Fantasy Forward: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

On a wild Friday of baseball, Chris Sale once again stood out as an ace, firing six shutout inning against the Angels on the road while striking out nine and becoming the fourth pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in 20 or fewer starts. He joins Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson (three times) and Nolan Ryan as pitchers to achieve this feat. Sale is averaging 10 strikeouts per start this year. Max Scherzer’s return to Arizona did not go nearly as well. He allowed three consecutive solo home runs to start the game and finished with five earned runs over five innings, but with nine strikeouts.

Trying to raise Trevor Cahill’s trade stock, the Padres hoped a start in San Francisco would accomplish it. Cahill struggled out of the gate and only finished 3.2 innings, giving up seven hits, six runs (five earned) and four walks with one strikeout. He’s battled consistency and injury issues this year so a team will need to be desperate to take him on with the trade deadline looming. But, most contenders need to bolster their pitching staffs.

Alex Wood entered last night’s match-up versus his old franchise yielding six runs over his last 62 innings spanning 10 starts. Atlanta scored nine runs in 4.2 innings against Wood. Try to explain or predict baseball – it’s never easy. Also, the Twins did not complete a trade for Jaime Garcia who defeated the Dodgers for his fourth win and hit a grand slam. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Jake Arrieta continued his strong start to the second half settling for a no-decision after his bullpen imploded. Arrieta struck out six over six innings giving up two earned runs for a quality start.

Mike Fiers won his seventh game holding the red-hot Orioles to one run in seven innings allowing six hits and one walk with nine strikeouts.

At one point, Aaron Nola struck out eight of nine consecutive hitters en route to his seventh win. Over seven innings he yielded five hits, one earned run, and two walks with nine strikeouts on 15 swinging strikes.

It feels like the other shoe will drop on Jose Urena at any time, but he won his eighth game. Urena held the Reds to three hits, one earned run, and two walks with four strikeouts.

This will be the second time Nolan Ryan is mentioned in this article. Yu Darvish struck out 12 in Tampa Bay and sits second in team history with 32 10-plus strikeout games to Ryan’s 34. Darvish worked eight innings, giving up five hits, three earned runs (all solo home runs), and a walk with a whopping 28 swinging strikes. If the Rangers decide to sell, he should net a nice package of prospects despite being a rental. Alex Cobb turned in a solid outing as well working eight innings allowing five hits, three earned runs, and striking out four.

C.C. Sabathia won his ninth game (not a typo) working five innings giving up four hits, one earned run, and three walks with five strikeouts.

Bullpen Musings

After the Astros bullpen struggled, Ken Giles picked up his 21st save striking out the only batter he faced. Hector Neris worked a clean ninth inning in a non-save appearance with a strikeout.

A.J. Ramos notched his 18th save with a clean outing. Kyle Barraclough ascended to the eighth inning and recorded his 14th hold, giving up a hit with two strikeouts.

A rough appearance for Addison Reed. He has been used for multiple innings often of late, and after allowing a hit and walk versus two batters, Terry Collins yanked him. Jerry Blevins saved his first game working the last 1.2 innings with two strikeouts. This bullpen will be in flux in the days ahead with Reed and Blevins on the trade market.

Although Keone Kela is off the disabled list, Alex Claudio worked the ninth in a tied game and then the 10th to finish it. He only needed 19 pitches to finish two innings. He is the arm to own in this bullpen right now. Alex Colome did not get a blown save, but did allow the tying runs to score after Cobb allowed two base runners to start the ninth inning. Brad Boxberger took the loss giving up a run in the 10th.

Justin Wilson saved his 11th game walking one and striking out one. Bruce Rondon worked the eighth inning?

It only took one game for White Sox fans to understand why the Yankees fan base tired of Tyler Clippard. He absorbed his sixth loss this year allowing two hits, one earned run, and a walk while only recording one out.

Ryan Madson once again worked the eighth inning for the Nationals in a bullpen which all reports said would be match-up based. Enny Romero entered to face a left-handed hitter and took the loss. Fernando Rodney garnered the win working a clean top of the ninth with a strikeout.

Rough night as well for Brandon Maurer of the Padres. He served up a three-run home run blowing his third save. It’s hard to stick with him, but the blow-ups like this one make it difficult to notice he is good otherwise.

Hitter Highlights

Matt Carpenter doubled, scored a run, and drove in one. Tommy Pham continues to rake going 2-for-4 with two runs, a double, and two RBI with a walk. Dexter Fowler tallied three hits with a run and an RBI. Randal Grichuk hit his 10th home run driving in two, and Carson Kelly joined the team going 1-for-5 with his first two RBI of this season. Ben Zobrist went 3-for-5 with a run, and Willson Contreras hit his 14th home run and fifth of July.

George Springer finished 3-for-5 with a run and stole his fourth base. Yulieski Gurriel recorded the first four hit game of his career including a double and his 12th home run to drive in two. Brian McCann hit his 12th home run. Making his season debut, Colin Moran doubled and hit his first home run with two RBI. Take note, Alex Bregman played shortstop this game with Moran at third. Both could be values at these positions. With the Orioles adrift in the standings, many seem to overlook Jonathan Schoop’s breakout. He hit his 20th home run, drove in four, and hitting .303 with a .898 OPS on July 21st.

Brett Phillips hit a solo shot, his second, accounting for the Brewers only run. Freddy Galvis hit his 11th home run and drove in three with a sacrifice fly as well. Tommy Joseph hit a two-run double to break the game open.

Giancarlo Stanton doubled, scored a run, and walked. Christian Yelich went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a walk. Eugenio Suarez tallied two hits for the Reds along with a Scooter Gennett double.

Rajai Davis led off with a southpaw on the mound going 2-for-3 with two runs and his 18th stolen base. Marcus Semien went 4-for-5 with two RBI and his sixth steal. If Travis d’Arnaud is catching the A’s will be running. Ryon Healy went 2-for-3 with an RBI, but left the game after taking a ground ball off his temple. Michael Conforto’ s heating up again with two home runs (17,18) and four RBI. Yoenis Cespedes racked up three hits among the storm he created by saying he hopes to finish his career in Oakland. T.J. Rivera went 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Shin Soo-Choo hit his 14th home run. Elvis Andrus recorded three hits including his 12th home run with two RBI. Mallex Smith homered for the second time along with stealing his 14th base. Corey Dickerson hit his 18th homer, and Brad Miller knocked in his fourth.

Jose Bautista, Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki all doubled with Smoak driving in a run. Bradley Zimmer led off going 1-for-4 with a run, two RBI, and a walk. Edwin Encarnacion racked up three hits with a double and his 20th home run, driving in four. Abraham Almonte tripled and hit his third home run with three RBI.

Victor Martinez launched two home runs (7,8) with three RBI. Mikie Mahtook went 2-for-3 with a triple. Nick Castellanos recorded two hits, a double, and a run scored. Miguel Sano went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

The Yoan Moncada era at second started in fine fashion with a triple and four RBI. His average may temper his upside for fantasy, but the blend of power and speed speaks to his upside. Whit Merrifield doubled, drove in two, and stole his 16th base. Mike Moustakas launched his 26th home run. Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 with three RBI as well.

Starling Marte finished with two hits, scored four runs, and stole two bases (3,4). Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with three runs, drove in three, and walked twice. Josh Bell doubled, tripled, and drove in four runs. Jordy Mercer added his ninth home run. Francisco Cervelli tallied three hits. Nolan Arenado stayed hot with two hits and his 22nd home run, driving in two.

Bryce Harper extended his hit streak to 14 games with a double, scored a run and walked twice. Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Wilmer Difo added a hit with a run scored and two RBI. David Peralta (10), A.J. Pollock (4) and Jake Lamb (23) started the game with back-to-back-to-back home runs in the top of the first. Pollock added a triple and scored three runs.

Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and RBI. Jackie Bradley Jr. also doubled with a run scored driving in one. Martin Maldanado hit his 11th home run and scored twice for the Angels.

Josh Camargo recorded two hits, scored two runs with a double and an RBI. Freddie Freeman hit his 18th home run and Tyler Flowers drove in four along with hitting his eighth homer. Kike Hernandez tripled among his two hits, scored twice and driving in one.

Aaron Judge broke Statcast with his 31st home run to retake the major league lead in the category. Judge finished with four RBI. Clint Frazier made a terrific catch, doubled, scored a run and drove in one trying to cement his role with the team.

Jose Pirela and Carlos Asuaje each recorded four hits with three RBI. Hector Sanchez hit his seventh home run with two RBI as he continues to torment his former team. Wil Myers launched his 18th home run as well. Brandon Crawford went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Hunter Pence finished 3-for-4 driving in two.

Statistical Credits:,,


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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