Fantasy Forward: Ervin’s third shutout and a save by Maeda?

Trying to predict baseball is never easy. Friday night continued this premise. While Ervin Santana has pitched very well in the first half, his last start yielded seven runs in Los Angeles against the Angels. But, he turned the tide with a complete game shutout, his third of the season, with five strikeouts to lower his ERA to 2.20. Also, Santana hit a bases clearing double to lead the team with three RBI as well.

Rich Hill made the start for the Dodgers lasting five innings giving up two hits, one earned run, and three walks with five strikeouts generating eight swinging strikes on 98 pitches. Kenta Maeda recorded his first save pitching the last four innings allowing three hits and one earned run with six strikeouts producing 11 swinging strikes on 60 pitches. Interesting.

Player news includes Mitch Haniger nearing a return to the Mariners, as soon as this weekend, which should bolster the lineup. Steven Matz will make his 2017 Mets debut pitching the second game of their doubleheader in Atlanta. For the Braves, Sean Newcomb will start Game 1 with Matt Wisler pitching the nightcap. Amir Garrett left his start early after being hit on the hand by a comeback hit, and Jonathan Villar left his game on a stretcher due to back spasms in the eighth inning in Arizona. Jose Abreu also left his game following being hit by a pitch directly on his left knee, he needed help getting back to the dugout.

Much will be made of Tony Watson being taken out of the closer role with Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio “sharing” the role. For those making FAAB bids, my take will be the Pirates imitating how the Indians used Andrew Miller and Cody Allen after acquiring Miller last year. Rivero’s the best pitcher in the bullpen but will assume the “extinguisher” role with Nicasio working the ninth in lower leverage save opportunities. Time will tell, but the blueprint seems to be in place. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

While everyone waits for the coming implosion by Andrew Cashner, he keeps chugging along. Cashner pitched seven innings at Washington allowing six hits, one earned run and two walks with four strikeouts. He only accumulated three swinging strikes, but beat the Nationals in their park.

Corey Kluber’s return to the Indians cannot be understated. When he receives four runs of support, the team has won 52 straight games. Kluber worked six innings giving up seven hits, three earned runs and two walks with eight strikeouts. He racked up 13 swinging strikes as well.

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb could become trade bait in the coming months. He lasted six innings allowing four hits, one earned run and one walk with five strikeouts to even his record (5 – 5).

Fantasy owners asked for more strikeouts by Dylan Bundy, and he provided them last night with six over six innings, but allowed three earned runs to take the loss. Bundy did generate 14 swinging strikes, but it was not enough to overcome Jordan Montgomery’s 13 swinging strike performance and two runs allowed. Montgomery worked a career high seven innings with eight strikeouts for his fourth win.

Brad Peacock could not locate the strike zone opening the door for Matt Shoemaker to win his sixth game of the year in Houston. Shoemaker lasted seven innings giving up seven hits, four earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts.

Morphing into a home stream, Jhoulys Chacin limited the Royals to three hits over seven innings allowing two earned runs with six strikeouts. On the season, Chacin’s home ERA 1.58 (3.25 FIP) should be noted. However, when not in Petco, his ERA balloons to 10.27 with an accompanying 5.68 FIP.

Both Joe Biagini and Sam Gaviglio pitched well in Seattle, but the Mariners prevailed. Gaviglio held the Blue Jays to two runs over six innings on six hits allowed, three walks, and five strikeouts.

Bullpen Musings

In a non-save appearance, Wade Davis gave up a hit with two strikeouts to hold the Rockies at bay in the ninth inning. Greg Holland racked up his 23rd save, but did walk three batters with two strikeouts. He’s been used often by the Rockies and may show signs of wearing down soon after missing last year with TJS surgery.

Matt Bush notched his seventh save after Keone Kela created a save opportunity for him. Bush recorded the last two outs, allowing a hit in the process.

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? He saved his 18th game, has faced 99 hitters this year with 55 strikeouts (55.6 strikeout percentage) and eight hits allowed.

Jim Johnson won his fourth game in relief when the Braves walked off the Mets in the ninth inning. Seung-Hwan Oh locked down his 14th save allowing a hit with a strikeout. Brandon Maurer saved his 10th game giving up a hit in his outing.

Corey Knebel continues to amass strikeouts with three more over 1.1 innings of work in Arizona for his eighth save. Edwin Diaz struck out two in a clean inning for his 10th save against Toronto.

Hitter Highlights

Propelling the Rockies to another win, Charlie Blackmon hit his 14th home run with Ryan Hanigan adding his second.

Dee Gordon finished with three hits, two runs, a double and stole his 21st base. Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run which may not have landed yet for his 16th of the year, and drove in three to raise his season total to 42. Marcell Ozuna added three hits as well, and Tyler Moore hit two home runs with four RBI. Adam Frazier countered with two doubles in six at-bats and two RBI for the Pirates.

So, all Jonathan Lucroy needed was to hit in a National League park to heat up the power? Lucroy went 3-for-4 in Washington with his fourth home run and three RBI. Rougned Odor added his ninth dinger.

Could this be the weekend Edwin Encarnacion heats up? He hit a bomb to center field for his 11th home run among his three hits and two RBI last night. Lonnie Chisenhall added two doubles and an RBI in the Indians victory.

Miguel Cabrera went hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts. Up the warning signs on his season to code yellow. Nick Castellanos (7) and Mikie Mahtook (4) homered for the Tigers. Mitch Moreland finished 3-for-4 with his eighth home run and two RBI for Boston. He leads the team in OPS – I’m not kidding. Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to heat up with two more hits and his eighth home run as well. Since May 16th, Bradley is hitting .286/.410/.600 with six home runs, 14 walks and 15 strikeouts.

Jed Lowrie tallied two doubles and Stephen Vogt (4) homered in a lopsided loss to the Rays. Mallex Smith returned from Triple-A with two hits, his second home run, a walk, and stole three bases hitting lead-off for Tampa Bay. Corey Dickerson slid to the two-hole and homered for the 14th time this year with three more RBI. Logan Morrison (17), Steven Souza (11) and Tim Beckham (10) also left the yard.

Amidst all the rubble in the Orioles lineup decimated by injuries, Jonathan Schoop continues to produce with his 11th home run and two RBI last night. While Jacoby Ellsbury struggles to return from his concussion, Aaron Hicks has supplanted him in center field. Hicks launched two home runs (10) with three RBI to raise his average to .318 with a 1.010 OPS. He has already hit more home runs and driven in more runs than all of 2016. Starlin Castro added his 10th home run, and Gary Sanchez recorded another multiple hit game. He’s five for his last 12 with a double, two home runs and six RBI.

Both Curtis Granderson (6) and Travis d’Arnaud (7) homered for the Mets, but it did not prove to be enough. Matt Kemp finished 3-for-4 with his 18th double and, Dansby Swanson stayed hot with two doubles and two RBI.

Making an immediate impact off the disabled list, Cameron Maybin recorded three hits, scored four runs and stole four bases (17) in Houston. Martin Maldanado hit his fifth home run with two RBI in the Angels win. Alex Bregman countered with his seventh home run and two RBI.

Howie Kendrick is in a good spot next week, highlighted here, and went 2-for-3 last night with a double and stole his fourth base. Aaron Altherr moved down in the lineup but hit two doubles and a triple. Matt Carpenter stayed in the lead-off spot with two hits and run. Dexter Fowler hit second with two more hits, and Aledmys Diaz launched his sixth home run for St. Louis.

David Peralta tallied three hits with two runs, a double and an RBI. Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Jake (The Rake) Lamb crushed his 16th home run with three RBI. Hernan Perez could see more playing time with Jonathan Villar sidelined, hit his eighth home run and stole his third base. Manny Pina racked up three hits, two of which were doubles to finish with two RBI, and Orlando Arcia went 3-for-3 with his second stolen base.

Joey Votto provided most of the Reds offense with his 17th home run, a solo shot. Chris Taylor led off with two hits and two runs, Justin Turner homered in his first at-bat off the disabled list, and Kike Hernandez hit his fifth of the season.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit his 11th home run of the year, but the team lost to Seattle on the road. Jarrod Dyson went 2-for-3 with a run and his 15th stolen base.

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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