Fantasy Forward: Bellinger’s power surge continues, Hill struggles again

When Gary Sanchez made his assault on pitching launching 19 home runs during his first 50 games, it seemed much more mainstream. Cody Bellinger hit his 18th home, in his 47th career game and can tie Sanchez with one home run over his next three games, or break the record with two. Which could happen since Bellinger has already hit two home runs in four games this season.

While Bellinger’s been a positive for the Dodgers, Rich Hill continues to struggle. Battling blisters and now effectiveness, the team will start Kenta Maeda on Sunday to give the entire rotation a day of rest. Hill allowed seven runs in Cleveland running his ERA to 5.14 and WHIP to 1.57 as a result. He has made eight starts this year, without one quality outing. In fact, he has yet to pitch into the sixth inning all season.

Keep tabs on Aaron Hicks who left the Yankees game with pain in his Achilles. Buster Posey hit a home run in Coors, limped around the bases, and then left the game with inflammation in his ankle. San Francisco suggests both he and Eduardo Nunez will miss a couple of games which means they both may sit out the remainder of the series in Colorado. Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli both hope to be activated for Friday night’s game in Texas. Jean Segura hopes to rejoin the Mariners during their next home stand, his owners would be thrilled if he can make it back so soon. Now, on to the game recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Jose Berrios won his sixth game pitching eight innings allowing five hits, two earned runs, and one walk with six strikeouts. He continues to impress this season vindicating the owners who stashed him.

Chris Sale keeps running into 2016 results despite changing his “Sox”. Sale took the hard luck complete game loss in Philadelphia giving up four hits, one earned run and one walk with 10 strikeouts on 17 swinging strikes. Nick Pivetta matched him for seven innings in a quality outing allowing four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts on nine swinging strikes. Pat Neshek stole the win working the eighth inning.

Alex Cobb and Justin Verlander turned in “quality” outings, but Cobb ceded eight hits and two walks over 6.2 innings of work. Verlander allowed six hits and five walks to sully his WHIP with six strikeouts in a no-decision thanks to Francisco Rodriguez asking his way into high leverage.

Gio Gonzalez continues his bounce back season winning his sixth game hurling seven innings of five hit baseball, giving up two earned runs to the Mets on the road with five strikeouts.

Pitching in Coors can affect any young pitcher, but Jeff Hoffman battled for five innings allowing seven hits, one earned run, and three walks with two strikeouts. His win evaporated when five different Rockies relievers allowed at least an earned run.

Royals southpaw Matt Strahm turned in an effective outing striking out three and allowing three hits against the Angels on the road. Strahm generated 11 swinging strikes over his five innings of work giving up an unearned run.

Bullpen Musings

Add Pete Mackanin to the list of managers not to believe in regards to bullpen usage. After announcing Pat Neshek would close after his first save of the year, he has yet to be used in the ninth inning since. Neshek picked up the win working the eighth inning with Hector Neris notching his sixth save of the year walking one and striking out two.

Seung-Hwan Oh absorbed his third loss of the year giving up a two-run home run to Eric Thames in a tied game in the ninth inning. Oh has allowed two earned run in two of his last three outings. His WHIP of 1.42 must be a concern to his fantasy owners. Oliver Drake recorded his first career save with Corey Knebel unavailable for the Brewers. Drake struck out two Cardinals to preserve the win.

Greg Holland blew his first save of 25 chances this year giving up two hits and a walk along with an earned run to the Giants at home. No one’s perfect, but Holland emerged with the win after the Rockies scored a run off of Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the inning.

As mentioned above, Francisco Rodriguez asked to appear in a high leverage situation and promptly allowed a home run to Steven Souza in the eighth winning to take a win away from Justin Verlander. Justin Wilson allowed a hit with two strikeouts in the ninth to garner the win on a walk-off home run.

Dellin Betances could use some help, and some is on the way as Aroldis Chapman will make a rehab appearance today with Double-A Trenton. Betances worked 1.2 innings of relief allowing a hit and two walks with three strikeouts, but the Yankees bullpen proved ineffective otherwise. Santiago Casilla blew his third save of 2017, but Liam Hendriks emerged victorious when the A’s scored two in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Hitter Highlights

Behind the scenes of Bellinger’s home run, Chris Taylor hit lead-off going 2-for-4 with his eighth home run and two RBI. Taylor’s hitting .303 with a .907 OPS and forcing the Dodgers to keep him in the lineup. Jose Ramirez tallied three hits, scored two runs, hit a double and drove in two. Edwin Encarnacion continues to rake of late with three hits in as many at-bats. He hit his 13th home run and raised his slash line to .375/.474/.719 in June. Lonnie Chisenhall entered the game as a pinch hitter and finished 2-for-3 with his eighth home run and five RBI.

Seattle’s Ben Gamel extended his personal hit streak to seven game with two more hits, and six of these games have been of the multiple hit variety. He’s hitting .421/.452/.509 in June with 10 runs scored. Taylor Motter went 1-for-3 with his eighth stolen base. Eduardo Escobar turned in another strong day going three-for-four with his second home run in as many days and two RBI. Escobar is 13 for his last 19 (.684) with seven runs, three home runs and eight RBI. Chris Gimenez added two home runs with four RBI.

Welington Castillo homered for the second straight game to raise his total to six on the year with a .298 average. However, Matt Davidson homered for the fourth straight game with eight RBI in them for the White Sox.

Tommy Joseph extended his hit streak to 12 in the Phillies 1 – 0 win over Boston.

Logan Morrison went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Steven Souza hit his 12th home run. Ian Kinsler scored two runs and stole only his third base of the year for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is playing through back pain but hit his sixth home run, once again to the opposite field, to lead the Tigers to a walk-off win.

Both Wilmer Flores (6) and Rene Rivera (3) hit solo shots for the Mets. Bryce Harper launched his 17th home run, Daniel Murphy racked up three more hits with two RBI and Michael Taylor hit a two-run shot, his seventh in the Nationals win over the Mets.

Matt Carpenter continues to heat up with two doubles last night and two runs scored. Since moving back to lead-off he is hitting .429/.500/.886 with seven doubles and three home runs in 35 at-bats. Dexter Fowler finished 2-for-4 with his 10th home run and two RBI. Eric Sogard went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, Eric Thames hit his 18th home run, and Keon Broxton hit his ninth in the Brewers win.

Buster Posey limped around the bases after hitting his ninth home run. He finished 3-for-4, but will sit for the next couple of games to heal his ankle. Brandon Crawford hit his fifth home run. Charlie Blackmon celebrated returning to Colorado with two hits, one a triple, scored three runs, and walked twice. D.J. LeMahieu went 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. Nolan Arenado also added three hits with four RBI, and Ian Desmond tallied two hits and stole his sixth base of the year.

Starlin Castro and Gary Sanchez each tallied three hits and stole a base. Who are these Yankees? Chris Carter who is fighting to stay with the team hit his eighth home run. Greg Bird was shut down once again during his rehab, so if anyone’s still holding on, it’s time to cut him free. Jed Lowrie continues to rake with three hits, a triple and his eighth home run raising his average to .296 this year. Yonder Alonso launched his 17th home run. He’s hitting .306 with a 1.043 OPS in June – this guy is for real kids.

Lorenzo Cain continues to return to fantasy prominence, although no one seems to notice. Cain homered for the fifth time over his last eight games for his eighth of the season. He’s on pace for 87 runs, 20 home runs and 30 stolen bases this year. I swear he is. Alex Gordon showed signs of life going 3-for-5 with his third home run as well.

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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