Jeff Karstens (SP--Pirates) Jeff Karstens continues to surprise as he opened up the second half against Houston with a complete game shutout for his eighth win of the season. Houston helped Karstens cause as he only needed 83 pitches to work the full nine innings and threw only 19 balls the whole game. He allowed just five hits, walked none and struck out two. His ERA is now 2.34 on the season. Not to take away from Karstens fine outing but it was against the Astros. Karstens continues to have great success despite a K/9 of around 5.0. His BHIP continues to be exceptionally low at .240 coupled with a high LOB% at 88%. Also his FIP of 4.67 screams troubled waters ahead. As tempting as Karstens might be to grab or deal for, he is definitely in a sell high mode and I'd proceed with great caution if you are thinking of adding him.
Sean Marshall (RP--Cubs) For some reason, Carlos Marmol was on the hill trying to close out the game against the Marlins on Friday. He was trying to preserve a 2-0 lead after his disastrous meltdown from Thursday. Sure enough after giving up a run, Sean Marshall got the call to record the final out for the Cubs and earn his second save of the season. Whatever mechanical issues Marmol is having bodes well for Marshall who will step into the role of closer for now along with bullpen mate Kerry Wood. Marshall ERA now stands at 2.70 and has nice component stats with a K/9 of 9.21 and a BB/9 of 2.09. His FIP is even better than his ERA at 1.99 so he has pitched very effectively allowing just one home run on the year. Certainly, Marmol will be handed the job back as closer once he gets straightened out. But with no timetable for when that will be, Marshall is definitely worth the pick-up and he will probably be the guy for now in the closer role.
Martin Prado (OF--Braves) It's been over a month since we last saw Martin Prado take the field. He came off the DL on Friday from a staph infection. Fantasy owners who have been waiting for him were rewarded with a productive return from Prado as he hit his ninth home run of the year along with a single, two runs scored and two RBI. Prado is hitting a solid .280 on the season and his eligibility to play third base ensures greater positional value through next season. Prado's got some catching up to do with his missed time so we could get expect a big second half.
Ryan Dempster (SP--Cubs) Ryan Dempster has been a sound pitching option since the beginning of June. After a dreadful start to the season that saw his ERA tip the scales at a high 9.58, Dempster's ERA has slimmed down to a much more palatable 4.68. He picked up his seventh win on Friday with a nice outing against the Marlins. He went eight scoreless innings, allowed just four hits, no walks and struck out nine. In his last six games, Dempster hasn't allowed more than three earned runs. During that span he's has an ERA of 1.99 and has only allowed one home run in the last 45.1 innings. No reason to take Dempster out of the rotation now. He's been dealing pretty consistently over a solid period of time.
Ricky Nolasco (SP--Marlins) Ricky Nolasco took a hard luck loss on Friday which evened his record to 6-6. Nolasco allowed two unearned runs through seven innings thanks to an error by Omar Infante that put him on the wrong side of the tally sheet. Nolasco lowered his ERA to 3.51. Nolasco's FIP is closer to 3.00 indicating that a pitching effectiveness that hasn't translated to wins. Nolasco has five quality starts in a row with a 1.15 ERA and hasn't allowed a home run in 44 innings. Despite the lack of run support, Nolasco has been on a nice roll.
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