Fantasy Forward: Pujols reaches 600 in Grand Fashion while Edinson honors “Ace” with a no-no

During a day in which baseball will not soon forget, Albert Pujols became the fourth youngest player to reach 600 home runs behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez with a grand slam in the fourth inning off of Ervin Santana. Sometimes fate’s on your side despite the strife it can provide.

Wearing a patch for Jose Fernandez in Miami and pitching on former teammate Yordano Ventura’s birthday, Edinson Volquez not only no-hit the Diamondbacks, but he fired a Maddux with two walks against and 10 strikeouts on 98 pitches. At a time when terrorism takes headlines, having some solace in baseball can be medicinal.

Both Scott Schebler and Billy Hamilton left the Reds game early with injuries. Both feel they will not need a disabled list stint – raise your hand if you’ve heard this before. With Eduardo Rodriguez seeking a second opinion on his knee, Brian Johnson appeared to hurt himself on a mound yesterday as well. One cannot make this stuff up. Seth Lugo struck out eight over seven innings during a Double-A rehab start on 94 pitches. He could rejoin the Mets rotation next week. Robert Gsellman may transition to the bullpen.

Hunter Pence will be activated on Sunday by the Giants. Colorado with pitching moves. Jeff Hoffman was activated to start on Sunday in San Diego with Tyler Anderson moving to the disabled list. Jon Gray, still working his way back, threw 41 pitches off a mound in a side session with all systems go. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is targeting a June 15th return to the team. Due to the strong pitching by Dellin Betances, the team can ease him back into the role.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery turned in an impressive start in Toronto firing six shutout innings allowing three hits, three walks and striking out five with 13 swinging strikes. Joe Biagini took the loss, but turned in a quality start with seven innings pitched, four hits, three runs (one earned) and one walk with six strikeouts.

Most focused on Carlos Carrasco for DFS, but Jason Hammel trolled them with the win on 6.2 innings of work giving up five hits and three earned runs with seven strikeouts. Jon Lester did not get the win, but battled for a quality start after giving up two runs in the first inning. Lester settled in to last six innings allowing six hits, three earned runs, three walks with four strikeouts. He also picked off a runner. Told you it was a special day.

Speaking of which, Ben Lively won his first start in the majors with no strikeouts. He pitched seven innings allowing four hits, one earned run and three walks. His counterpart, Johnny Cueto dropped to an even 5 – 5 on the year despite striking out nine and leading all pitchers with 21 swinging strikes on the day. Buy low.

Opposing Volquez during his no-hitter, Randall Delgado did pitch 5.1 innings giving up six hits, one earned run and one walk with four strikeouts. With Silvino Bracho being optioned to the minors, a corresponding move will be made on Sunday.

Jordan Zimmermann returned to the win column over six innings giving up seven hits, one earned run and two walks with five strikeouts.

Rockies Tyler Chatwood continued his road success with eight strikeouts in eight innings of work. He allowed four hits, one earned run and a walk on his way to a win. Chatwood also recorded 18 swinging strikes with nine of them on his change-up.

Lance McCullers struck out eight, but only lasted 4.1 innings with 14 swinging strikes. Robert Gsellman fared better lasting one more inning to garner the win with seven hits allowed, two earned runs and two walks with six strikeouts.

David Price bounced back with a seven inning outing giving up three hits, one earned run, and a walk with seven strikeouts. Dylan Bundy only lasted five innings allowing four hits, two earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts.

Matt Shoemaker notched his fifth win over 6.1 innings giving up five hits, two earned runs, and three walks with five strikeouts. Sam Gaviglio won his second game of the year working five innings with six strikeouts in Seattle.

Bullpen Musings

With Jorge Soler being optioned to the minors on Saturday, the Wade Davis trade looks better by the minute. Davis saved his 12th game with two strikeouts against one walk. On the other hand, Hector Neris soiled himself giving up two runs in the ninth to cede the save to Jeanmar Gomez. This may just be a blip for Neris, but those who want to speculate, take a look at Pat Neshek’s 0.89 ERA and 20:3 K:BB in the Phillies bullpen.

Jim Johnson bounced back with a win working two innings of relief in an extra-innings game. He allowed one hit and a walk with two strikeouts. Kenley Jansen continues to work at a another level with his ninth save and 37th strikeout of the year with zero walks.

Addison Reed also pitched two innings giving up two hits and a walk but recorded his eighth save for the Mets.

Both Ken Giles (15) and Craig Kimbrel (16) allowed runs in their save conversions yesterday. We’ll give them a pass.

Hitter Highlights

Aaron Hicks extended his hit streak to seven games and he’s hit safely in 10 of his last 11. Jacoby Ellsbury is still feeling dizziness and may be sidelined for longer than originally thought. In the eighth inning, the Yankees broke the game open with Brett Gardner (12), Matt Holliday (12), Starlin Castro (9) and Didi Gregorius (4) all homering off of Jason Grilli.

Carlos Santana hit his seventh home run and drove in three for the Indians. Jose Ramirez went 2-for-4 with his sixth stolen base. For the Royals, Mike Moustakas finished with two hits, a double and two RBI. Lorenzo Cain stole the show with three hits, his third home run and three RBI. Whit Merrifield extended his personal hit streak to 18 games.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hit his sixth home run and walked on Saturday. Javy Baez launched his ninth, and Kyle Schwarber hit ninth for the second straight game but responded with his ninth home run, a grand slam.

Philadelphia’s been struggling just like Odubel Herrera. He sat three times this week, but went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI against the Giants. Tommy Joseph hit his ninth home run.

What could Adam Lind be doing as a full-time designated hitter? One can ponder this, but in Oakland, he went 2-for-3 on Saturday as the DH with a home run (4), two walks and three RBI. He’s hitting .344 this year with a 1.062 OPS. Jed Lowrie finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, his seventh homer and four RBI. Lowrie’s hitting .295 on the year. Yonder Alonso seems to be heating up again with his 16th home run, two RBI and two walks to push his OPS to 1.087 this year. Ryon Healy went 4-for-4 with two home runs (11) and three RBI.

Giancarlo Stanton reached base three times with a single and two walks. He’s hitting .291 with a .932 OPS and enjoying hitting second. Justin Bour recorded two more hits with a double and two RBI, he’s hitting .296 with a .964 OPS.

Big City launched two home runs in Cincinnati including a grand slam and the go ahead home run in the top of the 12th. Matt Adams could play eight home games in Atlanta in Week 10 for fantasy. Adonis Garcia finished with four hits in six at-bats, doubled twice, and stole two bases (4) for the Braves. Jose Peraza hit his second homer of the year for the Reds.

Home runs in Detroit with Nick Castellanos (5), Alex Presley (1), Alex Avila (8) and Justin Upton (10) all leaving the yard.

In San Diego, Nolan Arenado hit his 14th dinger while Ian Desmond launched a grand slam for his third home run this year. It marks his first granny since April 10, 2014 and the second for the Rockies this year. Austin Hedges homered for the second straight game for the Padres for his 11th which ties him for first at catcher with Salvador Perez.

After a pitcher’s duel on Friday, Miller Park returned to a hitting environment on Saturday. Cody Bellinger only had one hit but stole two bases (4) for the Dodgers. Chris Taylor had a day with a grand slam (7) and two stolen bases (3). Yasiel Puig recorded a multiple hit day and stole two bases as well (8). Jesus Aguilar (5) homered for the Brewers along with Travis Shaw (10) hitting a grand slam as well. Hernan Perez added his sixth homer.

Mookie Betts doubled among his two hits with an RBI for Boston. Hanley Ramirez hit his seventh home run and drove in three. Manny Machado homered for the second straight day and now has 12 on the year.

George Springer stayed hot with two hits, a double and a run. Jose Altuve recorded his 110th three-hit game since his debut in 2011 and the total leads the majors in this time frame. Carlos Beltran went 3-for-5 with his seventh home run and three RBI. Elvis Andrus finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and stole his 13th base. Adrian Beltre drove in a run against Ken Giles again, but it was not enough to stop the Astros win streak (9).

Josh Bell homered for the Pirates, his 11th of the year, and Jordy Mercer stayed hot with three hits, two of which were doubles. Jay Bruce (13), Neil Walker (7) and Wilmer Flores (5) all homered for the Mets.

Minnesota lost again, but Max Kepler went 2-for-4 with two RBI and his seventh home run. Adding to Pujols big night, Andrelton Simmons hit his sixth and Kole Calhoun his eighth going back-to-back in the third inning.

Corey Dickerson launched his 13th home run, and Logan Morrison added his 16th in a loss in Seattle last night. Nelson Cruz recorded three hits and his 13th home run in spite of an injured hand. Danny Valencia turned in a perfect night at the plate with four hits in as many at-bats with three runs and an RBI. He’s now seven for his last seven in the last two games with six RBI. Another day, another grand slam for the Mariners with Mike Zunino hitting one on Saturday. He finished 3-for-4 with seven 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