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The Nightcap: Friday's Games

Very obviously, Jeff Erickson will let just about anyone do these nightly recaps now. How else would I be here, doing what I'm doing?

Anyway, before I get fired, let's take a penetrating look at the evening's fantasy-related events.


- Milwaukee third baseman Casey McGehee was a prime candidate for regression entering the 2010 season after posting a .330 BABIP en route to last year's .301/.360/.499. Sean Smith's CHONE projection system has him at .264/.326/.412.  His line entering play today was a robust .333/.410/.697 and he proceeded to go 3-for-4 with a home run. I'm still not sold. But this quick start to the season should help secure playing time.
- Josh Willingham was 1-for-2 with a home run and walk. The outfielder boasted .333/.462/.633 entering play. Unlike McGehee, he profiles as an actual good hitter. He's a must have in deeper league. Believe me, people.
- I'm not prepared to make the case that John Lannan is a great, or even good, pitcher. That said, 16 groundballs against only four fly balls is worth something. Maybe more in real baseball than the fantasy variety, but still.
- After tonight's game, Placido Polanco has more home runs (2) than strikeouts (1). He is, quite obviously, the Ted Kluszewski of his era.
- If we pretend for a sec that Roy Halladay is a normal, everyday human, then his line tonight – 8 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K – must be regarded as excellent. But considering that he's very obviously part robot and that he conceded eight fly balls and eight line drives in 31 batters faces – well, that's less impressive.
- Shaun Marcum is a player about whom you might consider getting excited. Tonight he posted six strikeouts against only one walk in seven innings, which has kinda been his M.O. so far this season. His changeup has been a great pitch, which helps him deal effectively with opposite-handed batters. Do consider picking him up.
- Chipper Jones is only ever (a) nursing an injury or (b) hitting the crap outta baseballs. Today he did the latter: 5 PA, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 HR.
- Even though he's apparently not related to an Oscar-winning director, Ryan Spilborghs still deserves our attention. Going 3-for-4 with a walk as Colorado's starting left fielder is one way to do that.
- "And Jeff Francoeur takes his seventh walk of the season": that's not something you could say about the outfielder till June last year. Presumably, someone said it today, because that's what Jeff Francoeur did. He's young enough so that he's actually learning something. Maybe.
- Felipe Lopez: same guy as Orlando Hudson, $3.5 million cheaper. Today, he accounted for two-thirds of the Cards' extra-base hits. He also played both middle infield positions. He's not a starter now, but if Skip Schumaker keels over, Lopez is an immediate add.
- Some guy named Chris Carpenter struck out 10 Mets in seven innings. Never heard of him.
- Ty Wigginton hit a pretty serious homer tonight, his third of the season. If Brian Roberts is out for any significant period and Wigginton has second-base eligibility in your league, pounce on him like a wildcat.
- Felix Hernandez began tonight's game against Detroit looking indomitable. As it turns out, he ended up being only semi-indomitable. Still, nine strikeouts and only two walks over six and a third isn't so bad.
- With three hits tonight, Austin Jackson's season average now stands at .325. That probably brings his OBP up to around .400 and SLG up to like .500.

Caution, Warning

- Someone named Mitch Talbot threw a 97-pitch complete game against the White Sox today. That's fine, but absolutely nothing about his minor league numbers suggests that he'll do this on a consistent basis. An ERA above 5.00 is more likely than even one more complete game.
- It's very possible that Cincinnati righty starter Mike Leake – the same Mike Leake who made the jump directly from college to the pros – will become a serviceable player someday. Someday soon, maybe. Today is not that day, however. For the second straight start – a.k.a. his second pro start ever – Leake walked more than he struck out. This is what we in the industry call a "red flag." Were I smarter, I'd construct some sort of pun on "red flag" and the Cincinnati Reds. Alas...
- Please, please, please, do not be seduced either by Yuniesky Betancourt's 3-for-4 night, his shiny .324 average, or the home run he hit. Avert your gaze! Run far, far away!
- Scott Podsednik plays left field a little bit like a drunk person walks: it's entertaining to watch, but not a picture of efficiency.
- Yes, I understand that Kevin Millwood struck out nine Oaklanders tonight. Yes, I understand that he'd struck out 11 in 12.2 innings entering tonight's game. But, look: Baltimore is actually a more friendly hitting environment than Texas, and that's not even accounting for the fact that he's pitching to the Sox, Yanks, Rays, and the re-furbished Vernon Wells a whole bunch more.

Save Chances

- Matt Capps, converted. He doesn't have a lot in the way of pure stuff, nor does he get groundballs en masse. Still, he doesn't walk too many and, well, he's now a Proven Closer. Tonight was his fifth save.
- Octavio Dotel, blown. Dotel gave up a triple to Chris Dickerson with to lead off the top of the ninth inning, his Pirates up 3-2. After striking out Drew Stubbs, Dotel conceded a sac fly to Orlando Cabrera. All in all, it wasn't the blowiest of the blown saves. Like a Frank Francisco, Dotel will give up the occasional untimely home run. Unlike Francisco, Dotel's team isn't really in it to win it this year.
- Ryan Madson, converted. 0.2 IP. Philadephia entered the top of the ninth leading 8-2. That's what we in the industry refer to as "a safe lead." David Herndon did his best to problematize that term, surrendering four runs in a third of an inning. Madson came in and got two groundouts.
- Fernando Rodney, converted. Nothing to see here, really. One inning pitched, no walks, no strikeouts.
- Ryan Franklin, converted. If there were a box marked "sorta converted," I'd check that one instead. Franklin allowed as many baserunners as he recorded outs. Also, he allowed two runs. So, yeah, he got the save; but, yeah, he pitched like Ryan Franklin.
- Andrew Bailey, converted. Tonight marked both Bailey's first save and his first save opportunity. As far as closers go, he's young, he's pretty, and he can't possibly be beat.
- Juan Gutierrez, blown. "C. Headley homered to deep right, D. Eckstein and A. Gonzalez scored": that's the last line from Yahoo's play-by-play of tonight's game. The inning started with Arizona up 3-2; it ended with them down 6-3. Whoops. In any case, if you own Chad Qualls, don't go dropping him just yet.

Other Closer Outings

- My friend Danny, a Chicago native and Cub fan, tells me that Carlos Marmol threw 11 strikes on 14 pitches in a non-save sitch today. I'm gonna believe him, because, you know, Chicago fans are famously reasonable. Anyway, here's Marmol's season line right now: 5.1 IP, 11 K. Pretty good.
- Bobby Jenks threw an inning with White Sox down 6-2 in the bottom of the eighth. He got a strikeout.
- Heath Bell got the win against Arizona tonight by pitching a clean inning right before Juan Gutierrez imploded.

Closer Non-Outing

- Billy Wagner did not pitch today in Atlanta's 9-5 defeat of Colorado. Someone who did pitch is the kinda young and definitely fabulous Kris Medlen. I wrote about Medlen and his nasty two-seamer recently over at FanGraphs. Here's the basic thing you should know about it: it's a thing to behold.
- It's rumored that Jon Rauch spent the entirety of today's game getting a tattoo of himself getting a tattoo getting a tattoo. In any case, he wasn't needed in Minnesota's 10-3 victory over the lowly Royals of Kansas City.
- Russ Ortiz tried his best to get Jonathan Broxton into this evening's Dodger game against San Francisco, allowing four runs in 1.2 innings between the eighth and ninth. Ramon Troncoso added to the effort by allowing a home run. In the end, Los Angeles allowed five whole runs in the ninth, but still held on to win 10-8.
- David Aardsma was not needed as Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners showed the Tigers what's what.