Travis Blackley (SP - OAK) - Blackley continued his amazing season, limiting the powerful Blue Jays offense to just a solo home run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out eight with no walks as his ERA with Oakland is now 2.69. Although Toronto was without Jose Bautista, the Rogers Centre is still a very difficult place to pitch. After being designated for assignment by San Francisco and struggling in his first two starts for the A's, he has been excellent since then, posting a 2.23 ERA and a 30/4 K/BB with just one home run in 43 1/3 innings over six starts and one relief appearance. The strikeout rate isn't huge, but it's not an issue when the pitcher doesn't walk anyone or give up any home runs as Blackley does. The combination of his excellent control and pitching in the spacious Oakland Coliseum makes him an option in most matchups, although he should be avoided Sunday against the lefty-killing Orioles in Camden Yards.
Clay Buchholz (SP - BOS) - Buchholz was excellent again, limiting the powerful Rangers offense to just a run on four hits in seven innings, although he walked three with only one strikeout. After a disastrous first nine starts, he has reversed course in his last 10, holding opponents to a 2.47 ERA and posting a 48/10 K/BB with only four home runs in 58 1/3 innings over that stretch. Last night aside, his strikeout rate has returned to his normal rate and his above-average ground ball rate makes him a solid option in most matchups. He doesn't have a great one Monday at Fenway against the Tigers, but he's still worth using.
Josh Hamilton (OF - TEX) - Hamilton took another collar in four at-bats. Although his season line is still excellent, he came into the night hitting just .146/.202/.294 in his last 13 games with 16 strikeouts against just one unintentional walk, and he added another punchout to that total. He is walking at his highest rate since 2008, but his strikeout rate is at a career high 24% and the only other season he was close to that mark was by far his worst in 2009. His batted ball rates remain stable, but he is swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone and has made less contact than anyone else in baseball. Although he's still unbenchable right now, this is a worrisome trend and should certainly be monitored.
Lorenzo Cain (OF - KC) - Cain kept rolling with two more hits (including his third home run in eight games) and a walk to raise his line to .321/.333/.536. After a groin injury and subsequent hip flexor in his rehab that caused him to miss three months, he has been on fire since returning from the DL two weeks ago. The outfielder offers decent speed potential having swiped 147 bags over eight professional seasons, but the power spike is only temporary as he has not hit for power in the minors or big leagues thus far. He should be able to produce decent average and on-base skills though, and is certainly worth taking a flier on if available.
Cole De Vries (SP - MIN) - De Vries pitched well in Chicago, holding the White Sox to two runs (one earned) on seven hits in six innings with no walks and four strikeouts to lower his ERA to 3.64. He did give up his 11th home run of the season in just 47 innings, but plenty of pitchers serve them up to the powerful White Sox lineup at U.S. Cellular Field. Although the 27-year old has excellent control, he throws way too many hittable strikes as he combines his home run rate with a 25.2 LD%. He's only an option in very favorable matchups and should not be used in a rematch with the Pale Hose Monday.
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