Daily Intel – 8/26/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • RP Brad Boxberger blew his sixth save of the season last night, entering with a 3-1 lead in the ninth and allowing a walk and a single before both of those runners scored on a double to tie the game.

Atlanta Braves

  • SS Dansby Swanson went 2-for-4 with a solo homer yesterday, his fourth home run in the last nine games and 10th RBI in that span. Swanson has hits in nine of his last 10 games, but he still isn’t walking very much, so the stickiness of this hot streak is hard to believe.

Baltimore Orioles

  • In yesterday’s doubleheader with the Yankees, OF Cedric Mullins, 1B/OF Trey Mancini, and 3B Renato Nunez all had three hits over the two games. Mullins continues to impress out of the leadoff spot, hitting .309 with a .896 OPS and an 8-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53 plate appearances since being called up.

Boston Red Sox

  • The Rays did a good job making SP Rick Porcello work for his eight strikeouts, as it took 89 pitches and pushed Porcello out after just five innings. Porcello finished with six hits and two walks allowed, ultimately leading to three earned runs.

Chicago Cubs

  • 1B/2B Daniel Murphy has been on fire since joining the Cubs, going 1-for-5 yesterday with a home run and three RBI. Murphy has hits in all four of his games as a Cub, going 7-for-19 with two homers, five RBI, and four runs scored.

Chicago White Sox

  • SP Lucas Giolito is clearly making strides late in the season, throwing 76 of his 106 pitches for strikes yesterday and improving to 10-9 on the season, an impressive feat considering the White Sox are 50-79 overall on the year. Giolito allowed just one earned run on a solo homer, a double, a single, and a walk, striking out six in seven innings. He’s struck out at least six in all of his last five starts, and has posted a quality start in seven of his last nine outings. Giolito, who was posting an ERA of 6.93 as late as July 3, is now down to 5.85 on the season.

Cincinnati Reds

  • OF Scott Schebler made his return to the lineup for the first time since July 14, going 1-for-5. Schebler should be in the lineup every day for the rest of the season, often leading off like he did yesterday.

Cleveland Indians

  • SP Corey Kluber was roughed up by the Royals, of all teams, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings on nine hits and two walks. For as good as Kluber’s overall numbers have been, there are some interesting rough patches over the last two months, including three starts in his last seven where he’s allowed nine hits, and a serious uptick in hard contact allowed. Last year, Kluber allowed 28.9 percent hard contact, and in his previous four seasons that number had ranged from 26 percent 27.6 percent. This year, he’s at 36.2 percent hard contact allowed,

Colorado Rockies 

  • SP German Marquez dominated the Cardinals for seven shutout innings yesterday, limiting them to three singles and a walk while striking out nine. His pattern of increased slider usage continued in this start – he was throwing the pitch about 12 percent of the time through early August, but in his last four starts he’s thrown it between 24.2 and 27.9 percent of the time, and the results have been great, with the pitch generating 40 percent swings and misses, and hitters only generating a .153 batting average and .333 slugging percentage on it this season.

Detroit Tigers

  • SS Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4 with a double and his 15th stolen base of the season yesterday. He has hits in eight straight starts, scoring four runs and only striking out four times in that span.

Houston Astros

  • Another great night for 1B/2B/SS/OF Marwin Gonzalez, as he picked up two more hits and homered for the second consecutive game and fourth time in six games.
  • C/DH Evan Gattis was benched for the fourth straight game on Saturday, with 1B Tyler White getting the start at DH again. If you are starting Gattis at catcher, it may be time to find a short-term replacement option if you can afford to spend a bench spot on Gattis until he’s given more playing time.

Kansas City Royals

  • SP Heath Fillmyer was sharp yesterday, recovering from two bad starts that represented the first real rough patch of his major league career. Fillmyer went six innings and limited the Indians to a run on three hits and two walks, striking out three.

Los Angeles Angels

  • DH Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two RBI, and his first caught stealing of the season last night. This was Ohtani’s first start as a hitter this week, but he didn’t miss a beat and continues to impress at the plate; extrapolating numbers can sometimes be misleading in baseball, but for Ohtani we only have one major league season as a hitter, and in 252 plate appearances he’s hit .274 with 14 homers, 40 RBI, 60 steals, and 36 runs. Even being conservative and understanding that Ohtani will probably never get beyond 450 plate appearances in a season as long as he’s also a starting pitcher, that is still a season where he’d hit 24-26 homers, drive in 70-74 runs, score 64-68 runs, and steal 8-10 bases. That’s a very valuable asset in most mixed leagues.

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • SP Ross Stripling threw a successful bullpen session yesterday and should be ready to return to the team on Tuesday, though his role is unclear. For now, he looks like a reliever down the stretch as the Dodgers look to cut back on his innings and keep him sharp for a potential playoff run.
  • SP Alex Wood has his scheduled start today pushed back to Wednesday to “allow for extra rest,” so SP Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the ball today.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Wei-Yin Chen struck out 10 Braves in six innings yesterday to pick up his fifth win of the year. Chen shutout the Braves and allowed five singles, a double, and two walks. Incredibly, Chen has pitched 57 innings at home to a 2.05 ERA, and 43 1/3 innings on the road to a 9.35 ERA.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • OF Christian Yelich’s power surge continued yesterday with a 1-for-4 day that included a home run, his third straight game with a homer and the fifth time he’s hit one in seven games. Yelich has eight homers in August but, somehow, only 10 RBI…one of the downsides of a being a leadoff guy in the National League.

Minnesota Twins

  • 3B Miguel Sano hit the Twins’ longest home run of the season yesterday, a third deck shot that went 470 feet. That was his lone hit in four at-bats, and it snapped a stretch of five games and 18 at-bats without a hit.

New York Mets

  • SP Zach Wheeler continues to piece together a nearly ace-level season, shutting out the Nationals for seven innings yesterday, allowing six singles and three walks while striking out four. Wheeler is now 9-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 153 1/3 innings this year.
  • SS Amed Rosario went 2-for-4 with a home run, a single, two runs scored, and a caught stealing. Rosario has been caught stealing eight times this year.

New York Yankees

  • If you want a reason to believe in the Yankees as a real threat for October, look no further than yesterday, when SPs J.A. Happ and Sonny Gray put together dominant starts to win both ends of a doubleheader at Baltimore. Happ struck out nine in six innings, allowing only two runs on six baserunners, while Gray had what looks like his best outing of the season, shutting out the O’s for 6 1/3 innings and striking out seven on just 79 pitches, allowing two singles, a double, and a walk.

Oakland A’s

  • C Jonathan Lucroy went 1-for-4 yesterday with his first home run since July 23. Lucroy is warming up a little, going 9-for-20 (.450) in his last six starts with five RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • RP Seranthony Dominguez struggled mightily in a seventh/eighth inning bridge relief appearance of SP Nick Pivetta yesterday. Dominguez faced five batters, and three ended up scoring thanks to a single, a walk, and a hit batter, with just two outs recorded, one via strikeout.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Nick Kingham is back with the big club after being demoted on August 3 and, oddly, not pitching since then despite no news of an injury. Kingham will likely work in the bullpen for now, as he’s replacing RP Clay Holmes, who was demoted.

San Diego Padres

  • C Austin Hedges has hit five home runs in August after taking Dodgers RP Kenley Jansen deep yesterday in the ninth inning to tie a game that the Padres eventually lost in extra innings.

San Francisco Giants

  • C Buster Posey will have season-ending hip surgery on Monday, a procedure that could realistically impact his 2019 season thanks to a 6-to-8 month recovery timeline.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP James Paxton will throw one last bullpen session on Tuesday and be ready for what will no doubt be a make-or-break series against the A’s next weekend.
  • RP Edwin Diaz earned his 50th save of the year yesterday, overcoming two singles allowed in the 10th inning to preserve a 4-3 win over Arizona.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SP John Gant had arguably his best start of the season last night, going seven innings for just the second time and allowing only one run on three hits and five walks while striking out six. Gant also generated nine ground ball outs, just the third time he’s reached that threshold in 13 starts this season.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • OF Tommy Pham returned to the lineup after missing a few games with a dislocated finger, and he hit his first homer as a Ray, which ended up being his lone hit in five at-bats.

Texas Rangers

  • 2B Rougned Odor went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, and a run scored yesterday. He’s homered in consecutive days and has 14 RBI in his last nine games.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • 1B/DH Kendrys Morales homered again, and this is not a copy-and-paste job. That’s six straight games for a homer for Morales, who finished 2-for-4 on the day with his two RBI coming on the homer.

Washington Nationals

  • SP Tanner Roark yesterday pushed his ERA back below 4.00 for the first time since June 17, but he was the hard-luck loser after allowing only one run in six innings on four hits, striking out seven. Roark has posted a quality start in six of his last seven outings, the only blemish coming when he was pulled after three innings due to rain on Tuesday against the Phillies.

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