Latos - R) 3:35
Rays (Wade Davis - R) vs A's (Rich Harden - R) 3:35
Giants (Matt Cain - R) vs  Phillies (Kyle Kendrick - R) 7:05
Orioles (Brad Bergesen - R) vs Blue Jays (Carlos Villanueva - R) 7:07
Pirates (Kevin Correia - R) vs Braves (Derek Lowe - R) 7:10
Twins (Scott Baker - R) vs Rangers (Matt Harrison - L) 8:05
Astros (Wandy Rodriguez - L) vs Cardinals (Jaime Garcia - L) 8:15

Day After Night: FLA/WAS, NYM/CIN, LAA/DET, KC/BOS, CHN/MIL, ARI/SD, TB/OAK,

Injuries

Day-to-Day

Jake Arrieta, P, BAL (foot) - left Tuesday's game with right foot contusion; x-rays were negative
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, BOS (hamstring) - injured in Monday's loss; may return on Thursday or Friday
Jose Bautista, 3B, TOR (head) - no concussion symptoms after getting hit by pitch on Tuesday
Reed Johnson, OF, CHN (back) - stiff and sore chronic back troubles
Kerry Wood, P, CHN (illness) - flu-like symptoms
Juan Uribe, 2B, LAD (abdomen) - headed for MRI to establish extent of injury
Rob Johnson, C, SD (hand) - x-rays came back negative
Ernesto Frieri P, SD (personal) - paternity leave; will return on the weekend
Tim Lincecum, P, SF - (illness) - flu symptoms
Lance Berkman, 1B, STL - (shoulder) - had MRI on Wednesday and will receive a cortisone shot

Players on the DL

Cesar Iztiuris, SS, BAL (elbow) - continuing rehab in Double-A; may return this weekend
Clay Buchholz, P, BOS (back) - had normal soreness in his back after 30 pitch bullpen session on Monday
Bobby Jenks, P, BOS (back) - not making much progress and feeling soreness
Chase d'Arnaud, 3B, PIT (finger) - went on the 15-day DL Wednesday
Jed Lowrie, SS, BOS (shoulder) - soft toss hitting; yet to hit on the field
Tony Pena, P, CHI-A, (elbow) - will undergo Tommy John surgery as a result of Tuesday's examination
Alex White, P, CLE (finger) - scheduled for a second bullpen session this week on Wednesday
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CLE (thumb) - started light swinging and throwing this week
Justin Morneau, 1B, MIN (neck) - limited recently due to migraines
Rafael Soriano, P, NYA (elbow) - minor league rehab will continue one more week
Peter Moylan, P, ATL (back) - will throw off mound Sunday for first time since undergoing back surgery
Josh Johnson, P, FLA (shoulder) - shut down for remainder of 2011 season
Mitch Stetter, P, MIL (hip) - likely facing season-ending surgery
Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL (shoulder) - may resume baseball activities in six weeks
Johan Santana, P, NYA (shoulder) - will make a 45-pitch rehab start for High-A St Lucie on Thursday
Roy Oswalt, P, PHI (back) - will make one more rehab start this week
Placido Polanco, 3B, PHI (back) - will begin a rehab assignment this week
Joe Blanton, P, PHI (elbow) - Tuesday's ultrasound revealed inflammation in the ulnar nerve
Jose Contreras, P, PHI (elbow) - received a platelet-rich plasma injection on Tuesday to relieve pain
Ryan Doumit, C, PIT (ankle) - moved to Triple-A Indy on Tuesday; may return first week of August
Ross Ohlendorf, P, PIT (shoulder) - felt good after Tuesday's 60 pitch bullpen session
Adam Wainwright, P, STL (elbow) - hoping to return in September; currently throwing three times a week
Allen Craig, OF, STL (knee) - began rehab on Monday; will continue for at least one more week
Cole Kimball, P, WAS (shoulder) - hopes to return to action next July around All-Star break

Transactions - Players who have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.

Called Up

Alejandro De Aza, OF, CWS
Chien-Ming Wang, P, WAS
Drew Sutton, 3B, BOS
J.C. Boscan, C, ATL
Wilkin Ramirez, OF, ATL
Chris Nelson, 2B, COL

Sent Down

Zach Stewart, P, CWS
Cesar Ramos, P, TB
Kyle Phillips, C, SD
Beandon Inge, 3B, DET

Placed on DL

J.D. Drew, OF, BOS (shoulder)
Brian McCann, C, ATL (back)
Geoff Blum, SS, ARI (finger)
Jason Giambi, 1B, COL (quadriceps)
Jordan Schafer, CF, ATL (finger)

Activated from DL

Eric Chavez, 3B, NYY
J.J. Putz, P, ARI
Vladimir Guerrero, DH, BAL

Closer Watch

Twins - Joe Nathan is continuing to cement his hold on the closer job. He has earned the save in each of his last five appearances. He has allowed only one earned run in that stretch and is finally starting to resemble the closer who owned this role since 2004 for the Twins. He has put his arm troubles behind him

Brewers - John Axford is playing a key role for the contenders from Milwaukee in only his second full season in the majors. He has converted 28 of 30 save opportunities, one of the best success rates in the business. With the pennant race heating up, Axford has really answered the bell in converting his last five save opportunities. He has allowed only one earned run while fanning seven batters in those five innings of work.

Tigers - Jose Valverde broke down in the second half of the 2010 season, but he shows no signs of slowing down this season. He has been perfect in converting each of his 27 save opportunities this season. He has turned up the heat in limiting opponents to only one hit over his last four appearances, covering 3.2 innings. He had some control issues earlier in the year, but has a handle on that of late, too, as he has allowed only two walks in his last six outings.

Dodgers - Kenley Jansen is making a late-season bid to factor into the back of the Dodgers' bullpen. He earned his second save of the year on Tuesday night, because Javy Guerra had pitched the previous three days. In his 10 July appearances, he has only allowed two hits over 10 innings of work, while striking out 17 and walking only four batters. His power pitching (61 strikeouts in only 37 innings of work) is indicative of the profile of a prototypical closer and he has definitely earned a shot at the Dodgers' closer tag with his 2011 stats. Jansen had to go to the hospital Wednesday with an irregular heartbeat, though he's supposed to be back with the team Friday.

KEY MATCHUPS: HOT

Hot Batter Matchups At-Bats AVG HR XBH RBI BB K SLG OBP OPS
Brandon Phillips - 2B CIN vs NYM
7/28 12:35 PM
Chris Capuano 10-23 .435 1 2 2 0 3 .609 .435 1.044
Omar Infante - 2B FLA @ WAS
7/28 12:35 PM
John Lannan 5-11 .455 0 1 0 0 1 .545 .455 1.000
Hanley Ramirez - SS FLA @ WAS
7/28 12:35 PM
John Lannan 8-18 .444 1 3 5 1 1 .722 .474 1.196
Carlos Guillen - 2B DET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro 5-12 .417 0 2 2 1 1 .583 .462 1.045
Magglio Ordonez - OF DET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro 9-22 .409 0 1 3 0 3 .455 .391 .846
Torii Hunter - OF LAA @ DET
7/28 1:05 PM
Brad Penny 4-11 .364 0 2 4 0 1 .636 .364 1.000
Carl Crawford - OF BOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Luke Hochevar 6-11 .545 0 3 1 0 1 1.000 .545 1.545
Jacoby Ellsbury - OF BOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Luke Hochevar 4-12 .333 0 2 2 1 3 .667 .385 1.052
Prince Fielder - 1B MIL vs CHC
7/28 2:10 PM
Randy Wells 6-15 .400 1 2 1 1 3 .667 .438 1.105
Jose Bautista - 3B TOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen 7-15 .467 2 4 4 1 3 1.000 .500 1.500
Aaron Hill - 2B TOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen 4-15 .267 2 3 4 0 1 .733 .267 1.000
Adam Lind - 1B TOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen 6-15 .400 1 3 5 3 0 .733 .500 1.233
Alex Gonzalez - SS ATL vs PIT
7/28 7:10 PM
Kevin Correia 4-12 .333 0 2 3 1 0 .500 .385 .885
Andrew McCutchen - OF PIT @ ATL
7/28 7:10 PM
Derek Lowe 5-12 .417 0 0 0 1 2 .417 .462 .879
Matt Holliday - OF STL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez 8-29 .276 3 5 7 2 6 .690 .323 1.013
Corey Patterson - OF STL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez 3-10 .300 1 2 1 0 2 .800 .300 1.100
Ryan Theriot - SS STL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez 10-31 .323 1 5 1 2 0 .548 .364 .912
Hot Pitcher Matchups At-Bats Opp
AVG
HR
Allow
XBH
Allow
RBI
Allow
BB K Opp
SLG
Opp
OBP
Opp
OPS
Brad Penny DET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Angels Batters 22-84 .262 0 6 11 11 8 .363 .342 .705
Josh Beckett BOS vs KC
7/28 1:35 PM
Royals Batters 24-98 .245 0 4 4 7 27 .286 .298 .584

KEY MATCHUPS: COLD

Cold Batter Matchups At-Bats AVG HR XBH RBI BB K SLG OBP OPS
Edgar Renteria - SS CIN vs NYM
7/28 12:35 PM
Chris Capuano 2-15 .133 0 0 1 0 5 .133 .133 .266
Jhonny Peralta - SS DET vs LAA
7/28 1:05 PM
Joel Pineiro 2-12 .167 0 1 3 0 2 .250 .167 .417
Vernon Wells - OF LAA @ DET
7/28 1:05 PM
Brad Penny 1-12 .083 0 0 0 0 0 .083 .083 .166
Billy Butler - 1B KC @ BOS
7/28 1:35 PM
Josh Beckett 2-13 .154 0 0 0 1 5 .154 .214 .368
Jeff Francoeur - OF KC @ BOS
7/28 1:35 PM
Josh Beckett 1-13 .077 0 0 0 1 5 .077 .143 .220
Carlos Pena - 1B CHC @ MIL
7/28 2:10 PM
Shaun Marcum 1-12 .083 0 0 0 2 6 .083 .214 .297
Johnny Damon - OF TB @ OAK
7/28 3:35 PM
Rich Harden 2-12 .167 0 0 0 4 1 .167 .375 .542
Casey Kotchman - 1B TB @ OAK
7/28 3:35 PM
Rich Harden 3-15 .200 0 0 1 0 2 .200 .200 .400
Derrek Lee - 1B BAL @ TOR
7/28 7:07 PM
Carlos Villanueva 1-12 .083 0 0 1 1 3 .083 .154 .237
Yunel Escobar - SS TOR vs BAL
7/28 7:07 PM
Brad Bergesen 2-10 .200 0 1 0 1 1 .300 .273 .573
Josh Hamilton - OF TEX vs MIN
7/28 8:05 PM
Scott Baker 2-14 .143 0 1 3 1 6 .214 .188 .402
David Murphy - OF TEX vs MIN
7/28 8:05 PM
Scott Baker 2-13 .154 0 0 2 1 4 .154 .214 .368
Skip Schumaker - 2B STL vs HOU
7/28 8:15 PM
Wandy Rodriguez 6-24 .250 0 0 1 0 2 .250 .250 .500
Cold Pitcher Matchups At-Bats Opp
AVG
HR
Allow
XBH
Allow
RBI
Allow
BB K Opp
SLG
Opp
OBP
Opp
OPS
John Lannan WAS vs Fla
7/28 12:35 PM
Marlins Batters 28-75 .373 2 9 10 4 11 .539 .402 .941
Chris Capuano NYM @ Cin
7/28 12:35 PM
Reds Batters 22-70 .314 3 6 10 6 17 .500 .368 .868
Luke Hochevar KC @ Bos
7/28 1:35 PM
Red Sox Batters 24-63 .381 3 12 13 7 10 .736 .456 1.192
Randy Wells CHC @ MIL
7/28 2:10 PM
Brewers Batters 30-83 .362 2 11 11 3 18 .548 .391 .938
Brad Bergesen BAL @ Tor
7/28 7:07 PM
Blue Jays Batters 22-76 .290 5 11 13 6 6 .567 .342 .909



Recommended Pickup

Conor Jackson, 1B, OAK - Jackson had long been touted as a top-notch hitting prospect, enjoying a fine start to his career with the Diamondbacks. His batting average was north of the .280 mark for three straight years before injuries caught up to him in 2009. A trade to Oakland was expected to propel him to greater heights but instead he has struggled to regain the level of his earlier years. Most recently, he has finally started to show signs of a higher level of production. He is hitting .286 and his OPS is a respectable .748 for the month of July. Over his last six starts, he has collected 11 hits in 24 at bats. The A's and prospective fantasy owners would do well to keep an eye on Jackson and ride this recent surge. He also might get dealt short of the deadline, most likely in a more favorable fantasy setting.

Other recent recommendations: Josh Reddick, Eric Thames, Lonnie Chisenhall, Dexter Fowler, Justin Turner

Draft Street Competition

If you missed out on our recent free roll with DraftStreet, don't worry - we have another chance for you to take home some serious cash.

Register for a free account at DraftStreet.com today and start practicing. Remember to use bonus code Rotowire on your first deposit to get some extra cash released into your account as you play.

As a reminder, the competition will be an MLB Salary Cap league where values for each player are set based on projected fantasy value each day and your mission is to find the bargains and make the best 14 player team possible within the $100,000 budget.

Be sure to come back to RotoWire's Daily Lineup Card every day for all the analysis you need to dominate the competition and take home cash on DraftStreet.

Draft Street Lineup

C - Jarrod Saltalamacchia, $5881
1B - Prince Fielder, $6427
2B - Carlos Guillen, $5556
3B - Jose Bautista, $9800
SS - Hanley Ramirez, $7104
OF - Andrew McCutchen, $6820
OF - Desmond Jennings, $5602
OF - Matt Holliday, $6850
UTIL - Ryan Braun, $11157
UTIL - Joey Votto, $5899
SP - Josh Beckett, $16292
SP - Brad Penny, $5235
RP - Craig Kimbrel, 3935
P - John Axford, $3305