Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Banana Stand - Week 5

The Banana Stand is a weekly look back at the fantasy week that was.

The week that was started with Roy Halladay tossing his fourth straight complete game. Pretty amazing in today's game. Even more amazing......the last 3 complete games resulted in a loss for Halladay. He followed up the tough luck losses with a win on Sunday, throwing 7 1/3 innings giving up 3 runs (one earned). The Ks will always be down for him, but it's tough to find a more reliable fantasy starter than Halladay.

This week also claimed a number of big names to the DL. The consensus #1 overall fantasy pick coming in to the year, Alex Rodriguez, hit the DL Wednesday after battling a quad injury for the past week. He isn't expected to be out much longer than his DL stint, but any owner has to be worried about lingering effects of the injury once he returns. News of ARod being placed on the DL came a day after the Yankees put catcher Jorge Posada on the DL with a strained right shoulder. Posada's visit to Dr. James Andrews frightened owners and Yankee fans alike, but no major damage was found. Any time the good Dr.'s name comes up, there's always the fear that there's a season or career ending injury floating around. It was revealed that Posada will need two weeks of rest followed by two weeks of strengthening before going on a rehab assignment. This could mean that Posada will be able to DH or play first during the strengthening phase, giving fantasy owners some hope that he'll be back producing sooner than expected.

As if this wasn't enough for the Yankees, Phil Hughes also landed on the DL this week. It was first called an oblique strain, but was later dubbed a stress fracture in his rib-cage. The Yankees aren't expecting him back until July at the earliest. They will probably keep him in the minors for a significant time before bringing him back, rendering his fantasy value for this year virtually useless. One has to wonder if this is really a legitimate injury or if the Yankees are just attempting to preserve Hughes' value by blaming his terrible start this year on an injury.

Hughes' counterpart in the rotation, Ian Kennedy, was sent down to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Sunday after his own miserable start to the year. After looking poised and ready in his 3 starts last year, his mental makeup has certainly come into question. On multiple occasions this year, he's made statements about the enormous pressure of pitching in New York. After being sent down, he mentioned that it'll be nice to pitch where every pitch isn't put under a microscope. That can't be comforting to Yankee management. It wouldn't be surprising if the Yankees throw in the towel on the young pitcher if the right deal comes along in the next couple of months. It's not out of the question for Kennedy go down to AAA and straighten everything out and contribute to the big team in short time. The yankees other options, Darrell Rasner & Kei Igawa, are no doubt on short leashes of their own.

Perhaps the biggest injury news of the week was Yovanni Gallardo's torn ACL. It's likely that he'll miss the entire year. This is a huge blow for both fantasy owners & the Brewers as Gallardo was really starting to become a force.

Although injuries were wreaking havoc across fantasy teams everywhere, there were some big name callups providing hope. Max Scherzer made his Major League debut on Wednesday, retiring all 13 batters he faced striking out 7 in the process. He has replaced Edgar Gonzalez in the Diamondbacks' rotation. He might not hold the spot for long with Doug Davis' imminent return, but he should still be owned in any league.

The Mariners, trying to wake up their struggling offense, called up big-time prospects Jeff Clement & Wladimir Balentien. Clement is certainly the more appealing option of the 2, especially considering that he'll see time behind the plate & will attain catcher eligibility in most leagues.

League Updates:
It was another contentious week at Pseudo Sports, as Chris & I faced off in our 7x7 league. Not much to say here other than I got beaten like a red-headed stepchild by a score of 11-2-1. I can't even blame the loss on not having ARod this week. It wouldn't have mattered. Chris is running away with the league while I'm hovering in mediocrity right in the middle of the pack.

In the Greener on the Other Side expert league, we made a charge as high as 4th early in the week, but we've dropped down 7th. The gap is narrowing between first and the rest of the pack, and spots 3-7 can change daily. We took a hit with the loss of Gallardo, but our pitching is pretty deep and has carried us thus far. We're eagerly awaiting the return of our #1 pick, Jimmy Rollins.

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