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- SP Shelby Miller left last night’s game with elbow tightness, a bad sign for a guy who just came back from Tommy John surgery. That, after he allowed four hits, two walks, and five earned runs in one inning of work. We wouldn’t be surprised if this was the end of the line for Miller as a major league pitcher.
- SP Mike Foltynewicz shut out the Blue Jays on one hit and two walks for the first six innings of last night’s game, but in the seventh his entire night came undone, as he allowed two home runs and three singles, which led to five earned runs being charged to him for the night. That’s consecutive starts with five earned runs allowed for Folty, and his ERA is at 2.66, the highest it has been since May 21.
- SP Andrew Cashner was placed on the disabled list with a neck issue that has bothered him before. SP/RP Yefry Ramirez will take at least two turns in the rotation before Cashner is ready to return.
Boston Red Sox
- RP Craig Kimbrel struck out four of the five batters he faced, walking the other, to earn his 28th save of the season yesterday. Kimbrel hasn’t allowed an earned run since June 12 and is on pace for another triple-digit strikeout season.
- INF/OF Eduardo Nunez went 2-for-4 yesterday and has multi-hit games in four of his last six starts.
- 3B Kris Bryant was activated off the disabled list yesterday for his first game since June 22, and he hit his first home run since June 15, also adding two walks in seven plate appearances.
- OF Jason Heyward went 3-for-6 with a solo home run, two singles, a walk, and two runs scored in yesterday’s game.
Chicago White Sox
- SP Carlos Rodon dominated the Cardinals for 7 1/3 innings last night to earn his second win of the season. Rodon only allowed a double, two singles, and two walks, striking out seven. His changeup was key – he threw the pitch 23.1 percent of the time, which is a season high in seven starts, and it generated ground ball outs all seven times the Cardinals were able to put it in play. It’ll be interesting to see how Rodon uses this pitch over the final dozen or so starts he’s likely to make.
- SP Tyler Mahle was due for a bad start, and while he wasn’t helped out much by his defense, the Indians took advantage of some mistake pitches and knocked Mahle out after 2 1/3 innings where he allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks. Mahle had allowed two runs or less in six of his previous seven starts. We still believe in him and expect he’ll be slotted in to start the first game after the Reds return from the All-Star Break next Friday.
- OF Tyler Naquin went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, three RBI, and two runs scored in yesterday’s 19-4 Cleveland win over the Reds. Naquin has six hits in the last three games and looks set for regular playing time with OF Lonnie Chisenhall’s injury being diagnosed earlier this week as one that will keep him out until late September.
- 2B Jason Kipnis went 2-for-3 with a home run, two walks, two RBI, and two runs scored. Kipnis has five home runs and an OPS close to .900 over the last month, with an even 15-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
- FB Now favorite SP German Marquez took a nice step forward last night with arguably his best home outing of the season, striking out eight Arizona batters over six innings for his third win in a row to even his season long record at 8-8. He allowed five hits, two walks, and two earned runs; with improved command and an already dominant skills profile in his road starts, Marquez should be a valuable asset for all formats in the second half, whether it is as a matchup-streaming option in shallowed mixed leagues or an every-start guy in deep mixed and NL-only leagues.
- RP Shane Greene will be activated from the disabled list on Friday after missing the minimum 10 days with a right shoulder strain.
- One day after another late-inning blowup in a season full of them, RP Ken Giles was demoted to Triple-A Fresno. Giles should be dropped in all formats, including AL-only leagues; even if he makes it back to the majors this year, he won’t be getting save chances unless there are multiple injuries in front of him.
Kansas City Royals
- C Sal Perez got a break from playing defense yesterday, and perhaps not coincidentally he hit his first home run in over a month and had just his third multi-hit game since June 5th. Perez also added a single and three RBI.
Los Angeles Angels
- The news was bad, albeit not unexpected, for SP Garrett Richards, as he was diagnosed yesterday with a damaged UCL in his right elbow. A decision hasn’t been made, but if this ends in anything other than a Tommy John surgery that keeps Richards out until Opening Day 2020, we’d be shocked. He can be dropped in all formats.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- SP Kenta Maeda struck out nine batters over 5 2/3 innings last night for his sixth win of the year, getting an impressive 17 called and 16 swinging strikes on 92 pitches. He allowed only four hits, a walk, and one earned run.
- 3B/OF Brian Anderson went 2-for-4 with a triple, two walks, and a run scored yesterday. Anderson continues to show strong strides in his plate discipline – after striking out 47 times and walking 20 times in the first two months of the season, since June 1st he’s improved that ratio significantly by striking out 24 times and balancing it with 15 walks. He remains a popular sleeper for us the rest of the way this season.
- SP Freddy Peralta couldn’t overcome early command issues last night, only making it 3 2/3 innings on 93 pitches. He allowed three hits, three walks, and three earned runs, striking out four. Peralta’s four-seam fastball continues to be used 70 percent or more in most starts, but the difference that hurt him here was the ineffectiveness of his curveball, which he only got strikes on 9 out of 24 pitches. His second half success will hinge on that pitch being effective.
- 2B Brian Dozier went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI yesterday, continuing his slow burn toward what looks like another monster second half.
- 1B Logan Morrison hit his second home run in five games yesterday. He’s shown some signs of life in those five games, also having a double and two singles, plus four runs scored, in that span, though he has struck out seven times without walking. Morrison is a desperate power play in AL-only leagues.
New York Mets
- OF Brandon Nimmo got the night off last night so OF Michael Conforto could go hitless again, but with a pinch-hit opportunity in the 10th, Nimmo took advantage, hitting a three-run home run to win the game. Nimmo hasn’t hit yet much in July, but after posting a 39-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in June, the 13-to-7 ratio he’s posted so far in July is a sign that he’s making positive adjustments at the plate and should continue his season-long breakout after the All-Star Break.
New York Yankees
- 1B Greg Bird is finding his elite-level power stroke now with consecutive games hitting a home run and driving in four. Bird also has hits in five straight games and eight of his last 10 starts. If someone gave up on him after his rough June, we’d add him immediately, as he should be owned in all leagues.
- SP Sonny Gray probably saved his rotation spot last night, at least temporarily, by throwing six shutout innings against the Orioles for his sixth win of the year. Gray only allowed two doubles, a single, and a walk, striking out eight.
- So that pre-Break home run barrage we predicted from OF Khris Davis hasn’t come true yet, but he continues to mash otherwise with a 2-for-5 day at the plate yesterday that included a double, his first triple of the season, three RBI, and a run scored.
- SP Vince Velasquez returned to the rotation last night after missing just one turn in the rotation after being hit by a line drive on the arm. He shut out the Mets for six innings to take a no decision, limiting them to two singles, a walk, and striking out three. Other than a 10-run blowup on June 8 and a four-run outing on June 19, Velasquez has allowed two runs or less in seven of his last nine “full” starts (removing the game where he got hurt on June 30).
- SP Trevor Williams worked through some command issues to shutout the Nationals over five innings for his seventh win of the year. He allowed four hits and three walks, striking out three.
San Diego Padres
- 3B Christian Villanueva hit his 18th home run of the season yesterday. It’s been a bit of all-or-nothing for him at the plate recently – he has six hits in 30 July at-bats and two of them have been home runs, while he’s also struck out 11 times without walking.
San Francisco Giants
- SP Dereck Rodriguez worked three perfect innings in relief yesterday for his fourth win of the year. Rodriguez struck out three and walked two, but did not allow a hit – this outing will probably eliminate him from starting a game this weekend against the A’s in the final series before the All-Star Break.
- SP James Paxton will move up a day in the rotation to start tonight against the Angels, rather than tomorrow against the Rockies.
- SP Marco Gonzales closed out an incredibly impressive breakout first half with seven shutout innings against the Angels yesterday for his 10th win of the year. He allowed just two singles and no walks, striking out four.
St. Louis Cardinals
- SP Luke Weaver is on a bit of a roll heading in to the Break, striking out seven last night for the second consecutive start. He took the hard luck loss going six innings and allowing only three hits, two walks, and one run. Weaver posted a 17.4 percent swinging strike rate, his highest of the season, and he’s generated more than 12 percent swinging strikes in his four of his last six starts. For us, he falls in to the high-risk, high-reward category for the second half – if you’re in a roto league where you need to make ground quickly, Weaver is a smart option to consider.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Despite a recent hot run that has put them on the fringes of contention, the Rays demoted SS Willy Adames to Triple-A yesterday after giving him about a month of starts in his major league debut. Adames was struggling at the plate, striking out more than 35 percent of the time, but we think this is temporary until the Rays find a taker for veteran SS Adeiny Hechavarria on the trade market, which they should closer to the trade deadline on July 31.
- 1B C.J. Cron went 3-for-4 yesterday with a three-run home run and a double. Cron was brutal in June, but so far in July he’s got six doubles, two homers, eight RBI, and 13 hits in 28 at-bats.
- Struggling SS Elvis Andrus went 3-for-5 with a run scored yesterday, but more importantly he stole his first base of the year in his 33rd game of the year. Andrus has stolen at least 20 bases in every season he’s played, and while it likely won’t happen this year, there’s a possibility he can get close to 15 in Texas’ final 68 games of the year.
Toronto Blue Jays
- 1B Justin Smoak hit a home run for the second consecutive game and fifth time in 11 games last night. After bottoming out with a season-low .409 slugging percentage on June 23, Smoak has hit the ball very well, and is back up to a .467 slug and, for the month of July, is hitting .308 with a 1.054 OPS.
- SP Gio Gonzalez had a slight bounce back in yesterday afternoon’s road outing against the Pirates, allowing only two runs on six hits and a walk in six innings. The runs both came on a two-run homer by Pirates OF Starling Marte, which is nothing to be ashamed of considering how well Marte has hit recently. Gonzalez struck out four and had 20 combined swinging/called strikes in 89 pitches, so hopefully this gives him something positive to lean on coming out of the All-Star Break, as he’ll likely get a turn next weekend in the first series out of the gate.