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Wednesday's Wheelhouse Jaunt
Written by Shawn Lindsey

Things have been looking a little bleak here at the FBA Arena. It’s time that someone steps up to the plate to try and bring a little life, noise and vigor to these quiet arbitration halls. You see, I think I know where everything has gone wrong here. Once cases started being heard by the Supreme Court judges over at Sporting News the action in the FBA Arena has calmed down. Apparently no one wants to become a distraction to the important fantasy litigation that is taking place because we all know the squeaky wheel is the first to go. But I am here to inform you all that Wednesday’s Wheelhouse Jaunt is going to become a weekly FBA Arena fixture! And with a little luck and some help from Billy Mays it could very well become a household name.

Ah, I can see it now…

Hi, Billy Mays here for the Wheelhouse Jaunt, an FBA arena fixture that fills in your weekly fantasy picture…

Enough daydreaming, let’s get down to business.

Joe Mauer is seemingly a different hitter after returning to the lineup for the Twins from a DL stint. The past 4 seasons Mauer averaged one homerun every 47 trips to the dish. He has transformed into a power machine with 8 dingers in only 81 at-bats. For those of you who weren’t math majors that’s a home run every 10 trips to the dish. And that puts him on pace to hit 54 homeruns this season which is 6 more than his career total before the 2009 season.

He’s on a power binge now but when he starts to purge is anyone’s guess.
Mauer attributes the increase in power to becoming more aware of how pitchers attack him at the plate and knowing which pitches to swing hard at. But some rumors have been circulating around baseball circles that he has started a Triscuitt Messmer training regimen; that’s chili dogs before the game for those of you who are not familiar with Messmer, a cornerstone in the 1994 California Angles lineup.
Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers is another player who has been playing well lately. Senor Cruz is 10 for his last 22 with 4 big-flies and 9 RBI. He has a history of being a streaky hitter but rounds out a fantasy outfield nicely with his power threat. Cruz also registered stolen base number 9 on the season yesterday against the Yankees after only stealing 6 bags in a season-plus of games played in his career.

Alexei Ramirez of White Sox is a guy who had early season struggles and is hopefully finding his way out of the funk. Although is average is still a dismal .247 he is 9 for his last 22 with 2 homers and 6 RBI and it seems like he is going to be seeing consistent playing time. “We got Podsedink, and Ramirez up there, they can run a little bit and make some stuff happen.   Hopefully Alexei will be getting better pitches to hit, just because Podsednik, when he gets on base, Dye and Thome and all those guys behind him, they're going to have to come at Alexei. I don't think they're going to mess around with him. It's good for him in that spot,” says White Sox coach Joey Cora.

Bonus Information:

•    Brett Gardner came in for the injured Melky Cabrera in the first inning last night and went 3-5. “I hit the wall with my forearm and then my shoulder went waaaaaaaay back,” Cabrera tried to imitate Chris Berman which made the injury seem worse than it was. Keep an eye on this situation as Gardner could see some at-bats over the next few days.
•    Zack Greinke continues to pitch like a Cy Young winner. He is now tied with Roy Halladay for the most wins at 8. 81 strikeouts and a sub one ERA at 0.84 has Greinke flirting with a triple crown.
•    Injuries to Akinori Iwamura and Jason Bartlett add salt to the Rays wounds and an awful bullpen with Troy Percival contemplating retirement. I’d bet he returns to pitch but won’t lead the team in saves at the seasons end.
•    David Hernandez and Matt Wieters answer the call for Baltimore.
•    Jim Thome is 1 homerun shy of 550 for his career.
•    Jacoby Ellsbury is now the most over-rated player on the Red Sox thanks to David Ortiz’s struggles.
•    The Toronto Blue Jays are falling fast in the A.L. East and things shouldn’t get much better with the Red Sox coming to town this week.
•    The Toronto Blue Jays are still my A.L. Wild Card Winner.
•    Maybe next week I’ll talk about the N.L.