Josh Beckett is in hot water for playing golf while he was rehabbing an injury to his lat (great PR move by the way, Josh). All would be forgiven if he performed Thursday, but he looked awful while allowing seven runs and recording just seven outs. Perhaps it's time for the BoSox to consider a DL stint for Mr. Beckett, but let's be clear here. Beckett is just a season removed from a 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a total of 175 punchouts. The man can still pitch. Just 31 years old, he is far from washed up despite a poor six-start run to open the year. Often prone to stretches of gopheritis, Beckett has allowed nine homers in 34.2 innings, good for a 2.34 HR/9IP mark. Given that he's only had two seasons in his career over 1.15, and that his career mark is 1.03, it's a pretty safe bet that number will be on its way down at some point soon. Seems like a great buy low opportunity to me.
The Angels aren't playing Peter Bourjos, so the rumor mill for his services is heating up. At the same time, it doesn't sound like the Nationals are one of the teams that he could be dealt to. Regardless, Bourjos needs to be dealt if the Angels have no intention of playing him on a regular basis (Mike Trout, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells are getting all the playing time, so even though the Angels dealt Bobby Abreu it's done nothing to get Bourjos into the lineup). An excellent center fielder, Bourjos has the potential to be a 15/30 type in the fantasy game, and who wouldn't want that type of guy in their outfield? At this point, he's sitting three of every four games casting even his AL-only value into the dumper.
Strange Story of the Day: Mark DeRosa is as big a fan of Bryce Harper as the rest of us. He's such a fan that he had no problem giving Harper a high-five the other night when he stole home against the Phillies. The only problem with that is DeRosa is out of action with an oblique injury. Yep, you guessed it, he tweaked the injury with his exuberance. "I don't know if that set back the rehab or not," manager Davey Johnson said. "But I said, 'Why didn't use your [right] hand?' He said it was spur of the moment."
Strange Story of the Day II: Everth Cabrera (.325 with 13 steals at Triple-A) looked like he was on the cusp of bringing his speed game back to the majors as the Padres were thought to be on the cusp of moving on from the expensive and unproductive Jason Bartlett (.135 in 26 games). Turns out that call up has been put on hold. Somehow Cabrera was able to keep quiet a legal issue he has been dealing with (he was arrested on March 16th on a domestic violence charge). It doesn't sound like the issue is a major black eye, it's a misdemeanor charge, but nevertheless in this day an age of information, how did the Padres miss this?
Lance Berkman (calf) will not come off the DL Friday as hoped. There was no timetable given for when he will be activated, but it could easily come over the weekend or early next week. Until he does return look for Allen Craig and his hot bat to remain in the lineup for the Cards.
BY THE NUMBERS
.462: The batting average of Yunel Escobar in the seven games he has hit out of the No. 2 hole for the Blue Jays this year (he batted .217 as the leadoff man). This news is a bit off given that in 873 at-bats as a leadoff hitter, and 908 at-bats as a second hole hitter, Escobar's numbers are indistinguishable.
1st in order: .289/.355/.406
2nd in order: .294/.363/.403
By the way, he's hit .303 with a .848 OPS and 212 RBI in 548 at-bats with runners in scoring position in his career.
1: The number of runs that Alfredo Aceves has allowed in his last seven outings covering 9.2 innings. During that time he has racked up, get this, 13 strikeouts while allowing just three walks. Despite all that good, and the fact that he has thrown just 12.2 innings this season, he's still sporting a 6.39 ERA and 1.58 WHIP for the Red Sox.
2.47: The ERA of Derek Lowe, who if you didn't remember, now pitches for the Indians. That mark is going to go up. How do I know that? First off, I'm really smart. Second, I'm logical. Third, the last time he had an ERA that low was – never. Fourth, his current ERA is literally half of what his 5.05 mark was last season. Generating an insane total of 64 percent of all batted balls hitting in the infield dirt, despite the flashy ERA his WHIP is still 1.51, his K/BB ratio is horrid at 1.00, and that 2.68 K/9IP rate – I'm thinking I could post a mark that high with my change of pace fastball. One other thing. Lowe's current xFIP is 4.35, and that would be the worst number of his career.
9: The major league leading holds mark of... Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers. An impressive arm with a monster total of 22 strikeouts in just 13.2 innings, Benoit also has a 1.83 WHIP thanks in part to the 10 walks he has issued. The 15 hits allowed hasn't helped either. The No. 2 man is in a tie between someone you know (Vinnie Pestano) and someone you might not (Ryan Cook). Both men have eight holds. Pestano has 20 strikeouts and just five walks in 14 innings of work whereas Cook, who pitches for the A's, hasn't allowed a run while posting a 0.64 WHIP over 15.2 innings.
13: The number of strikeouts that Stephen Strasburg had Thursday against the Pirates as he pushed his career total to 27 pucnhouts in just 13 innings against the Pirates. To put in perspective how amazing those numbers are, as if you couldn't do that on your own, try this on for size. Henderson Alvarez has a 2.61 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over seven starts this season, impressive numbers for the youngster. However, he doesn't have a single game with more than four strikeouts an on the year he has 14 -- in 48.1 innings. That's right. Alvarez has one more strikeout on the season than Strasburg had Thursday night.
13: The number of strikeouts that Chris Davis has in his last seven games to give him a total of 31 through 29 games played for the Orioles. That's obviously an unacceptable total, but what if Davis hit .283 with 25 homers, 70 RBI and 75 runs scored (his current pace). Would the Orioles, and you, take the 160 strikeout and live with it? You, and they, certainly would.
15: The number of consecutive seasons in which Vladimir Guerrero has hit at least .290 (the only season of his career in which he didn't hit .290 was 1996 when he went 5-for-27 for the Expos leading to a .185 mark). Signed Thursday to a minor league deal with the Blue Jays, I'm shocked it took this long for someone to take a chance on Vlad. I know he can't run anymore, and his defense is pretty much shot, but surely the man can still hit. To put things in perspective, Vlad's run of 15-straight seasons of hitting at least .290 with at least 350 plate appearances in each season is tied for fourth longest in the history of baseball with Frankie Frisch (the only longer stretches were 20 by Ty Cobb, 19 by Tris Speaker and 16 by Tony Gwynn).
76: The amount of home runs that Josh Hamilton is on pace to hit over a 162 game schedule as he has 15 in the Rangers 32 games played this season. Of course, he won't hit 76 homers. He won't hit 60 homers. He won't hit 50 homers. I'd even say a run to 40 isn't a lock, not just because he's never hit more than 32 bombs in a season, but because the guy is always hurt. From 2008-11 he averaged 125 games played a season. If he were to keep up his current pace, and play 125 games, he'd hit 58 homers. Like I wrote – good luck with that.
96.0: The average speed on Stephen Strasburg's fastball, the biggest total in baseball for a starting pitcher. Jeff Samardzija is second at 94.9 mph just ahead of David Price and his 94.8 mph mark. At the low end of the spectrum it's hardly a surprise that the slowest fastball velocity belongs to Jamie Moyer at 77.0 mph, an amazing 5.3 miles per hour below the next lowest heater that belongs to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Barry Zito is the only other man in the game who's average fastball is below 84 mph at 83.6.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.