Daily Intel – 9/2/2018

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Arizona Diamondbacks

  • SP Pat Corbin needed 96 pitches to get through five innings last night, but the inefficiency didn’t doom him as he still managed to shut out the Dodgers for five innings while only walking one batter and allowing three hits while striking out seven.
  • SS/3B Eduardo Escobar went 1-for-4 with a solo homer, and he’s picked up a hit in seven of his last nine starts. He ranks eighth among third basemen in fantasy this year with a .276 batting average, 20 homers, 77 RBI, and 63 runs scored.

Atlanta Braves

  • RP A.J. Minter earned his first save since August 15 yesterday, working a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout and two ground outs.
  • SS Dansby Swanson had a big day with a double and a solo home run, scoring twice.

Baltimore Orioles

  • SS/3B Tim Beckham put up his first four-hit day of the season yesterday, including a double, home run, and two RBI.

Boston Red Sox

  • SP Eduardo Rodriguez was incredible in his return to the rotation after missing almost two months with an ankle injury, striking out 12 White Sox in 5 2/3 innings and allowing only three hits, a walk, and a run. He should be started in most situations for the rest of the season.

Chicago Cubs

  • 3B Kris Bryant was activated from the disabled list and hit fifth last night after missing almost two full months and going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Chicago White Sox

  • SP Carlos Rodon threw 71 strikes on 109 pitches last night, but some up and down defense (including some of his own) led to him allowing five runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings on six hits and two walks. He struck out four. His season-long ERA remains solid at 2.89 and he fell to 6-4 on the year.

Cincinnati Reds

  • 1B Joey Votto has hits in consecutive games and picked up his first extra-base hit and RBI yesterday in three games since being activated from the disabled list on Thursday.
  • SP Luis Castillo had arguably his best start of the season yesterday, striking out 11 Cardinals over six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and two walks.

Cleveland Indians

  • OF Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 yesterday with two singles and two stolen bases, getting him to 10 on the season. Brantley has multi-hit games in six of his last 10 starts.

Colorado Rockies 

  • OF Matt Holliday started in left field last night and hit fifth, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and two walks.
  • SP Jon Gray won his 11th game of the season with six solid innings of work, though he struck out just one batter for the second straight start, which is very rare for him. He limited to Padres to two runs (both on solo homers), seven hits, and a walk. One other alarming number on the strikeout side – in the last two starts, Gray has thrown 177 pitches but has generated just nine swinging strikes.

Detroit Tigers

  • OF Jacoby Jones went 2-for-4 with two singles and his tenth stolen base of the season. Jones has played every day since coming back on Tuesday and could be a good speed source down the stretch.

Houston Astros

  • C Brian McCann was activated from the disabled list and played his first game since June 30 after dealing with a knee issue. He started and batted eighth, going 0-for-3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
  • SP Josh James struck out nine in five innings in his major league debut, taking a no decision after allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. James used four pitches – two-seam, four-seam fastballs, slider, and changeup – credibly throughout the night, giving us some hope in his long-term viability and making any other September starts worth monitoring.

Kansas City Royals

  • C Sal Perez will be out for at least a week after suffering a thumb sprain earlier this week, though he won’t be placed on the disabled list with rosters expanded and extra players available.

Los Angeles Angels

  • OF Kole Calhoun went 1-for-3 with a walk and a three-run homer, ending a 50-plus at-bat streak without a bomb after his incredible stretch in July and early August.
  • OF Justin Upton left yesterday’s game early after having to strain to avoid a collision on a fly ball with SS Andrelton Simmons. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Two clean appearances in a row now for RP Kenley Jansen, who picked up another save last night after earning one on Friday. He allowed a double and struck out a batter in securing a 3-2 win.
  • 3B David Freese made his first start since coming over from Pittsburgh, playing first base and batting fifth. He went 1-for-2.

Miami Marlins

  • SP Jeff Brigham will make his major league debut in a start today against Toronto. Brigham is 26 years old, so any prospect status is caveated, but he did have a solid year in the minors with 94 strikeouts and a 2.36 ERA in 95 1/3 innings.
  • SP Wei-Yin Chen was dominant at home again, limiting the Jays to one run on three hits over eight innings, striking out seven. In 11 starts this year at Marlins Park, he’s thrown 63 innings to a 1.86 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Milwaukee Brewers

  • C Manny Pina went 2-for-4 with a solo home run yesterday, his second home run in his last three starts. Pina has been hitting well recently, picking up a hit in six of last seven starts and reaching base at least twice in five of those games.
  • RP Joakim Soria worked for the fourth time in five days and the results were disastrous, as he allowed four earned runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning.

Minnesota Twins

  • OF Jake Cave is warming up a little, going 2-for-4 yesterday with a solo homer and two runs scored. Cave now has hits in four of his last five starts and three home runs in that same span.

New York Mets

  • SP Steven Matz struck out 11 over seven innings of work, but was left with a no decision despite only allowing one run on three hits and a walk. There’s been no sign yet that the Mets are going to shut Matz down, so for now he’s a pretty good option to start next Friday when he gets the Phillies at home.

New York Yankees

  • C Gary Sanchez was activated Saturday after missing about a month with a second groin injury of the season. He went 0-for-4 in the game, hitting fifth.
  • RP Dellin Betances was able to close out yesterday’s game with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing only a single and striking out one.

Oakland A’s

  • Injuries to the rotation have forced the A’s to temporarily use a bullpen-day style “opener,” with the returning SP Daniel Mengden on the hook yesterday to pick up the bulk of the innings. Mengden was solid on Monday in relief of SP Brett Anderson when he got hurt, but he was hit around hard yesterday after entering to start the fourth innings, allowing five hits, a walk, and four runs (three earned) in two innings. Mengden showed some serious potential in May with some dominant outings, but he doesn’t look to have the trust of the A’s brass right now to be anything more than an AL-only option.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • 2B Cesar Hernandez was dropped to ninth in the order and went 0-for-3 yesterday. Hernandez has been pretty bad over the last 30 days, hitting .215 with a .631 OPS and an equal number of stolen bases and caught stealings (three) in 124 plate appearances.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • SP Chris Archer had his best start since coming over to the Bucs, going six innings and allowing only a double, a single, a walk, and one run while striking out five. Archer’s command was spotty all day but he did generate seven swinging strikes on 32 of his sliders, and the pitch only went for a ball seven times. That pitch is going to be key to Archer taking another step forward, so we’ll see how he handles it in his last few starts of the year.

San Diego Padres

  • OF Hunter Renfroe’s power surge continued with a 2-for-4 day yesterday, and those two hits were solo homers off Rockies ace SP Jon Gray. That gave Renfroe five home runs in his last nine starts.

San Francisco Giants

  • OF Austin Slater, who will play everyday this month with OF Andrew McCutchen traded away, has recorded multi-hit games in consecutive days after going 2-for-5 yesterday. With a .372 on-base percentage and a 5-for-5 record on steals so far this year, Slater could be valuable this month.

Seattle Mariners

  • SP James Paxton threw 98 pitches in his first start since August 14, striking out 10 in five innings to earn his 11th win of the year. Paxton allowed three runs on two hits and four walks. His four-seam fastball velocity was down just a little, but that’s to be expected in a first start back from a forearm injury.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • SP/RP Tyson Ross continues to clean up in a long relief role with the Cardinals. He went 4 2/3 innings in relief of SP Daniel Poncedeleon yesterday, limiting the Reds to one run on four hits and no walks while striking out three. Since coming over to the Cardinals, Ross has thrown 19 innings and allowed just four earned runs.

Tampa Bay Rays

  • 1B/DH Ji-Man Choi kept his hot hitting going yesterday with a three-hit day that included two doubles. He’s got four multi-hit games in his last six starts.
  • SP Blake Snell struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings yesterday, improving to 17-5 on the season after limiting the Indians to one earned run on eight hits and a walk. In addition to his league-leading 17 wins, Snell is now second in the AL with a 2.02 ERA.

Texas Rangers

  • 2B Rougned Odor went 2-for-4 with a solo home run. He started to tail off a little in mid-August but now has seven hits in his last seven starts, including three homers and seven RBI.

Toronto Blue Jays

  • RP Taylor Guerreri was called up as part of the 40-man roster expansion and threw two scoreless innings in relief yesterday, allowing a single and striking out one.

Washington Nationals

  • SP Stephen Strasburg said he made an effort to shorten his stride while delivering the ball, and the results yesterday were positive, with him limiting a good Brewers lineup to two runs on five hits and two walks over six innings of work, striking out seven. That’s two quality starts in a row for Strasburg after he was roughed up in his first start off the disabled list, but he gets another tough matchup on Thursday against the Cubs.

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