- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz tossed seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday to beat the Chicago White Sox. Last week, Matusz shut out the Texas Rangers in eight innings. The overall numbers for the 23-year-old aren't impressive, but he's 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in August, a likely precursor to a breakout 2011.
Houston Astros left-hander J.A. Happ made his first start in Philadelphia since the Roy Oswalt trade and beat the Phillies with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Remove Happ's one bad outing with the Astros and his ERA since the trade is a cool 2.35 ERA. This is the Happ who nearly won 2009 Rookie of the Year honors.
Boston Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett tossed six shutout innings Wednesday before allowing two seventh-inning home runs, but he got his fourth win. Beckett had permitted 19 earned runs in his past three outings, covering 16 innings. Conflicted fantasy owners should trust him as a two-start pitcher next week (against the Orioles and White Sox).
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder/designated hitter Hideki Matsui singled, doubled, walked twice and drove in and scored three runs Wednesday, continuing a hot streak in which he's raised his batting average 23 points in nine games. Matsui is available in 39 percent of ESPN standard leagues, so enjoy his production while he's hot.
Another veteran disappointment is Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, but it's not too late for his batting average prowess to help. Helton delivered three hits and an RBI Wednesday, two days after a 4-for-4 performance. Don't expect much power, but Helton, a career .325 hitter, can still help fantasy owners in deep leagues.
Who knows how much longer Manny Ramirez will be hitting third for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he had a nice night in Milwaukee on Wednesday, with two doubles, two walks, an RBI and a run scored. Ramirez is hitting .313 and his OPS, if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, would rank just outside the top 10 for the season. Ramirez is owned in only 83 percent of ESPN leagues, but he remains productive.
Eric Karabell recaps Wednesday in the big leagues, highlighted by more encouraging efforts from young hurlers Brian Matusz and J.A. Happ.