Joe Musgrove (R), rostered in 37 percent of ESPN leagues, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Since returning from the disabled list, Musgrove owns a 3.68 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over five starts, showing pinpoint control (1.8 BB/9) and whiffing nearly a batter per inning (8.9 K/9). What’s most encouraging, however, is that his velocity (93.2 mph) is actually up slightly from 2017 (92.9 mph), which is no small thing considering he missed the first two months of the season as he recovered from a shoulder injury. On Saturday, Musgrove draws a Diamondbacks club that’s one of the worst in baseball against right-handed pitching, sporting an 80 wRC+ that ranks 29th in MLB and a 25.3 percent strikeout rate that ranks 28th.
Andrew Suarez (L), 5 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres: While Suarez’s 4.70 ERA in 11 starts is an eyesore, the underlying numbers suggest he deserves some attention. The lefty’s 3.58 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, and 63.7 LOB% tell us he’s had some bad fortune, while his 4.8 K/BB ratio ranks top-10 in the National League (minimum 50 IP). Plus, the results have begun to improve in June, with a 3.18 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over four starts. Suarez is a good bet to continue trending in the right direction on Saturday against the Padres, who struggle against left-handed pitching (91 wRC+, 25.1 K%).
Wilmer Font will serve as the Rays’ opener on Saturday in another bullpen game. The right-hander has fared well his past couple of times out, tossing eight innings of one-run ball across two appearances. Against the Yankees, however, there’s no reason to roll the dice here.
Before going any further with this, a quick shout-out to Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Jerry Kramer and Bobby Beathard. Here’s to the notion that the absence of T.O. won’t detract one bit from the ultimate career-capping moment for the other members of the Class of 2018.
The show will go on. The Hall is bigger than any one person. And there are thousands of former players — like Everson Walls, Karl Mecklenburg and Joe Jacoby, well-credentialed finalists who didn’t get in last year — who have their own place in football history and would be honored to give an induction speech.
Yet if Owens, elected in his third year of eligibility, is sending a payback message because of his delayed entry, he’s got that ass-backward. Instead, this comes off as so selfish.