Fantasy Forward: Second half ensues

It’s tough to track streaks through the end of the first half and the start of the second one, but Houston keeps rolling on with a double in a franchise record 47th straight game. Try to avoid using a pitcher against them moving forward since they lead in almost all categories on offense averaging almost six runs per game this year. Colorado picks up where they left off losing their 14th in 19 games. Ian Desmond may return on Saturday, but this team needs more than just his bat. David Dahl homered while on rehab assignment and could return soon to put the final nail in the fantasy relevance of Carlos Gonzalez this season.

Both the Yankees and fantasy owners will need to find a replacement for Michael Pineda whose partial tear of UCL ligament will require Tommy John surgery. Indians Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall are weeks, not days away according to manager Terry Francona – plan accordingly. The same goes for Mark Melancon who started throwing, but will not be back until August it appears. Byron Buxton (groin) and Aaron Altherr (hamstring) each left their games early last night.

For positive news, the Yankees traded for Garrett Cooper to try and put a bandage on their first baseman need. Cooper did hit 17 home runs with 82 RBI in Triple-A while with Colorado Springs, but the PCL heavily favors hitters. Rafael Devers moved to Triple-A with the Red Sox designating Pablo Sandoval for assignment. If Devers fares well, he could be up by the end of the month. Philadelphia could see Cesar Hernandez and Vince Velasquez rejoin the team in Miami next week with Velasquez the possible starter on Tuesday. Off to the recaps.

Starting Pitcher Observations

Jacob deGrom started strong with 11 strikeouts en route to his 10th win. deGrom worked eight innings giving up four hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk.

Gerrit Cole survived the “Curse of Chris (McBrien)” to turn in a quality start allowing four hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts against the Cardinals.

Aaron Sanchez won in Detroit versus Justin Verlander, firing six innings and giving up a run, but not an earned one. Sanchez did yield seven hits with two walks and struck out four. Verlander just missed a quality start leaving with two outs in the sixth after issuing his third walk. On the plus side, he did hit 98 MPH on his 105th pitch of the night. Verlander did strike out five on 11 swinging strikes.

Neither Taijuan Walker nor R.A. Dickey factored in the decision, but each threw a quality start in Atlanta. Walker allowed five hits, two earned runs and struck out four in six innings issuing no walks. Dickey countered with six innings as well giving up eight hits, one earned run and two walks with four strikeouts. Both pitchers generated nine swinging strikes.

Big Maple, James Paxton, won his eighth game defeating the White Sox on the road. Paxton worked six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and striking out nine with 15 swinging strikes.

It’s never pretty but Martin Perez won his fifth game giving up eight hits, three earned runs and a walk with one strikeout over seven innings.

Sonny Gray upped his trade stock with six shutout innings ceding only two hits to Cleveland, one walk and striking out five for his fifth win.

Jacob Faria and Ricky Nolasco each recorded a quality start but the bullpens decided the game. Faria’s now made seven starts, each a quality one giving up one earned run in five of them, including last night. Nolasco produced a whopping 19 swinging strikes over seven innings allowing only two hits, one earned run and two walks with six strikeouts. It’s a funny game.

Bullpen Musings

Wade Davis notched his 17th save in as many chances striking out two in a clean appearance in Baltimore. Zach Britton pitched well in the eighth, but Brad Brach allowed a home run to Addison Russell in the ninth.

Seung-Hwan Oh just cannot put a stranglehold on the closer job this year. He allowed a three-run home run to Josh Bell in the ninth allowing the Pirates a walk-off win. Felipe Rivero benefited with his fourth win in relief. Avoid the Cardinals bullpen moving forward.

A.J. Ramos blew his second save of the season giving up three earned runs, two on a home run by Yasiel Puig on the way to his fourth loss. Kenley Jansen locked down his 22nd save in a clean inning with a strikeout.

Aroldis Chapman did not receive much help from his defense but still allowed two hits and two walks without recording an out to blow his third save of the year. Stay tuned, something’s still not right with him.

Matt Albers took the ninth inning of a five to zero game and allowed three hits so Matt Grace entered to record the last out for his first career save. Like the Cardinals, avoid the Nationals bullpen until trades start to happen.

Archie Bradley ceded four hits and two earned runs but struck out the side in his second blown save. Jim Johnson saved his 20th with an assist from a spectacular catch by Ender Inciarte.

Corey Knebel saved number 15 giving up a hit with two strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.66. Edwin Diaz notched save 14 striking out two in a clean inning and Alex Colome his 26th with one strikeout.

Everyone had Alex Claudio of Texas slated to get the next save chance, right? He did face Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the inning so the Rangers may be playing match-ups late in games with Claudio and Jose LeClerc, take note. Sam Dyson did save his fourth for the Giants but did give up three hits and an earned run in the process.

Hitter Highlights

Ben Zobrist (8), Jason Heyward (7) and Addison Russel (8) all homered along with a double in the Cubs win last night. Willson Contreras hit clean-up and responded with a three-run shot, his 12th of the year. Kyle Schwarber launched his 14th as well. Manny Machado continues to hit baseballs with high exit velocities and went 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Jonathan Schoop also recorded two hits, scored twice and doubled. Mark Trumbo could heat up in the second half. He went 2-for-3 with three runs, his 15th home run, drove in three and walked twice. Welington Castillo added his ninth home run as well.

Tommy Pham tallied two hits and stole his 12th base. Jedd Gyorko provided the Cardinals runs with a two run home run, his 14th. Josh Bell drove in four for the Pirates including his walk-off three run jack, number 17 of the season.

Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra each finished with two hits, Blackmon scored once and Parra added an RBI. Michael Conforto returned atop the Mets lineup with two hits and his 15th home run with four RBI and two walks. Asdrubal Cabrera recorded two hits and three RBI. Yoenis Cespedes went 4-for-6 with a run and an RBI. T.J. Rivera doubled, hit his fifth home run and drove in three. Jose Reyes racked up three hits, scored three runs, doubled and drove in one.

Corey Seager hit his 14th home run, but Yasiel Puig stole the show with two home runs (18) and four RBI. Joc Pederson went 2-for-4 with two runs and a double. Giancarlo Stanton went 1-for-3 with a run, double, RBI and a walk. Justin Bour drove in two with a double in four at-bats.

Gary Sanchez hit his 14th home run and drove in three for the Yankees. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia each recorded two hits and scored a run with a stolen base. Betts swiped his 16th while Pedroia stole his fourth. Hanley Ramirez launched his 14th home run with two RBI.

Jose Bautista remained at lead-off, went 1-for-3 with two runs, his 15th home run and walked with two RBI. Steve Pearce added his seventh home run among his three hits. Andrew Romine doubled and hit his fourth home run for Detroit.

Bryce Harper started the second half in style with two home runs (22) and three RBI. Anthony Rendon finished with two hits, a double and an RBI.

Paul Goldschmidt launched his 21st home run while Chris Owings went 2-for-3 with two runs and his 12th stolen base. Ender Inciarte tallied two hits and scored two runs. Freddie Freeman hit his 17th home run with two RBI.

Brian Dozier led off with a home run, the Twins franchise best 21st to start a game, and finished with four RBI with a bases clearing double. Carlos Beltran went 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Brian McCann hit his 11th home run driving in three. Marwin Gonzalez racked up three hits, hit his 17th home run and drove in two.

Before leaving the game, Aaron Altherr notched two hits, each doubles with a run. Maikel Franco went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. Odubel Herrera added his seventh home run with two RBI and a walk. Ryan Braun hit a grand slam, his 11th home run this year, and drove in four. Orlando Arcia hit a three-run shot, his ninth home run of the season. Domingo Santana went 2-for-4 with a run and two doubles.

Jean Segura finished 2-for-4 with two runs and a double. Robinson Cano launched his 18th home run among two hits with three RBI and a walk. Avisail Garcia countered with two hits, scored both White Sox runs and stole two bases (4).

Adrian Beltre picked up where he left off in the first half hitting his eighth home run and driving in three. Mike Napoli added his 19th home run with two RBI. Alcides Escobar hit his third home run with two RBI. Both Whit Merrifield and Jorge Bonifacio recorded two hits with a double.

Rajai Davis exacted a bit of revenge going 2-for-3 with two runs and his third home run against his former employer. Matt Joyce added a double, scored a run and drove in one. Yonder Alonso hit his 21st home run.

Evan Longoria doubled and hit his 13th home run with Albert Pujols hitting his 14th. Mike Trout returned going 1-for-5 and stealing his 11th base.

Brandon Belt went 2-for-5 with a run and a double. Buster Posey hit his 11th home run, drove in two and walked. Gorkys Hernandez turned in a perfect night going 4-for-4 with a run and a double. Manuel Margot returned to lead-off for the Padres with two hits and a run scored.

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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