Daily Intel – 7/30/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • OF David Peralta left Sunday’s game with tightness in his right shoulder. If you are looking for a decision on whether to start him in a weekly league today, we’d be cautious and sit him considering the lingering problems hitters can have with shoulders (see Kris Bryant).

Atlanta Braves

  • SP Sean Newcomb no-hit the Dodgers for 8 2/3 innings and two strikes yesterday before allowing a line drive single to Dodgers 2B/SS/OF Chris Taylor. Newcomb threw 134 pitches, a scary-high number for a 25-year-old who is less than 40 innings away from a career-high, so it’ll be very interesting to see how he bounces back from this outing when he faces the Mets in New York on Friday. Newcomb finished with eight strikeouts and was tagged with an earned run, which was allowed by RP Dan Winkler, who relieved Newcomb after Taylor’s hit.
  • RP Brad Brach was acquired from the Orioles, adding another reliever to the mix for saves with Winkler and RP A.J. Minter. 

Baltimore Orioles

  • SP Dylan Bundy’s home run problems continued yesterday, as he allowed three solo shots, but other than that he only allowed one single over seven innings to win his seventh game of the year. He struck out seven, but he’s now allowed 26 home runs on the season and 10 in his last six starts. Bundy gets Texas on the road next week, a dangerous outing considering that park’s propensity for home runs.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Nathan Eovaldi had a successful debut in Boston, shutting out Minnesota for seven innings and allowing only a double and three singles, striking out five. Boston and Tampa Bay have similar approaches with their fastball-heavy pitchers, so Eovaldi should remain a valuable fantasy asset down the stretch. He gets a big test next on Saturday when he faces the Yankees in Boston.

Chicago Cubs

  • 2B/OF Ben Zobrist led the Cubs’ offense last night in a 5-2 win, going 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and an RBI. He’s got 12 hits in his last seven starts.
  • RP Pedro Strop got the save and looks to be control of the closer role right now.

Chicago White Sox

  • SP Carlos Rodon was great for the fourth consecutive start yesterday, allowing only two runs on five hits and a walk over 7 2/3 innings. He started July with a 4.55 ERA, and in four starts and 28 2/3 innings he’s lowered it to 3.24, with 27 strikeouts in that period.

Cincinnati Reds

  • SP Luis Castillo posted his best outing of the season yesterday, throwing seven shutout innings against the Phillies, allowing only four singles and a walk while striking out nine. It was Castillo’s first time past 100 pitches since July 2, and just the third time he’s done that in his last 10 starts. He’s also cut down heavily on his home run rate in his last six starts – after allowing 18 homers in his first 16 starts of the year, he’s only allowed one in the last six. Unsurprisingly, he also hasn’t lost a start since June 16. Castillo is re-approaching must-start status in all leagues, and we’d use him without reservation in his next start on Sunday at Washington.

Cleveland Indians

  • OF Melky Cabrera hit his first home run since September 3 of last year as part of a 3-for-5 effort yesterday. He’s now hitting .407 with an OPS over .900 since rejoining the Indians on July 20.

Colorado Rockies 

  • 1B Ryan McMahon is back with the big club for the first time since June 20, and he went 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored yesterday as he got the start at first base.
  • SP German Marquez was great at home for the second consecutive start, striking out eight in 7 2/3 innings and allowing only two runs on five hits and a walk. Marquez started July with a home ERA close to 9, and it is now down to 6.63. He gets a tough road matchup next against Milwaukee on Friday, but he has a 3.15 ERA on the road in 60 innings this year, and we’d trust using him in most formats.

Detroit Tigers

  • Any improvements SP Jordan Zimmermann made before the All-Star Break have disappeared in the last few starts; yesterday, he had his worst outing since late April, allowing five earned runs on six hits and a walk in three innings, only striking out two.

Houston Astros

  • 1B/3B Yuli Gurriel got his first start of the season at second base yesterday. Gurriel still needs to play 10 more games at third base to retain eligibility there next year, so hopefully this second base experiment doesn’t take away his time to make that happen, because it would diminish his value if he were only eligible at first.
  • SP Lance McCullers Jr. struck out 11 in 5 1/3 innings yesterday, but he still lost his third straight start after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He’s had a rough July, posting a 6.53 ERA in 20 2/3 innings, which has raised his season-long ERA from 3.55 to 4.06. He gets the Dodgers on the road next over the weekend.

Kansas City Royals

  • 2B/SS Adalberto Mondesi was bumped to second in the order, with OF Rosell Herrera hitting leadoff and picking up his first career home run. Regular leadoff man 2B/OF Whit Merrifield hit cleanup for the first time this season and went 0-for-4.

Los Angeles Angels

  • SP Felix Peña destroyed his fantasy value in less than one inning yesterday, giving up seven earned runs on six hits and two walks to the Mariners. He only recorded one out before being pulled, and the Angels bullpen proceeded to allow only one run over the next 8 2/3 innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • 1B/3B Max Muncy went hitless again yesterday, striking out in both of his at-bats. He’s now struck out multiple times in five straight starts and has one hit in his last 23 plate appearances.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Jose Ureña shut out the Nationals for six innings yesterday, allowing a single and four walks while striking out five. He draws the Phillies on the road next and remains an NL-only option.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • 1B/OF Ryan Braun capped one of his better series in recent weeks yesterday with a two-run home run, his lone hit in four at-bats. Braun picked up 15 at-bats this week, a number that will likely be his regular total over the rest of the season, making him hard to start in anything shallower than 15-team mixed leagues.

Minnesota Twins

  • 2B Brian Dozier has now gone 10 games post-All Star Break without a home run after he went 0-for-4 yesterday.
  • 3B Miguel Sano had another hitless, multi-strikeout day, going 0-for-3 with two Ks.

New York Mets

  • RP Anthony Swarzak is looking like the only arm to own in this bullpen, as he saved his second game of the week yesterday with a perfect ninth inning that included two strikeouts.

New York Yankees

  • SP J.A. Happ won his debut with the Yankees yesterday, though he only struck out two Royals in six innings of one-run work. He allowed a solo home run, two singles, a walk, and a hit by pitch, throwing strikes on 63 of his 96 pitches.
  • OF Aaron Hicks reached base in all four of his plate appearances yesterday, going 3-for-3 with a walk, two-run home run, double, and single. He also stole a base, and on the season he is now hitting .256 with an .850 OPS. Hicks is a must-start in all formats.

Oakland A’s

  • OF Nick Martini started in center field and led off for the second consecutive game. He went 2-for-9 with a double and a run scored over those two starts. Martini could be in line for more playing time with SS/OF Chad Pinder on the disabled list; the 28-year-old was hitting .308 at Triple-A, but he’s never topped eight homers in seven full minor league seasons and his high in stolen bases is 11, so there is not much value outside of AL-only leagues. Still, hitting at the top of a lineup hitting as well as Oakland’s should create some run-scoring opportunities for Martini, who did have an on-base percentage over .400 in the minors.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • SP Zach Eflin struggled again yesterday in his second start back after dealing with blister issues. He allowed four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings on seven hits and a walk, striking out four. It was actually Eflin’s first loss since May 30, but he’s only posted two quality starts in his last seven outings and is quickly deteriorating toward a matchup play in mixed leagues. Thankfully, his next matchup is the Marlins at home over the weekend, and we’d start him there.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Joe Musgrove went seven innings yesterday against the Mets and allowed only one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out two. Musgrove has gone at least seven innings in four of his last five starts, and his ERA is now 3.63, the lowest it has been since June 11.

San Diego Padres

  • OF/1B Wil Myers went 2-for-4 with two RBI yesterday. He’s also managed to record strikeouts in 10 straight games and multiple strikeouts in 10 of his last 13 games, with only two walks over that stretch. Not surprisingly, his power surge from earlier this month has tapered off in that same period.

San Francisco Giants

  • 3B Pablo Sandoval left yesterday’s game with a right hamstring strain and OF Andrew McCutchen was pulled due to a foot contusion suffered after fouling multiple balls off himself.
  • RP Will Smith saved his fifth game of the season. He hasn’t walked a batter since June 22, a span of 11 appearances.

Seattle Mariners

  • RP Alex Colome worked a perfect eighth inning yesterday for his 18th hold of the season. He’s been perfect in July, with 11 scoreless outings and 14 strikeouts compared to just two walks.
  • 2B/OF Dee Gordon went 3-for-5 with a run scored and stole his third base in his last four games.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • OF Marcell Ozuna homered for the second consecutive game, a two-run shot that stood as his only hit in four at-bats. He’s got hits in five straight games, including three for extra bases in that span.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 1B C.J. Cron went 2-for-4 with two solo home runs yesterday. He’s got 22 homers and 53 RBI on the year; that’s a career-high in homers, and he’s also nearing his career-high in runs scored and doubles.

Texas Rangers

  • OF Delino DeShields was back up after spending just three days in Triple-A, starting in center field and batting ninth. He went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
  • SP Mike Minor struck out eight, his second-highest total of the season, yesterday in defeating the Astros for his first win of the month. He went six innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and a walk. Minor hasn’t been going very deep in games, but he’s also allowed three runs or less in eight of his last nine starts.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • SS Lourdes Gurriel suffered injuries to his left knee and ankle yesterday while sliding in to second base late in the game. There were no breaks, but he’ll have an MRI today to see how much damage was done and how much time he’ll miss. Before that, he had gone 3-for-5 with two RBI. Keep him out of your lineups in weekly leagues.

Washington Nationals

  • This team looks absolutely done as a contender, as they dropped consecutive games to the Marlins yesterday thanks to a combined two-hit shutout. SP Jeremy Hellickson didn’t help the cause, allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned) in 4/2 innings. Hellickson has only had two good starts since returning from the disabled list on June 30, and he shouldn’t be rostered in any shallowed mixed leagues.

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