Fantasy Forward: Nationals disaster salvaged again

Despite their record and lead in the National League East, one must ponder how much better Washington could be with a strong bullpen. Trotting out Sammy Solis, Enny Romero and Matt Albers seems to be wearing on the team. There must be a move to bolster this unit soon. Once it occurs, ripple effects will ensue in the saves market. As for Monday, sort of a quiet day on the injury front with a couple to monitor.

Travis Shaw took a pitch off of his left hand. He stayed in to run the bases, but left the game at the end of the inning. Milwaukee did own a comfortable lead, and being safe with Shaw makes sense. Both Yoenis Cespedes and Jedd Gyorko struggled with cramps last night. Cespedes could not make a catch which resulted in the Nationals win above, and Gyroko left his game as a result. Both will be considered day-to-day. Marcus Stroman left his start after the fifth inning due to a blister. Then he blistered the commissioner and baseball complaining about the seams affecting pitchers this year with blisters being an unnecessary issue.

In other news, Carlos Gonzalez returned to the Rockies and picked up right where he left off prior to a trip to the disabled list with no hits in four at-bats with an RBI. Those in deeper leagues may want to add Robinson Chirinos with the Rangers dangling Jonathan Lucroy for bullpen help. Speaking of bullpens, David Robertson landed on the paternity list due to the pending birth of his child. Odds favor Tommy Kahnle to close while in Oakland until Robertson returns to the team. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Southpaw Brent Suter neutralized the Orioles winning his first game of the year. Suter worked six innings giving up four hits, one run (zero earned) and a walk with eight strikeouts on 17 swinging strikes.

Both Steven Matz and Stephen Strasburg did not factor in the decision, but turned in quality outings. Each lasted seven innings allowing no runs. Matz ceded four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Strasburg limited the Mets to two hits, walked three and struck out six on 15 swinging strikes.

Aaron Nola won his sixth game pitching seven shutout innings at home. Nola held the Pirates to four hits and one walk with eight strikeouts on 11 swinging strikes.

Masarhiro Tanaka continues to right the ship winning his seventh and pitching as many innings. Tanaka allowed five hits, one earned run and a walk with eight strikeouts on 20 swinging strikes.

Luis Castillo took a loss in Colorado, but rewarded those who added him with nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work. Castillo did give up nine hits, four earned runs and a walk. Jeff Hoffman won his fifth of the year, limiting the Reds to four hits, three earned runs and three walks with four strikeouts.

Adalberto Mejia won his fourth of the year and third in a row, pitching seven innings while giving up nine hits, three earned runs and a walk with five strikeouts.

Carlos Rodon bounced back to strike out 10 A’s and tally the most swinging strikes on the night with 24. Rodon won his first game of 2017 lasting 6.1 innings allowing four hits, two earned runs and three walks.

Ian Kennedy recorded his second win in a row and third over his last four starts. He lasted 6.2 innings giving up four hits, one earned run and two walks with seven strikeouts on 14 swinging strikes.

Bullpen Musings

Other than the meltdown by the Nationals and the Mets, Craig Kimbrel suffered his second blown save giving up a home run to Mike Napoli in the ninth inning on his first pitch thrown. Heath Hembree pitched two clean innings with three strikeouts to take the win in relief for Boston. Texas deployed Matt Bush in the ninth, Jose LeClerc in the 10th, and then lost when Ernesto Frieri, was, well… Frieri, in the 11th giving up two runs. Keone Kela landed on the 10-day disabled list with the team hoping the All-Star break will provide ample rest to get him through the second half.

Hector Neris did not pitch in a save situation, but he did turn in his fifth straight outing without allowing a run. In fact, his seven strikeouts against zero walks in this span provides hope for his second half as the Phillies closer.

On the other hand, it may be time to worry about Aroldis Chapman. He allowed two runs on three hits on Monday. Chapman has given up runs in three of his last five appearances and does not look right. This could be residual effects from last year’s World Series run, but no one should be dropping Dellin Betances right now.

Kelvin Herrera worked the previous two days so Joakim Soria notched his first save of the year with a clean outing and a strikeout.

Hitter Highlights

Domingo Santana went 2-for-4 with two runs. Both Manny Pina and Orlando Arcia recorded three hits. Pina drove in three and moved his average to .295 with a .819 OPS. Arcia’s raised his average to .295 hitting .367 since May 18th and could be moving up in the order soon. If so, his stock goes up due to more counting statistics.

Curtis Granderson hit a pinch hit home run in the ninth inning driving in two. Granderson now has 13 home runs this year. Michael Taylor stayed hot with his 12th home run and two RBI as well.

Ezequiel Carrera went 1-for-2 with a run and his fifth stolen base. Darwin Barney added two hits and two RBI. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez finished 2-for-4 with two runs. Chase Headley tallied two hits with a double and three RBI.

Freddy Galvis attended the birth of his child in the morning then celebrated by hitting his eighth home run driving in two. Maikel Franco added his 11th home run with two RBI as well.

Marcell Ozuna drove in three with a double. Justin Bour went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. J.T. Realmuto racked up three hits and scored a run. Tommy Pham turned in another solid line going 3-for-3 with two runs, a triple, two RBI and two walks. Stephen Piscotty and Jedd Gyorko each recorded two hits and scored two runs. Gyorko also stole his fifth base before leaving the game. Yadier Molina doubled twice among his three hits with three RBI. Luke Voit launched his first home run and drove in four.

Dustin Pedroia knocked in four runs with three hits. Sam Travis tallied two hits with a double and a run scored. Rougned Odor (15), Carlos Gomez (11) and Mike Napoli (17) all homered for Texas.

Scooter Gennett keeps hitting with three more on Monday including his 13th home run. Joey Votto continues his power surge hitting his 24th home run and driving in two. Charlie Blackmon homered (18) and stole a base (6) during the Rockies win. D.J. LeMahieu added three hits and a run. Raimel Tapia finished a single shy of a cycle with three extra-base hits and his second home run of the year.

Andrelton Simmons went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Martin Maldanado (9) and Luis Valbuena (6) each homered for the Angels. Joe Mauer hit lead-off, went 2-for-4 with two runs, hit his fifth home run, drove in two, and walked. Miguel Sano finished 3-for-5 with two runs, a double and two RBI. Max Kepler capped a perfect night with four hits and a walk in five plate appearances. Kepler hit his 10th home run and drove in three as well.

Adam Engel hit lead-off and responded going 1-for-3 with a run, three walks and an RBI. Melky Cabrera added three hits with a double and an RBI. Todd Frazier doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in two. Willy Garcia also tallied two hits with a double, an RBI, and two walks. Josh Phegley doubled and scored a run for Oakland.

Whit Merrifield notched two hits and scored atop the lineup with a double. Mike Moustakas hit his 23rd home run and Alex Gordon hit his fifth. Danny Valencia went 3-for-4 for Seattle accounting for 75 percent of their hits. Yikes.

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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