An unlikely team leads the American League in scoring in June: the Oakland Athletics.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The Athletics began the month of June by getting blanked twice in a three-game series against the Royals. Bob Melvin’s offense was described as “historically bad.” Oakland had lost 10 of 11, falling behind the Mariners and into the AL West cellar.
After last night’s 3-0 shutout over the Dodgers, though, the A’s have now won six of seven, improving to 32-36 on the year and jumping back into third place. Brandon McCarthy, on the mound for the first time since June 9, led the way for Oakland in the series opener, tossing seven scoreless innings before Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook finished off Los Angeles. But the offense, not the pitching staff, has actually done much of the heavy lifting of late.
A look at whether Ricky Nolasco should be expected to play up to his peripherals or if he's destined to be a perennial underachiever
The Anti-Nolasco Case by Derek Carty Ricky Nolasco is a player I—like many fantasy owners familiar with DIPS—have targeted in fantasy drafts over the past few years. I owned him in both Tout Wars and Yahoo! Friends & Family last season, which, as others who owned him know, did not turn out very well.
While I still like Nolasco and am, in part, just playing devil’s advocate here, there are some very real warning signs that we need to take into account with the Marlins hurler. The most obvious one is the drop-off in his strikeout rate; it has fallen from over 20 percent from 2008-2010 to 16.6 percent in 2011, coinciding with a drop in fastball velocity of one mph since 2009. But while that’s concerning, it’s not the main reason to be worried about Nolasco. Even if his strikeout rate hadn’t fallen off this season, there would still be one very convincing reason to discount Nolasco’s FIP.
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That loosely translated scene from Brokeback Mountain accurately describes my relationship with Ricky Nolasco since the start of the 2008 season. My relationship with Nolasco began in the 2008 NL Tout Wars season when I acquired him in an afterthought of a trade early in the season. I had FAAB’d Manny Acosta the first week of the season on a speculative $1 bid, and he ended up picking up two quick saves by mid-April. Another owner in the league put out a note asking for saves, and at the time, I did not need Acosta as I already had two other closers. I was, however, in need of starting pitching. He had Nolasco on his bench as he had made just two starts that season. When I offered Acosta for Nolasco, the reply was, “Why the hell not. It’s just Ricky Nolasco.” Needless to say, Nolasco won 14 games for me, helped in every category, and was a big part of my 2nd place finish that season while Acosta went on to collect just one more save the entire rest of the year.
What can James Shields, Ricky Nolasco and Scott Baker teach us about extreme strike throwers and their fantasy value?
My friends have called me “Moonlight J” since my days in college because I always had a night job. I was not exactly a model student in my prep days, so I had to pay my way through school because I resisted taking out loans as long as possible. Even after I began my teaching career, I would hold night jobs to help make ends meet, and one of those jobs was DJ’ing weddings. That made it only natural that I would take requests from my friends for my debut article for this site.
Ricky Nolasco is having a second straight confouding season with an ERA that doesn't come close to matching his peripherals.
Have you ever recommended a movie, television show, or book to a friend, only to find out the party receiving the recommendation really didn’t find that the form of entertainment fit their taste? It’s an odd feeling. On one hand, it matters very little in the grand scheme of things—I know Houseguest is a fantastic movie regardless of what my future mother-in-law thinks. On the other hand, it sort of feels as though you let the friend down, that your credibility in whatever subject is lessened, and that his opinion of you will be reduced in the coming days. Well, if we insert me as the main character in a live-action reenactment of this type of scenario, substitute fantasy fans that take what I say to heart for the recommendees, and replace movies, books, or television shows with Ricky Nolasco, then I’m sorry and hope we can still be friends.
Will the new-look Marlins ace use a new repertoire to play Met-killer today?
Heading into the 2007 season, the Marlins looked to have a bright future in their rotation, as four of their five starters from the previous campaign were coming off of successful rookie seasons. While things overall have not worked out the way many expected for the quartet, one of the four, Ricky Nolasco, has hit his stride this year to become a better pitcher than many thought he could be. What changed for the now 25-year-old starter, and can we expect him to be the ace that Florida's rotation needs to compete in a tough division?