New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings at Fenway Park Thursday, striking out seven and earning his 15th win. Hughes, second in the big leagues with 33 home runs allowed, avoided that pitfall against the Red Sox, his first time doing so in nine outings. Hughes' WHIP is a palatable 1.25, his strikeout rate is useful, and he's available in a third of ESPN leagues.
Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland allowed two runs in seven innings Thursday, finishing with a no-decision. Holland fanned seven Indians and has 24 strikeouts in his past three starts. His best fantasy category has been WHIP, with a 1.17 mark, but he has only 10 wins and his ERA is high at 4.50. Like Hughes, home runs have been an issue, but he's available in more than 30 percent of leagues and worth it.
Houston Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie smacked a key pinch-hit, two-run double Thursday, his first hit since missing two months with an ankle injury. Lowrie, among the more productive middle infielders in the game at the All-Star break, isn't expected to see regular playing time these final three weeks, but he'll be draft-worthy in 2013.
Minnesota Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe smacked a ninth-inning home run off Greg Holland Thursday, his 21st of an inconsistent season. Plouffe delivered 11 home runs in June but now has only two in his past 100 at-bats. He's certainly capable of a late-season streak, and he does his best work against lefty pitchers. The Twins are scheduled to face lefty starters in three of the next four games.
Oakland Athletics left-hander Brett Anderson, who entered Thursday with a pristine 0.69 ERA in four starts (all wins), threw six more shutout innings against the Angels and then was charged with five runs in the seventh. Anderson left the game having allowed two runs, but all three inherited base runners came in. Ultimately, Anderson wasn't bad. Rely on him in his next outing at Detroit.
Those looking for available relief help should check out Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Jake McGee. He fanned all three Orioles he faced Thursday, and hasn't permitted a base runner in his past six outings, striking out 16 of the past 27 hitters. He won't get saves, but McGee last allowed a run in July, and he can help owners facing a starts limit.
Have a great weekend!