Bits: Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to win


Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed eight innings of one-run ball Thursday, earning his eighth win in 11 decisions. Matsuzaka's 3.96 ERA is a season low, and he's issued more than two walks only once in his five outings. He's available in nearly half of ESPN's standard leagues.

Minnesota Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey deserved a better fate Thursday, taking a two-hit shutout and six-run lead into the eighth inning ... but he suffered a no-decision. Slowey pitched well, striking out nine against one walk in 7 2/3 innings. That's a good sign for future Slowey outings.

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander James McDonald made his first start Thursday since being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he shined with six shutout innings. McDonald fanned eight Colorado Rockies and walked one. He'd have more value on a better team, but maybe he's finally ready to emerge.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Eric Hinske hit a tiebreaking home run off Tim Lincecum on Thursday, Hinske's ninth homer of the season. He is seeing more playing time in place of slumping Troy Glaus. While he hasn't taken full advantage, note he hit 20 home runs as recently as 2008. Hinske is viable in deep mixed leagues.

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz doubled twice and hit the game-winning home run in extra innings Thursday in Florida, raising his batting average to .298. Ruiz is more valuable in OPS leagues, or those that favor walks, but he's also homered three times in five games. He's available in 86.7 percent of leagues.

Cleveland Indians catcher Lou Marson went hitless in three at-bats Thursday at Fenway Park, but he did steal his fifth base of the season. Marson's minor league numbers suggest he's much better than a .192 hitter, and the steals are nice. With Carlos Santana out for the season, fantasy owners should move on. If it's an AL-only league, try Marson.