Jason Marquis (SP--Nationals) Not an easy feat to knock off the world champion Giants, much less shut them out altogether. And it's particularly noteworthy when your name is not Roy Halliday or Josh Johnson, but rather Jason Marquis. But that's what Marquis did on Friday, pitching a complete game shutout allowing just five hits, no walks and striking out seven Giants. Marquis' ERA on the year now stands at a very impressive 2.62 to go along with an undefeated 3-0 record. Marquis has pitched with great effectiveness the season. His HR/9 going into Friday was 0.36 and is now even lower. His control has been stellar at than a walk and half per nine innings. The one concern prior to tonight's game was that he has a WHIP of 1.38 and was allowing more hits than innings pitched. So is this likely to continue? Probably not. While Marquis has undoubtedly been pitching amazing, he has a career 4.54 ERA and is just barely above a .500 pitcher. Yes, the guy is hot but Marquis has too much of a history of mediocrity to expect at 33, he is having some sort of breakout.
Ryan Howard (1B--Phillies) Well, we knew it was coming. I had mentioned last week that we should start seeing some more home runs from Ryan Howard and Joe pointed out on Thursday that Howards's home run that night could open up the flood gates. Sure enough, Howard feasted on Met pitching on Friday, smacking two home runs that were good for six RBI. One of those knocks was a grand slam. Howard seems to be managing without his buddy Chase Utley in the lineup as he is hitting.302. The home runs Friday were his fifth and sixth. No doubt, Howard will benefit even more with Utley's protection. Now that Howard seems to have survived his home run drought, fantasy owners should start to reap the rewards of the power-hitting slugger.
John Buck (C--Marlins) John Buck hit just his second home run of the season on Friday after only hitting one in 77 AB's this season. You have to go all the way back to that grand slam he hit on opening day. Fantasy owners are definitely expecting more from Buck in the power department since he slugged 20 home runs last year going one long ball for every 20.5 AB's. a career best. And while we can expect more home runs from Buck, average is going to have to be sacrificed. His .281 average in '10 was due to more luck than anything else. His BHIP last season of .335 was 47 points higher than his norm and this was accomplished with a LD% of 16.1% and a contract rate of 71.1%. Essentially, Buck is a one-trick pony and his career .242 lifetime average reflects that. Hopefully, Friday's home run means that more long balls are to come; otherwise Buck's value will be greatly limited.
Ike Davis (1B--Mets) On a terrible night in which the Phillies shellacked the Mets in every possible way, perhaps the one ray of light that the team could take away from the drudging was the continued solid play of Ike Davis. Davis went 1-for-3 with a walk. His one hit was a run that has given him five on the season. Davis has an 11-game hit streak that has seen him batting .462 with four home runs and nine RBI. On the year he has an OPS of 1.029 and an OBP of .427. And while he has been susceptible to left-handed pitching (.214 BA), Davis has been doing an excellent job all season of spraying the ball around to all fields. Certainly, no one expects Davis to keep up this kind of pace. But in his second year, he is showing more confidence and comfort at the plate with the passing of every game. He is a must-start option in all formats right now and could be moving up the ladder amongst all first basemen.
Shaun Marcum (SP--Brewers) Shaun Marcum upped his record to 3-1 on Friday night with an excellent outing against the Astros. He pitched seven innings of shutout ball. He allowed just three hits, two walks and struck out six. Marcum was able to lower his ERA to a stellar 2.21 with that outing. Marcum's components stats going into Friday had been outstanding with a K/9 of 8.49 and a BB/9 of 2.73. He has been average less than one home run per nine innings. Marcum was able to pitch a career-high 195 innings last year for Toronto and appears healthy and in fine form. Because he doesn't have the big-name there may be chance that you might be able to grab Marcum off the wire or try to make a deal with an owner who isn't too savvy on how good Marcum can be. After this season, Marcum will no longer be a secret.
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