Fantasy Forward: Sale-ing into history with strikeouts on a Saturday

While the disabled list monster seemed to take a day off, Jeurys Familia will be out for three-to-four months after surgery. This moves Addison Reed to the closer role once again, but the bridge to him remains slippery due to a shaky bullpen evidenced in the meltdown in Milwaukee last night. In this same game, Asdrubal Cabrera re-aggravated his thumb. Monitor his status going forward, but the Amed Rosario excitement-o-meter did not go off the rails last night with the fan base.

Before doing the recaps, none of us would be here without our Mom. It’s more than a day to have teams wear pink. Be sure to take time to reflect on the love they share with us, our children, and families throughout the year.

Starting pitching observations

In spite of his record, Chris Sale has been the best pitcher in the American League this season. He has struck out at least 10 in seven straight starts to join Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers since 1913 to do so.

World Baseball Classic hero Marcus Stroman turned in a second solid performance, but did not factor in the decision on Saturday. His quality start featured nine strikeouts with two earned runs allowed to lower his ERA to 3.33.

Carlos Martinez outlasted Jon Lester for the win in St. Louis with seven strikeouts and 13 swinging strikes. Lester generated 14 swinging strikes during the loss and opined about the slide rule affects on the outcome.

Giants pitcher Matt Moore could be morphing into a home stream with a strong performance in San Francisco, striking out seven in 7.1 innings of work allowing eight hits, one earned run, and one walk. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Julio Teheran won in Miami to lower his road ERA to 0.71 in four starts against a 8.14 ERA at his new home park, also in four outings.

Twins fans and keeper league owners rejoice, Jose Berrios returned to the majors and did not disappoint. Berrios won in Cleveland working 7.2 innings giving up two hits, one earned run, and one walk with four strikeouts. Command will be a key, and this proves to be an encouraging 2017 debut.

Alex Wood’s breakout started last year, but seems lost on many due to his injury issues. After striking out 10 in Colorado over six shutout innings with 14 swinging strikes, it’s time to buy into his season for as long as it lasts. Many will see the Tyler Anderson loss, but he produced 16 swinging strikes with his change providing 10 of them, and he missed a quality start by one-third of an inning. Those in deeper leagues may still speculate on the southpaw.

Trevor Cahill turned in a quality start against the White Sox with eight hits allowed, four runs (three earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. His ERA stands at 3.27, but he needs to cut down on the wild pitches moving forward. Opposing him, Dylan Covey never struck out more than eight in any level of his professional career, but he whiffed nine Padres before reaching the fifth inning. Baseball’s a funny game.

Nate Karns appeared on many waiver wire lists this weekend for good reason. He recorded 12 strikeouts in five innings of work against the Orioles with 17 swinging strikes from his knuckle-curve and 18 total in the game. Allowing two home runs to Baltimore’s third string catcher cost him a win.

Bullpen musings

Suddenly the National have a bullpen again with both Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover returning from the disabled list. Kelley garnered the relief win during Bryce Harper’s walk-off home run with Glover recording four outs from the seventh through the eighth innings. Treat them like closer 1A (Kelley) and 1B (Glover) moving forward.

If not for Chris Sale, perhaps the season Craig Kimbrel is having would not be overshadowed. He saved game number 11 with two strikeouts and his ERA dropped to 1.08.

Seung-Hwan Oh reached double-digits with save number 10, as did Brandon Kintzler. Derek Law recorded his second post-Melancon disabled list save, and third of the year with only a walk allowed.

Both Jim Johnson (6) and Kelvin Herrera (7) notched saves for struggling teams last night, and Matt Bush struck out in a clean inning of work for his third save.

Tony Watson allowed a home run to Nick Ahmed but recovered for his eighth save, and Justin Wilson struck out the side for his second save, but his first as the closer.

Hitter highlights

If Jose Bautista hit the waivers in your league and for some reason’s still there, it’s time to speculate. He’s homered three times over the last four game, and also doubled last night and should be hitting over .200 soon. His protection in the lineup returned with Kendrys Morales hitting his seventh home run as well.

Mookie Betts keeps on surging with two more hits, his sixth home run, and three RBI on Saturday.

Much ballyhooed rookie Ian Happ made his major league debut and homered for the Cubs. Many question his defense, but he started in right field and hit second in the batting order. For the Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko launched his seventh home run during the win, and over the last 98 games, he’s hit 30 homers.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt reached McCovey Bay with his sixth home run of the year. Should fantasy owners be taking note of Devin Mesoraco? He hit his first double of the season and stole a base. Waiver wire hero, Scott Schebler, hit his tenth home run of 2017.

During the Twins win, Brian Dozier went 1-for-2 with two walks, but was caught twice trying to steal a base. Since he tweaked his right knee on April 14th, he’s struggled to steal and been thrown out in four of his last five attempts. Max Kepler did hit his third home run, but he has underwhelmed to this point.

After the early power surge, Cesar Hernandez may be settling in. He’s still hitting .324 and stole his sixth base of the season last night. Tommy Joseph finished 2-for-3 and has multiple hits in four of his last six game and a hit in five of six to raise his average from .187 to .255 in this short span.

Both Trea Turner (3) and Bryce Harper (11) homered for the Nationals who walked off with the win over a beleaguered Phillies bullpen.

For the third straight game, Justin Bour homered for the Marlins. He is up to seven on the year, and yesterday’s occurred against a southpaw reliever. Stay tuned. Miami’s slated to face a bevy of left-handed pitching this week.

Neil Walker loves Miller Park and moved his modest hit streak to five with his fourth home run and second in as many days. Prior to the five game streak, Walker’s average cratered to .207; he’s up to .242 after yesterday’s action.

Manuel Margot seems to be enjoying inter-league play. He went 3-for-5 on Saturday with his fourth home run and fifth stolen base. Wil Myers launched his 10th home run, and Rule 5 pick Allen Cordoba hit his third home run raising his average to .283. Keeper league and deep league player take note.

Chris Davis hit his fifth home run for the Orioles, but was upstaged by Francisco Pena’s two dinger day.

For the Yonder Alonso crowd, he hit his 12th home run and is hitting .302 with a 1.077 OPS in the middle of May.

Always under appreciated Elvis Andrus moved to second in the order, finished 2-for-4 with three RBI (16), and stole his seventh base in a win for the Rangers.

There’s no surprise Paul Goldschmidt hit his eighth home run. However, when Nick Ahmed hits two, one raises an eyebrow. Pena and Ahmed with two home run nights? Baseball, always fun to predict.

For those who remained patient with J.D. Martinez, his two home run game should prove elating. He pushed the Tigers to a win on the road with Justin Upton pitching in with his eighth home run. In this same game, Mike Trout reached base in all four plate appearances with two hits, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and his 10th home run. Teammate Albert Pujols tied Carl Yastrzemski for 11th on the all-time RBI ranks. Congrats Albert.

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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