Posted: Tuesday May 24, 2005 12:19PM; Updated: Tuesday May 24, 2005 4:56PM
Opponents are batting just .234 against 26-year-old lefty Chris Capuano.
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1. Huston Street, A's: Octavio Dotel landed on the DL this past week with elbow problems, making Street the new closer. Unless the youngster implodes in Dotel's absence, you have to think Street won't give the job back.
2. Chris Capuano, Brewers: The left-hander who came over from Arizona two years ago in the Richie Sexson deal has started to pay big dividends for Milwaukee. Capuano got off to a shaky start, going 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in April, but has been one of baseball's best pitchers in May. In five starts this month, he's 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA.
3. Kris Benson, Mets: Benson made his first start of 2005 on May 5 after being sidelined with a strained chest muscle. He was OK in that outing, but got hit hard in his follow-up stint. In his two starts since, Benson has been terrific, allowing two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. The right-hander should only build arm strength with each start.
4. Brady Clark, Brewers: He's flown under the radar, but he leads the NL in runs, is second in hits and is batting .332. Clark's value could increase if manager Ned Yost wakes up and gets him out of the leadoff spot. Clark has three stolen bases and has been thrown out seven times. His hitting skills could be better utilized in the No. 2 hole, where he could pick up a few more RBIs.
5. Joe Borowski, Cubs: Chicago's closer returned Friday and tossed a scoreless inning. However, he's being brought back slowly, and manager Dusty Baker called on Ryan Dempster to get the save Monday. It's still just a matter of time before Borowski reclaims his job.
6. Cliff Lee, Indians: The 26-year-old left-hander has decent stuff and could be ready to elevate his game. He won 14 games last season but had a 5.43 ERA. This year, Lee has turned in only one bad start. He's had a solid May as well, going 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
7. Carl Pavano, Yankees: Pavano finally is pitching the way many expected. With the Yankees out of their funk, the free-agent acquisition should benefit from good run support the rest of the way. He's helped his own cause over his last two starts, allowing one earned run in 16 innings.
8. Todd Jones, Marlins: He's gotten the job done filling in for the injured Guillermo Mota. And despite Jones' age (37), Florida skipper Jack McKeon isn't shy about using him. The veteran righty has picked up four saves in the past four days. McKeon has indicated Jones could remain the closer when Mota returns.
9. Garrett Atkins, Rockies: Atkins has two things going for him right off the bat: He's in the lineup every day and he plays in Coors Field. But the 25 year old, who's had a cup of coffee with the Rockies the past two seasons, is starting to hit, raising his average from .250 on May 14 to .286. Over his last 10 games, he's hit four homers, driven in eight runs and scored nine runs.
10. Scot Shields, Angels: Los Angeles put Francisco Rodriguez on the DL Monday, opening the door for Shields to pick up more saves in K-Rod's absence. Shields, who has a 0.90 ERA in May, has recorded three saves in the past eight days.
1. Andy Pettitte, Astros: Pettitte has pitched well for most of the season, but his last start was a disaster -- seven earned runs, 11 hits in five innings -- causing his ERA to balloon from 3.29 to 4.11. And now word is that the veteran lefty will skip his next start to rest his tight foreman. Pettitte, who underwent elbow surgery last season, still isn't able to throw his cutter, because of his ongoing forearm problems.
2. Doug Mientkiewicz, Mets: In "real" baseball you might be able to get away with playing a first baseman who hits .197 if he provides you with outstanding defense. In fantasy baseball, there are no circumstances under which you can start a first baseman who puts up those numbers.
3. Lance Berkman, Astros: Berkman made his season debut on May 6 after missing more than a month because of a knee surgery. He's had 49 at-bats and still is searching for his stroke: He's batting .173 with one homer and three RBIs.
4. Aubrey Huff, Devil Rays: What happened to this guy? After belting 34 homers in 2003 and 29 in '04, he's hit two this season. A career .292 hitter, Huff is batting .253.
5. David Wells, Red Sox: Boomer is old and out of shape. Granted, he's been old and out of shape for a long time. But now it looks like those things have finally caught up with him. In his first start back last Wednesday from a sprained right foot, the A's, one of baseball's most inept offensive teams, lit up Wells for seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. Even before the injury, Wells was pitching to a 4.91 ERA.
6. Danny Graves, D'Angleo Jiminez, Reds: In case you missed it, both players were designated for assignment over the past few days. For those of you who were playing Graves, consider this a blessing in disguise. He was hurting you more than he was helping you.
7. Carlos Pena, Tigers: He hit 27 homers and drove in 82 runs last season, but I never thought Pena was that good. He's come back to earth this season and played the way I expected. He's batting .193 with three homers. You have to think the Tigers will see the light and realize they can't keep throwing Pena out there at first base.
8. Mark Loretta, Padres: Many fantasy players were high on Loretta after he hit a career-high .335 with 108 runs scored last season. However, the second baseman is expected to miss at least two months after tearing a ligament in his left thumb.
9. A.J. Burnett, Marlins: Keep a close eye on this situation. Burnett will miss his next start Thursday after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired right elbow after Saturday's game. He doesn't expect to miss more than one start, but GM Larry Beinfest said, "His [Burnett's] timeline is TBA."
10. Orlando Hernandez, White Sox: The veteran righty is expected to miss at least two starts because of a sore shoulder.