<
>
Insider

Bits: Edinson Volquez dominates Astros

San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez tossed a one-hit shutout against the woeful Houston Astros Thursday. Volquez walked three and struck out five, lowering his ERA to 3.34. He's owned in 37 percent of ESPN leagues, and while it's been a nice bounce-back season, he's far safer at home (2.84 ERA). Of course, it should be noted the Astros are hitting .197 over their past 15 games. Fantasy owners should target pitchers against this offense.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia singled in four at-bats Thursday in his first start off the disabled list for a thumb injury. Pedroia batted third, allowing outfielder Carl Crawford, off to a .429 start after four games, to remain hitting second. If this continues, it's good for Crawford and Pedroia.

Chicago Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm tossed eight innings of one-run ball to beat the Miami Marlins Thursday. The last time Maholm, whose season ERA is 4.09, allowed more than one run was nearly a month ago. Sure, he's Paul Maholm, but that's three runs allowed in 30 1/3 innings. Even mixed leaguers looking to spot start should watch.

Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero enjoyed his four-game series in Kansas City, as he went 10-for-17 with eight RBIs, with half of them coming in his three-hit performance Thursday. Montero hit his ninth home run Thursday as well. He's raised his batting average 20 points in four days, but overall has been a disappointment, notably with power output, plate discipline and defense. He is not a top-10 catcher, not yet.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez allowed seven hits, five walks and five runs in 5 2/3 messy innings in Tampa Bay Thursday, as his ERA rose to 5.24. Jimenez is owned in more than half of ESPN's mixed leagues, but he leads the AL in walks and has erased his fine June (2.78 ERA) with a brutal July (7.47 ERA). The Indians have no choice, but you do.

Baltimore Orioles infielder/outfielder Chris Davis hit his 15th home run of the season Thursday. Davis, owned in roughly half of ESPN's leagues thanks to a solid and misleading first two months, has hit .195 since June 1, and this was only his second home run of July. This is not a .300 hitter, and with 17 strikeouts in his past 10 games, his current .260 mark will keep dropping.