Friday, July 01, 2005

FROM THE FANTASY FRONT...

What the hell has happened to Pitcher Javier Vazquez? The former Montrealer turned Yankee turned Diamondback is lookin' mighty ragged these days. Ok, so the guy has NEVER looked like Cy Young, but c'mon! Sure, the '05 season started bleakly enough with Vazquez losing his first 3 games, including his first ever as a D-back where he lasted all of an inning and 2/3, surrendered 7 earned, and sported an ERA of 37.80 by game's end. But then came his April 20th, 2-1 gem of a win against San Fran', where he allowed 0 earned... and Javier proceeded to reel off 7 wins in his next 8 starts. In those games Vazquez had seemingly turned around his season, and the negative views of his owners by allowing a mere 2 runs each to the Dodgers, Pads', Pirates and Nats, and but 1 run to the anemic Houston Astros (curiously, the 1 game over the span that he lost). Then came the 'Zona hurler's best game of the year; his complete game shutout against Detroit. Yes, May was good to Javier Vazquez. He permitted a mere 11 earned runs, gave up only 2 long balls, punched out 39 batters, and notched an ERA of 2.15. Wonderful! Vazquez and his owners are on their collective ways to All-Star games and banner seasons, right?
Ahhh... well, no. That's precisely when the wheels came off Javy's season, and those wheels continue to bounce downhill. Lookout below! Big man in free fall! Ohhh, the fates! As kind as May was... is as cruel as June turned for Javy- His ERA rocketed to 6.75, he surrendered 6 Home Runs on 40 hits, and was charged with a HUGE 22 earned runs. We can only hope... those of us who own Vazquez and those 5 or 6 'Zona fans who live in and around the Tri-State area, that July is easier on the guy.

Moving right along... it's at about this point in the Baseball season when fantasy teams, suffering injury, need to look to the Waiver Wire. I have been unabashed in my love for Cleveland's stud-in-the-making, OF'er Grady Sizemore, and his hot hitting ways continue. .306/8/37 on the year, Sizemore also has 9 Stolen Bases, 18 Doubles, 6 Triples, and 48 Runs scored. Over his last 7 games, Grady's hitting .321, with 12 Runs scored. Should the Indian Outfielder STILL be available in your league... which unless you're playin' with numbskulls is unlikely, pick the guy up. What more do you need!

Need a 3rd Baseman? Look no further than Garret Atkins. Atkins, in 194 ABs, is swatting the ball- He's hitting .320/7/36. On a 9 game hitting streak, Atkins is 17/35 (that's a scorching .485) with 2 Homers, 12 Ribbies', 7 Runs, and a mere 3 strikeouts.

Need a spot starter... or 2? Take a look at Colorado's Jeff Francis, NY Met Slick Vic Zambrano, and San Francisco's Noah Lowry. Francis' year has been nothing to write home about, but his past couple have looked much brighter. Over those 2 games, Francis boasts an ERA of 1.29 and has recorded 12 Ks. His last game, against the Cardinals, Francis (who tossed the Rockie's 2nd shutout on the season) scattered 3 hits over 6 innings.
SF Giant Noah Lowry .. is starting for a team that has been decimated by injury. Lowry, who has hurt himself this season by allowing many more Walks and Home Runs than he did last year, is 2-1 over the last 3 games. Over those games (2 V. Arizona, 1 against Oakland) Lowry allowed 5 earned runs and has punched out 13. But, the 10 batters that he's given free passes to don't help his WHP any.

Lastly, Victor Zambrano... acquired in the Scott Kazmir deal. Yeccchhh! Some day, this swap may be right up there with the ghastly Seaver and Nolan Ryan trades. Anyhoo', for now, "Zammie" is tossing the pill well and has a respectable 3.84 ERA. But, the guy is receiving VERY iffy run support... Although, now that we're all chummy like this- if you look at the run support that Houston starters Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettite receive, then Zambrano should consider himself blessed, shouldn't he? Anyway, I digress. Zambrano, over the past 7 games, has been pretty solid. Assuming the Mets have a big 2nd half... and there's reason to believe that they will, Zambrano could be a sneaky-good pick up.

Take a look, sports fans! More later!

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