Fantasy Baseball pitcher stock watch - 97

Fantasy Baseball pitcher stock watch - 97

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

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Brandon League, RP, Dodgers: It's been a smooth landing in LA, as League has his mechanics back in order and a key role in the bullpen. He's fashioned nine straight scoreless innings - along with 15 strikeouts - and he's become the head of the closer committee since Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) hit the disabled list. Forget the bad ending in Seattle; League can get us those critical handshakes down the stretch.

A.J. Griffin, SP, Athletics: What's not to like here? He's yet to allow more than three runs in any Oakland turn, and he's collecting four strikeouts for every walk. A platoon split hasn't shown up yet, as righties and lefties are both hitting under .200 against Griffin. The deep Oakland pitching depth strikes again. Griffin's next two starts are on the road, not that we're worried about the environments in Seattle and Anaheim.

Zach Britton, SP, Orioles: When he initially hit the scene we thought he'd be more of a pitch-to-contact arm than anything else, so it's encouraging to see 29 strikeouts for Britton over his last 28.2 innings. The 0.94 ERA over that span is obviously unsustainable, but we're not going to sweat his challenging division for the balance of the year. Britton helps himself when the batters do make contact, inducing ground balls a whopping 60 percent of the time.

Tommy Layne, RP, Padres: His checkered minor-league history is a thing of the past, as the Friars have made Layne into an intriguing lefty specialist. The strikeout numbers jump off the page (17 whiffs in 10.1 innings), and he's picked up a win and two saves because he's being used in high-leverage spots. And obviously Petco Park will hide most of his mistakes; at least, they stay in the park.

Sell

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians: The strikeout numbers haven't been bad, but we're still not buying; his high-maintenance mechanics haven't been repeatable for a couple of years, and the wide swings in velocity also have us concerned. And when Jimenez is forced to work in the middle of the zone, he routinely gets pounded; his best stuff isn't swing-and-miss stuff unless it's perfectly located. The Indians will regret the Jimenez trade for the balance of the decade.

Trevor Cahill, SP, Diamondbacks: It's all about the schedule with the sinker-ball specialist - Cahill is trustable on the road (2.91 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) but he hasn't figured out how to manage Arizona's park yet (5.331.58). He's working at home next week (perhaps for two starts) so make sure Cahill isn't in your plans.

Eric Stults, SP, Padres: A 1.93 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over the last month will get your attention, but Stults only has 14 strikeouts over that 32.3 inning sample and he's been fooling the batted-ball gods all summer (.250 BABIP). This Cinderella will turn into a pumpkin any moment. We hear Eric Stoltz will play him in the movie.

Hold

Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants: He's been batting practice for a month, but when you pop the hood and look at the underling numbers, things don't appear so bad. Vogelsong is still recording three strikeouts for every walk, he's been hurt by an unlucky .365 BABIP, and one of the messy turns came in Colorado. Alas, he has to work in Coors early next week, but we'll ride him out after that. Most of the NL West is favorable to a pitcher.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

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Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

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After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

Dwyane Wade sounded every bit like a frustrated 35-year old father when talking about the repeated ills and so-called growing pains of his Bulls, as they surrendered yet another game against a sub-.500 team.

Sometimes it's the New York Knicks whom the Bulls are offering temporary refuge. Or maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves as they are all-too-generous to roll out the welcome mat for returning figures to Chicago.

Tuesday it was the Dallas Mavericks, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, who stormed into the United Center and escaped with a 99-98 win, courtesy of Wesley Matthews' triple with 11.7 seconds left followed by him locking down Jimmy Butler on the ensuing possession.

Wade was forced to take a contested 21-footer that went awry, but the Bulls' ills went far beyond the last two possessions, when the Mavericks exploited their strategy yet again.

"Either you learn the lesson or figure out," Wade said. "Keep putting your hand on the hot stove every day.

"We just gotta figure out not to put our hands on that stove. And understand when we come in the kitchen, that stove is hot, don't touch it. As I continue to say, this is a very young team and they have to play in these games and have to go through these moments. The one thing you want, whether it's this year or next year, is to not make the same mistakes."

The Bulls are apparently insistent on touching the stove and keep burning themselves, the most recent time with the confusion or the bad strategy in defending the Mavericks' final offensive possession.

Deron Williams found himself with Nikola Mirotic defending him off a switch from Jimmy Butler. Not the quickest afoot, Mirotic gave Williams an easy path to the basket and Wade was the backside help, not wanting to leave Matthews on the wing for a triple.

But with the bench commanding Wade to help, Williams easily found Matthews for an open 3 as Wade had no help for his man. With the Bulls up two, one could see how Wade didn't want to leave Matthews.

"I'll have to go back and watch, but it looks like Deron got downcourt, Wade went over to help and we didn’t rotate accordingly," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We obviously need to do a better job of staying in front of the other end."

Mirotic was supposed to be brought back slowly in his return from strep throat, but he played the entire fourth quarter and 22 minutes overall, having lost eight pounds with his illness that had him miss four games.

[SHOP BULLS: Get your Bulls gear right here]

Their issues were game-long and have been seasonlong as the Mavericks were supposed to absorb a shellacking from a Bulls team that felt a 25-point beatdown in Texas last month.

Instead, they would've been happy with settling for an escape when Butler rose up over his college teammate Matthews for a 20-foot wing jumper with 22.8 seconds left.

Butler nearly added a triple-double and clutch moment to his growing resume with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds but was dogged by Matthews all night, the defender who wouldn't give him airspace, went chest-to-chest and even earned a technical foul when he felt Butler exaggerated some contact in the third quarter.

"He took away my space, wouldn't let me get to my spot," Butler said of Matthews. "Good for him. I should've did something different."

Wade missed 13 of his 21 shots, scoring 17 with five rebounds on his 35th birthday

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 21 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn't have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 points and Seth Curry's 18, as Barnes, Matthews and Curry combined for eight triples — spreading the Bulls out and picking them apart defensively.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 points in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The energy was tardy to the party, as they shot just 41 percent in the first half but woke up a little in the third quarter — continuing their all-too familiar trend of half-hearted efforts against lesser teams.

And it looks like the ever-optimistic Wade is dishing out some realism, probably something that comes with the perspective of turning 35.

"You can't keep getting stressed out or frustrated. We've been going through this all year. We'll get back in in the morning.

"Once you realize who you are, you're better off. I sleep better at night. Once we want to be a better team and start winning games, we will. I'm not mad, I'm not frustrated, I'm not stressed. Just taking the hits."