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Fantasy Forward: Cano to the DL and bullpen struggles

As frustrating as the number of injuries this year can be, when a team leaves a player on the bench, then places him on the disabled list on a Tuesday after lineups lock in weekly fantasy leagues on Monday – that just adds to the angst. Seattle did this with Robinson Cano who will continue to rest and rehab with the 10-day disabled list back-dated to his first game sitting out.

Speaking of the Mariners, they took the closer role from Edwin Diaz, and in the first game without him in the ninth, blew a lead at home with Steve Cishek who lost the job last year. Eventually Diaz could work his way back into the role by throwing strikes, but in the short-term, adding Nick Vincent or Tony Zych may yield a handful of saves.

Baltimore and Detroit staged a battle of which bullpen could be worse with the Orioles outlasting the Tigers. Justin Wilson has been rock solid this year, but allowed a home run to Mark Trumbo in the ninth inning to set off the extra-inning fireworks. If either team wishes to compete in the postseason, upgrades in their reliever depth needs to be addressed.

Another night when offense took center stage with only a smattering of strong pitching performances as we head to the recaps.

Hitter Highlights

For those who lost Cano to the disabled list, see if Devon Travis may be sitting on your waiver wire. Cano may only need a short bridge to return, but Travis is heating up. He hit two more doubles to raise his total to 14 on the year with two RBI and a stolen base (4) during the Blue Jays loss yesterday. His BABIP is due to migrate towards his almost 100 point career rate and he’s recorded multiple hit games in back-to-back games.

Teammate Kevin Pillar stayed hot with his sixth home run of the year and a double to push his average to .313 as the team heads to Atlanta.

Obviously the Blue Jays did not get the scouting report to avoid Freddie Freeman who hit his 14th home run of the year and second in as many days at Rogers Centre. Matt Kemp drove in four more runs and Dansby Swanson may be warming up as well, he finished 2-for-4 with his third home run.

Remember when Corey Dickerson would not be able to hit in Tampa Bay? He’s healthy, in shape and crushing baseballs right now. Dickerson homered twice in Cleveland for eight this year and he’s hitting .333 with a .977 OPS. Colby Rasmus hit his third home run to push his average to .270, but he started hot last year too. As fantasy owners await for Edwin Encarnacion to go on one of his power surges, he did hit his sixth home run yesterday and pushed his average over two hundred. Soon, kids, soon.

Bryce Harper murdered a baseball in Pittsburgh for his 13th home run and suddenly his average (.388) and OPS (1.270) are ahead of teammate Ryan Zimmerman’s. Trea Turner recorded two hits and stole his seventh base. For the Pirates, Josh Harrison keeps hitting with his sixth home run, a .292 average and .837 OPS.

All the runs for the Orioles. Manny Machado and Adam Jones went 3-for-7 with a run and RBI, Mark Trumbo was 4-for-7 with his fifth home run and Chris Davis homered twice (8) with four RBI to push his average to .266 with three hits last night.

Houston continues to hit Josh Reddick near the top of the lineup and with George Springer taking the day off, Reddick led off. Carlos Correa stayed hot going 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Brian McCann continues to eat into Evan Gattis’ playing time with four RBI and Jake Marisnick hit two home runs?

With the wind blowing out, Zack Cozart (3) and Joey Votto (11) homered for the Reds. Are we overlooking the early season power surge by Votto? He’s currently on pace for 47 this year. Kyle Schwarber, hitting .187, did homer for the sixth time, but is Maddon just being stubborn here leaving him at lead-off? Ian Happ hit cleanup, homered for the second time since his promotion. Addison Russell hit his first home run since April 19th and is currently hitting .226 with an OPS below seven hundred.

Could the warm weather in Texas be heating up Nomar Mazara again? He launched his sixth home run and teammate Mike Napoli finished 3-for-3 with his eighth home run. Napoli started to surge at this time last year and he’s homered in three of his last 20 at-bats.

Cameron Maybin alert. He went 5-for-6 with two runs, three doubles and two RBI against the White Sox yesterday. He’s streaky and stole three bases in a game this past weekend. Albert Pujols moved into 11th place all time in RBI’s with three in the team’s win.

Matt Joyce hit lead-off and did homer for the fifth time. Ryon Healy added his seventh during the A’s come from behind win over the Mariners. Nelson Cruz just keeps producing despite fantasy owners under rating him every year. He’s up to 10 this season with a .326 average and 1.016 OPS. Kyle Seager added his fourth homer.

Will Chris Taylor keep hitting? If he does, the team will find at-bats for him whenever Logan Forsythe returns. Taylor finished 2-for-3 with his fourth home run and for the Giants, Brandon Belt hit his eighth of the year.



Starting pitcher observations

Yu Darvish led the way pitching seven innings allowing four hits, one earned run, two walks and striking out nine to lower his ERA to 2.76. Dallas Keuchel moved to 7 – 0 this year with four strikeouts, two earned runs allowed in five innings against the Marlins.

Stephen Strasburg deserved better, but his bullpen pushed his earned run total to three over six innings of work. He did garner his fourth win of the season. Eduardo Rodriguez won his second game and beat the Cardinals on the road.

Just when trusting Zack Greinke makes sense, he gives up four earned runs against the Mets. He did record eight strikeouts and win his fifth game, so all is not lost. Pitching at Chase Field will produce games like this.

An under the radar strong start by Jimmy Nelson on the road in San Diego. Nelson worked six innings allowing seven hits, two earned runs, one walk and eight strikeouts to lower his ERA to 3.86.

Both Rich Hill (five innings, one earned and six strikeouts) and Ty Blach (seven innings, one earned and four strikeouts) pitched well in San Francisco with Blach coming out on top for his first win of the year.

Bullpen musings

Alex Colome recorded his 10th save, and since the team cut down his outings to an inning, he has lowered his ERA to 2.00 on the year. Greg Holland improved his perfect start to 17 saves with a four pitch appearance to get one out. Craig Kimbrel struck out one and lowered his ERA to 1.02 for his 12th save.

While Fernando Rodney did garner the save, his 10th this year, his ERA also went down to 8.59..of more importance, Archie Bradley worked the eighth inning for his fifth hold. If and when Rodney loses this job, it’s Bradley’s to lose going forward (he will not).

With Bud Norris getting the night off, the Angels tried David Hernandez to close the game, odds are the next time will be Blake Parker who should be next in line, not the dreaded veteran with experience.

Derek Law closed out his third save with Mark Melancon on the disabled list and fourth of the year.

Statistical Credits: MLB.com, ESPN.go.com

 

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Greg Jewett
I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler

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