Masters overshadows well pitched outings

Aaron Harang tossed a three-hit shutout against the Pirates on Sunday.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While most of my day was spent watching the 2009 Masters and all the story lines which took place on the Sunday afternoon at Augusta, I missed what turned out to be a very good day for some fantasy pitchers.

It appears that yesterday was the "Day of the Three Hitter."

At least four pitchers, all of whom were likely starters on someone's fantasy team, posted great days on the mound.

While I was watching Tiger Woods and Phil Michelson make a run up the leaderboard, Cincinnati's Aaron Harang was throwing a three-hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Meanwhile, Kyle Lohse was three-hitting the Houston Astros in Busch Stadium. And Josh Johnson was out-dueling the New York Mets in a battle against ace Johan Santana, who put up a three-hit, 13-strikeout effort. Obviously, Santana isn't available, except in a very expensive trade, but Johnson could be an exciting prospect.

As Michelson and Woods fell by the wayside and Angel Cabrera was battling his way into a three-way playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell, Erik Bedard was three-hitting the sad Oakland A's offense. Interestingly, Oakland's pitcher, Trevor Cahill, gave up just two hits over seven innings in defeat.

So let's look at the four pitchers, Harang, Lohse, Johnson and Bedard.

Harang had a horrible year in 2008, going 6-17 with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. That was in sharp contrast to his 2007 season when he was 16-6 with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. So the question is, which pitcher is he this year?

Hard to tell so far, with a bad outing in his debut against the Mets (5.0 innings, yielding seven hits and three walks, and then yesterday's gem. Harang is owned in about 80% of all fantasy leagues.

Lohse is the opposite of Harang. He had a good 2008 after seven "journeyman-type" seasons. Last year, Lohse was 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. His WHIP is a bit high and just 119 strikeouts in 200 innings makes him less desirable, which also explains his 41% ownership level.

Josh Johnson might be the most interesting pitcher in this group of four. He has been hurt for most of the last three seasons, although he went 7-1 in 14 starts last year. But he is capable of being a low-ERA guy and so far this year has 15 strikeouts against just one walk. He's owned in about 87% of the fantasy leagues and if available in yours, I'd jump on the chance to get him.

The final three-hitter of the day, Bedard's, is one which doesn't impress me enough to pick him up. It was against the A's, which might have the weakest offense in the major leagues. Bedard was very good in 2007 with Baltimore, got the big money from Seattle and fell flat on his face in 2008 going 6-4 in 15 starts with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. But so far in 2009 he is putting up a lot of strikeouts, seven in his debut and eight yesterday. If his past record were a little better, just one season with a sub-1.30 WHIP, I might be willing to take a shot at him. As it is, I'll wait to see his next start before making a decision. He's owned in 80% of all leagues, but is available in one of my leagues.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.