Andrew Miller- FLA- Caution- Miller is making his first start since throwing a quality start on his 24th birthday. He matched his major league career high of 9 strikeouts in the game, so things are definitely looking up. On the other hand, Miller also threw 112 pitches, a major league career high for him. For such a young pitcher, especially in his second start back from the DL, that’s a lot. Pitching in hitter-friendly Philadelphia today, all this adds up to a high risk start.
Lance Berkman- HOU- Hot- Berkman is still battling bad luck, as evidenced by a .189 BHIPx, but he has been overcoming it this month after a dreadful April. His .301 average in May has raised his season mark from .162 to .231. The homers (5) and RBI (17) are back this month and his Batting EYE of 1.18 in May could indicate some monster numbers if a regression to the mean happens.
Albert Pujols- STL- Great Player- It looks like the Brewers have adopted the strategy used by the Royals against Pujols over the weekend. Just don’t pitch to him. Pujols went 0-for-2 with 2 walks yesterday, the fourth consecutive game with at least 2 walks and only 2 official at bats. He has only homered once since May 12th. Pujols, like Barry Bonds a few years ago, may be a victim of his own success. His bat is so dangerous that opponents are willing to take it out of his hand. If this trend continues his OBP will skyrocket, possibly along with his batting average, but his homer numbers will be down.
Prince Fielder- MIL- Cold- Fielder has gone 5-for-23, in his last 6 games, dropping his average 8 points from .273 to .265. This slump has accompanied a loss of strike zone control, with only 2 walks, but 7 Ks in that span. Although he did strike out twice yesterday he also did draw a walk so hopefully he will recapture his early May groove.
Paul Maholm- PIT- Cold- Inconsistency, thy name is Maholm. Over his last 6 starts he has given up 5, 2, 7, 0, 1 and 7 run. There doesn’t appear to be any easily discernible rhyme or reason to Maholm’s performance. He might just go out and throw a gem or a clinker on any given day. With an ERA for the season at 4.11 and WHIP of 1.34, he is adequate in deep traditional leagues where average starters can be useful. In a head-to-head league, though, you are rolling the dice every time out.