Fantasy Forward: Sanchez back to DL and he’s taking Dallas with him

While the Dodgers continue to manipulate the disabled list with their pitching staff, the Blue Jays continue to bring Aaron Sanchez back too soon. He returned to the injured designation for the third time this year due to his finger issues. Regression seemed imminent for the young starter, but not having him may hurt his fantasy owners more. Monster bounce back candidate and one of three front-runners to start the All-Star game for the American League landed on the disabled list with a neck issue. Dallas Keuchel maintains he will only miss one start, but monitor closely.

Chicago activated Jason Heyward off the disabled list, but Ian Happ stayed with the team. Russell Martin also returned to the Blue Jays and played in his first game back. To no one’s surprise, Jered Weaver moved to the disabled list with a hip injury. He’s had prior issues, so this may not be a short stay – much to the disappointment of National League West hitters. Now for the recaps.

Hitter Highlights

Oakland played home run derby with the Red Sox with Jed Lowrie going 3-for-5 with his sixth home run, Mark Canha hitting his second in two days and third of the year, Khris Davis launched his 13th, and Chad Pinder hit a bomb for his fourth of the year. Trying to answer, Hanley Ramirez finished 2-for-4 with his sixth long ball of 2017.

Still overlooked, Cesar Hernandez continues to hit with a 2-for-4 day, two runs scored, and his average is still above .300. Another waiver wire flier, Adam Frazier went 3-for-5 with a run, two RBI, and stole his first base as the Pirates lead-off hitter since his return. David Freese hit his fourth home run in a 2-for-3 afternoon.

While fantasy owners gush about the promotion of Bradley Zimmer, who did steal his first base yesterday, Lonnie Chisenhall homered for the second straight day for six on the year with a .279 average and .921 OPS.

A slug fest in Cincinnati with the Rockies and Reds scoring a combined 20 runs. Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-5 with a run, RBI and his third stolen base while Carlos Gonzalez continues to heat up with the bat. The buy low window on the Rockies CarGo may expire by the end of next week. Eugenio Suarez hit his ninth home run with two runs, two RBI and two walks to fill the stat sheet. Catcher Devin Mesoraco finished 2-for-4 with his second home run and raised his average to .289 as he rounds into form.

New York lost its first game in which Aaron Judge homered; it was the slugger’s 15th home run. Corey Dickerson hit two to raise his total to 11 on the year with a .343 average and 1.033 OPS – apparently he can hit away from Coors, though it took a year to adjust. More important for the Rays, Evan Longoria seems to be heating up with two more hits and his sixth home run.

Both Tyler Flowers (2) and Matt Kemp (8) homered in the Braves win over the Nationals. Each player is still hitting over .300 – this is not a typo.

Not too much to be excited about in the Angels and Mets game, but the two lead-off hitters walked a total of five times with Cameron Maybin taking two free passes and Michael Conforto walking three times. Jose Reyes hit second with a 3-for-4 night and stole his fifth base to move over the Mendoza line.

Texas lost its 10-game win streak, but Jonathan Lucroy did hit his third home run. Alex Avila continues his renaissance with a 3-for-3 game with a double, his fifth home run and three RBI. Miguel Cabrera launched his fifth home run in his first game back from a sore side. J.D. Martinez still raking off the disabled list with his sixth home run, two runs, two walks, and is hitting .478. Nick Castellanos hit his first home run (4) since April 22nd, a span of 23 games. More will ensue soon.

The buy low window on Jose Bautista may be closing. He went 3-for-4 with his seventh home run and drove in three for the Blue Jays. Justin Smoak hit his 10th of the year, and Devon Travis recorded two hits, including his 16th double.

Manny Machado’s 2-for-4 night included his 10th home run. Mark Trumbo homered for the sixth time this year with three RBI to raise his average to .265, and Welington Castillo homered for the third time over the last two days driving in three.

Back from his injured back, David Peralta feasted again on right-handed pitching with a 4-for-5 day and will face six of them next week. Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb each had two hits with two runs and two RBI. Despite a lack of playing time, Chris Herrmann is heating up with a 2-for-5 performance and his fourth home run of the season.

All of the White Sox recorded multi-hit games except Willy Garcia who hit his first home run of the season. Avisail Garcia led the onslaught going 4-for-5 with two home runs (8), scoring three runs and driving in six (34 RBI on year). It’s May 21st and his OPS is 1.010.

Giancarlo Stanton responded to being thrown behind on Friday with a 3-for-5 day, all of which were doubles, and three RBI. J.T. Riddle went 3-for-5 with a double, home run (2) and four RBI. Riddle has hit in five of his last six starts going 9-for-21 (.429) with three runs, three doubles, one home run and five RBI.

Corey Seager hit his seventh home run, and Cody Bellinger his ninth in the loss for the Dodgers.

Starting pitcher observations

Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova improved to 4 – 3 on the year with a 2.63 ERA after working 7.1 innings allowing nine hits, three earned runs and striking out three Phillies. He did register 10 swinging strikes.

Pitching to stay in the rotation, Mike Clevinger hurled seven shutout innings, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and generated the most swinging strikes, on the day (14). Clevinger struck out eight, but he’s teased fantasy owners before.

Zack Wheeler won in spite of his wildness later on in his start. He walked and struck out five over five innings giving up two earned runs. The win moved his record to 3 – 2 on the year.

A pitcher’s duel in St. Louis with Jeff Samardzija lasting eight innings with eight strikeouts against Carlos Martinez who pitched nine with two hits allowed, one walk and five strikeouts. Neither pitcher factored in the decision. Take note, in 28.1 innings in May, Samardzija has struck out 36 batters with zero walks.

Justin Verlander worked seven innings giving up four hits, three earned runs, a walk, and five strikeouts for his fourth win of the year. He generated 13 swinging strikes, seven via the four-seam fastball.

Robbie Ray loves pitching on the road, tossing 7.2 shutout innings in San Diego to even his record at 3 – 3 with a 3.91 ERA. Ray struck out six with two hits allowed and three walks.

Bullpen Musings

Pirates closer Tony Watson turned in a clean inning of work for his ninth save. Cody Allen locked down his 12th save of the year giving up one hit in the process. Jim Johnson’s clean inning resulted in his eighth save.

Addison Reed did save his sixth game, but allowed a hit and two walks.

Brad Brach notched his ninth save with a strikeout in a clean inning. He should be considered the closer still with Darren O’Day pitching the eighth inning last night. Mark Melancon recorded back-to-back saves for the Giants and his eighth of the year.

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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