AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Feldman saw his chance for 20 wins go out the window, just when fantasy owners going for titles were counting on him to continue to be the revelation he has been this year, as he gave up seven runs against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.
Feldman likely is not just a one-year wonder. He has a new over-the-head delivery that is easier for him to repeat and has led to better command. Plus, he's got a nasty cutter that is vastly improved from when he introduced it to his repertoire last season. However, he had trouble controlling the ball in Thursday's outing, allowing a season-high five walks among 12 baserunners in just 3 1/3 innings.
Although Feldman also had been knocked around by the A's two starts prior, he came into the contest with a 3.28 ERA as a starter this season and a 2.58 mark on the road.
"I don't know what it is; obviously he's a good pitcher," Jack Cust told the team Web site. "But the last couple times, we've put together some really good at-bats against him. He's got a lot of late movement, but we didn't chase anything out of the zone and got his pitch count up there. That takes a toll eventually."
• Eric Patterson did some of that damage against Feldman with his third consecutive two-hit game and added a stolen base, taking advantage of some extra at-bats with Scott Hairston out of the lineup. The A's have talked about trying to see whether Patterson could develop into the type of utility player Chone Figgins was for the Los Angeles Angels earlier in his career, so he might have some sleeper value next season if he gets the at-bats.
• Jerry Hairston Jr. just received a cortisone shot for tendinitis in his wrist and should miss at least a few more days. The injury was thought to be worse initially, so those needing Hairston next week might have him back.
• Matt Kemp went 3-for-5 with a homer in the Los Angeles Dodgers' win over the Washington Nationals. As Nate Ravitz points out, Kemp, with his 2009 stat line of a .306 batting average, 26 HRs, 100 RBIs and 34 stolen bases, might deserve to rank ahead of Ryan Braun (.312 AVG, 29 HRs, 103 RBIs, 16 SBs) next season.
• Bengie Molina left Thursday's game with a hand injury in the fifth inning. The San Francisco Giants catcher took a foul tip off it and appeared to be in considerable pain. Eli Whiteside replaced him, so it's no guarantee Buster Posey will see additional time if this injury is enough to knock Molina out of action for any length of time. The game also ended badly for the Giants, when Brian Wilson gave up a two-run homer in the ninth to the Chicago Cubs' Jeff Baker to spoil a great outing by Brad Penny and lose an opportunity to make up ground in the wild-card race.
• The Texas Rangers hope to have Josh Hamilton (back) return to the lineup as soon as Friday after he had good batting practice sessions the past couple of days, according to the team Web site. Hamilton hasn't played since Sept. 2. Meanwhile, Michael Young (hamstring) likely will not play in the weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays but still hopes to return before the season ends.
• The Nationals' Cristian Guzman was out of the starting lineup to rest a sore shoulder, which resulted in two throwing errors the day before, but later had a pinch-hit single, so he could be back starting this weekend.
• Carlos Gonzalez also was out of the starting lineup Thursday and later made a pinch-hitting appearance. The Colorado Rockies outfielder has been dealing with a tight hamstring, and while he admits he's not quite 100 percent yet, he expects to be worked back into the lineup gradually this weekend.
• Luke Gregerson notched his first save of the season for the San Diego Padres, as Heath Bell was unavailable the night after notching his 40th save of the season due to having pitched four out of the previous five days.
• Matt LaPorta (hip) was able to take batting practice Thursday and hopes to be back in the starting lineup Friday.
• Although manager Mike Scioscia had mentioned he might start using Kevin Jepsen as a co-closer with Brian Fuentes, Jepsen has not been available the past few days due to arm fatigue and has yet to receive a save chance. Meanwhile, Fuentes has successfully closed his past three opportunities. Jepsen might wind up not getting any chances at all, even though he is expected to be available again Friday.
Rafael Furcal, Dodgers
The Dodgers shortstop remains very hot at the moment, recording his second four-hit contest in three games, with a homer and two runs scored. Furcal not only has an eight-game hitting streak in which he's had 16 hits, two homers and four steals, but he's also scored at least one run in each of those games as well. At least he's finishing strong after a disappointing season.
Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
There was some question whether Buchholz was even going to be able to make this start a couple of days ago thanks to a terrible head cold. Not only did he make it, but he also shut out the Kansas City Royals over 6 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and lowering his ERA to 3.49 in 13 starts this season to cement his role as Boston's No. 3 starter for the playoffs. He'll also have a two-start week for the final week of the season, with the first one coming Tuesday, as Tim Wakefield's final start of the regular season has been pushed to Wednesday.
Felix Hernandez did his best to make his Cy Young case with 11 punchouts against the Toronto Blue Jays, in complete control for much of the game, with just one mistake that resulted in a three-run homer for Vernon Wells. The last time King Felix allowed more than three runs in an outing was 12 starts ago. For those needing maximum Felix impact in the final week, he's also scheduled to make two starts.
• The Kansas City Royals, dealing with injuries to starters Kyle Davies and Dusty Hughes, called up Anthony Lerew for a spot start against the Boston Red Sox. The 27-year-old righty gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings, while teammate Zack Greinke and manager Trey Hillman both were ejected because of their vocalized assertions that Lerew was being squeezed. Still, the former Atlanta Braves farmhand is nothing more than a journeyman who shouldn't interest fantasy players even if he gets another start next week.
• Rich Harden has been shut down by the Cubs for the rest of the season. Although he still could pitch if the club were in playoff contention, he and the team decided to put him on the shelf as a precaution. He winds up with 141 innings after throwing 148 in 2008.
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AJ Mass: If the Cards have clinched by then, then yes.
-- Full chat transcript
Keith Law: In the same environment, I'd go Latos by a shade. If you're asking a fantasy question, though, Latos by a mile -- ballpark, league, etc.
-- Full chat transcript
Friday's fantasy and baseball chat schedule:
Stephania Bell, 11 a.m. ET
Jerry Crasnick, noon ET
Jayson Stark, 1 p.m. ET
• Justin Smoak didn't have a strong finish to the minor league season after being promoted to Triple-A, but the Texas Rangers first baseman is showing why he's among the best hitting prospects in baseball for Team USA in World Cup play. Smoak has hit nine homers and batted better than .340 in 11 games, and is on track to get significant at-bats for the big league club next season.
• Max Scherzer makes what is likely his final start of the season and looks to go out on a good note against the anemic San Diego Padres at home in Chase Field. It's been a solid season for the 25-year-old, even though he's faded a bit as it has worn on. He still has struck out more than a batter per inning, and it's been enough to rank him among the top 50 starters this season in our Player Rater.
• Jon Garland certainly has done the job since being acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and really for the entire second half, with a 3.38 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 13 starts despite his lack of strikeouts. Playing at Pittsburgh is a good opportunity to keep up those numbers.
• James Shields has not had a good run in the second half of the season, with a 5.23 ERA since the break and a 6.83 ERA this month. It's been a combination of everything -- a little too wild, a few too many homers and lack of command of his fastball. I don't see it as anything to get too concerned about for 2010, but he's a shaky bet in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.
• For more on Friday's games, check Daily Notes.