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- SP Zack Godley struck out a season-high 10 in seven shutout innings at home against Texas last night, allowing only two hits and a walk. Godley finished July with 43 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings, a big uptick from his strikeout-per-inning pace in the previous three months of the year thanks in part to an improved sinker, his second-most used pitch (30.8 percent) behind the curveball (41.1 percent).
- SP Kevin Gausman was acquired from Baltimore, a surprising move considering the team’s decision to recall SP Kolby Allard for his first major league start last night. Gausman’s home run issue is not going to be alleviated at hitter-friendly SunTrust Park, and his presence likely pushes Allard back out of the rotation, at least temporarily. The Braves will likely go with a six-man rotation as they face a schedule of 31 games in 31 days, and SP Max Fried should now be the number six starter.
- OF Adam Jones went 1-for-3 last night with a walk, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Jones only homered once in July though, and it came last Friday against Tampa Bay. He’s posted slugging percentages of .380 and .416 in the last two months and has two home runs total since May 25.
Boston Red Sox
- SP Chris Sale was placed on the disabled list with “mild” left shoulder inflammation, but like with any shoulder injury for a pitch, there’s always a little bit of extra fear.
- SP Yu Darvish threw a pain-free 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday, the first major step he’s taken to return from a shoulder injury that’s basically sapped his value all season and has shelved him since late May.
- 2B/SS/3B Javier Baez went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, and three RBI last night. His batting average now sits at .300 for the first time since late April, as he finished July with a .343 batting average, 23 RBI, six homers, and 15 runs scored.
Chicago White Sox
- SP James Shields struck out eight and generated 17 swinging strikes on 104 pitches, but he was stung again by the home run ball and lost his 13th game of the season. He ended up going seven innings and allowing four earned runs on five hits, including two homers, and three walks. Shields struck out 39 batters in 37 innings in July and is a great source in that category right now, but that has to be balanced with the fact that he’s allowed 16 home runs in 74 2/3 innings since June 1.
- SP Homer Bailey is now two-for-two in shockingly good starts since coming off the disabled list after two months. He went eight innings last night at Detroit and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk, striking out six. We’re not ready to trust Bailey in shallow mixed leagues yet, but his next outing is Monday at the Mets, and we’d be fine using him there in most formats.
- Nothing is settled or predictable in this bullpen. RP Brad Hand entered in the seventh inning of last night’s game and got four outs before handing the ball to RP Cody Allen with two outs in the eighth. Allen allowed a single and a walk but did get those last four outs without allowing a run to earn his 21st save of the year. As hard as it is to do, but Allen and Hand are worth owning and starting in most formats right now if you need saves.
- OF Charlie Blackmon has hits in 13 straight games and 16 of his last 17 after going 1-for-5 last night with a home run and two RBI. He was dominant in July, with a .351 batting average, 1.052 OPS, seven home runs, 14 RBI, and 20 runs scored.
- SP Jon Gray has thrown three straight quality starts since returning from Triple-A on July 14. He went 7 1/3 innings last night at St. Louis, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks, striking out five. He closed July with a 1.66 ERA and .69 WHIP in 21 2/3 innings.
- SP Matt Boyd continued to pull out of a tailspin that spanned five starts between June and July, posting his second consecutive quality start last night and, arguably, his best outing of the season, shutting out the Reds for eight innings on four hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Boyd has allowed only three earned runs in his last 19 innings and has his ERA back to 4.22, the lowest it has been since June 24.
- OF George Springer left last night’s game with left shoulder soreness, which appeared to result from a diving catch he attempted to make in the bottom of the first inning. OF Kyle Tucker took his place and went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Kansas City Royals
- RP Wily Peralta walked two batters but ultimately held on to a two-run lead in the ninth for his sixth save of the year. He struck out one.
- 1B Ryan O’Hearn and OF Brett Phillips started and hit back-to-back in the order last night, both driving in two and hitting their first home runs as Royals.
Los Angeles Angels
- OF Kole Calhoun homered again last night, closing out a tremendous month of July in style. After going 3-for-4 with that two-run homer and three RBI, he finished the month with 10 home runs, a batting average of .322 and an OPS of 1.137. Calhoun must be owned and started in all leagues and formats right now.
- SP Tyler Skaggs had his worst start of the year last night, allowing 10 earned runs on eight hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings at Tampa Bay. Skaggs entered the game with an ERA of 2.62, good for sixth in the AL, and left with an ERA of 3.34.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2B Brian Dozier will be the team’s new everyday second baseman after coming over from the Twins. In a somewhat related move for playing time questions, 3B Justin Turner is likely to return from the disabled list this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see who this impacts the most, but we’re guessing 2B/SS/OF Kike Hernandez is the one who loses the most value, with 2B/SS/OF Chris Taylor a close second, as SS/3B Manny Machado will move back to shortstop with Turner heading back to third base.
- C J.T. Realmuto was not traded, and he celebrated that by hitting his 14th home run of the season last night. He’s been stinging the ball recently, with a seven-game hitting streak and only two strikeouts in his last 33 plate appearances. Realmuto is far-and-away the top catcher in fantasy baseball right now.
- 2B Jonathan Schoop was acquired from Baltimore yesterday, a shocking move that creates an incredible logjam in the non-shortstop portion of the Milwaukee infield, as Schoop, 3B Travis Shaw, 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B/OF Eric Thames, 1B Jesus Aguilar and 1B/OF Ryan Braun are now battling for three open spots between first, second, and third. Manager Craig Counsell said there’s a chance Schoop will get starts at shortstop, but we can’t see that lasting long if/when he starts booting balls regularly.
- 2B/SS Ehire Adrianza should be the regular second baseman the rest of the way after the team dealt 2B Brian Dozier to the Dodgers. 2B Logan Forsythe, who came over to Minnesota in the deal, will likely get occasional at-bats as well, but as an impending free agent we can’t see the Twins playing him over the younger (but still 28 years old) Adrianza, who is relevant only in AL-only leagues. He hit seventh last night and went 0-for-2.
New York Mets
- SP Steven Matz blew up his season-long ERA in less than an inning last night, allowing eight hits, a walk, and seven earned runs, only record two outs before he was pulled. He entered the game with a 3.79 ERA and left with it at 4.36.
New York Yankees
- SP J.A. Happ was sent home before yesterday’s game with hand, foot, and mouth disease. His start Saturday against the Red Sox is in jeopardy.
- OF Giancarlo Stanton hit second and OF Aaron Hicks hit cleanup last night, the second consecutive game the Yankees have used that alignment, so it looks like that’ll be the setup, at least against righties, while OF Aaron Judge is out.
- 3B Matt Chapman has hit second in the order in the last five games, and last night he continued to deliver with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. Chapman should get a big boost in run scoring opportunities hitting in front of 2B Jed Lowrie and OF Khris Davis.
- C Wilson Ramos was added in a deal with the Rays, and he should be the team’s every day catcher and a middle-of-the-order hitter when he’s done rehabbing from his hamstring injury. Those minor league rehab games are likely to begin before the end of this week. This unfortunately kills the value of C Jorge Alfaro, who had been looking better at the plate in July with a .263 batting average and .772 OPS.
- SP Chris Archer was added to the Bucs’ rotation in the biggest trade deadline move, immediately boosting Archer’s value as he gets away from the AL East, a division that had hit him much harder in recent years than the rest of the league. SP Nick Kingham will likely be the odd man out in the rotation for now.
San Diego Padres
- 1B Eric Hosmer continued his hitting streak, which now sits at eight games, after going 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk yesterday.
- RP Kirby Yates was not traded and is the clear closer for the Padres. He worked the ninth inning in a tie game yesterday and allowed a walk, striking out a batter as well.
San Francisco Giants
- OF Andrew McCutchen led off for the fourth consecutive game after spending the majority of the season hitting third in the order. He went 1-for-4 with a solo home run, his 11th of the season.
- SP Dereck Rodriguez had another great start, allowing only one run on three hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out a career-high seven. He also threw the most pitches yet in a start, 112. Rodriguez is a must-start option in all leagues right now, having allowed more than two runs in just two of his 10 starts this year.
- SS Jean Segura went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored yesterday. His power has tailed off steadily throughout the season – he finished July with a .352 slugging percentage after posting a .454 number in June and .527 number in May.
St. Louis Cardinals
- With OF Tommy Pham shipped out to Tampa Bay yesterday, OF Tyler O’Neill was called back up from Triple-A and should be in line for an everyday role. He’s relevant in all formats if you’re looking to speculate on power, as he hit 26 homers in 61 games at Triple-A this year and had three homers in 44 at-bats with the big club earlier this year.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Not unexpectedly, trade deadline day ended in a huge makeover for the Rays, who seem to be gearing up for a window of contention beginning in 2019. They added OF Tommy Pham from St. Louis, and SP Tyler Glasnow and OF Austin Meadows from Pittsburgh, dealing injured C Wilson Ramos and ace SP Chris Archer. Meadows will stay in Triple-A for the time being, while Glasnow’s role will likely improve his fantasy standing with a real possibility that he moves from full-time reliever to more of a hybrid starter/reliever similar to SP/RP Ryan Yarbrough, beginning today with his a start against the Angels. Pham’s value is basically unchanged, and he’s still a starter in most mixed-league formats.
- RP Jose Leclerc is likely going to be the team’s closer for the rest of the season after he stayed put and RP Jake Diekman was moved to Arizona. Leclerc is worth adding in all deeper mixed leagues and, if you’re desperate for saves, we could see using him in 12-team leagues.
Toronto Blue Jays
- SS Lourdes Gurriel will miss anywhere from 2-6 weeks after suffering left knee and ankle injuries on a slide late in Sunday’s game. He can be dropped in all mixed formats, an unfortunate outcome for arguably the hottest hitter in fantasy baseball.
- SP Stephen Strasburg has been cleared to throw and, according to manager Davey Martinez, won’t need much time to recover before being re-inserted in to the rotation since going down with a neck issue.
- 1B/2B Daniel Murphy wasn’t traded, but he did have his best game of the season last night, going 3-for-4 with two home runs, six RBI, and three runs scored against his former team, the Mets.
- SP Tanner Roark has righted the ship after a brutal stretch between June 22 and July 13 that saw his ERA rise from 3.87 to 4.87. He struck out seven in seven innings last night, allowing only one run on four hits. He’s allowed only one run in his last 15 innings and gets another decent matchup Sunday against the Reds.