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Bits: Carlos Gomez continues hot week

7/24/2012

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez enjoyed his Monday night in Philadelphia, hitting his sixth home run (off Roy Halladay), knocking in three runs, scoring three runs and stealing two bases. Alas, Gomez is not a good offensive player, but he has stolen six bases in the past week, which should interest fantasy owners with that need.

Gomez fared better than Brewers right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, who blew a 6-3 lead in the ninth inning and saw his ERA rise to 4.47. Rodriguez allowed four runs and six baserunners Monday, and over his past two appearances, he has given up four hits, six walks and five runs while retiring five hitters. Watch John Axford get the closer role back this week.

Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia smacked his 19th home run Monday, extending his power lead among big league backstops. Saltalamacchia has struggled in July, entering play with a .122 batting average for the month, but the power hasn't ceased. This is a catcher on pace for 32 home runs, a valuable commodity.

Chicago White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd came off the DL and threw six interesting innings Monday, allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings and overcoming six walks. Floyd is owned in more than 40 percent of ESPN leagues, despite a high ERA and WHIP, but perhaps fantasy owners are aware of his career splits per half; Floyd's numbers historically improve after the All-Star break.

Floyd outdueled the inconsistent Francisco Liriano, as the Minnesota Twins lefty permitted seven runs on seven hits while retiring only eight hitters Monday. Liriano is one of the most-added pitchers in ESPN leagues, after fanning 25 hitters his prior two starts, and this was his worst performance since May. Don't expect a future trade to make Liriano any more reliable.

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley came off the DL Monday and pitched six strong innings in St. Louis, allowing one run in his best outing in six weeks. Billingsley, one of the most-dropped pitchers in ESPN leagues, tends to tease fantasy owners with his strikeout rate and potential, but he's allowed too many hits and his WHIP is high. Rely on him at your own risk.