"Just when I thought I was out....they pull me back in."
The awful thing about the Astros recent passage of play, is they have been in some very winnable games, its just that over the past four days, they've won them. Obvious no? Just when you were ready to throw the towel in on the entire season, there is a brief glimmer of hope on the horizon. The Astros are actually playing decent baseball.
It helps when Brad Mills can rely on Enerio Del Rosario and Sergio Escalona to throw scoreless innings.
Like the Astros, my fantasy team suffered a horrendous two weeks before picking up in the last few days. A cardinal sin in fantasy baseball is to leave a probable pitcher on your bench, especially if said pitcher throws a complete game shutout, as Anibal Sanchez did last week.
Fantasy owners are starting to see real dividens from Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence and even Brett Myers, whose last start against the Cubs snapped a very poor May for the right hander.
After four competent starts to begin the season, Myers went 0-4 in his next seven, posting a dismal 6.80 ERA, coughing up 10 home runs. The Astros lost six of those seven games, winning a 9-6 slugfest over the Brewers in late April. He is owned in 34.4% of all leagues, so he might be a sneaky pickup if you are struggling for depth. However his WHIP and ERA will never be brilliant, and his K/9 is down to 6.39 from 2010's number of 7.24.
His last start may be a misnomer with the swirling winds in Wrigley Field, and he has done very well historically against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. One to keep an eye on. He has a 2.12 ERA in 19 games and 15 starts against the Cubs, and and an even better 1.52 ERA at Wrigley Field. Friendly Confines indeed.
More after the jump.
DL Watch: Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Keppinger, Jason Bourgeois and Brandon Lyon.
Although Clint Barmes was starting to get in the groove in the two spot in the lineup, Keppinger has proved to be a boost for the Astros lineup, hitting .409 in his first five games back after undergoing foot surgery in January. If you need someone to boost your average Keppinger might be a good shout, but with minimal power he is scraping the barrel, and there are better candidates who can help in multiple categories.
Bourgeois started his re-hab assignment last night in an 11-1 routing for the Oklahoma City Redhawks against the Round Rock Express, leading off the first inning with a triple. He went 2-4 with a walk and played center field, and should be a very good pickup when he comes off the DL for his steals. Before getting injured he looked to be ready to start nabbing time at second base as well as in left field from Carlos Lee, but now Keppinger is back and Lee had a passable May (.316/.337/.453), it may not now be the case.
Just when everything was clicking for Rodriguez he gets a dickey elbow. High pitch counts might be to blame, but it nullifies his value to fantasy owners for a few weeks and makes them wonder if he will be 100% effective on his return. Watch his first few starts back and keep an eye on his curveball. Use your DL slot if you have it free and wait out the next few weeks.
Lyon will return but do not expect him to take the closer's role off Mark Melancon without a fight.
The New Battery: Jordan Lyles might be a cheeky pickup for his next two starts. Robinson Cancel, not so much.
Lyles had a masterful first seven innings in his major league debut in Tuesday, and while he may not sail through every start with such ease, it will help to throw his next start in the pitcher friendly Petco Park.
Dude, Where's My Playing Time?: Keppinger's return looks ominous for Bill Hall, and Bourgeois' return might give Ed Wade a reason to cut Hall. He has not played a full game since the 2-1 win against the Dodgers last Friday, and was pulled mid-way through the 11-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. There has been a wonderful consistency to Hall's badness, orbiting the .220 mark for most of the season. His strikeout numbers are galling, but with poor on-base skills, wretched defense and minimal power, is there any reason to keep him on the club?
Angel Sanchez and Matt Downs, two players with minimal fantasy value anyway, have seen little playing time as Brad Mills appears to want to keep his lineup relatively settled now that we have passed the mid-May point.
Worth a Punt: Chris Johnson and J.A. Happ might be worth picking up if you have a free roster spot for them. Their value may rebound over the next month.