- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija fanned a career-best 11 Atlanta Braves on Monday, allowing one run over seven innings. Samardzija hadn't won since May, and it wasn't Cliff Lee-type bad luck, either. Samardzija's June ERA was 10.41, sending fantasy owners to the waiver wire. Samardzija is owned in roughly a quarter of ESPN leagues, but add him again for the strikeouts and hope he's back on track.
High fives for Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick, as he produced his fifth home run and fifth stolen base of the season in Monday's win at Cleveland. Kendrick is hitting a solid .280 this season but his counting stats are down from 2011. In June, Kendrick didn't hit any home runs. While last year's 18-homer campaign might be out of reach, he remains safe to own at middle infield.
This is why adding spot starters is dangerous; Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted one inning Monday, allowing five runs on the road to the Oakland Athletics. Matsuzaka, who complained of neck pain before the game, gave up four hits and two home runs, and a DL stint could be pending. His ERA is 6.65. And by the way, the Athletics ranked ninth in runs scored in June.
Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones homered among his four hits and knocked in four runs Monday. Jones is barely owned in ESPN standard leagues, but he has three home runs and nine RBIs in his past eight games. While he sits against lefty pitchers and has drawn a sad eight walks all season, a 20-homer season is certainly possible.
San Diego Padres left-hander Clayton Richard won for the fourth time in five outings Monday, giving up two runs in 8 2/3 innings. Richard's June ERA was 2.21, and while he's certainly better at Petco Park, his road ERA is a reasonable 4.14. Keep Richard in deeper leagues.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit his third home run of the season Monday, in his eighth game since making his 2012 debut after knee surgery. Perez has also hit safely in each of those games, and while he hasn't walked, he's also struck out only once. Perez has matched his home run total from 39 big league games last season; he's not Mike Napoli for power, but he could really hit .300.