Here come the days of summer when canine comparisons are frequently made. The rest of this post contains zero references to dogs (or cats or gerbils), but rather references to observations on depth chart happenings from around the league.
Without any further ado, here are 10 depth chart situations to monitor while the rest of your league watches fake football:
Starter: Nate McLouth
Next: Lew Ford, Chris Davis
I hit on this situation two weeks ago when Nate McLouth and Lew Ford were in a platoon, but it is worth bringing back up since McLouth has essentially taken this job and ran with it. The Orioles have not seen a left-handed starter in a week, so Ford may still have the edge on those types of pitchers, but McLouth has simultaneously become the team's No. 3 batter. That's right – Nate McLouth is batting third for a team in playoff contention. He lacks many of the characteristics of your prototypical third-place batter (ie: any semblance of power or reliable on-base ability), but he does have three steals in three attempts. Endy Chavez, Xavier Henry and Bill Hall are all at Triple-A Norfolk and could be up in September.
Starter: Pedro Florimon
Next: Jamey Carroll
In the Minors: Brian Dozier
Brian Dozier had a .612 OPS in 105 at-bats since the All-Star break, so the Twins finally sent him down to Triple-A Rochester this past week. In his place came Pedro Florimon, who the Twins claimed off waivers this past offseason. His glove has impressed manager Ron Gardenhire through two games, so they will probably play it out to see if any semblance of a bat will follow. His minor league track record suggests to the contrary -- he had 89 strikeouts in 83 games at Rochester and a career .249 average over seven minor league seasons.
Starter: Luis Cruz
Next: Adam Kennedy, Juan Uribe
Injured: Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Luiz Cruz has become the Dodgers' defacto third baseman over the course of the team's recent road trip. He has gone 13-for-29 with two home runs since Jerry Hairston hit the disabled list in the first game of the trip, and Cruz started all three games of the series against the Braves. Cruz spent part of 2011 in the Mexican Leagues, so he has come a far way in his age-28 season. Adam Kennedy could jump in if/when Cruz falls back to earth, and Hairston should be back by the end of the month.
Starters: Jack Hannahan, Brent Lillibridge
Next: Jason Donald
Jose Lopez? Gone. Lonnie Chisenhall? He might be back before the end of the season. Brent Lillibridge? Why not. The White Sox/Red Sox castoff has three home runs through 49 at-bats as part of a lefty-righty combo with Jack Hannahan. Hannahan hit .256 in May, and he has not hit above .193 in any month since.
Starter: Tyler Colvin
Next: Jordan Pacheco
Injured: Michael Cuddyer
Oblique injuries can be funny things – just ask Michael Cuddyer. He returned from a right oblique injury Thursday, hit a home run in his first game back, sat Friday, aggravated the injury Saturday, and then returned to the disabled list Sunday. So what does that mean for your week? Plan to see a lot of Tyler Colvin, and occasionally Jordan Pacheco, at first base. Colvin does not have a home run since early July, but he carries a .352 August batting average heading into Monday. Pacheco could actually play here more often if the Rockies need Colvin in a depleted outfield.
Starter: Jean Segura
Next: Cody Ransom
Jean Segura, the Brewers' shiny, new 22-year-old middle infielder, has started 12 of the Brewers' last 13 games. He also does not have an extra -ase hit through 40 at-bats and carries an OBP on the wrong side of .250. That being said, he might be the team's best option at shortstop for the rest of the season. Their only other choice would be Cody Ransom, who prior to this season, had never started more than seven games at the position. Jeff Bianchi and/or Edwin Maysonet may lend a veteran hand in September. Maybe they will re-sign Cesar Izturis?
Red Sox RF
Starter: Scott Podsednik, Cody Ross
Podsednik boomeranged back to the Red Sox a week ago after they dealt him to Arizona at the trade deadline, and he has started the Sox's last five games (four in right, one in center). The 36-year-old will not be on a 30-plus steal pace, as he was just a few seasons ago, but playing time may become more certain in the outfield for the rest of the season if Carl Crawford decides to go under the knife for Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox have used Cody Ross more frequently at DH of late.
Starter: Garrett Jones
Next: Gaby Sanchez
The Pirates' acquisition of Gaby Sanchez last month from the Marlins did not begin a new era in Pittsburgh, but it did hasten Casey McGehee's exit. Garrett Jones has 13 starts since McGehee went to the Bronx, while Sanchez has largely seen the field only when Jones moves to the outfield. Sanchez's bat has seen some new life since joining the Pirates (.341 OBP, three doubles in 38 at-bats), but Jones' 1.058 August OPS is hard to get around.
Starter: Geovany Soto
Next: Luis Martinez
Injured: Mike Napoli
The Rangers brought on Geovany Soto to replace Yorvit Torrealba behind Mike Napoli on the depth chart, but he has lept to the top for the past 12 days with Napoli on the DL. Soto has found little more luck in Texas than he had earlier in the season in Chicago. He exploded for three hits Sunday, but entered the contest with a .175/.233/.275 slash since joining the AL. Napoli could be back at week's end, but his quads may keep him from crouching behind the plate frequently. Luis Martinez has been No. 2 on the depth chart since Napoli's injury, and he is more of a no-pop, play twice per-week backup.
Starter: Ryan Roberts
Next: Ben Zobrist
It looked like the Rays were getting a hot corner fill-in for the injured Evan Longoria when they picked up Ryan Roberts from the Diamondbacks in late July. However, it looks like they netted an everyday second baseman instead. Roberts hit his second home run since joining the Rays on Sunday, and the day also marked his 10th start at second. His bat plays much better as a 2B/MI than it would as a 3B/CI. The Rays' infield may fluctuate a bit over the coming week as Longoria prepares to ditch the DH tag, but Roberts could retain some value if the status quo reigns at second base.