Radhames Liz- BAL- Rookie- The Orioles are calling up Radhames Liz to make his major league debut today. Liz dominated the Carolina League last year, with a 2.82 ERA and 95 Ks in 83 IP at Frederick. Once he was promoted to AA Bowie, though, he had a rude awakening. In 50-1/3 IP Liz still managed to strike out 54 batters, but his ERA soared to 5.36. He seems to have caught up some while repeating AA this season. At Bowie once again Liz owns a record of 11-4, and ERA of 3.22 and has struck out a league-leading 161 batters in 137 IP. As you probably could tell from his strikeout totals, Liz is a power pitcher. As is often the case with young pitchers who throw in the upper 90s like he does, control is an issue. Last season he walked a total of 75 in his 133 IP. Liz has improved slightly in 2007, issuing 70 free passes. The odds still are that he will have an adjustment when initially facing major league pitching, just as he did when moving up last year. In the long term, some see Liz as a reliever rather than a starter. For now, though, the Orioles are going to give him at least one chance to show what he can do starting in the majors. Right now, it looks like it's too early to count on him for fantasy production anywhere except the K column, and even there he might not last long enough to benefit.
Johan Santana- MIN- Cold- It took Santana 112 pitches to record the 17 Ks he got in his previous start, so fatigue may have played a part in his failure to produce a quality start yesterday. Allowing 3 homers is also an indication of a little tiredness. Santana has exhibited a drop off in either efficiency or performance in starts after those in which he has cracked the 110-pitch barrier this season. However, it has not been a lengthy carry over effect and even Santana at less than 100% is better than many pitchers at the top of their game.
Felix Hernandez- SEA- Hot- Hernandez passes a big test last night, throwing a quality start in the heat of Texas. He held the Rangers to 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 7 in 6 IP. It came after a start in which Hernandez had thrown 116 pitches, so that combined with the ballpark conditions is likely why he had to come out after throwing 84 pitches. Still, his workload (throwing 110 pitches in 4 of his last 10 starts) is heavy for someone as young as he is. It puts Hernandez at long term risk, so value that accordingly.
Kevin Millwood- TEX- Hot- Millwood failed to produce a quality start for the first time in 4 appearances, and he allowed 13 hits, but there were still positives from the performance. He came very close to a quality start and was one out away from a complete game, allowing 4 runs in 8-2/3 IP. Millwood exhibited sharp control, walking no one after allowing 10 free passes in his previous 20 IP. It's still hard to recommend a Texas pitcher, but Millwood has shown quality in his recent outings.
James Shields- TB- Hot- Shields has made 5 starts this month and every one of them has been of the quality variety. Yesterday he lasted 8-1/2 IP and gave up 2 runs on 9 hits and a walk while striking out 8. Shields' next start may not be as impressive. He threw 114 pitches and in the two times he has done that before this year he has not been able to follow up with a quality start.
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