Thursday, May 10, 2012
Hamilton's Heroics Haven't Helped HUMA
Josh Hamilton has five homers and 10 RBI this week but HUMA is still facing a 3-8-1 deficit to the Cys entering Thursday's action.
Hamilton is by far the most valuable player in the league this week but even his heroics can't mask poor pitching. Relievers Sean Marshall, Octavio Dotel, and Eric O'Flaherty have given up five runs over three innings without earning a save or a hold. Starters Chad Billinglsey and Jon Lester couldn't make it past five innings.
Meanwhile, the Cys have scored 16 runs without hitting a homer, earned a quality start from Edwin Jackson, and have five scoreless innings of relief pitching from Aroldis Chapman, Darren Oliver and Fernando Rodney.
CHEESE MELTS IN RELIEF
Poor relief pitching is also the difference in the series between Los Coche Bomba and High Cheese. Bomba leads the series 8-4 because of a High Cheese meltdown in the bullpen.
David Robertson, John Axford, Grant Balfour and Steve Cishek have given up eight runs in 4.2 innings pitched for High Cheese. The blown saves come at a crucial time as this week's series will likely determine the South Division leader.
Bomba has had its own bullpen implosion, as Francisco Cordero gave up five runs while recording just one out, but closer Jason Motte has pitched two scoreless innings to earn two saves and setup man Alexi Ogando has pitched a perfect inning of relief.
Bomba has also been helped by Andrew McCutchen's timely hitting. He's 5-for-6 with two homers, three RBI and three runs scored.
THE BULLS FIND RELIEF
While other teams in the league struggle in the bullpen, the Bulls have used solid relief pitching to stay close to Give it a Yankee in a pivotal North Division matchup. Give it a Yankee leads the series 5-4-3 but the Bulls have 5.2 innings of scoreless relief pitching from Frank Francisco, Joaquin Benoit, Santiago Casilla, Wilton Lopez and Carlos Marmol.
The Bulls did lose a pitched free-agent battle to division rival Bacon at Mile 11 for another bullpen arm, Rafael Dolis. Dolis is taking over the closer role in Chicago and Bacon beat the Bulls to claim his services. Instead, the Bulls will add Chicago reliever James Russell. The bigger question is how often the Cubs will need the services of a closer this season.
OLD MAN IBAÑEZ TO THE RESCUE
Rescued off the scrap heap, Raul Ibañez is proving quite valuable to Twinkle Toes in the race for the East Division lead. The Toes have a 7-2-3 lead over the Machine thanks to two home runs from Ibañez. He is the only player to hit a home run in this series for Twinkle Toes.
Another free-agent acquisition, Jonathan Broxton, has been the best player for the Machine. While other closers meltdown around the league, Broxton has tossed two scoreless innings to earn two saves.
MIRRORS MAINTAIN WEST DIVISION LEAD
Relievers Josh Lindblom, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde, and Craig Kimbrel have recorded four holds and two saves as A-Rod's Mirrors have built a 6-4 lead over the Vicious Fishes in a key West Division series. The four relievers have given up just one run over six innings.
The Fishes are working to upgrade their bullpen by adding Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen in a trade with the Lower Haighters. In return, they'll send starters Ricky Romero and Neftali Feliz to the defending champions, who are desperate for quality starts and strikeouts. The Fishes have just one closer on the roster, Rafael Betancourt.
HOME RUN 101 LOOKING FOR SECOND UPSET
Coming off a stunning upset of North Division rival Give it a Yankee in Week 5, Home Run 101 now leads Bacon at Mile 11 6-4-2 and could be on the verge of another stunner. As usual, starting pitching is the key.
Johnny Cueto, Ryan Dempster, and Josh Johnson have allowed just three runs over 21 innings while racking up three quality starts. Setup men Cory Wade and Juan Cruz have added two holds.
Catcher John Buck has two homers and shortstop Alexi Ramirez has five RBI to help Home Run 101's power-challenged offensive lineup keep pace with Bacon.
FIVE QUALITY STARTS PROPEL THE SLAMMERS
Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, James Shields, Ross Detwiler, and Ted Lilly all had quality starts by Wednesday for Scully's Slammers, who have built an 8-3-1 lead over the Jersey Boys, and are looking to build on their East Division lead.
The normally reliable bullpen for the Jersey Boys has been shelled this week as Jonathan Papelbon, Glen Perkins, and Joel Hanrahan have given up six runs in 3.2 innings.
LOWER HAIGHERS, MARIN MENEHUNES SLUGGING IT OUT
The Lower Haighters lead this West Division series 5-3-4 but the categories are so close it's difficult to predict how this will finish.
The Menehunes continue to rely on key free-agent acquisitions to remain competitive. Josh Willingham and Josh Reddick both have home runs this week. Barry Zito has a quality start and the bullpen has been stellar as Matt Belisle, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez and Jason Grilli have four holds without giving up a run.
Brandon Morrow and Ivan Nova both have quality starts for the Lower Haighters, Addison Reed has a save, while Ryan Braun and Adam Dunn have combined for three homers.