Fantasy Forward: We’re going streaking with Sale and the Rangers

Although the Astros seem to be cruising with a six and a half game lead, the Rangers in the rear view mirror seem to be getting closer, riding the wave of a 10 game win streak. Texas has won games on walk-offs, decent starting pitching, and if the offense rounds into shape with Adrian Beltre to return next month, things could be interesting in the American League West.

Chris Sale matched his own eight game streak with 10 or more strikeouts from 2015. He has struck out 95 batters in 65.2 innings of work this year with only 13 walks allowed. Injuries continue with the Dodgers placing Justin Turner on the 10-day disabled list, and Yasiel Puig tweaked his lower back on a swing last night. Puig hopes to avoid the disabled list – stay tuned. Both Pablo Sandoval and Trevor Story hit the rehab trail. Off to the recaps.

Hitter Highlights

Despite being dropped in the batting order, Maikel Franco extended his modest hit streak to six with two hits in Pittsburgh last night. Cameron Rupp launched his fourth home run in the ninth inning off of Tony Watson; teams still do not realize a closer “getting work” does not work.

Josh Bell became the first Pirates player to hit a home run in the first inning of his first start as the cleanup hitter. He followed up with a 2-for-4 game yesterday hitting second with a run and an RBI.

Migration to the mean continues for Devon Travis who recorded three more hits including his 15th double of the season and an RBI in a loss to the Orioles. Welington Castillo finished with his third straight three-hit performance off the disabled list with two home runs. He is nine for his last 15 with seven RBIs.

Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Mark Reynolds, Carlos Gonzalez and Alexi Amarista all recorded multi-hit games in Cincinnati. Arenado added his 11th home run and Amarista homered with four RBI. Opposing them, Eugenio Suarez hit his eighth home run of the season, has 25 RBI, two stolen bases with a .302 average.

Mets have to keep Michael Conforto in the lineup when Yoenis Cespedes returns, right? Conforto’s one home run away from his career best in a season, hitting his 11th last night, and he’s the only active Met with an OPS over 1.000.

Matt Holliday was a recommendation in a hitter start and sit column for this week, and he responded with a double and his eighth home run. His home run came against a pitch at 100.2 MPH. Aaron Judge stole his fourth base. For the Rays, Evan Longoria went 4-for-5 with two run, a double and an RBI. They need him to heat up.

Joey Gallo became the second player in history to hit 20 home runs among his first 50 career hits when he launched his 13th home run of the season last night. Mark McGwire was the other player who recorded 22 home runs in his first 50 at-bats. This stat’s courtesy of ELIAS. Mike Napoli added his ninth home run in the game as well.

Nationals Daniel Murphy homered for the second straight game. He’s hitting .325 with eight on the year. Dansby Swanson is heating up; he’s 10 for his last 30 with three home runs.

While this may seem evergreen, Edwin Encarnacion is due for a power surge. He hit his seventh home run last night and hit a foul ball 111 MPH. Although he can be streaky, he may carry the parrot a few times in the next few days. Jason Kipnis hit lead-off again with two hits and his third home run. Under appreciated Lonnie Chisenhall hit his fifth home run of the year.

Carlos Correa is hot right now. For the month of May he’s hitting .383 with 17 runs, four home runs and 16 RBI with 11 walks. Teammate Josh Reddick added his sixth home run of the year.

St. Louis lost in walk-off fashion, but have to be encouraged by Dexter Fowler’s triple and home run (6) with a walk and three RBI.

Mitch Moreland hit his fourth home run, but lost the duel to Mark Canha’s walk-off homer to lead the A’s to a comeback victory. Canha finished a single shy of a cycle.

In the Diamondbacks onslaught last night. David Peralta returned to the lineup with two hits and his fourth home run. Jake Lamb left the yard twice (11 home runs) with five RBI, and Brandon Drury went 2-for-5 with his fourth home run. Jered Weaver may need to have game ready on his neck after not making it out of the first inning.

Jose Abreu went 3-for-5 in Seattle with his eighth home run to push his average to .270 this year.

Chris Taylor will stay in the lineup with Justin Turner on the disabled list. He finished 3-for-4 with a double and his fifth home run. Cody Bellinger hit his eighth as well during the Dodgers win.

Starting pitcher observations

Aaron Sanchez made progress with six innings of work, six hits allowed, three earned runs, two walks and four strikeouts against the Orioles who usually kill him.

Jacob deGrom turned in an ace performance, but did have a blister late in his start. He worked seven shutout innings giving up four hits and three walks with nine strikeouts.

In a surprising duel, Luis Severino pitched 5.2 innings with five hits and three walks allowed for an earned run and seven strikeouts. Erasmo Ramirez pitched 5.1 innings allowing six hits, one walk and two earned runs with five strikeouts. Neither pitcher factored in the decision.

Trevor Bauer’s all or nothing season happened again beating the Astros in Houston giving up three earned in 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts.

Royals surprise starter Nate Karns seemed to be on his way to a quality, start but left after the fifth inning with forearm stiffness. Monitor this closely.

As part of the Diamondbacks huge win, Taijuan Walker pitched six shutout innings giving up two hits and three walks with three strikeouts for his fourth win.

Jose Quintana added to his trade resume with eight strong innings in Seattle allowing one hit, one walk and one earned run against seven strikeouts.

Someone has to go from the Dodgers rotation when Kenta Maeda returns, but it will not be Alex Wood. He pitched 7.1 efficient innings giving up six hits, no earned runs, two walks while striking out four.

Bullpen musings

Addison Reed recorded his fifth save with a clean inning. Alex Colome struck out one for his 11th save. Giants closer Mark Melancon notched his seventh save giving up a hit after Seung-Hwan Oh blew his second save of the year allowing three hits and a walk with two earned runs.

Kelvin Herrera struggled, giving up a pinch-hit two run home run to Kennys Vargas to take the loss in Minnesota. Brandon Kintzler vultured the win with an inning pitched and a hit allowed.

Shawn Kelley pitched in the seventh inning of an eventual loss giving up a hit and two walks while striking out the side. If you understand the Nationals bullpen, please fill me in. Edwin Diaz pitched two innings giving up two hits with two strikeouts with zero walks. He adjusted his leg kick and release point. Do not give up on him yet.

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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