Saves Sunday came from Rafael Betancourt (5), Sean Marshall (3), and J.J. Putz (5), while we had a pair of East Coast games postponed due to rain. ... Meanwhile, Rafael Furcal had three more hits to raise his average to .369, but can he stay healthy? ... Arizona's Trevor Bauer was promoted to Triple-A Reno on Sunday, but don't expect his stay there to be a long one. ... Erik Bedard was frustrated again on Sunday, dropping to 0-4 despite a 2.63 ERA. His team can't buy a run when he's on the bump. ... Chad Billingsley took his lumps on Sunday from the...mighty Astros? Chalk that one up to "one of those days". ... Jordan Shafer hit a grand slam on Sunday and now has a surprising .373 OBP on the year. ... Jimmy Rollins had a couple hits Sunday and bumped his average up to .254. Expect that to continue to climb. ... SD's Anthony Bass is looking like a nice sleeper. ... Geovanny Soto is looking more and more like a backup catcher, driving in just one run in 44 at-bats this year. Backup Steven Clevenger is looking like NL-only material. ... Did you know Chicago's Tony Campana swiped 24 bases last year? He's set to benefit from the Marlon Byrd trade. ... Nyjer Morgan is getting closer to being demoted to a fourth outfielder role. A .238 (!) OPS will do that. ... Atlanta SS Tyler Pastornicky has sat out back-to-back games, but when Plan B is Jack Wilson, expect Pastornicky to get another shot. ... Gerardo Parra should be an everyday player with Chris Young on the DL, and Sunday's grand slam won't hurt. ... Juan Pierre is batting .326 after notching three hits Sunday. He's now the team's primary left fielder at the expense of John Mayberry. ... Mark Ellis has a .391 OBP for the Dodgers, leading to 14 runs scored in 15 games. Thank yous to messers Kemp and Ethier. ... Another solid day Sunday has Freddie Freeman's OPS up to .851. Expect that to approach .900 by year's end.
Rafael Furcal (SS-STL) - Furcal is one of many examples of how spring training stats can be incredibly misleading. Furcal reportedly showed up to camp out of shape and proceeded to bat just .192 in March action. Sunday though, Furcal continued a strong April, going 3-for-4 with a walk, double, stolen base, and a pair of RBI. He's now batting a solid .369/.423/.523 with three stolen bases. Based on recent history, Furcal remains a poor bet to play in 150 games this year, but he's making a real run at not missing a game this month. Furcal has yet to homer, but he does have eight doubles and a triple and could make a run at a 10/20 season if he can somehow play in 140+ games.
Trevor Bauer (SP-ARI) - it was only a matter of time before Bauer was promoted, but while that came on Sunday, it was a surprise to see Bauer promoted to Triple-A Reno instead of Arizona. Bauer allowed just one run in 22.2 innings with 28 strikeouts for Double-A Mobile. The 14 walks are a small concern, but if he can show improved control over his next few starts, it's next stop: Arizona for one of baseball's top pitching prospects. Hopefully as someone who lives in Reno, I get to see Bauer pitch live very soon, but it's pretty clear that he's not long for the minors. In 48.1 career pro innings, Bauer has struck out 71 for a very nice 13.2 K/9.
Erik Bedard (SP-PIT) - Bedard has to be fairly frustrated right now one would think. After allowing two runs on seven innings on Sunday, Bedard dropped to 0-4 as the Pirates lost 5-1 to the Cardinals. In those four starts, Bedard has a 2.63 ERA, but the Pirates have scored a whopping three runs total in those four starts. Bedard's K:BB sits at a so-so 17:10 in 24 innings, but either way, Bedard could easily be 4-0 if the Pirates had any sort of offense. Instead, Bedard has a team batting a Mendoza-like .203/.253/.283. They have three regulars batting .108 or less, and one guy with an OBP greater than .300. This is taking futility to a whole new level. Look for the Pirates to start shopping Bedard come June, and for Bedard to breathe a sigh of relief at being shipped out.
Jordan Schafer (OF-HOU) - The Michael Bourn deal is starting to look pretty good for the Astros after all. Schafer blasted his first career grand slam on Sunday against the Dodgers and is now batting .263/.373/.368 with two home runs, six steals, and a solid 0.50 EYE. As the Houston leadoff man, he doesn't exactly have Matt Kemp and Miguel Cabrera batting behind him, but hitting at the top of the order should allow Schafer to make a run at 30-35 stolen bases if he can keep that OBP up around .340-.350. Remember, he was at one point a highly-touted prospect in the Braves organization, so perhaps we're starting to see him blossom, albeit late.
Chad Billingsley (SP-LAD) - Here is a fun fact - as bad as the Astros are overall, they still have five guys with an OBP of .345 or above. That level of on-base skills is going to lead to some good games now and then, and unfortunately for Billingsley, that game came on Sunday. After going 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his first three starts, the Astros touched Billingsley for nine runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks (two strikeouts) in 3.1 innings Sunday. Billingsley saw that ERA skyrocket to 3.04 and his K:BB went from 17:1 to a still solid 19:5. In case you're wondering, Billingsley has actually pitched better in day games than night contests over the past three years, so that's not it. Just chalk this one up to "one of those days" and move on. He entered Sunday's action with a .212 BABIP, so that number was destined for a correction.
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