Fantasy Forward: Scherzer’s 2,000 strikeout and Judge’s Triple Crown

When Max Scherzer struck out Nomar Mazara in the fourth inning, he made history becoming the third fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts with only Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson reaching it faster. Scherzer took the loss on Sunday to Texas, but the milestone should take some of the sting away from it. Speaking of the Rangers, they’ve struck out at least eight times in their last 16 games. As for Johnson, Robbie Ray became the first Diamondbacks pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts for a third straight game with 12 on Sunday, joining the Big Unit in the team’s history books.

If the season were to end today, Aaron Judge would win the Triple Crown in the American League. He finished Sunday four-for-four with two home runs including a 495 foot moonshot. His 21 home runs, 46 RBI and .344 average lead all categories in his league, along with Judge becoming the fifth Yankee to hit at least 21 home runs over the teams first 60 games. Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez and Babe Ruth (six times) also accomplished the feat.

On the rehab trail, Felix Hernandez pitched five innings allowing one hit, one walk and striking out five on 64 pitches. Doug Fister signed with the Angels and lasted 5.2 innings giving up one run on 89 pitches. Fister hit 89-to-90 MPH on the radar gun. Adrian Gonzalez could return to the disabled list unlocking a logjam in the Dodgers outfield with Cody Bellinger potentially moving back to first base and Joc Pederson returning to the team. Stay tuned. Can fantasy owners trust Giancarlo Stanton or Yoenis Cespedes in leagues with weekly lineups? Read their team reports right up until lock. Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez (oblique) landed on the disabled list on Sunday.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco failed to deliver a quality start, but did garner his sixth win working 5.1 innings allowing seven hits, two earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts. Ivan Nova notched his sixth win as well, limiting the Marlins to one hit overs six shutout innings with four strikeouts.

Chris Archer did not reach expectations in his start against Oakland, but did strikeout eight in six innings during a no-decision. Archer walked three and gave up seven hits along with four earned runs.

Although Sun Trust Park seems to be gaining a reputation as a hitter friendly park, Jaime Garcia and Seth Lugo locked horns during a pitching duel. Garcia struck out nine in seven innings allowing two earned runs to take the loss, but did turn in a quality start. He generated 18 swinging strikes against the Mets. Lugo won in his return from the disabled, sidelined since the WBC. He worked six innings giving up six hits, one earned run with six strikeouts.

It’s not often Scherzer loses at home, but Austin Bibens-Dirkx fired seven innings allowing three hits, one earned run and one walk with two strikeouts for the win.

Chase Anderson dueled Robbie Ray, but the Diamondbacks turned the tide against the Brewers bullpen. Anderson left after six innings giving up four hits, one earned run and one walk with eight strikeouts on 16 swinging strikes. Ray worked 6.2 shutout innings allowing three hits and four walks with 12 strikeouts and 21 swinging strikes, 14 on his curve.

J.A. Happ threw six shutout innings in Seattle with eight strikeouts for the win on the road. Jake Junis pitched seven innings against San Diego allowing six hits, three earned runs and one walk with six strikeouts for his second win.

Bullpen Musings

Often passed over closer Cody Allen notched his 15th save on Sunday giving up a hit and striking out two on Sunday. Alex Colome made things interesting, but escaped with his 18th save after allowing two hits and a walk against Oakland.

Forget the rhetoric spewed by the Pirates, add Felipe Rivero. He’s recorded back-to-back 1.1 inning saves and lowered his ERA to 0.53 this year. Juan Nicasio pitched in the seventh inning.

Addison Reed locked down save number 11 for the Mets with two strikeouts in a clean inning of work as did Kenley Jansen but with only one strikeout.

Raisel Iglesias had a rough day walking three resulting in a grand slam by Corey Seager to blow his first save of the year. Free passes never end well. He’ll bounce back. Seung-Hwan Oh finished a dirty outing for his 15th save despite allowing four hits and two earned runs. Trevor Rosenthal struck out the side in the eighth.

Roberto Osuna recorded one out for his 16th save, a fantasy owners guilty pleasure.

Hitter Highlights

With the Aaron Judge highlights above, the Yankees did tally 14 runs and scored at least eight in their last five games. Aaron Hicks extended his on-base streak to 17 games while Matt Holliday drove in two runs, scored two runs and walked twice. Starlin Castro launched his 12th home run with four RBI and Gary Sanchez hit his 10th with three RBI.

Todd Frazier tallied three hits with a double and two RBI. He’s hitting .394/.459/.758 this month.

Mallex Smith went 3-for-3 with two runs, a walk and an RBI. Corey Dickerson doubled and drove in two. Colby Rasmus hit his ninth home run.

With Giancarlo Stanton out of the lineup, Ichiro did his best impression and accounted for the Marlins only run on his second homer of the year. Adam Frazier went 1-for-4 but stole two bases (4). Elias Diaz tallied two hits with a double and two RBI. He’s hitting .382 this year.

George Springer stayed hot with his 17th home run and two RBI. Yuli Gurriel hit his seventh home run and Nori Aoki joined the esteemed Japanese Miekyukai with his 2,000th hit between the majors (716) and in Japan (1,284).

Los Angeles continued their assault on any Astro not named Mike Fiers this weekend. Cameron Maybin went 2-for-4 with three runs, a walk and two stolen bases (19). Albert Pujols hit his 10th home run, Andrelton Simmons hit two doubles, drove in two and stole his eighth base and Eric Young Jr. homered (2) and stole a base (4) for the Angels.

Odubel Herrera hit his major league leading 23rd double among his three hits on the day with two RBI. Daniel Nava hit his third home run with Aaron Altherr getting the day off. Dexter Fowler showed signs of life with his ninth double and ninth homer of the season. Tommy Pham added two hits, scored twice and stole his sixth base.

D.J. Lemahieu recorded two hits with a run scored and two RBI for Colorado. It did not overcome the Cubs power bats with Ben Zobrist (7), Addison Russell (4), Kyle Schwarber (11) and Miguel Montero (4) all leaving the yard.

Brian Dozier walked three times, singled and stole his ninth base. Eduardo Escobar led the way for the Twins with three hits and his fifth home run for three RBI. Byron Buxton added his third home run. Buster Posey drove in a season high four runs on three hits with Hunter Pence hitting three doubles and driving in two. Austin Slater finished with three hits, a double, a triple and four RBI.

Shin-Soo Choo got to Max Scherzer with two hits and his ninth home run. Elvis Andrus tripled with two RBI, and Delino DeShields stole his ninth base. For the Nationals, Brian Goodwin plated their only run with his second dinger.

Adam Duvall (15), Joey Votto (18), Scott Schebler (18) and Devin Mesoraco (5) all homered in the Reds eventual loss to the Dodgers. Chase Utley hit his fourth of the year along with walking three times as the lead-off hitter. Cody Bellinger hit two home runs (15) and continues to move up the leader board despite spotting them a head start. One day after his first walk-off hit, Corey Seager followed it up with his first grand slam and his ninth homer of the season.

David Peralta racked up three hits along with his fifth home run and two RBI. Paul Goldschmidt launched a grand slam, his 14th homer of the year. Both Brandon Drury (7) and Chris Herrmann (6) homered for Arizona as well. Keon Broxton accounted for the only Brewers run with his seventh home run snapping a 20 at-bat hitless streak. Broxton’s only five for his last 53 (.094) and needs to turn things around with Lewis Brinson joining the team.

Making up for lost time, Josh Donaldson hit his eight home run and drove in three with three more hits on Sunday. Kevin Pillar tallied two doubles and scored two runs for Toronto.

Eric Hosmer made the most of his time in San Diego with his second home run in two days and seventh of the year with three RBI. Alex Gordon hit his second, and Mike Moustakas launched two home runs to move his total to 17 with four RBI. Jose Pirela stayed hot with his second home run and two hits in the game. Corey Spangenberg made his case for more playing time with two home runs.

Fueled by a high hard contact rate, Nick Castellanos may be turning the corner with his second home run in his last three games on Sunday night. Justin Upton added his 13th home run and drove in five during the Tigers win on the road. Dustin Pedroia turned in an encouraging game with two hits, both doubles, an RBI and two walks hitting second for Boston. Jackie Bradley Jr. finished with two hits and two runs while Mookie Betts stole his 10th 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