Fantasy Forward: Injuries need to slow down, not Trout too, please?

A collective breath will be held as lineup lock approaches and word on what Mike Trout’s MRI to diagnose his thumb will reveal. As always with injuries, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Yoenis Cespedes’ setback further weakens outfield, so stay posted on both. Steven Matz did complete five perfect innings during his rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas along with eight strikeouts on only 73 pitches. Think the Mets could use him in the rotation? Jameson Taillon finished with six strikeouts in three innings of work. Hard not to root for him in his battle with cancer.

Madison Bumgarner will throw on Friday and progress as allowed. He will be asked to complete five rehab starts which translates to another spring training for Bumgarner. Kolten Wong landed on the disabled list due to lingering soreness in his elbow which could spell another lost season for the second baseman.

Think you’re having a bad week, Miguel Sano has struck out in nine consecutive at-bats, but snapped it with a hit in extra-innings. Speaking of a sigh of relief. For those who own Charlie Morton, he landed on the 10-day disabled list with a lat strain and Brad Peacock will pitch on Monday for Houston. He’s a speculative add for the week ahead.

Phillies made some moves activating Howie Kendrick and optioning Zach Eflin to the minors. They will announce a replacement starter later in the week. Kennys Vargas also finds himself back to riding buses after the Twins sent him to the minors after his 0-for-8 performance in the team’s longest game of the year in a 15 inning loss. He needs a change in scenery. In what was supposed to be a pitching duel, Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester combined to allow five home runs and 10 earned runs in a collective 7.2 innings of work. Humidor in Los Angeles? Just kidding.

Starting Pitching Observations

Here’s three pitching lines from yesterday, two pitchers won and the other took the loss.

  • Player A pitched 6.2 innings giving up three hits, two earned runs, three walks and struck out six with 15 swinging strikes.
  • Player B worked six innings giving up one earned run on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts with 11 swinging strikes.
  • Player C’s day featured 6.1 innings of work with five hits allowed, two earned runs, two walks and eight strikeouts with 11 swinging strikes.

Michael Pineda (Player A) and Lance McCullers (Player C) won, Andrew Triggs (Player B) did not.

While Lester and Kershaw struggled, Andrew Cashner and Joe Biagini locked horns in a duel in Rogers Centre with the roof open. I’m not making this up. Cashner garnered the win giving up five hits, one earned runs, two walks and struck out two to lower his ERA to 2.92 on the year. Take stock of his FIP before investing too heavily. Biagini may be morphing into a starter to own. He struck out seven in six innings of work as the team stretches him out, and he generated 15 swinging strikes, eight with his change. Interesting.

Continuing the bizarre pitching results, Josh Tomlin won a complete game against the Royals allowing a solo home run with three strikeouts and no walks. Chris Bergman twirled seven shutout innings in Boston allowing four hits, two walks and struck out two. He finished with four swinging strikes. Rick Porcello, who lost, produced 12 swinging strikes, but also 11 hits in 6.1 innings of work as his frustrating 2017 continues.

Break out the Jimmy Nelson bandwagon? Nelson struck out 10 Diamondbacks in seven innings of work giving up one earned run, seven hits and no walks. He generated 15 swinging strikes with eight on his four-seam fastball. His ERA dipped below four to 3.83 after the win.

Miguel Gonzalez carried a perfect game into the seventh inning. You catching on? He finished with three earned runs allowed over 7.2 innings giving up six hits with six strikeouts. German Marquez won his fourth game allowing eight hits in 5.2 innings with two earned runs and five strikeouts.

Johnny Cueto looked more like himself limiting the Braves to six hits in six innings with one earned run allowed, one walk and eight strikeouts.

Getting a much-needed win, Matt Harvey pitched six innings giving up six hits, one earned run, one walk with six strikeouts. He produced 10 swinging strikes.

Bullpen Musings

Since Dellin Betances worked 1.2 innings on Saturday, he needed a day off so Adam Warren filled in with Tyler Clippard struggling of late. Warren saved his first game of the year recording four outs. David Robertson only needed to get two outs for his seventh save, but fantasy owners never complain.

Matt Bush allowed two hits but notched his sixth save of the year. Seattle closer, again, Edwin Diaz, did not get a save but worked a clean inning in Boston with two strikeouts.

For those who spent precious FAAB on Brad Hand, yesterday had to be a punch in the stomach. Hand pitched a clean eighth inning with a strikeout and Brandon Maurer pitched the ninth for his sixth save in a clean appearance as well.

Tampa Bay’s marathon game forced Alex Colome to pitch two innings in relief, but he did net the win with Erasmo Ramirez getting his first save of the year in the 15th inning with two strikeouts. It was Brandon Kintzler blowing the save giving up three hits, two earned runs and a walk. His ERA rose to 2.78, but his FIP of 3.80 and xFIP of 4.01 hint at more migration to the mean.

Hitter Highlights

There’s no better slump buster than a grand slam, confirmed by Aaron Judge. His 16th home run puts his OPS at 1.101 with June only three days away. Gary Sanchez went 2-for-5 with a run, double and RBI. Khris Davis hit his 15th home run with two RBI for Oakland, and Yonder Alonso returned to the lineup.

Elvis Andrus, Jonathan Lucroy and Nomar Mazara all recorded multi-hit games, but it’s Joey Gallo’s 15th home run which will get all the attention.

With the Royals lineup struggling outside of Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez, Jorge Bonifacio flies under the radar with his seventh home run and .845 OPS. Keep in mind, he’s a reverse splits guy when using him in daily fantasy sports.

If the Angels lose Mike Trout for an extended period of time, look for Cameron Maybin to run like crazy and try to manufacture runs. Martin Maldanado makes for a nice second catcher with his .265 average and his fourth home run yesterday. J.T. Riddle liked his taste of leading off going 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, his third home run, and three RBI. Giancarlo Stanton added his 13th of the year with his OPS creeping up on .900.

Scott Schebler seems to be stealing some thunder in Cincinnati hitting his 15th home run, but Adam Duvall finished 3-for-4 on Sunday with two home runs and five RBI to raise his average to .275 on the season. Punt play Pat Kivlehan also hit two home runs for the Reds. Still wondering why Eflin’s back in the minors? For the Phillies, Andrew Knapp keeps pushing for more playing time at catcher and hit his third home run with three RBI in the loss.

All he does is hit home runs. Ryan Schimpf did it again with his 13th home run in the first inning with a .163 average. Allen Cordoba, Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero and Chase d’Arnaud all finished with two hits.

Could Robinson Cano be heating up and heading for a two-game set in Coors? Cano doubled, homered for the ninth time, and drove in two during Seattle’s win in Boston. Guillermo Heredia added his third home run with Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager all tallying two hits.

Another reverse splits guy, Brandon Drury went 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI for Arizona. His performance paled in comparison to Domingo Santana who launched a grand slam, his seventh home run this year, and scored three runs. Jesus Aguilar keeps his name in the forefront for more playing time with a 2-for-4 day to push his average to .298 and OPS to .930 for the Brewers.

With Adam Jones slumping, Jonathan Schoop hit second and launched his seventh home run as a part of his two hits on Sunday. Mark Trumbo also hit his seventh of 2017. George Springer loves hitting against the Orioles and homered for the second straight day to raise his seasonal total to 11. Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel all finished with two hits as well.

Using home runs to spur the offense, Melky Cabrera (5), Todd Frazier (6) and Matt Davidson (10) all hit one against the Tigers. How long can Jordan Zimmermann hold off Buck Farmer in the rotation? Could a phantom disabled list stint be looming for Zimmermann?

Setting the pace for the longest played game this year, the Rays and Twins accumulated many at-bats. Corey Dickerson went 4-for-8 with two runs and an RBI. Evan Longoria’s 2-for-6 day featured three runs, a double, his seventh home run, two walks and two RBI. Logan Morrison went back-to-back with Longoria in the 15th inning for his 14th home run and pushed his OPS to .907 this year. For the Twins, Joe Mauer set a career high reaching base seven times with four hits and three walks.

Coors can provide home runs, but not necessarily wins. Jedd Gyorko (8), Tommy Pham (5), Greg Garcia (1) and Paul De Jong (homered in his first major league at-bat) all hit one out, but the Cards took the loss to Colorado. The Rockies Gerardo Parra went 3-for-4 with three runs, his sixth home run and three RBI.

Eduardo Nunez moved up to second in the order as the Giants try to spark the offense and went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

Home run derby took place in Los Angeles with Javy Baez (8), Anthony Rizzo (12), Willson Contreras (5), Yasiel Puig (9), Austin Barnes (2), Kike Hernandez (4) and Cody Bellinger (10) all leaving the yard.

In the Sunday night game, Gregory Polanco seems to be finding his swing extending his hitting streak to seven and homering for the second time in three days. Curtis Granderson is heating up as well with hits in 14 of his last 16 games with 16 hits over his last 52 at-bats (.308) – six doubles, two home runs and nine RBI. Jay Bruce looks to be snapping out his slump in May with three hits in five at-bats yesterday including two doubles and two RBI. Everyone seems to be overlooking Lucas Duda. During his last six games, he’s 10-for-23 (.435) with six runs, four doubles, three home runs and nine RBI.

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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