Ryan Dempster (SP - CHC) - Dempster threw seven shutout innings against the Red Sox, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out three to lower his ERA to 2.11 and extend his scoreless streak to 22 1/3 innings. While the results were impressive, especially against a high-powered offense, Dempster allowed five line drives (only two fell for hits) and posted just a 30.4 GB% on the outing. With an ERA this low due to a HR/FB% around two points below his career average and a low BABIP (.243 coming into the outing) despite a very high LD% (23.8 coming into the outing), Dempster is a prime sell-high candidate, especially considering he's 35 and declined in the second half the last two years. He has a very tough matchup on Wednesday at the launching pad of U.S. Cellular Field against a White Sox lineup that has hit well at home and against right-handed pitching.
Brandon Phillips (2B - CIN) - Phillips hit his ninth home run of the year, and his line now stands at .290/.335/.462 as he's been on a tear the last nine games. With his walk, strikeout and batted ball rates all hovering around career norms, it is shaping up to become another typical Phillips season which is fine for his owners. However, he has only attempted two stolen bases, a rate way off from his average of 31 since he joined the Reds in 2006. His stolen base attempts have declined for two years, but his sore left hamstring from earlier in the year has likely had an effect as to why he hasn't been running at all. He's still a solid option even without the steals though.
Clayton Kershaw (SP - LAD) - Kershaw had a rough outing against the White Sox, as he surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits in six innings. While he did punch out seven against two walks, he also gave up two home runs. His strikeout rate is down a few percentage points this year, but his walk and batted ball rates remain very good and his velocity is stable. He has struggled with the gopher ball a bit though, as he has now given up 10 in 94 1/3 innings, a rate .35 per nine innings more than his career average. Despite the strikeout rate drop and home run rate rise, he remains a top option and has an excellent matchup in Oakland Thursday.
Trevor Cahill (SP - ARI) - Cahill tossed eight shutout innings in Anaheim, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight and getting ground balls on 56.3% of his balls in play. The right-hander has now given up just two runs in his last three starts over 23 1/3 innings to lower his ERA to 3.08. His strikeout and walk rates remain mediocre and the latter has actually worsened as he's moved to the NL, but he leads all of baseball in GB% which is especially important as the ball flies in Chase Field.
Yovani Gallardo (SP - MIL) - Gallardo delivered another mediocre outing, giving up three runs on seven hits (two home runs) against the Twins in six innings. On the bright side, he fanned seven against two walks and both the round-trippers were by Trevor Plouffe, who has been hitting them off everybody recently. Gallardo possesses an excellent strikeout rate, but mediocre control and a propensity for the long ball has made him a league-average starter and therefore a matchup fantasy play. He can be used Wednesday against the righty-dominant Blue Jays lineup.
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