Atkins, Fox capitalize in DH slot
you forgot about (or didn’t even recognize) these names before Interleague got kicked off, you
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.
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.
National League slugger who benefited from batting in the designated
hitter 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Schierholtz. 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.
Schierholtz is San Francisco’s latest successful experiment, then Pablo
Sandoval 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.