NOTE: Fantasy Baseball Now will be taking a break from the regular format during the four-day All-Star Break, so no 30-team coverage next Tuesday (7/17) through Friday (7/20), but we will have a post each day on a trend, theme, or player to help you with your second half.
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- SP Robbie Ray posted a solid start yesterday considering the circumstances – at Coors Field, coming off two bad home outings against the Padres and Cardinals – striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings and allowing five hits, three walks, and two earned runs. Ray’s command was spotty again, but his four-seam fastball was relatively effective, as the Rockies only hit it for four singles and Ray getting 27 strikes on it out of 58 times thrown. Ray should be one of the Snakes’ starters going in the first series after the Break next weekend when they host the Rockies.
- SP/RP Luiz Gohara was back optioned to Triple-A yesterday, and he could be getting set for some starts in the Atlanta rotation immediately after the All-Star Break with SPs Brandon McCarthy and Max Fried not expected back in the immediate future, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- SP Kevin Gausman allowed a season-high 12 hits last night against the Phillies; combined with one walk, a wild pitch, and a hit by pitch, the result was five earned runs allowed in five innings. Gausman is hanging around in the strike zone too much, as he’s allowed the second-most hits among American League starters at 127, trailing just Kansas City punching bag SP Jason Hammel.
Boston Red Sox
- 3B Rafael Devers was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. The injury isn’t expected to cost him more than the minimum 10 days.
- If you’re the type of fantasy player that worries about your hitters getting their swings screwed up in the Home Run Derby, know that OF Kyle Schwarber and 2B/SS/3B Javier Baez are both going to be participating in Monday’s Derby.
Chicago White Sox
- RP Nate Jones is nearing a minor league rehab assignment after throwing a batting practice session on Wednesday. An early August return could be realistic, and with current closer RP Joakim Soria likely to be traded in the next two weeks, Jones could be a smart stash in deep mixed and AL-only leagues if you need saves.
- SP Homer Bailey is still in Triple-A rehabbing from a knee injury, but the team announced Wednesday that he will make two more starts there before returning to the big leagues as a starter. The news is a little surprising, considering how bad he’s been this season and how there had been talk of moving him to the bullpen, but odds are high that a rotation spot will be open before the end of the month anyway with SP Matt Harvey likely to be traded as he approaches free agency this winter.
- SP Corey Kluber looked pretty bad last night for his standards, with a cutter that he couldn’t get away from the fat part of the strike zone and a sinker that hung up a few too many times. The result was eight hits and two walks allowed over 7 1/3 innings, leading to six earned runs. He did strike out nine, though.
- SS Trevor Story went 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run yesterday, and he’s hitting a high point heading in to the All-Star Break, with multi-hit games in 10 of his last 14 starts. In 36 games since the start of June, Story is hitting over .350 with seven homers, 24 RBI, and 20 runs scored.
- SP Matt Boyd was announced as the Tigers’ first starter out of the game for next weekend’s three-game home series against the Red Sox. He’ll face off with SP David Price, who the Tigers traded to Toronto to get Boyd (among others) in 2015.
- RP Chris Devenski had his worst outing of the season yesterday, allowing a double and three singles in 1/3 of an inning. Three of the four runners that got on ended up scoring, giving Devenski his third blown save and second loss of the year. He’s hit sort of a rough patch this month – in five appearances, Devenski has only gone three innings and has allowed seven hits, two walks, five earned runs, with only two strikeouts. His ERA has risen from 1.34 to 2.45 in that time.
Kansas City Royals
- SP Ian Kennedy is back on the 10-day disabled list and may end up being shut down for the season after a recurrence of the injury to his left oblique that caused him to miss a start earlier this month.
Los Angeles Angels
- SP Tyler Skaggs returned to the rotation last night after missing one turn in the rotation with a right adductor strain. He pitched very well over six innings, allowing only an earned run on five hits and a walk, with five strikeouts.
- SP Garrett Richards opted yesterday to undergo Tommy John surgery. We’ll see him again in 2020, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see him in a Tampa Bay Rays uniform, considering their success with SP Nathan Eovaldi, who, like Richards, had Tommy John late in his contact year and ended up taking a two-year deal with Tampa Bay for last year and this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- SP Ross Stripling closed out his All-Star-worthy first half with six shutout innings at the Padres for his eighth win of the year, allowing just six hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He heads in to the break with an 8-2 record and 2.08 ERA.
- Both OF Lewis Brinson and SP Sandy Alcantara are likely to return from their respective disabled list stints coming out of the All-Star Break. For Alcantara, the question is whether he’ll be slotted in to the rotation or bullpen. Brinson should go back to his semi-regular role in center field.
- SP Wade Miley was activated before yesterday’s game for his first start since May 8, missing those two-plus months with a right oblique strain. He went 95 pitches and five innings, allowing four hits, five walks, and two earned runs. Miley did have some semblance of dominance working, as he picked up 14 swinging strikes and five strikeouts on the night. If he can hold a rotation spot moving forward, he’s a deep-league streamer and NL-only option.
- 1B Jesus Aguilar homered again yesterday, giving him five in the last seven days and 15 since June 1st. He’s another Home Run Derby participant for Monday…you know, if you worry about that kind of thing missing with a good hitter.
- 1B Logan Morrison was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip issue, all but torpedoing any chances the Twins had of building up his value in the last two weeks before the trade deadline.
- SP Kyle Gibson dominated the Rays for eight innings last night, allowing only five hits and one run. He struck out nine without walking a batter.
New York Mets
- OF Matt Den Dekker was called up and started in center field, meaning that for just the second time this season, OFs Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto started in the outfield corners together. It’ll be interesting to see what defensively alignment the Mets go with moving forward with OF Yoenis Cespedes nearing a return, especially with news that Cespedes is willingly taking reps at first base in his rehab process.
New York Yankees
- OF Brett Gardner went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run off Cleveland ace SP Corey Kluber. Gardner has gone 11-for-34 in his last eight games, and for the month of July he’s struck out just five times in 49 at-bats. We could see Gardner having a huge second half if he stays health.
- SP Trevor Cahill returned from the disabled list yesterday for his first start since June 2 after suffering a right Achilles injury. He lasted 83 pitches and went 3 2/3 innings for a no decision, giving up three earned runs on three hits and three walks, striking out three. Cahill’s velocity was fine, he just looked a little rusty in terms of command, but we like him as a solid option in all mixed league formats going forward.
- After his second bad start in a row last Friday, we encouraged patience with SP Nick Pivetta, as there were no signs to be worried about him going a total of 4 1/3 innings over two starts and allowing 16 baserunners and eight earned runs. That patience was rewarded last night, to an extent – Pivetta cruised through the first five innings, shutting out the Orioles, but allowed three earned runs in the final 1 2/3 innings he pitched. Still, it was a good night overall to get Pivetta back on track, as he struck out seven and walked just one for his sixth win of the year.
- OF Austin Meadows was not in the starting lineup again for the sixth time in the Pirates’ last seven games. OF Jordan Luplow, who was recalled last make, made his second consecutive start. Meadows could be demoted if he doesn’t snap out of his funk, which has seen him post a .585 OPS over the last 23 games.
San Diego Padres
- 1B Eric Hosmer went 0-for-4 last night and is hitting just .088 (4-for-45) in July.
- 1B/OF Wil Myers had another solid night, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.
San Francisco Giants
- Missed this earlier in the week, but the Giants updated 2B Joe Panik’s timeline to return from a groin strain, expecting him only to miss three weeks with an early August return likely.
- With the M’s headed to Colorado this weekend, manager Scott Servais confirmed that DH Nelson Cruz will not start any of the three games due to fear of injury risk. Rightly so. Cruz should pinch-hit in all three games, but if you’re in a daily league, we’d probably bench him.
- SP James Paxton made it just 17 pitches last night before being removed due to lower back stiffness. He’ll likely need to avoid pitching in the All-Star Game now as he can take seven days to rest before a potential next start to open the second half of Friday..
St. Louis Cardinals
- RP Luke Gregerson will rejoin the bullpen today after missing nearly two months with a shoulder impingement, a knee issue that required arthroscopic surgery, and elbow soreness.
Tampa Bay Rays
- 1B Ji-Man Choi started at designated hitter and hit fifth last night, as the Rays may be giving him a shot to start every day against right-handed pitching since they lack a left-handed power hitter. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Worth monitoring the status of OF Delino DeShields for today’s lineup after he left Wednesday’s game early when he landed awkwardly on a fall trying to avoid a collision in the outfield. Initial word was that he expects to be ready for the opener of a three-game set against Baltimore.
Toronto Blue Jays
- SP J.A. Happ was hurt by defense and what looks to be stuff that is just a tick worse in every start. He allowed five runs in 3 2/3 yesterday, but none were earned after 2B Devon Travis botched a potential double play ball that would’ve gotten Happ out of the fourth inning. The Red Sox then went on to score five runs in that frame, knocking Happ out after a grand slam by OF Mookie Betts. Happ finished with six strikeouts and only one walk; at this point, the best thing for his value will probably be a change of scenery, and we expect that to happen before July 31.
- 1B Ryan Zimmerman should be back in the majors next Friday, according to manager Dave Martinez, with a rehab assignment starting on Monday. All this move will do is downgrade the values of 1B/OF Matt Adams, 1B Mark Reynolds, and perhaps even 2B Daniel Murphy and 2B Wilmer Difo, as Murphy will lose first base starts and will likely play exclusively at second base, pushing Difo to a full-time bench role.