Fantasy Forward: Cody Bellinger will not stop

At a time when the Dodgers need a spark, Cody Bellinger is the latest in a long line of heralded rookies to produce once promoted. Bellinger hit two home runs in a game for the fifth time this year to tie a Dodgers team record set by Mike Piazza. In the process, Bellinger tied Gary Sanchez for the fastest to 20 home runs in their first 51 games, and then set the major league record being the first to hit 21 in this same time frame. Within this same game, Clayton Kershaw allowed six earned runs and a career high four home runs. The 17 home runs he has allowed so far also represents a career high.

It does not stop here. The Dodgers activated Sergio Romo sending Josh Fields to the minors, and they’ve tweaked the rotation with Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching on Thursday, Alex Wood shifting to Friday to face Colorado, and Kenta Maeda heading back to the bullpen.

Both Anthony Rendon (neck) and Austin Hedges (bruised thigh) left their respective games early on Monday night. Each will be listed day-to-day. Expect Anthony Rizzo to reach base in his first at-bat if he leads off Tuesday night; he will wear one in response to his slide taking Hedges out. Tim Beckham did leave his game as well taking a pitch off his hand. He stayed in the game initially, then left after running the bases. His X-rays returned negative, but monitor his progress as well.

On the rehab trail, A.J. Pollock left his game early due to a tight right quad. It’s becoming increasingly tougher to trust his recurrent soft tissue injuries. Homer Bailey has thrown 16.2 innings in his rehab with 17 strikeouts and two earned runs allowed. Odds are he replaces Bronson Arroyo in the Reds rotation if looking for a pitcher to stash. Time’s running out. On to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Corey Kluber reminded everyone of his ceiling when healthy, tossing his fifth career complete game shutout in Baltimore limiting them to three hits with 11 strikeouts on 19 swinging strikes. Kluber’s 12 swinging strikes on his curve alone topped all but three pitchers last night. This marks his sixth win of 2017, and if he stays healthy, could be in for a huge second half.

Scott Feldman worked six innings during a no-decision in Tampa Bay, allowing six hits, two earned runs and a walk with six strikeouts. R.A. Dickey threw seven shutout innings at home against the Giants, holding them to three hits and one walk with six strikeouts. Despite losing, San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto turned in a strong seven inning performance giving up five hits, two earned runs and striking out four on the road. Buy low.

Gerrit Cole bounced back on the road in Milwaukee. He credited his success to focusing on outcomes and working faster. Cole gave up three hits, one earned run and two walks with five strikeouts over seven innings for his fifth win.

Jon Lester started rough giving up a lead-off home run, but settled in to last six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and a walk with seven strikeouts on 15 swinging strikes. He recorded a quality start but did not factor in the decision.

Hector Velasquez locked horns with Jason Hammel in a well pitched game. Velasquez made one mistake, a two-run home run to Eric Hosmer, but worked 5.1 innings giving up five hits with three strikeouts in a no-decision. Hammel garnered his fourth win working seven innings allowing seven hits, two earned runs and striking out four on 11 swinging strikes. Hammel has won all three of his decisions in June with a 2.30 ERA and 19:1 K:BB in 27.1 innings.

Brad Peacock won his fourth game of 2017, but fell one out short of a quality start. Efficiency will be the last hurdle for him to clear. Peacock’s struck out 66 over 44.2 innings this year, but it took him 99 pitches to strikeout eight last night. He only ceded four hits and one earned run with two walks. On the night, Peacock finished second with 16 swinging strikes. There’s upside here, but wins can be tough to procure not reaching the sixth inning.

Bullpen Musings

In a reversal of fortune, A.J. Ramos won his second game of the year when the Marlins walked-off the Nationals with a win. Ramos worked an inning giving up a walk with a strikeout. Enny Romero took the loss for Washington. He worked a strong eighth inning, but ran into trouble in the ninth, perhaps tiring. Romero finished his second straight 1.2 inning outing allowing three hits, one earned run and two walks against two strikeouts.

Wade Davis recorded his 14th save, but it did not come easy. He hit Jose Pirela, walked Yangervis Solarte then moved them into scoring position with a wild pitch. But, Davis emerged unscathed with a strikeout for the Cubs.

Michael Bush did not finish with the same luck as Davis giving up three hits, two earned runs and two walks with a strikeout during his third blown save of the year. This marks the third time in six June outings Bush has allowed a run. Keone Kela received the night off after working in the previous two games but owns a 1.59 ERA over his last 17 innings with 25 strikeouts, six hits and six walks against. Roberto Osuna locked down his 18th save in a clean inning and he’s notched 13 of his last 14 save opportunities.

Kelvin Herrera saved his 16th game and third in four days giving up a hit. Herrera lowered his ERA in save chances to 2.55 in his appearance. Ken Giles turned in a clean inning for his 17th save.

Hitter Highlights

Cleveland had their way with the Orioles, who have given up 91 runs over the last nine days. Jason Kipnis finished 2-for-3 with his eighth home run and a walk. Edwin Encarnacion scored four runs with a double, an RBI and walked twice. Lonnie Chisenhall recorded three hits with a double and two RBI. Carlos Santana capped a perfect game with two hits in as many at-bats, his ninth home run, three RBI and walked twice. But, they all take a back seat to Jose Ramirez who became the first player since 1900 with 14 extra-base hits over a seven game span. Ramirez turned in his seventh straight multiple hit game with two doubles and a triple. He has hit 10 doubles, a triple, and three home runs during his past seven games hitting .575 (19-for-33).

Scooter Gennett continues to produce with a double and his ninth home run with two RBI and a walk. Hitting in front of Votto will do wonders for a player’s fantasy value. Speaking of which, Joey Votto finished 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Scott Schebler launched his 19th home run and walked twice. Steven Souza tried to answer for the Rays, who fell short, but Souza did hit his 14th home run. Daniel Robertson (the infielder) added his fifth of the year with two RBI.

Trea Turner, Ryan Raburn (two runs) and Michael Taylor (two RBI) all recorded two hits in the Nationals loss. Bryce Harper (18) and Anthony Rendon (13) homered as well. Dee Gordon stayed hot with two more hits, a run and stole two bases (27) in the Marlins win. Giancarlo Stanton went yard (18) and stole his first base of the season. Justin Bour launched a grand slam, his 18th home run this year, driving in four. Marcell Ozuna, who also has 18 home runs, hit the walk-off single for the win.

Ender Inciarte has been quiet of late, but went 3-for-4 in Atlanta’s win with a double, an RBI and a walk. Matt Adams homered for the 10th time as a Brave in his 103rd at-bat with the team raising his season total to 11 while the Cardinals search for a clean-up hitter. Odd how things work out? Dansby Swanson went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. He’s hitting .328/.389/.484 in June. Johan Camargo recorded two hits, scored two runs and drove in one.

Adam Frazier singled in two runs, and Gregory Polanco registered two hits with an RBI. Andrew McCutchen continues to shine hitting sixth for Pittsburgh with his 13th home run and three RBI. During his 22 games batting sixth, McCutchen has scored 19 runs with seven home runs and 20 RBI with a .378 average, 1.172 OPS, .341 ISO and .479 wOBA, mercy. Travis Shaw added his 13th home run for the Brewers providing their only run.

Jose Pirela hit his third home run, and Yangervis Solarte added his 10th of the year among his two hits. Anthony Rizzo continues to reach base hitting lead-off and finished 2-for-3 with a triple. Willson Contreras responded to hitting cleanup with his sixth home run.

Josh Donaldson went 1-for-4, but scored a run and stole his first base of the year with an RBI. Jose Bautista hit his 12th home run, and Justin Smoak added three hits with his 20th homer. Steve Pearce added a three RBI double, and Kendrys Morales drove in the go ahead run in the ninth. Elvis Andrus went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI, Nomar Mazara hit his ninth home run, and Adrian Beltre drove in three with a double.

Jackie Bradley Jr. finished 2-for-4 with his ninth home run driving in both Red Sox runs. Over his last 33 games, Bradley’s hitting .316/.418/.596 with seven home runs and 24 RBI. Lorenzo Cain extended his personal hit streak to seven games, and he’s hitting .373/.417/.776 in June with 19 runs, 10 extra-base hits and 17 RBI. Eric Hosmer launched his eighth home run with two RBI and two walks.

Houston’s George Springer hit his 20th home run, and it marks his ninth with 16 RBI over his last 17 games. Derek Fisher hit his second home run and was rewarded with a trip back to Triple-A with Josh Reddick slated to return on Tuesday. Jake Marisnick hit his ninth dinger, drove in two, and walked once. Marisnick hit five home runs in 311 plate appearances last year, but now has nine in 108 this season.

Ian Kinsler went 1-for-3 with a double, RBI, and two walks. Guillermo Heredia put the Mariners on the board with his fifth home run, but Mike Zunino stole the show with two more home runs (9) and four RBI. Zunino is on a seven game hit streak going 12-for-28 (.429) with five home runs and 13 RBI. He leads the American League in RBI for the month of June with 26, and since his recall he is hitting .338 (27-for-80) with 13 runs, five doubles, nine home runs and 28 RBI.

A home run derby broke out in Los Angeles with Jay Bruce (19), Jose Reyes, twice (6) and Gavin Cecchini (1) striking for the Mets. Los Angeles answered with Justin Turner (4) and Chris Taylor (9) along with the two by Bellinger mentioned earlier. Turner’s on a 14-game hit streak dating back to May 13th, sandwiched around his stint on the disabled list. During the streak Turner is 26-for-51 (.510) with 10 runs, three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. Taylor added his eighth stolen base as well.

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Greg Jewett

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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