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Bits: Chipper continues hot streak

7/5/2012

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, on the heels of his five-hit performance Tuesday, had two hits Wednesday and is hitting .317 with modest power and more walks than strikeouts. It wouldn't be crazy for Jones to hit .300 in his final season. He is owned in fewer than one-third of ESPN leagues, so if you need batting average help, look his way.

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman made his season debut by throwing 8 1/3 innings in Seattle on Wednesday, allowing two hits and two unearned runs. Tillman was sent to Double-A Bowie after the game, but the promising 24-year-old is expected back with the Orioles after the All-Star break. Tillman's ERA has consistently been higher than 5 over parts of three big league seasons, but the Orioles believe he is emerging. Those in AL-only formats should take a chance.

Los Angeles Angels right-hander Ervin Santana was pummeled for eight runs Wednesday, retiring only four Cleveland Indians. Santana continues to be all or nothing. Just four starts ago he fired a one-hit shutout against Arizona but has an ERA of 5.75. Santana is owned in roughly half of ESPN's standard leagues, but the downside -- like Wednesday -- isn't worth it, especially with his 7.45 road ERA.

Oakland Athletics first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss homered Wednesday, his 10th in a mere 24 games, and he has hit three in the past four days. Moss is 28, past prospect status and a .241 hitter with little power in 756 career big league at-bats. This power run will pass, but it's a bit surprising someone playing this well is owned in fewer than 15 percent of ESPN leagues.

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee mercifully earned his first win of the season Wednesday, tossing eight innings of two-run ball. Lee's 3.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and pace for nearly 200 strikeouts certainly have value even while he hasn't been winning. This remains a pitcher to buy low on, but don't assume a bushel of wins are pending either.

Veteran right-hander Ben Sheets made his debut for the Double-A Mississippi Braves with five innings of four-run ball against the Jackson Generals. Sheets struck out six and walked one, throwing 74 pitches. It had been nearly two calendar years since Sheets pitched. The Atlanta Braves expect Sheets to be a rotation possibility within two weeks, and he should contribute in NL-only formats.