Cliff Lee (SP - PHI) - Lee was on track to get his first win of the season taking a three-run lead into the bottom of the eighth, but he and the Phillies defense unraveled as the Blue Jays tied the game. He ended up allowing five runs on 12 hits (one home run) in seven innings, walking one and striking out three, and has given up at least three runs in five of his last six outings. Despite that, his strikeout and walk rates remain superb while his batted ball rates have actually improved and facing the righty-dominant Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre is likely the toughest matchup he'll have all season. Wins have a significant luck component involved and right now the luck is not falling his way. He's still an excellent option at home against the Rays Friday and makes for an excellent buy-low candidate in win leagues.
Anibal Sanchez (SP - MIA) - Sanchez was decent against the Rays, allowing three runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six, although he was taken deep by Jose Molina of all people. His strikeout and walk rates have remained very good this year and his batted ball rates have improved as he's traded some line drives for ground balls. The combination of a high ground ball rate and a cavernous outfield at Marlins Park has allowed him to post a decent home run rate (.84 per nine innings) as well. Sanchez is actually better against left-handed hitters due to heavy use of his changeup, but he has faced around five percent more left-handed hitters than the average right-hander. He's become nearly matchup-proof at this point, but both of his next potential outings (at Boston or vs. Toronto depending on how the Marlins align their rotation) would be tough.
Yadier Molina (C - STL) - Molina had a big day against the Royals, going 2-3 with his ninth home run and a walk. He is now hitting .323/.378/.514. After a rough first few seasons at the plate, he has been above-average two of the last three years and is in the midst of his second consecutive excellent season. While he is sporting a career-high .328 BABIP, he also has an outstanding 26.3 LD%, so it is due to skill. The LD% will likely come down towards his career 20% average, but his ability to hit for average and power makes him an excellent option behind the dish.
Jonathon Niese (SP - NYM) - Coming off excellent outings against the powerful Cardinals and Yankees offenses, Niese allowed four runs on six hits in seven innings against the Reds, although he pitched better than the runs and hits indicate. He gave up a home run (a mammoth shot on an 0-2 pitch to Jay Bruce), but he fanned seven against just one walk and the Reds have an excellent lineup against left-handed pitching. Niese's walk rate is up a little bit this year, but his strikeout rate is also up and he's gotten a lot of ground balls. He's been lucky on balls in play and stranding runners, but his HR/FB rate was a very high 18.9% coming into the game as it went up. He's a solid matchup option at Citi Field or against lineups without much right-handed power.
Carlos Quentin (OF - SD) - Quentin hit his sixth home run in just his 15th game, raising his line to an incredible .417/.541/.896. While he's deserved the success he's had to this point (28.9 LD% entering the night), that is obviously not going to last as his career rate is only 15.4%. He is also playing at Petco Park, which has a negative impact on right-handed power after spending his entire career at the bandboxes of Chase Field and U.S. Cellular. Also, his propensity to get hit by pitches (101 in his career in fewer than 2500 PA) leaves him more susceptible to injury.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here. Not a member? Join today.