Fantasy Forward: Astros still surging as fantasy heads to Week 10

Not only has Houston won its last 10 games in a row, they’ve scored at least five runs in eight consecutive games, all on the road. After yesterday’s grand slam barrage, things calmed down, but two players finished with days similar to Jimmy Rollins. Zack Cozart became the first shortstop with two home runs and a triple since Rollins in 2007. If you add in Cozart’s five RBI with the stat line above, he’s the first since Ca Ripken Jr. with all of the results. Impressive. As for the other Rollins reference, Freddy Galvis homered from each side of the plate for the Phillies for the first time since, you guessed it, Rollins in 2011.

With the win and save categories hotly debated every off-season, keep in mind Julio Teheran allowed seven runs today and won. Shawn Kelley entered a game, gave up a grand slam to Matt Joyce, but finished the inning for his fourth save of the year.

On the injury trail, Justin Verlander only lasted two innings with a groin injury. His velocity drop over his last four pitches made Twitter react, but if it’s only the groin injury, his owners will take it. Stay tuned. Devon Travis left the Blue Jays game after being hit on the wrist by a pitch. Jayson Werth was seen on crutches after the Nationals game, their outfield depth is certainly being tested – much like a fantasy owner with Dusty Baker making bullpen decisions. Sorry, promised myself I would not rant about this. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

A pitching duel broke out in Rogers Centre with Luis Severino and Marcus Stroman facing off. Severino lasted seven innings giving up six hits, two earned runs, and one walk with seven strikeouts. Stroman pitched six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs, and one walk with four strikeouts. Neither factored into the decision, but both recorded quality starts – see above regarding wins.

Trevor Williams shut down the Mets on the road over seven innings. Williams yielded seven hits, one earned run and two walks with three strikeouts. He has pitched well of late, but relies on managing contact.

Boston’s defense did no favors for Chris Sale, but he garnered the win in Baltimore. Sale pitched six innings giving up six hits, three earned runs and one walk with nine strikeouts generating 18 swinging strikes.

With Kenta Maeda only lasting four innings, Zach Davies fired six shutout innings against the Dodgers on getaway day, holding them to three hits and one walk with six punchouts.

Keeping the Astros surging, Brad Peacock pitched six innings allowing four hits, two earned runs and one walk with nine strikeouts.

Jose Berrios won without his best stuff lasting six innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and two walks with four strikeouts. Ricky Nolasco took the loss and missed a quality start by one out. He did strikeout seven.

Oakland’s Sonny Gray started hot off the disabled list using his slider for more strikeouts, but his usage decreased on Sunday. Gray did pitch seven innings allowing four hits, three earned run and three walks with six strikeouts for a quality start, but the bullpen did not hold.

Two young pitchers stole the show in the late afternoon games. Ariel Miranda of Seattle threw a complete game with nine strikeouts against four hits, one earned run and a walk. Jeff Hoffman filled in affably for Tyler Anderson in San Diego with nine strikeouts as well over seven innings of work.

Bullpen Musings

Clean inning saves make the fantasy owners worlds go round. Roberto Osuna (13) with three strikeouts, A.J. Ramos (9) with two whiffs, Hector Neris (5) with two strikeouts and Greg Holland (21) with one punch out all did so.

Justin Wilson and Pat Neshek both earned wins in relief. Speaking of set-up, take note of how good Jake McGee has been of late. He recorded his fifth hold with an ERA of 1.59 this year.

Corey Knebel returned giving up a walk, but struck out the side for his fifth save. Brandon Kintzler allowed a hit, but notched his 15th save of the season.

For as long as I’ve covered bullpens, using closers in non-save outings does not work. Koda Glover did record an out in the eight inning of a two run game. Then the Nationals scored five runs in a long inning. Dusty Baker decided to put Glover back out there with a seven run lead. It did not work. Glover allowed the first three to reach and was charged with five earned runs after Shawn Kelley replaced him giving up a grand slam to Matt Joyce. Shaking my head.

Hitter Highlights

It’s fair to say Josh Donaldson’s power’s back with five over his last six games. Donaldson hit his sixth of 2017 to put the Blue Jays ahead for good on Sunday. Justin Smoak launched his 14th earlier in the game.

Daniel Descalso hit lead-off with Gregor Blanco and A.J. Pollock sidelined with a right-handed pitcher on the mound. He finished with two doubles, to runs and two RBI. Paul Goldschmidt also tallied two hits with two RBI. Tyler Moore popped a three-run home run for the Marlins during their eighth win in 10 games.

Atlanta finished their road trip on a high note with Ender Inciarte matching his career best with five hits. He added his sixth home run with five RBI and a walk. Matt Adams hit his third home run in two days and sixth of the year. The Braves will be home for eight games due to a doubleheader with the Mets in Week 10. Arismendy Alcantara hit his second homer of the year for the Reds, and if Billy Hamilton misses any more time, could see more playing time in the week ahead.

Fueled by an inflated BABIP, Avisail Garcia continues to hit. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI on Sunday while Todd Frazier matched the three hits which included his eighth home run. For Detroit, J.D. Martinez hit his 10th home run to raise his OPS to 1.201. Justin Upton hit the walk-off three run blast for his 11th this year.

Pittsburgh faces a favorable schedule for Week 10, but lost Josh Harrison due to a calf injury. His status will need to be monitored. Adam Frazier went 2-for-4 with a double, run scored and two RBI. David Freese tallied three hits and three RBI. Most important, Andrew McCutchen showed signs of life with three hits, three runs and his ninth home run for three RBI as well.

After going 80 at-bats without a home run, Andrew Benintendi not only left the yard once on Sunday, he did so twice for seven this year. He also stole his eighth base. Manny Machado’s buy low window may expire soon, so get a share if possible in your league. Machado finished 2-for-3 with two doubles on Sunday and stole his third base.

Eduardo Nunez hit his third home run and, Brandon Crawford went 2-for-4 with his fourth home run and four RBI. He will miss Philadelphia. Odubel Herrera is heating up. He recorded three hits, two doubles and his fourth home run with three RBI. Maikel Franco added his seventh home run as well.

Milwaukee only scored three, but only needed Eric Thames‘ 15th home run. Did he get tested? Domingo Santana launched his 10th home run.

Two second baseman led the way during Cleveland’s win in Kansas City. Jason Kipnis continues to hit as the lead-off batter with his seventh home run and two runs scored. Whit Merrifield extended his personal 19-game hit streak during which he’s slashing .409/.451/.636 over 66 at-bats. Impressive.

With the Astros firing on all cylinders, both George Springer and Carlos Correa are white-hot. Springer hit two more home runs on Sunday, has six straight multiple hit games, seven home runs in his last eight played, and is on a nine game hit streak. As for Correa, he’s 20-for-44 (.455) during his 10-game hit streak with two doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI. Struggling of late, Rougned Odor did hit his eighth home run for Texas during their loss.

Miguel Sano (14) and Jason Castro (5) homered in the Twins win on Sunday. For the Padres, Hunter Renfroe accounted for the only run with his 11th dinger.

Trea Turner is heating up with two more hits, two runs, two RBI and he stole, you guessed it, two bases to raise his total to 16 on the season. Much too early to kick dirt on his fantasy value. Ryan Zimmerman will not stop, or get drug tested. He finished 3-for-5 with his 16th home run and three RBI. Matt Wieters (5) and Michael Taylor (6) both recorded two hits and a home run. Matt Joyce tried to lead the A’s back with his grand slam in the ninth, but to no avail. Khris Davis launched his 17th home run as one of his three hits with two RBI.

Stephen Piscotty hit his third home run of the year, a three run shot to spur the Cardinals offense. Dexter Fowler (3), Jedd Gyorko (3) and Yadier Molina (4) all stole bases. Amidst frustrated Cubs fans calling for a demotion, Ian Happ hit two home runs, his third and fourth of the season, with four RBI. Anthony Rizzo finished with a three-hit game as well during the Cubs come back win at home.

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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