Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For those fans and fantasy owners who love and or need offense, Thursday wasn't the day for you. Of the nine games on the schedule, five teams were shut out and eight more teams scored just one or two runs.
We could call Thursday the "day of the batter massacre."
In Tampa, the matchup of 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price versus Alex Cobb proved to be an excellent afternoon appetizer. Facing his old team for the first time, Price yielded just one hit, struck out nine ... and lost. Fantasy owners have been very happy with his statistical production since the All-Star break (2.35 ERA, 0.820 WHIP, 57 Ks in 53 2/3 IP), but his 3-2 record is a little bit disappointing.
Opposing him was Cobb, who went seven shutout innings, giving up just two harmless base hits. The 26-year-old struggled in the first half, but has turned it on after the break (5-0, 1.16 ERA, 0.986 WHIP) and should be in every starting lineup from here on out. And perhaps if his owner hasn't been paying attention after the slow start you could "steal" him in a trade.
Next up was journeyman Brandon McCarthy, who since coming to the New York Yankees in early July, has suddenly remembered how to pitch. The nine-year veteran was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA when he left the Arizona desert, but is 5-2 with a 1.90 ERA and 1.135 WHIP in eight starts for the Bronx Bombers. Thursday he shut out the Houston Astros on four hits, walking none and striking out eight batters. I find it hard to believe that the career sub .500 pitcher (50-62) with a 4.09 ERA will keep up this pace, so even though he's available in more than half of the Yahoo leagues, I would stay away.
Down in Washington, Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley put on a show with both pitchers getting into the seventh inning and still putting zeros on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, neither got the win as the Nationals waited until the ninth inning to extend their win streak to 10 games. Gonzalez has the talent to be a fantasy ace, but his 2014 effort has been far too inconsistent for fantasy owners. Miley has less talent, but is just as inconsistent.
The Braves Julio Teheran threw his hat into the ring for best performance of the evening, going six shutout innings against Cincinnati. After a couple of poor outings, fantasy owners were smiling from his latest effort. Their only complaint is four strikeouts over the last 12 innings pitched is not up to his season-long standard.
In Los Angeles, the Tyson Ross vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup figured to be a low-scoring affair and it followed the script. Ross and his Padres were actually ahead of Kershaw after scratching out a run in the top of the seventh, but a mistake to Justin Turner was his downfall. Kershaw went eight innings, yielding three hits and striking out 10 in just another "ho-hum" performance from the best pitcher in the game.
In Boston, Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker continued to perform well above expectations. His one-hit, one-walk, nine-strikeout performance over 7 2/3 IP against the Red Sox highlighted the day's pitching lines. His only mistake was a double down the left-field line with two outs in the seventh inning as he raised his record to 12-4 with a 3.56 ERA, 1.119 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 103 2/3 IP. The question I have for fantasy owners is why this guy is still a free agent in 62 percent of all fantasy leagues?
All-in-all, Thursday pitchers threw 157 innings with a 1.949 ERA and a 0.942 WHIP including two 1-0 games.