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Fantasy Forward: It’s deja vu all over again

Taking a pitcher early in drafts proves to be an inherent risk, and those who took Clayton Kershaw in the top-five will wake up to their worst nightmare. Recurring back problems could be the only thing to take down this generation’s best pitcher. Clayton Kershaw’s velocity dropped over two MPH from the first inning to the second resulting in his departure from the game. He will be placed on the disabled list Monday morning with no time frame attached to his injury as of yet. More will be known in the days ahead.

If targeting Stephen Strasburg, accounting for potential time lost makes sense. Strasburg also left his start prior to pitching in the third due to arm stiffness? Apparently he could not get loose during his start. There’s no follow-up news as of this writing, but be sure a back-up plan is in place for the week ahead. All of this should make the Rangers happy as they start to shop their most popular rental, Yu Darvish. He has been linked to Los Angeles with Alex Verdugo being the apple of their eye.

Owners who stashed Rafael Devers will find out his worth. He will join the team and take over at third base despite the team reporting otherwise all season long. Desperation forces the hands of a team and Boston needs an enema. Perhaps the infusion of Devers will help prod a slumbering offense. Melky Cabrera left his game early with a toe injury insisting he will be able to return next game. Dallas Keuchel will rejoin the rotation, but who will be bumped? If looking at recent performance, the Astros could manage Lance McCullers innings using him in the bullpen, but this would be frowned upon by the fantasy community. Stay tuned, off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Rookies Sal Romano and Daniel Gossett each won their second game of the year. Romano fired a three-hitter at home giving up one earned run and a walk with seven strikeouts over six innings. Gossett allowed five hits, two earned runs, and two walks with six strikeouts on the road in New York. Rafael Montero took the loss, but pitched a quality start, striking out four in seven innings ceding three earned runs and seven hits.

Corey Kluber returned with a vengeance striking out 14 over 7.2 innings generating 22 swinging strikes. Kluber yielded five hits, one earned run and a walk for his eighth win.

Jared Eickhoff lasted six innings giving up three hits, two earned runs, and two walks with six strikeouts for his second win off of the disabled list.

Another rookie, Kyle Freeland, notched his 10th win allowing six hits, two earned runs, and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings.

What a difference a year makes. Rick Porcello is on pace to lose 20 after dropping his 13th decision despite a complete game effort on the road. Porcello gave up five hits, three earned runs, and a walk with six strikeouts. Parker Bridwell out performed the defending Cy Young winner lasting seven innings allowing five hits, two earned runs, and a walk with three strikeouts.

Dinelson Lamet won his fourth working 6.2 innings giving up eight hits, two earned runs, and a walk with six strikeouts on 17 swinging strikes. A fellow rookie, Sean Newcomb, pitched well on the road with nine strikeouts against the Dodgers on 19 swinging strikes, limiting them to three hits. He also walked five and gave up three earned runs in a no-decision.

Matt Boyd turned in a solid effort on Sunday striking out eight on 17 swinging strikes. Boyd allowed four hits, three earned runs and three walk on the way to his fourth win.

Fun fact: Jose Quintana owns the last win for the White Sox (July 8) and the Cubs, last night. Quintana pitched six innings allowing five hits, three earned runs and two walks with seven strikeouts.



Bullpen Musings

Raisel Iglesias saved his 17th game, pitching two innings and allowing a hit with a strikeout to lower his ERA to 1.46 on the season.

Santiago Casilla notched his 16th save giving up a hit. Jose LeClerc provided a much-needed day off for Alex Claudio and recorded his second save, yielding two walks along with striking out two. Brad Boxberger blew his first save of the year allowing three earned runs in an inning of work.

Both Chris Devenski and Luke Gregerson allowed the Orioles to score during their appearances highlighting the Astros needs in the bullpen. Zach Britton saved his first game since April 14th and set an American League record with his 55th straight save. He is auditioning for a contender, perhaps the team he worked against?

With Hector Neris needing the day off, Luis Garcia recorded his first save of the season. If tracking the Tigers, Shane Greene worked the seventh and Bruce Rondon the eighth. But, Rondon coughed up two runs needing Justin Wilson to pitch the last 1.1 innings for his 12th save. Wilson did allow a home run to Brian Dozier. Brandon Kintzler also struggled in this game, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks with only a strikeout in his appearance.

Tyler Clippard entered a tie game with a runner in scoring position and promptly served up the game winning hit. He’s not a closer kids. Kelvin Herrera benefited getting his third win working a clean top of the ninth with two strikeouts.

Bud Norris closed out his 15th save of the year with Blake Parker moving into the eighth inning. Brad Hand struck out the side for his third save, also auditioning for the scouts.

Tough day for Kenley Jansen. Losing his starter to injury, Jansen blew his first game of the year serving up a three-run home run to Matt Adams. Aroldis Chapman recorded his 11th save allowing two hits and striking out one. Wade Davis remained perfect in save chances en route to his 20th giving up a hit while striking out one.

Hitter Highlights

Dee Gordon went 1-for-4 with his 35th stolen base. A.J. Ellis led the offense with a double, his second home run, and two runs scored. Billy Hamilton tallied three hits, scored a run, and stole two bases (42,43). Scooter Gennett hit his 17th home run with two RBI, Eugenio Suarez hit hi 16th and Tucker Barnhart his third.

Marcus Semien launched his second home run, Khris Davis his 28th and Matt Chapman his fourth. Michael Conforto stayed hot with two hits and his 19th homer.

Adrian Beltre went 2-for-5 with a run and a double. He heads home needing 11 more hits to reach 3,000. Rougned Odor launched two home runs (18,19) and drove in three. Carlos Gomez hit his 13th homer and could be heating up as Texas heads home. Brad Miller went 1-for-3 with an RBI and walked twice. Mallex Smith tallied two hits, scored a run, doubled, and drove in two.

Kevin Pillar hit his 11th home run for Toronto’s only score. Francisco Lindor racked up three more hits, scored, and drove in one. Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 with his sixth home run and three RBI. Brandon Guyer drove in three with a double.

Jose Altuve extended his hit streak to 15 going 4-for-5 with a double, home run (15), three RBI, and stole his 21st base. Marwin Gonzalez tallied two more hits, scored a run, and walked twice. Nori Aoki also doubled, hit his second home run, and drove in three. Adam Jones finished 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Jonathan Schoop continues to rake with three more hits, scored two runs, and drove in one. Mark Trumbo doubled and launched his 17th homer. Trey Mancini added two hits, scored, doubled and drove in two.

Trying to bounce back this year, Jonathan Villar went 1-for-4 with a run, two RBI, and stole his 19th base. Ryan Braun doubled and drove in one. Howie Kendrick finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Nick Williams walked and hit his fourth home run driving in three.

Ian Kinsler recorded three hits, scored a run, doubled, drove in two, and walked. Justin Upton doubled twice, drove in one, walked, and stole his ninth base. James McCann also doubled twice and scored two runs. Alex Presley extended his hit streak to 10 going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Jose Iglesias went upper tank for his third home run driving in three. Brian Dozier doubled and hit his 16th home run. Eduardo Escobar hit a two-run home run, his ninth.

Adam Engel doubled in three runs. Jose Abreu went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Whit Merrifield homered twice (9,10) along with a walk atop the Royals lineup. Jorge Bonifacio hit his 13th homer and Eric Hosmer his 15th.

Starling Marte tallied two hits and drove in one. Josh Harrison racked up three hits and scored a run. David Freese hit his seventh homer. Charlie Blackmon keeps producing, going 3-for-5 and hitting his 24th homer run driving in two. Nolan Arenado went 2-for-5 scoring a run and driving in three. Trevor Story hit his 13th, Mark Reynolds launched two homers (21,22), and Pat Valaika added his eighth home run.

Hanley Ramirez hit his 16th homer. Mike Trout answered with his 19th for the Angels along with Andrelton Simmons (11th) and Luis Valbuena’s (9th).

Wil Myers homered for the third straight game, his 20th of the year. Jabari Blash doubled in two runs and scored one. Hector Sanchez tormented his team once again with two more hits, a double, and an RBI. Denard Span doubled and scored a run.

Matt Adams hit a three-run home run, his 16th dinger of the year. Cody Bellinger hit his 27th, Austin Barnes his sixth for three RBI, and Logan Forsythe added two hits including the walk-off winner.

Brett Gardner launched his 17th home run, and Didi Gregorius doubled his pleasure with two homers (13,14). Nelson Cruz went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Kyle Seager doubled twice.

Brian Goodwin led off with his ninth home run. Wilmer Difo hit his second homer and scored two runs. Bryce Harper moved his personal hit streak to 16.

Paul DeJong and Randal Grichuk each hit their 12th home run. Grichuck drove in two. Jason Heyward went 1-for-4 with a run, double and an RBI. Kris Bryant tallied two hits, scored, doubled and drove in one. Willson Contreras hit his 15th home run driving in two, and Kyle Schwarber also hit his 15th homer, a solo shot.

Statistical Credits: Fangraphs.com, BaseballSavant.com

I’ll be on a service trip to Camden, New Jersey this week, so the columns will run if time allows. They may be abridged.

 

Be sure to head over to FantasyRundown.com for the latest free links across all fantasy formats to stay ahead of your competition.

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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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