- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Boston Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett was torched by the Cleveland Indians for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings Thursday, raising his season ERA to 5.97. Beckett, who hadn't started since April 29 due to a sore shoulder, had actually pitched well in his previous four starts (2.92 ERA since April 13), but the Indians didn't have problems. Don't be surprised if Beckett is still hurting and needs a DL stint, but he does remain worth owning in all fantasy formats.
Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche homered for the sixth time and raised his batting average to .327 Thursday, yet he's among the most-dropped players in ESPN leagues. LaRoche also homered Tuesday. LaRoche isn't durable and is likely to drop quite a few batting average points in the coming months, but he is among the top 10 in most NL offensive categories, and not slowing down. LaRoche has hit 25 or more home runs in four seasons, and could do it again.
Texas Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis had an interesting outing Thursday; on one hand, he allowed five home runs to the Baltimore Orioles. On the other hand, those were all the hits he allowed in seven innings. Lewis also retired 18 consecutive Orioles in one stretch and struck out 12 for the game. Lewis will give up home runs, but he's a good strikeout pitcher and safe in WHIP. Continue owning him.
New York Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez had two hits and two stolen bases and committed two errors in Thursday's win. Nunez, playing third base while Alex Rodriguez assumed DH duties, raised his batting average to .294. Last season Nunez, a shortstop by trade, stole 22 bases in limited playing time. Those in AL-only or other deep formats should keep him around for precisely that reason.
Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez beat the Minnesota Twins Thursday, permitting two runs (one earned) in seven strong innings. Alvarez has won three consecutive starts, posting a minuscule 0.81 ERA in that span, but there is a concern: He's fanned six hitters in those 22 innings. It will be quite the challenge for Alvarez to keep his ERA at 2.61 and his WHIP at 1.10 with a strikeout rate of less than 3 per nine innings. Alvarez ranks last in K/9 rate among 119 qualifiers for the ERA title.
Eric Karabell discusses the most fantasy-relevant tidbits from Thursday's games, including Josh Beckett's rough outing against the Indians.