Fantasy Forward: Bellinger crushes and Kershaw survives

Fantasy baseball is a fickle game played by demanding owners. Clayton Kershaw won his ninth game of the season, on the road against a team who appeared in the World Series and forced him to grind out a victory. For some, this may not be enough since it was not vintage Kershaw. He did pitch seven innings allowing six hits, two earned runs and two walks with four strikeouts. Not ideal, but still good enough to garner the win.

In this same game, Cody Bellinger continues to assault baseballs hitting two more home runs, raising his total to 17 and marking the fourth time he has hit multiple home runs in the same game. Bellinger is the fastest to do this, only needing 45 games. More impressive, both home runs occurred against left-handed Cleveland relievers. Andrew Miller gives up home runs to left-handed hitters once every 50 plate appearances and Boone Logan, every 48 according to Matthew Pouliot of RotoWorld.

Adrian Gonzalez landed on the disabled list officially, so the logjam in the Dodgers outfield will be alleviated with Bellinger shifting back to first base. Asdrubal Cabrera landed on the 10-day DL one day after homering twice. T.J. Rivera took his spot on the roster, not Amed Rosario. Three players hit the rehab trail with Aroldis Chapman, Steve Pearce and Wilson Ramos all heading out to minor league teams with eyes on returning to the majors soon. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Lance Lynn showed some strikeout stuff whiffing eight Brewers in five innings of work. He allowed three hits and four walks en route to his fifth win of the year and totaled 14 swinging strikes in the game.

Gerrit Cole and Tyler Chatwood locked horns in a pitchers duel with Cole emerging victorious. Chatwood limited the Pirates to one run on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts, but Cole finished seven innings giving up three hits and three walks with three strikeouts in his fourth win. Each pitcher generated six swinging strikes.

Jacob Faria stated his case to remain with Tampa Bay holding the Blue Jays to one run over 6.1 innings on six hits allowing a walk with eight strikeouts.

A bounce back game in a ballpark where Jon Lester struggled last year. Lester pitched seven strong inning against the Mets giving up five hits, one earned run and a walk with 10 strikeouts.

It’s difficult to trust Jose Urena, but he held the A’s to three hits over six innings last night with just one earned run. Urena walked one and struck out four winning his fifth game. Of the same ilk, Derek Holland recorded five strikeouts during fifth win limiting the Orioles to one run over six innings.

Brad Peacock turned in the night’s best swinging strike total with 18 translating to 10 strikeouts. However, he only lasted 4.2 innings giving up two hits and four walks. He needs some efficiency to become a fantasy asset. His last two outings have proven to be frustrating for owners.

Just when it looked safe to move on from JC Ramirez he turns in a strong outing against the Yankees. Ramirez held them to five hits, two earned runs and three walks with seven strikeouts. He produced 15 swinging strikes with 11 courtesy of his slider.

Two veteran southpaws won in the late games. Clayton Richard finished one out shy of a complete game giving up two earned runs with six strikeouts. Jason Vargas won his ninth game holding the Giants to five hits and one earned run with six strikeouts as well.

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Bullpen Musings

Corey Knebel continues to surge as the Brewers closer with his ninth save, giving up a hit and striking out one. Fernando Rodney saved his 17th game in a clean inning against the Tigers on the road with a strikeout.

Both Kenley Jansen (12) and Brandon Maurer (11) recorded one out for saves last night while Matt Bush had to work overtime getting the last four outs for Texas during his eighth save.

Southpaws Justin Wilson and Felipe Rivero proved to be human. Wilson took his second loss giving up a home run to David Peralta in the ninth inning while Rivero allowed a run on a hit and a walk in his appearance. But both remain safe in their roles as closer.

Hitter Highlights

Brewers Hernan Perez finished the doubleheader 4-for-9, but Travis Shaw’s return highlighted Game 2 in which he homered for the 11th time this year with two RBI. Keon Broxton may be breaking out of his prolonged slump with four hits in five at-bats including a triple and his eighth home run for three RBI. Jesus Aguilar homered in the night-cap, his sixth of the year.

Matt Carpenter may be on the precipice of a power surge. He finished 4-for-8 in both games with two doubles, his 12th home run, and three RBI. Jose Martinez homered twice in Game 1 for St. Louis.

Matt Adams stayed hot with two more hits Tuesday night. Rio Ruiz hit his second home run of the season, and Dansby Swanson turned in a perfect night going 3-for-3 with a double, walk and RBI.

Trea Turner stole his 22nd base, is now on pace for 55 steals, and hitting .268 – how bad is he? Ryan Zimmerman hit two more home runs, his 18th and 19th of the season, with three RBI. Was he drug tested? Daniel Murphy also could be heating up the power, hitting his 11th home run last night and could become the third Nationals hitter to surpass a 1,000 OPS.

He’s not the Andrew McCutchen of old, but he did homer twice last night to raise his total to 11 this year and hitting .405/.469/.714 this month.

Corey Dickerson recorded four hits, scored three runs and launched his 15th home run. He’s on pace for 36 this year. Evan Longoria finished 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and two walks. He’s hitting .349/.391/.488 in June. Logan Morrison hit his 18th home run to pace towards 44 this season.

Miguel Cabrera doubled twice in five at-bats with an RBI, and J.D. Martinez continues to rake hitting his 11th home run along with his 25th RBI and 21st run scored in only 29 games this year. David Peralta hit the game winning home run, his third hit of the day, and scored two runs for Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt tallied three hits as well with his 15th home run, and Brandon Drury stayed hot with four hits along with his third home run in as many days to raise his total to eight this year.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon mixed up the batting order and the team responded. Rizzo went 2-for-4 and led off the game with his 14th home run. Ian Happ had an interesting day striking out four times and hitting a grand slam. Kris Bryant scored three runs, hit his 15th dinger and walked twice. Jason Heyward hit cleanup and responded with two hits and his sixth home run. Javy Baez pinch-hit for Rizzo and homered for his 10th of the year. For the Mets, Neil Walker (9) and Lucas Duda (11) hit solo shots.

Adding to Cody Bellinger’s heroics, Yasiel Puig hit his 10th home run and flashed an inappropriate sign to the fans in Cleveland. Roberto Perez homered off of Kershaw, and Daniel Robertson hit his first home run this season off of Chris Hatcher in the ninth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton’s still thriving hitting second and launched his 17th home run with two RBI. Marcell Ozuna is also hitting well as the cleanup hitter, finishing with three hits, his 16th home run, and a walk for a perfect day at the plate. Tyler Moore continues to produce with three more hits, two doubles and two RBI. He’s hitting .343 in June with four doubles and three home runs in 35 at-bats.

Aaron Altherr hit a two run home run off of David Price (who battled blister issues) for his 10th of the season. Maikel Franco recorded four hits in five at-bats. Xander Bogaerts hit two doubles among his three hits scoring a run. Mitch Moreland hit his ninth dinger, and Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and the walk-off winning hit, the first of his career.

Jose Abreu recorded three hits and Avisail Garcia drove in two with a double, but both were upstaged by Matt Davidson’s grand slam, his 12th homer this year.

In a slugfest in Minnnesota, Ben Gamel hit two doubles with Nelson Cruz going 2-for-5 with two RBI. Jarrod Dyson hit his third home run, and Mike Zunino recorded a multiple hit game for the second day in a row. But the Twins posted 28 hits forcing Carlos Ruiz to the mound for the Mariners. Brian Dozier went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBI. Max Kepler hit his eighth home run and finished with three hits. Kennys Vargas and Jason Castro recorded four hits each, Eduardo Escobar had five, and Eddie Rosario hit three home runs with five RBI.

Rougned Odor hit two home runs and drove in three to lead the Rangers to a road win in Houston. Both George Springer (18) and Carlos Correa (12) hit solo shots for the Astros.

Chase Headley led the way for the Yankees offense with three hits including a double and his fourth home run. Eric Young Jr. continues to play well for the Angels with his third home run, and Andrelton Simmons recorded two hits, two runs and stole two bases (10).

San Diego put Jose Pirela at lead-off again and he responded with two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Franchy Cordero hit two home runs (3) and scored three runs.

Whit Merrifield rakes southpaws and finished 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI in San Francisco. Jorge Bonifacio, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon all finished with two hits.

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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