Bob Levey/Icon SMI
Less than a week after their much-debated trade that sent Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth to Atlanta for three prospects, he got a chance to see his old Pirates buddies in person. McLouth hit his first Braves home run in the process, while his replacement in Pittsburgh also put on a show. Atlanta won 7-6 in 15 innings.
Leading off for the Braves, McLouth hit a fifth-inning home run off Zach Duke and stole his ninth base of the season. He has yet to be caught. The home run was McLouth's 10th of the season and left him one steal from reaching double digits in each stat; only four players have done that in baseball so far this season.
Although Pirates players and fans initially were angry at the McLouth trade, nobody is complaining about his replacement, the exciting Andrew McCutchen. Also leading off in center field, McCutchen became the first Pirate to triple twice in a game -- both coming in the first seven innings -- since Tike Redman did it in 2003 and only the fifth player in the past 55 years to turn the trick within the first five games of his career. The others were Adam Piatt, Spike Owen, John Sipin and the great Willie McCovey. McCutchen ended this very long night with four hits, two runs scored and an RBI. While he's hitting .400 after five major league games, McLouth is hitting .278 as a Brave.
Of course, one of these center fielders is owned in pretty much every league, while the other is still available in more than 86 percent. McLouth was drafted in average ESPN.com live drafts during the sixth round and is well on his way to being worth it, and McCutchen finds himself on ESPN's most added list after only a week. It's a bit early to judge the Pirates' new prospects, but so far, this deal appears good for both teams.
• The big story in the Giants-Marlins game wasn't Johnson but another tall lefty, in this case opposing pitcher Sean West, who didn't permit a hit until the seventh inning. West, who now owns only 299 fewer major league wins than Johnson, allowed two hits and one walk in eight innings while striking out six. Only 22 years old and standing 6-feet-8, West hasn't given up more hits than innings he has pitched in any of his four starts so far. He's owned in fewer than 1 percent of ESPN.com leagues and faces the Blue Jays later this week.
• Joel Zumaya won once in his first 13 games this season with a 2.65 ERA, then figured out he could win more if he would allow runs. Zumaya allowed an eighth-inning run to tie the game for the second consecutive day, but he earned the victory each time when the Tigers came back to win. The home run Zumaya gave up to Paul Konerko in the first game of Monday's doubleheader came on a 98.8 mph fastball, the fastest pitch to yield a home run in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. We can't expect Zumaya to be perfect, but we appreciate the wins he earns, and congrats to Konerko, an under-the-radar .296 hitter who has hit eight home runs.
• The Rockies swept a four-game series in St. Louis and scored 33 runs in the process. Clint Barmes was a big reason. He recorded two or more hits in each game (nine total) and knocked in eight RBIs during the series, including two Monday. Barmes is one of the most added players in ESPN.com leagues. Middle-infield mate Troy Tulowitzki is one of the most dropped players, but he homered Monday for the sixth time this season and first time since May 10.
• The Rangers picked up eight hits in a 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays, half of them by outfielders Marlon Byrd and David Murphy. Byrd even tried to steal a base! These guys will continue to see regular playing time, as it was announced that center fielder Josh Hamilton will have surgery to repair a torn abdomen and likely won't play until after the All-Star break. But before you cut Hamilton, just remember how he is capable of major production in a short time; last season, he hit five home runs in five different months.
• Home runs continue to fly out of Yankee Stadium at a dizzying pace, and they accounted for all the runs the home team scored in Monday's win. Derek Jeter has eight home runs on the season, putting him on pace for 24; the last time Jeter hit that many was 1999. Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher also homered off Andy Sonnanstine, who pitched fairly well other than the four dingers. Of note for the Yankees' pitching staff were the six strong innings for Andy Pettitte and the debut relief outing for Phil Hughes, who cruised through the seventh inning on 11 pitches.
• Jake Peavy bounced back from the shortest outing of his career, a one-inning start against Philadelphia, with seven strong innings. He allowed two earned runs in beating Arizona. Peavy's bad start against the Phillies was blamed on the flu, but he also has been bothered by right ankle tendinitis. Peavy needs nine wins to become the Padres' all-time wins leader and top Eric Show, but chances are he'll be a Cub or Dodger or will play somewhere else by then.
Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Lind smacked a pair of two-run home runs off Scott Feldman to account for all the runs Toronto needed in a 6-3 win. He raised his season total to 11 homers, and he has 43 RBIs -- in 58 games. In Lind's 195 games through his first three seasons, he hit 22 home runs.
Jose Contreras, White Sox
Where did this come from? Sure, Contreras pitched well for Triple-A Charlotte, but to throw eight innings of one-hit, shutout ball against the Tigers is another story. Contreras got lit up pretty well in his first six starts before the demotion, and he was a useful fantasy option as recently as 2006.
Kudos to Brett Carroll! His three-run homer off Randy Johnson was the first of his career. The only other active player whose first home run has come off a pitcher who already had won 300 games is Diamondbacks relief pitcher Jon Rauch, who connected off Roger Clemens in 2004. Carroll also is the seventh player to hit his first home run off Johnson. Justin Huber was the last to do so.
• The Diamondbacks claimed Blaine Boyer off waivers, and he figures to pitch in middle relief. Boyer already has pitched poorly for the Braves and Cardinals this season, so it's time for him to try his third NL division. Even if Arizona's Chad Qualls is hurt and needs a disabled list stint, Boyer won't pull a Mike MacDougal and get close to saves. MacDougal is, of course, the Nationals' closer after the White Sox dumped him a month ago.
• Remember when Chris Burke hit a playoff-series-winning home run for the Astros against the Braves in 2005? Burke was an intriguing fantasy prospect at the time, a middle infielder with power and speed. Of course, he has exhibited very little of either in the bigs, bouncing from the Astros to the Diamondbacks, Mariners and Padres. San Diego designated Burke for assignment Monday.
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Christopher Harris: I like Price more. Each kid throws really hard, but Price has more refined secondary pitches, and also can fall back on last year's big-league experience. As I just mentioned, I'm not viewing his shaky debut as a reason to give up on Hanson, not at all. But I'd rather have Price. Each guy is going to give you the occasional heartburn start, though. It's the nature of most rookie starters.
-- Full chat transcript
Jason Grey: I think the reality of dealing with his diabetic condition and his health issues keep him a reliever going forward. That said, it sounds like he's third or fourth in line right now based on [Mariners manager Don] Wakamatsu's comments, so I don't see the need for a pickup yet. The injury bug has hit him hard this season.
-- Full chat transcript
Tuesday's fantasy chat schedule:
• Hey, Pat Burrell, have a biscuit! OK, so Burrell was playing for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, serving as the designated hitter on his rehab assignment. On Monday, he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Burrell has been out with a neck strain and could be back at the end of the week. After being drafted in ESPN.com leagues in the 17th round, he's available in nearly half of those same leagues now.
• Another big name on rehab is the Cubs' Rich Harden, who threw 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa, allowing one earned run and fanning six members of the Round Rock team. Harden, who has been dealing with a sore back, could return to the Cubs within a week. Despite starting only eight times for the big club, he remains on pace for more than 150 strikeouts on the season.
• Dontrelle Willis came close to winning the 2005 NL Cy Young, but Carpenter beat him out, despite one fewer win and a higher ERA. This season, their numbers aren't close. Willis walked four of the final five hitters he faced in his latest outing, which lasted 2 1/3 innings. He'll face Mark Buehrle, who does not walk many hitters.
• Former Marlins teammates A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett will square off as the Yankees travel to Boston. Both right-handers are on a roll; Burnett has won two consecutive games and fanned seven or more in his past four, while Beckett was 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in May and started June with 7 2/3 innings of two-hit ball.
• For more on Tuesday's games, check out the Daily Notes.