Fantasy Forward: Independence Day recaps

Two prominent fantasy players returned on our nation’s birthday with Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pollock both coming off of the disabled list. After some felt the Braves were using Freeman playing third base as a smoke screen, he did in fact make his first start at the hot corner. Those who own him will now count down the games until he adds a new position to his eligibility for this year and next season. Pollock faced a tougher task with Clayton Kershaw on the mound for his return. Carlos Correa left early after sliding into home. His X-rays returned negative and he’s day-to-day with a bruised thumb, for now.

Danny Duffy also made it back to pitch 5.2 solid innings in Seattle giving up five hits, two earned runs and two walks with four strikeouts. Hisashi Iwakuma received another cortisone shot and will be shut down for a week in his rehab. Zach Duke is working his way back to the Cardinals bullpen which desperately needs another effective arm. Miguel Cabrera left his game early with hip tightness. He hopes to play Wednesday, but his myriad of ailments along with the lack of power and average must concern his owners. Danny Salazar will make his next rehab start on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus. Dallas Keuchel will throw off a mound in Toronto this weekend. If all goes well he will start a rehab assignment next week. Matt Shoemaker made a rehab appearance in the minors last night. Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the disabled list, wash, rinse, repeat. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Joe Ross kicked off the holiday with a morning start on the East coast. He allowed a lead-off home run to Jose Reyes, but settled in to last seven innings. Ross allowed eight hits, two earned runs and three walks with six strikeouts en route to his fifth win of the season.

J.A. Happ won a battle of southpaws giving up one run on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts against the Yankees on the road.

Michael Fulmer allowed two home runs in a game for the first time since last August, but won his eighth game regardless. Fulmer ceded five hits over eight innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

Kyle Gibson won his fifth game on a five hitter of his own giving up two earned runs and two walks with four strikeouts over 6.2 innings against the Angels.

Jose Urena continues to breakout for the Marlins proving to be their most reliable starter of late. Urena won his seventh game with seven strikeouts in five innings to defeat the Cardinals on the road.

Chris Archer defeated his former franchise with eight strikeouts and 21 swinging strikes in Wrigley Field. Archer won his seventh of the season allowing three earned runs in six innings of work.

Jameson Taillon keeps moving forward despite all the battles he’s faced through the years. Taillon fired five shutout innings striking out nine and yielding four hits with two walks.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson won his seventh and sixth in his last 12 starts. Nelson worked seven innings allowing six hits and one run (zero earned) with eight strikeouts on 14 swinging strikes.

Leading the way in the hard luck loss department, Corey Kluber struck out 10 (his fifth straight game doing so) over eight innings, giving up one earned run on five hits and one walk. He generated 20 swinging strikes against the Padres.

Brad Peacock moved to 6 – 1 on the season, holding the Braves to seven hits over six innings with three earned runs. Peacock ran the bases and scored in the top of the seventh which should have signaled a call to the bullpen, resulting in him losing his shutout giving up three straight hits to open the inning. He did register 14 swinging strikes on the night and also recorded a quality start.

Who goes to Coors to lower his ERA? Homer Bailey, who worked six inning giving up eight hits, one earned run, and striking out three, cutting his ERA to 12.66 on the season. It’s his first win since returning from the disabled list.

David Price seems to be rounding into form. He fired six shutout inning in Texas giving up six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts on 15 swinging strikes.

Chasing history once again, Clayton Kershaw carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning until Chris Owings infield hit. Kershaw did throw seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts producing 17 swinging strikes of his 117 pitches. It’s the 57th game in which Kershaw’s struck out at least 10 in his career, and he retakes the major league lead with 13 wins.

Bullpen Musings

Roberto Osuna continues to pitch well despite the reports of his personal battles. Osuna pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts for his 20th save this year.

Justin Wilson notched his ninth save with a clean outing and a strikeout as did A.J. Ramos for his 14th. For those tracking the Cardinals situation, Trevor Rosenthal worked the eighth on Tuesday with Seung-Hwan Oh in the ninth.

Brandon Kintzler did not sulk upon not being named to the All Star team and locked down his 22nd save, giving up a hit and a walk with an unearned run. Felipe Rivero saved his fourth for the Pirates allowing a hit and walk with two strikeouts.

Alex Colome saved his 22nd game but in a dirty fashion, again. Chicago tagged Colome with two hits, two walks and two runs before he recorded the last out. He has given up at least a run over his last five appearances and could be in danger of losing his job to Tommy Hunter or Brad Boxberger.

Santiago Casilla blew his fourth save but won his second game in the process. Casilla allowed three hits and an earned run in the top of the ninth. But, Tommy Kahnle took the loss giving up a walk-off home run to Franklin Barreto with David Robertson on paternity leave. An inauspicious debut for Kahnle, but he’s been terrific this year.

With the Indians trailing by one, Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth striking out the side. Brad Hand also whiffed three in the eighth inning for his 14th hold with Brandon Maurer saving his 17th with a clean inning and one strikeout.

Anyone who’s using Adam Ottavino for holds, get him on the bench. He is fighting release point, his crossfire delivery and nothing seems in place for him. Ottavino allowed three runs on two hits and two walks giving up two home runs in the eighth inning.

After Brandon Morrow allowed two base runners against one out recorded, Kenley Jansen entered the game in a save situation. Jansen retired one then served up a three-run home run to Daniel Descalso but hung on for his 19th save recording two outs along with a walk to Jake Lamb.

Hitter Highlights

Jose Reyes hit his seventh home run to lead-off the game in Washington. Rene Rivera added his sixth, and Jay Bruce his 21st with two RBI in a loss. Michael Taylor stayed hot and hit first for the Nationals. He finished 1-for-4 with two runs, a walk, and his 10th stolen base. Taylor is 26-for-72 (.361) with 19 runs, eight doubles, five home runs, and 16 RBI over his last 20 games. Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. He is 16 for his last 36 (.444) with nine runs, four doubles, two home runs, eight RBI, and nine walks during his last 10 games. Daniel Murphy continues to rake against his former team with four hits in five at-bats and five RBI.

Jose Bautista tallied three hits atop the Blue Jay lineup with a run and an RBI. Russell Martin added two hits with a run scored while Kendrys Morales drove in two. Aaron Judge provided the Yankees offense with hits 28th home run of the year.

Hunter Pence showed signs of life hitting his sixth home run, and Brandon Crawford drove in two with his seventh. Justin Upton returned to the lineup going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and a walk. Victor Martinez added his sixth home run with two RBI.

Kole Calhoun hit his 11th home run and Albert Pujols his 12th in a loss to Minnesota. Robbie Grossman hit lead-off with two hits, a double and an RBI. Byron Buxton racked up three hits, his fifth home run, and stole his 15th base. Eduardo Escobar (2) and Eddie Rosario (4) each stole a base as well.

Dee Gordon went 3-for-5 with a run and a double. Giancarlo Stanton tallied two hits and, Christian Yelich launched a three-run home run, his eighth of the season. Greg Garcia hit his second home run for the Cardinals.

Steven Souza Jr. led off versus a southpaw with two hits, a double, two RBI, and stole his fourth base. Tim Beckham hit his 11th home run driving in two. Jon Jay hit first for the Cubs with two hits and scored two runs. Ian Happ tripled and scored as well.

Adam Engel could see his stock rise if he stays at lead-off for the White Sox. Engel went 2-for-4 with a run. Melky Cabrera hit his 10th home run, drove in three, and finished with two hits. Jose Abreu added his 16th home run with three RBI. Matt Joyce countered for the A’s with his 11th home run and two RBI. Yonder Alonso hit two home runs (19) with three RBI, and Franklin Barreto hit the walk-off winner, his second homer of the year.

Andrew McCutchen also hit two home runs, raising his total to 16 this year. He also won the June player of the month award for the National League after leading it in OPS (1.193) and OBP (.503). McCutchen’s also 12 for his last 23 (.522) since returning to third in the lineup.

Jonathan Schoop’s breakout keeps on going hitting his 17th home run on Tuesday with two run and an RBI. Eric Thames woke up with two home runs (23) and a walk for the Brewers. Travis Shaw hit his 18th home run, and Stephen Vogt added his seventh and third since joining Milwaukee. Orlando Arcia went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Since May 18th he is 56-for-153 (.366) with four home runs and 14 RBI.

Eric Hosmer tallied two hits, one for a double, and scored twice for the Royals. Salvador Perez also doubled with two RBI. Whit Merrifield (7) and Mike Moustakas (24) hit solo shots. Moustakas padded his franchise record for home runs prior to the All-Star break. Kansas City’s won 17 of their last 23 games, sitting one and a half games out of first place in the Central. For Seattle, Jean Segura racked up four hits in five at-bats with a run and an RBI. Nelson Cruz shook off his knee injury going 2-for-2 with two RBI and a walk.

Cory Spangenberg went 2-for-3 with an RBI and stole his sixth base for the Padres. Both Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana tallied two hits for the Indians.

Billy Hamilton recorded two hits, scored, drove in two and walked last night. Scott Schebler racked up three hits including his 21st home run. Scooter Gennett launched a pinch-hit home run for his 14th of the season, matching his career high in only 194 at-bats. It took him 498 to reach 14 last year. Jose Peraza added two hits and two RBI with his fourth homer. Raimel Tapia tallied two more hits and scored the only Rockies run in a listless effort by the offense.

Not one, not two, but three Astros drove in four runs apiece on Tuesday night. Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with two runs and a home run. Josh Reddick also recorded three hits with a grand slam, his ninth homer this year. Yulieski Gurriel stayed white hot going 3-for-5 raising his average to .297 with a .810 OPS. George Springer did not drive in four, but did go 4-for-5 with three runs and his 25th home run. Alex Bregman doubled twice among his three hits and RBI. You get the picture – the Astros won in a walkover making them the fifth team to win 30 of its first 40 road games in 50 years. For Atlanta, Matt Adams went 2-for-4 with a run, and Tyler Flowers doubled to knock in two.

Andrew Benintendi will not forget this holiday. He finished 5-for-6 with four runs, two home runs (12) and six RBI. Jackie Bradley Jr. went back-to-back with him for his 11th homer and totaled three hits with two runs scored. Christian Vazquez, Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland and Tzu-Wei Lin all recorded multiple hit games for the Red Sox. Mike Napoli homered for the fourth straight game and his 18th on the season, driving in three. Delino DeShields added his second home run in the ninth inning.

Adding to his campaign to be elected to the All-Star game, Justin Turner hit one ball off the top of the wall for an RBI single, then homered (his eighth) during his next at-bat. Turner has homered three times over his last four games, hitting .394 with an 1.041 OPS. Chris Taylor added two hits, two runs and stole his 11th base. Yasmani Grandal went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

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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