Atkins, Fox capitalize in DH slot





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you forgot about (or didn’t even recognize) these names before Interleague got kicked off, you
should now:

  • Interleague
    Play allowed Garrett Atkins
    to remind Rockies management (and owners) why they’ve held off on trading him
    in recent years. There’s no defending his sluggish season totals. But consider
    all that’s working in his favor: His
    underlying skills remain unchanged from last year, he still plays at Coors
    Field, Colorado probably wants to showcase him before the Deadline, and he’s
    coming off a three-game series in which he went 8-for-13 in Oakland. Roll it
    all up, and you have something promising. Even if you don’t play in a deep
    enough league to fully appreciate a guy like Atkins floating around on the
    waiver wire this time of year, he’s still worth watching. Big second-half
    performances in 2006 and ’07
    suggest another one could be in the works.

  • Could
    Jonny Gomes
    be the next Russell Branyan? The power is certainly there for
    another late-blooming power surge, and coming off an eight-game tear in which
    he hit .407 with three homers and eight RBIs during Interleague action, the
    playing time should be too. The Reds are desperate for right-handed pop, and
    Gomes has what it takes to fill the void in left field, even if he hits no better than .270
    along the way. 
  • Another
    National League slugger who benefited from batting in the designated
    slot was Jake Fox, who rang up a .357 average, two homers and nine RBIs over the past
    seven days. With Aramis Ramirez not due back for another couple of weeks or so,
    there’s a window of time for Fox to take advantage of playing time at third base. Remember, this guy was making a
    mockery of Triple-A pitching before the Cubs gave him the call.  
  • Everyone
    thought J.A. Happ would eventually crack the Phillies’ rotation, but who knew he would toss a complete-game
    shutout against one of the American League’s top offenses on the road? After
    making quick work of the Blue Jays and improving his record to 5-0 with a 3.00
    ERA, the rookie lefty could further endear himself to Philly fans when he takes
    on a depleted Mets lineup next time out.
  • The
    Rays haven’t officially thrown the closer tag on J.P. Howell, but that didn’t
    stop him from nailing down his fifth save Sunday against the Marlins. With Troy
    Percival mulling retirement and no other Rays reliever stepping up to the
    plate, the job appears to be the 26-year-old lefty’s to lose.
  • What
    in Jake Peavy’s name has gotten into Chad Gaudin? Striking out 11 Mariners over seven innings of two-run ball is
    one thing, but one-hitting the high-flying Rangers over eight shutout innings the next time out is quite another.
  • A
    no-name offense hasn’t stopped the Giants from staying in the playoff hunt, so
    don’t let it stop you from snagging their latest surprise hitter in Nate
    . It looks like he’s overtaken Fred Lewis as the club’s everyday
    left fielder for good, thanks to a preposterous five-game stretch in which he’s
    gone 12-for-21 (.571) with two long balls.
  • If
    Schierholtz is San Francisco’s latest successful experiment, then Pablo
    has to be the poster boy. That’s right, the second-year cornerman has
    emerged as a legit middle-of-the-order slugger, and one who qualifies at
    catcher in most formats, no less. 
  • Don’t
    count on the other Giants surprise story known as Ryan Sadowski, even if he
    held a formidable Brewers lineup scoreless during his big league debut Sunday.
    Why so skeptical, you ask? If most scouts have a hard time identifying a
    26-year-old righty, and his Minor League ERA stands at 4.67, chances are he
    won’t be very good.
  • Speaking
    of the farm, Ian Snell struck out a Minor League season-high 17 batters Sunday,
    including 13 in a row at one point. Of course, Tom Gorzelanny struck out 12 the
    day before against the same team, so take it with a grain of salt.
  • Remember
    Emilio Bonifacio? You know, the speedy Marlins third baseman who stole our hearts in the season’s first couple of
    weeks and then disappeared into the night? Well, he’s back doing his best Chone Figgins impression in the
    Sunshine state, riding a six-game hit streak into Monday, during which time he’s batting .348 with four swipes.
  • Speaking
    of cheap speed, shortstop Everth Cabrera wasted no time shaking off a 60-day disabled list stint, staking claim to
    the Padres’ shortstop job by
    hitting .323 with three swipes since returning to action on June 20.



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