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Insider

Joe Blanton finishes strong

9/30/2010

Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton tossed seven innings of three-hit ball Wednesday, allowing one unearned run. Blanton won't soon be confused with one of the team's big three starters, but he hasn't lost in more than two months, and he's striking out a batter per inning in September. He's a late-round sleeper in 2011.

Phillies outfielder Ben Francisco swatted a pair of home runs Wednesday. Francisco hasn't played much this season, but it's possible he will split right-field duties with rookie Domonic Brown next season, after free agent Jayson Werth moves on. Francisco should be interesting in deep leagues; in 2009, he hit 15 home runs and stole 14 bases.

Joel Pineiro allowed one run in seven innings Wednesday, lowering his ERA to 3.84. Like Blanton, Pineiro won't be mistaken for an ace next season, but his 1.24 WHIP in the American League this season is impressive. In three September starts, Pineiro has a 1.71 ERA.

What's gotten into Atlanta Braves right-hander Derek Lowe? After being average most of the season, Lowe has transformed in September. Including Wednesday's win, in which he permitted one run in 5 2/3 innings and fanned nine, Lowe is 5-0 this month with a 1.17 ERA. Those in daily leagues should add him in case he starts this Sunday against a depleted Phillies lineup.

Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner homered Wednesday, the second consecutive game he did so. Hafner isn't likely to flash back to his MVP-contending days, but he does have 13 home runs and 50 RBIs in 116 games. If healthy next season, maybe a 20-home run season is possible.

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill homered and knocked in four runs Wednesday. Hill hit 36 home runs in 2009, and has 26 entering Thursday, so while the .207 batting average is a drag, the power remains. Expect Hill to come at a bargain price in 2011, and if he hits his career average of .271, he'll be worth it for the power.