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Fantasy Forward: Will veteran pitchers bounce back in the second half?

Both Justin Verlander and Julio Teheran made for popular picks in preseason drafts due to pedigree and performance through the years. However, both seem to be struggling as the first half ends, forcing fantasy owners to try and discern how to handle them. Add in the reports the Braves could be shopping Teheran and things become more interesting. Why? Teheran’s home ERA this year is 7.58, while his road number drops to 2.53. His owners would love for him to shift from a road stream starter to one they can trust every time on the mound. Verlander showed signs of life last night, hitting 98 MPH on the radar gun and striking out his first batter in 40 hitters faced. He finished 6.2 innings, giving up six hits, one earned run, and four walks with six strikeouts in Cleveland after being shelled by them last time out. Verlander also finds himself in trade talks. 

On the injury front, Brandon Nimmo landed on the disabled list to pave the way for Michael Conforto to return to the Mets and appear in the All Star game. Of course, Conforto did not play on Saturday. Dads returned with Elvis Andrus, Josh Phegley, Chris Tillman and Carlos Santana coming back from the paternity list. Jurickson Profar and Franklin Barreto were optioned as a result. Matt Holliday went out on a rehab assignment. Austin Slater (groin) landed on the 10-day disabled list. Yasmani Grandal did leave the Dodgers game early last night. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Brent Suter turned in another strong performance for the Brewers, working 6.1 innings giving up five hits, two earned runs, and a walk with five strikeouts. Luis Severino whiffed 10 over seven innings allowing six hits, three earned runs and two walks with 13 swinging strikes generated. Neither pitcher factored in the decision, but each tallied a quality start.

Marcus Stroman quelled the hot Astros offense limiting them to one earned run on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Stroman also produced 13 swinging strikes en route to his ninth victory.

Wade Miley did not throw a quality start, but did get a win pitching 5.2 innings in Minnesota while allowing one earned run. He did cede eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts. It’s a silly category.

Jhoulys Chacin and Aaron Nola engaged in a pitchers duel with Chacin emerging with the win. Chacin tossed a three hitter over six innings, allowing two walks and striking out four. Nola struck out nine in eight innings, giving up four hits, two earned runs, and walking two. Nola’s 15 swinging strikes led the afternoon games.

Much maligned Rick Porcello pitched eight innings allowing six hits, one earned run, and struck out seven. He still lost his 11th game. Alex Cobb matched him with 7.2 shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts for his seventh win.

Zach Wheeler rebounded with a quality start in his loss to the Cardinals. Wheeler yielded eight hits, two earned runs, and one walk with five strikeouts over six innings. Adam Wainwright won his 10th, allowing five hits, one earned run, and striking out seven in 6.2 innings.

Ivan Nova recovered from back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to last 6.2 innings, giving up three hits, two earned runs, and one walk with six strikeouts for his ninth win.

Mike Clevinger pitched six shutout frames yielding three hits and two walks with four strikeouts to win his fifth game of the season out of 12 starts.

Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy did not factor in the decision, but each finished with a quality start. Kennedy lasted six innings allowing seven hits, three earned runs, and a walk with seven strikeouts. Brandon McCarthy left after the sixth inning with the lead, but the bullpen could not hold it. McCarthy did pitch six innings giving up six hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with a strikeout on a meager two swinging strikes.

Tyson Ross earned his second win going 5.2 innings, allowing four hits, one run, two walks and three strikeouts.

In Coors, Jose Quintana pitched well enough for a win with 10 strikeouts over 5.1 innings, but the bullpen did not hold the lead. Quintana held the Rockies to five hits, three earned runs, and two walks in the no-decision. This outing did not hurt his case as a pitcher to target in trade talks.

Rookie Luis Castillo shut down the Diamondbacks at home firing 6.2 shutout innings while giving up three hits and one walk with eight strikeouts on 12 swinging strikes for his first major league win.



Bullpen Musings

Corey Knebel has been fantastic as the Brewers closer, but he does struggle with command at times. He walked two prior to Clint Frazier’s walk-off home run. It was Knebel’s fourth blown save and his second loss of the year. Aroldis Chapman garnered the win, pitching the ninth and striking out the side. Dellin Betances also turned in a clean outing with a strikeout in the eighth for the beleaguered Yankees bullpen.

Brandon Maurer yielded a hit, but recorded his 19th save – his second in two days. It’s never easy of late, but Alex Colome did lock down save number 24 over 1.1 innings, giving up a hit and two walks with a strikeout. Seung-Hwan Oh may be wresting the closer job back with his 18th save, but he did give up two hits.

Felipe Rivero is morphing into an elite closer. He notched his sixth save, recording four outs while allowing a walk and striking out one. He has appeared in 44 games this year with a 0.76 ERA, 11 of those required more than three outs including three of his six saves.

Cody Allen did not get a save due to the Indians three-run eighth inning, but Andrew Miller took the eighth for his 18th hold. This will not be an easy situation to predict in the second half, but both relievers will maintain value.

With the bullpens factoring in the decision, Tommy Kahnle allowed a triple to Mark Reynolds, and his scored allowed the Rockies to tie the game. Then in the top of the ninth, Greg Holland allowed a home run to Tim Anderson providing David Robertson with the save chance. Robertson converted his 13th save in a clean inning with two strikeouts.

In a similar scenario, Sean Doolittle picked up a win in relief when Edwin Diaz allowed two hits, a walk, and an earned run in the ninth of a tie game in Seattle. Santiago Casilla benefited with his 15th save giving up a hit with a strikeout.

A.J. Ramos notched his 16th save, but it did not come easy. Ramos allowed two hits, a walk, and one earned run to the Giants.

Hitter Highlights

Although not many seem to be talking about him, Domingo Santana hit a three-run home run, his 15th of the year. Santana’s currently on pace for 97 runs, 27 home runs, 90 RBI and 16 stolen bases with a .291 average. Eric Thames doubled and scored a run while Travis Shaw singled, reached after being hit by a pitch, and scored a run scored as well. Clint Frazier hit his second major league home run and first walk-off, tripled, and drove in all four Yankees runs.

George Springer doubled, drove in one, and walked. Marwin Gonzalez hit his 16th home run. Russell Martin tallied two hits and scored twice. Josh Donaldson hit his ninth home run, drove in three, and walked three times. Justin Smoak doubled, scored, and drove in one. Troy Tulowitzki homered for the second straight day, his seventh, with three RBI.

Joey Rickard went 2-for-5 with a run and a double leading off for Baltimore. Manny Machado with another strong day going two for four with two runs, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Jonathan Schoop launched his 18th home run, and Mark Trumbo his 14th, each driving in two. Miguel Sano countered for the Twins hitting his 21st round tripper.

In a pitchers duel, Carlos Asuaje did triple, score a run and drive one in. Austin Hedges accounted for the other RBI for San Diego. Maikel Franco hit his 14th home run and third in his last six games.

Nick Markakis went 3-for-5 with four runs, a double, his fourth home run, and two RBI. Matt Adams hit a three-run blast, his 14th. Josh Camargo tallied three hits with two runs, a double and walked.

Jay Bruce went yard for the second straight day, his 23rd on the season, for the Mets only run. Tommy Pham singled, scored, and stole two bases (11). Paul DeJong continues to fly below the radar and if he takes over shortstop for the Cardinals, his power upside is worth tracking. DeJong went 4-for-4 with two runs, three doubles and his eight home run with two RBI.

Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, walked, and scored a run. Carlos Santana hit two doubles in his return with a run scored and an RBI. Bradley Zimmer tripled, scored a run, and drove one in.

Josh Bell tallied three hits, two doubles and a triple, and scored twice. Gregory Polanco hit his eighth home run with two RBI for the Pirates. Ian Happ (13) and Kyle Schwarber (13) went back-to-back in the fourth inning providing the Cubs with both of their runs.

Whit Merrifield went 2-for-5 with a run, double and an RBI. Salvador Perez launched his 18th home run among two hits and drove in two. Cody Bellinger tied the game with his 25th home run and first since June 25th. Then he drew the bases loaded walk for the walk-off win and his second RBI. Joc Pederson added his ninth home run. Chase Utley scored twice, stole his fourth base, singled, and walked.

Yunel Escobar hit his sixth home run for the Angels, but Adrian Beltre‘s seventh for the Rangers trumped him. Making his second start, Drew Robinson homered in as many games with his second along with two RBI.

Jose Abreu tallied two hits with a triple and scored a run. Yolmer Sanchez also tripled among his two hits, scoring a run and driving in two. Tim Anderson homered for the second straight day, his ninth, as did Nolan Arenado, his 17th. Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-5 with a run and stole his eighth base.

Christian Yelich doubled, scored a run, and drove in one with two hits. Marcell Ozuna also racked up two hits and drove in two runs. Justin Bour launched his 20th home run. Brandon Belt doubled twice and scored two runs with an RBI.

Billy Hamilton reached base four times with two hits and two walks, stealing three bases (37) and scoring a run. Joey Votto added to his National League home run lead hitting his 26th with three RBI. Scooter Gennett hit his career best 15th home run, before the break. Tucker Barnhart went 2-for-4 with two runs and his second home run.

Both Marcus Semien (1) and Yonder Alonso (20) homered for the A’s. Ryon Healy finished 2-for-4 with a run, double and RBI. Jean Segura doubled twice, scored once, and drove in one. He’s hitting .355 this year. Jarrod Dyson hit his fifth home run if anyone needs further evidence the baseballs could be juiced.

Here’s a couple of fun facts:

  • San Diego ensured their first winning road trip since June, 2016 with their win on Saturday.
  • Stephen Strasburg has made 174 career starts. He has failed to reach the fourth inning in 12 of them, five against the Braves after yesterday’s disaster.
  • Aaron Judge’s 11 opposite field home runs, lead the majors with four players tied for second with nine. By the way, Joey Votto’s second with 10, he’s still pretty good.
  • The Dodgers have won 25 of their last 29 games, and are now on pace for 109 wins – disabled list be damned.

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