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Fantasy Forward: Injuries can’t stop, won’t stop, but owners will press on

Possibly showing my age here, but for those who own Mike Trout, it feels like Dean Wormer dropped the big one. Not only did the Angels not announce his status until after weekly lineups locked, but Trout will undergo surgery to repair the UCL in his thumb likely sidelining him for two months. Replacing Trout, arguably in the midst of his best season to date, will be impossible. Identify team needs and be proactive. Pity parties will not win titles.

On any other day, the Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland brawl would take top billing, but baseball losing Trout to injury and Harper to suspension underscores part of the problem. Injuries also claimed Danny Duffy (oblique) for 6-to-8 weeks. Alex Wood landed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and should miss one start. Gregory Polanco left his game on a cart after turning his ankle awkwardly near the wall in foul territory. He’s in a walking boot and will try to avoid a stint on the disabled list. Boston’s leader, Dustin Pedroia, will head home for an MRI on his wrist after his collision with Jose Abreu. Getting all of this? A quiz will happen later.

As for some baseball, the Astros won for the first time in 659 games after trailing by six or more runs with an 11 run eighth inning. It marks the first 11 run inning allowed by Minnesota since 2007, and the first by the Astros since 1994 against the Cardinals. Cincinnati allowed 23 hits for the first time since 1985 against the Braves. Oddly enough, the last team to total 22 hits against the Reds, Toronto in 2008. Baseball’s a funny game. Speaking of which, 30 starters toed the rubber on Monday, 10 of them lasted less than five innings. If you extend it to pitchers who did not reach the sixth inning, the number jumps to 18. Still wondering why bullpens meltdown?

For those chasing the rehab train, J.A. Happ will be activated to start today. Francisco Liriano should return later in the week as well. Felix Hernandez will throw a bullpen session, but Hisashi Iwakuma needs more rest after soreness. Mitch Haniger has yet to resume baseball activities due to lingering pain in his oblique. James Paxton will start at home against the Rockies, and this Mariners recap was brought to you by, Starbucks. Just kidding, but if they want to advertise, contact Jim Finch.

Starting Pitcher Observations

In spite of diminished velocity, Dylan Bundy lasted seven innings giving up seven hits, two earned runs, and one walk while striking out three to defeat the Yankees. He generated nine swinging strikes. During his return from the disabled list, David Price produced 11 swinging strikes over five innings, but also let in three earned runs in the process. His velocity’s there, the rest will take some time.

Wins as a category will always be debated, Ervin Santana left his game after pitching seven innings allowing two runs (one earned), five hits, two walks and struck out six only to see his team implode. Randal Delgado did not get a win either, but did finished the day with 15 swinging strikes, good for second most. No, you’re not on candid camera. Delgado struck out eight Pirates over 5.2 innings and one earned run in a no-decision. Trevor Williams turned in a quality start as well?

In a pitching duel one can understand, Tanner Roark tossed seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and one walk with six strikeouts in San Francisco during the Brawl at the Bay. Matt Moore pitched well at home, no surprise, with five strikeouts in seven innings and two earned runs allowed. By the way, Roark led the majors with 17 swinging strikes generated.

Carlos Carrasco won against the A’s lasting seven innings giving up four hits, two earned runs, both on home runs, one walk and striking out seven.

With plenty of run support, Marcus Stroman won his sixth game allowing five hits, two earned runs with five strikeouts.

Edinson Volquez broke the ice with his first win of 2017 over the Phillies, who can be a slump buster. Volquez struck out four in six innings of work.

Although Julio Teheran won on the road, his home run tendencies cleared the cross-country trip with the Angels hitting three off of him to account for all three of their runs. Teheran owners should take solace in the win and quality start, and try to deal him.



Bullpen Musings

The day started off well for bullpens with Brad Brach (10), David Robertson (8) and Edwin Diaz (9) working clean innings with two strikeouts each. Koda Glover kept the ball rolling with his sixth save of the same variety.

Things got interesting in Pittsburgh when Tony Watson blew his third save of the year, allowed multiple runs for the second time in three outings, and has given up at least a run in five of his last eight appearances. Watson’s given up nine runs in 13 innings this month. His reward? A win, of course.

Addison Reed bounced back for his seventh save, but did give up two hits with two strikeouts. Remember A.J. Ramos? He’s still closing and struck out the side for his sixth of the year but did walk one. Justin Wilson walked one as well to close out his fourth save. Francisco Rodriguez struggled in a set-up role.

Cody Allen went into full effect. He allowed a home run and three hits, but saved his 14th of the year while Andrew Miller struck out the side for a hold. Brad Hand pitched 1.2 innings for the Padres and Brandon Maurer saved the game in back-to-back days. Recency bias says add Maurer if he was dropped.

One day after pitching two innings of relief, Alex Colome fared better than starter Erasmo Ramirez to record his 14th save by striking out the side. Jim Johnson notched his 11th save for the Braves giving up a hit with two strikeouts.

Hitter Highlights

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge moved back into the major league lead with his 17th home run. Jonathan Schoop moves all over the lineup, but still produces. He finished with a double and two RBI (24) to raise his average to .275 on the season.

One day after disappointing in DFS, Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run (8) during the Red Sox loss to the White Sox who benefited from Melky Cabrera’s three run home run (6).

Carlos Correa is 12-for-21 (.571) over his last five games and went 3-for-5 on Monday with three runs, his eighth home run, and three RBI to move his average to .311 with his OPS reaching .900. Carlos Beltran added four hits with his sixth home run, Marwin Gonzalez tallied three hits with two runs and two RBI. He’s hitting .311 as well with a 1.040 OPS. No, really. Finally, Alex Bregman hit his fourth homer and drove in two.

Robbie Grossman went 2-for-4 with two runs, his fifth home run, and two RBI. Miguel Sano struck out two more times, but launched his 12th home run. Streakiness may be a part of his game, but worth the ride for the power.

Los Angeles closed to within a half-game of the Rockies with a win in St. Louis. Logan Forsythe has been cold to start the year, but he hit his first home run and if he gets going, the offense only gets deeper. Since his promotion, Cody Bellinger’s hit 11 home runs to tie Mike Trout for the MLB lead since Arpil 25th. Sigh. Also, Chase Utley hit his third home run in the last five games and he has hit safely in six of his last eight starts.

Since returning from the disabled list on May 24th, Trevor Story raised his OPS by over sixty points, and he homered for the eight time this season on Monday. Charlie Blackmon hit his 13th in the loss as well.

Veteran Andrew McCutchen hit his eighth home run of the year for a walk-off win for the Pirates. Jordy Mercer recorded three hits and he’s 15 for his last 31 (.484).

Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-4 with his 14th home run in San Francisco.

During his last 27 games, Domingo Santana is 32-for-91 (.352) with six home runs and 23 RBI. Wilmer Flores finished with three hits, against right-handed pitching no less, while Robert Gsellman drew a go ahead bases loaded walk.

Both Khris Davis (16) and Yonder Alonso (14) homered on Monday. No teammates in baseball have more combined home runs. Ryon Healy added his ninth. For Cleveland, Austin Jackson (2), Carlos Santana (6) and Edwin Encarnacion (10) all hit home runs while Jose Ramirez went 3-for-3 with two stolen bases to raise his total to five.

San Diego’s offense has swing and miss components, but Hunter Renfroe is heating up with his 10th home run, a grand slam off of Kyle Hendricks. Renfroe’s tallied 11 hits in his last six game with a run scored in seven of his last eight.

Prior to the Blue Jays onslaught, Billy Hamilton stole his 27th base and Adam Duvall added his 14th home run of the season. As for Toronto: Kendrys Morales 3-for-4 with four runs, two doubles, one RBI and two walks; Justin Smoak 3-for-5 with three runs, his 12th home run, four RBI; Russell Martin 3-for-4, three runs, his fourth home run and three RBI; Troy Tulowitzki hit a grand slam; Devon Travis with four more hits to raise his average in May slash lines to .380/.389/.652.

Miguel Cabrera tallied three hits with three RBI, but where’s the power? J.D. Martinez has the juice with his eight home run and three RBI. Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 14, finished a single shy of a cycle, and over six games has three multi-hit ones with two home runs and two stolen bases. Eric Hosmer hit his fifth home run and is hitting .3oo but still feels like a disappointment.

Hitting lead-off against a southpaw, Steven Souza went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and two doubles. Corey Dickerson had three more hits. Evan Longoria homered for the second straight game, and Tim Beckham added his eight of the year. Shin-Soo Choo launched his sixth home run, Elvis Andrus recorded two hits with two stolen bases (12), Nomar Mazara doubled twice among his three hits, and Joey Gallo crushed his 16th home run.

Albert Pujols took a step towards history hitting his seventh home run this year and the 598th of his career. He will become the ninth player in history with 600 home runs. Luis Valbuena (3) and Andrelton Simmons also went yard for the Angels.

Statistical Credits: Fangraphs.com, BaseballSavant.com, MLB.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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