Daily Intel – 6/2/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • 3B Daniel Descalso led off last night and continued his five-game hitting streak, delivering a two-run home run and a walk.
  • We said after his last start that SP Clay Buchholz was a great under-the-radar streaming option for this week with a home start against Miami. That played out last night with Buchholz striking out nine over seven one-run innings, allowing only six hits and walking one. Buchholz’s velocity readings are good and Arizona is an incredibly pitcher-friendly park this season, meaning he should be in consideration if you need a starter in a deep mixed league.

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Mike Foltynewicz was tremendous last night, limiting the Nationals to two hits and a walk in a complete game shutout. He struck out 11. He’s allowed two runs in his last five starts, a run of 32 innings, and he’s only allowed more than two runs in one of his 12 starts this season.

Baltimore Orioles

  • 3B Jace Peterson led off for the second consecutive game after hitting in the bottom of the order for most of the last several weeks. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and moving 1B/OF Trey Mancini from leadoff down to the bottom third of the order hasn’t done much to help him.

Boston Red Sox

  • After sitting him for five games and insisting he wouldn’t hit the disabled list, OF Mookie Betts was placed on the DL yesterday with a left abdominal strain. This should only be a minimum stay, meaning he should be back next weekend, though Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald noted that most players who had an abdominal strain last year took between two and six weeks to return.

Chicago Cubs

  • OF Kyle Schwarber didn’t start last night, but he did pinch-hit in the seventh inning and produced a big night, first with a sac fly and then with a three-run home run. Schwarber has four homers and 10 RBI in his last 10 games, and despite only being on pace for 465 at-bats, he’s also tracking to hit 33 homers with 84 runs and 84 RBI.

Chicago White Sox

  • 2B/3B Yolmer Sanchez went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored yesterday, extending his five-game hit streak. He’s got two triples and a home run in that stretch.

Cincinnati Reds

  • RP Michael Lorenzen went four innings last night to get his first save of the season, and he’s been pretty good in his five appearances since returning from a shoulder injury on May 23 – seven innings, five hits, two runs, three walks, six strikeouts. We’ll see if last night’s boost in innings is a precursor to a potential shift in to the rotation later this season.

Cleveland Indians

  • OF Bradley Zimmer did come off the disabled list yesterday, but perhaps our thought in yesterday’s Intel that he’d take OF Greg Allen’s playing time was premature. Allen went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple yesterday, extending his seven-game hitting streak.
  • SP Carlos Carrasco now has an ERA of 6.37 over the last month-plus, a seven-start stretch, after allowing six runs on 3 2/3 innings last night against the Twins. He also gave up seven hits and three walks while striking out two. He has allowed nine runs with two outs in his last two starts, and the curveball remains an issue, as the Twins put it in play four times yesterday, with three going for extra bases and the fourth one being a single.

Colorado Rockies 

  • OF David Dahl will miss 6-to-8 weeks with a broken right foot. This eliminates the imminent playing time threats to OFs Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra. Gonzalez has taken advantage of this homestand – after last night’s 2-for-5 effort that included a triple and two RBI, he now has 11 hits in his last five games over 22 at-bats.

Detroit Tigers

  • SP Blaine Hardy has now been solid in all four of his starts and very good  in his last two – he went six innings last night and held Toronto to two runs on three hits and four walks, striking out three. Hardy’s fastball doesn’t top 88 mph, so the strikeouts aren’t going to be there for him, but he could be a smart AL-only play with some staying power in easy matchups because of his four-pitch repertoire.
  • 1B Miguel Cabrera was back off the DL last night, hitting third and playing first – he hit a couple of balls hard, including his lone hit (a single). He also walked.

Houston Astros

  • 1B Yuli Gurriel went 2-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored, and a walk last night. He has hits in eight straight starts (he sat out a game Thursday against Boston) but still has only two extra-base hits in his last 16 games. With a decline in hard contact rate and fly ball rate (but a minor boost in line drive rate), we’re not seeing a lot of positive signs that this lack of power is going to reverse anytime soon.

Kansas City Royals

  • The Royals lost 16-0 last night, but there was one bright spot offensively – 2B/OF Whit Merrifield continued his seven-game hitting streak with a 3-for-3 night that included a double. His batting average on the season is now up to .296.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SS/3B Zack Cozart will undergo an MRI this weekend on his strained left forearm, which has kept him out of the lineup the last three games.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Clayton Kershaw is dealing with a lower back strain, but there’s no structural damage. He was placed on the disabled list Friday and will miss at least a month.
  • OF Matt Kemp homered in the first inning of yesterday’s game, and he now has three homers in his last six starts.
  • OF Yasiel Puig hit eighth last night but still managed to put up four hits, including a home run, to go with two RBI and three runs scored.

Miami Marlins

  • If you own RP Brad Ziegler and weren’t sure about whether he’d be out of the closer role long – he worked the eighth inning of an 8-1 blowout loss last night. He gave up a home run. You can drop him now.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • SS Orlando Arcia started last night for the first time since being called back up due to SS Tyler Saladino’s injury. Arcia hit ninth and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Minnesota Twins

  • SS Eduardo Escobar hit a three-run home run and a solo home run last night – he’s got three home runs in his last two games after going 19 games in May without one. He’s also got eight hits in his last seven games and nine RBI in that time. Escobar is on pace for 31 homers, 89 runs, and 92 RBI, and while we think he pulls back 15 to 20 percent on most of those numbers, he’s still a solid top-15 option at shortstop.

New York Mets

  • Stop us if you’ve heard this five or six times in the last two weeks – OF Brandon Nimmo had another good night, hitting a two-run homer and adding a single, though he was caught stealing.
  • OF Jay Bruce was forced to leave yesterday’s game in the fifth inning due to lower back discomfort.

New York Yankees

  • SP Sonny Gray is still struggling to find the command that defined his best work in Oakland, but last night’s start was a good step forward. He limited the Orioles to four hits and a run over six innings, striking out six while walking none. Gray only threw first-pitch strikes to 10 of 22 hitters, which is going to continue to be a problem against better lineups.

Oakland A’s

  • 1B Matt Olson went 3-for-4 with two home runs, five RBI, and three runs scored last night. His recent hot streak – four homers in seven games – has him on track for close to the power numbers expected of him this year (31 homers/73 RBI).
  • SP Frankie Montas threw his two-seam fastball 74 times out of 99 pitches last night, and with the pitch averaging 96 mph and topping out at 98-99 mph, we don’t blame him. Montas has now posted two dominant starts since his call-up, as he shutout the Royals for eight innings last night, allowing seven hits, no walks, and striking out two. He gets the Royals again at home next weekend and is a great one-start streaming option in all formats.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Phillies’ defense was brutal last night, but SP Nick Pivetta still only lasted four innings and 91 pitches, a second-consecutive short outing after back-to-back seven inning performances. Pivetta allowed five hits and three walks, which led to three earned runs. He struck out three.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Jameson Taillon has pitched well in his last two outings after a six-run dud against the Reds on May 22. He shutout the Cardinals for eight innings last night, limiting them to three hits and a walk, striking out six. He generated a season-high 16 ground ball outs – for a guy that throws a lot of two-seam fastballs, that’s key, but it was also impressive last night that all five of the sliders the Cardinals put in play went for ground ball outs as well. Taillon will face the Dodgers at home next Thursday afternoon, followed by a trip to pitcher-friendly Arizona the following Tuesday.

San Diego Padres

  • OF Hunter Renfroe has six hits and two walks in the 14 plate appearances he’s made since coming off the disabled list on Monday. With 1B/OF Wil Myers likely out until July, Renfroe should be getting 16-18 plate appearances a week.

San Francisco Giants

  • 2B Joe Panik led off in his return from the disabled list and hit two singles in three at-bats, also walking twice, driving in a run, and scoring a run.
  • 1B Brandon Belt left in the second inning of last night’s game and was taken to the hospital for evaluation of possible appendicitis. If that’s the case, it is a 3-to-6 week injury for most players.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP Mike Leake limited the Rays to two runs, both on solo homers, over seven innings, striking out a career-high eight. He didn’t walk a batter for the fourth straight start, a span of 27 innings, and he’s also posted a quality start in four of his last five outings. Leake has increased his changeup use this season and it has been his best pitch per FanGraphs pitch value, and it seems to be offsetting the continued loss of velocity in his most-frequent pitch, the sinker.
  • OF Mitch Haniger only hit one home run in May, but he matched that number for June in one night with a walk-off solo homer in the 13th inning. He also walked three times.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Both C Yadier Molina and SP Carlos Martinez are likely to be activated Tuesday from their respective DL stints.
  • OF Harrison Bader’s recent hot streak actually sent struggling star OF Tommy Pham to the bench yesterday. Pham hit .195 in May after posting a .358 average in April.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • OF Johnny Field continues to quietly produce solid fantasy value as an everyday corner outfielder – he went 2-for-4 last night with a solo home run and a stolen base, his sixth and third of those categories, respectively.

Texas Rangers

  • OF Delino DeShields is hitless in his last 15 at-bats, though he has walked four times in that stretch. DeShields’ average is now at .210 after an 0-for-4 game last night, but we’re not worried, as his contact rate is above 81 percent (a nice boost from last year), he’s hitting more line drives than last season, and he’s swinging and missing less. Keep playing DeShields if you own him, and target him in trades if you can.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 3B Josh Donaldson wasn’t progressing in his recovery from the left calf injury he suffered Monday, so the Blue Jays put him back on the disabled list for the second time this year. SS/3B Yangervis Solarte got the start at third base yesterday with SS Aledmys Diaz returning from the DL and playing short, but with the Super Two deadline set to pass this week, 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could get a look if Donaldson is out for an extended period.

Washington Nationals

  • OF Brian Goodwin was activated from the disabled list yesterday, starting in center field and hitting sixth. He went 0-for-3 and was picked off first after reaching on a fielder’s choice.
  • The target date for 2B Daniel Murphy’s return is Tuesday.

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