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Fantasy Forward: Corey Kluber extends strikeout streak

Corey Kluber’s been dominant since his return from the disabled list, striking out at least eight in all 14 starts since his return. He’s within one of tying Randy Johnson (15 in both 1999 and 2000) for the record and sits third all-time if he does not reach eight strikeouts against the Royals on the road this Friday. During the streak, Kluber has thrown 102.1 innings with an 8 – 1 record, 151 strikeouts, 17 walks, 1.85 ERA, and 0.74 WHIP. More impressive, his 39.9 strikeout percentage, 4.5 walk percent and 35.4 strikeout minus walk rate, a number usually reserved for elite relievers.

  • Chris Sale dominants the Yankees once again

Although Chris Sale will not get the credit for the win over New York last night, he’s surging against them in the rivalry. Sale became the first pitcher to record at least 10 strikeouts in three straight starts versus the Yankees since Pedro Martinez in 2001. On the season, Sale’s 14 – 4 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 0.88 WHIP and a 32.1 strikeout minus walk percentage.

Sale’s also in the midst of career highs in swinging strike percentage (15.2 percent), swings at pitches outside the strike zone (36 percent) and contact rate allowed (69.5 percent). Last, he’s currently pacing towards 341 strikeouts this year in what looks to be a Cy Young campaign with Boston firmly in the mix for the division title and top record in the American League.

  • Streaks with an ode to Giancarlo, again

Although it seems contrite to highlight Giancarlo Stanton almost every day of late in this column, he’s been very hard to ignore as Stanton’s on an all-time power surge. Stanton homered for the 20th time over his last 32 games becoming the first player since Shawn Green (2002) to do so. With the franchise record of 42 for the Marlins tied, Stanton’s next home run will set the team record and each one will add to his career best. Guess we’re finding out what he can do when healthy.

Both Joey Votto (17) and Alex Bregman (14) had their hit-streaks come to an end on Sunday. Votto did extend his personal on-base streak of two times per game during his last 18 played intact as he chases a Barry Bonds streak of two times on base in 20 straight. Aaron Judge also extended his games with at least one strikeout to 30 and he’s within two games of tying Adam Dunn for the record for an everyday player for this dubious honor.

  • Andrew Benintendi sets Red Sox record with nine RBI this weekend

Rookie Andrew Benintendi’s moving his name back up the board in the American League Rookie of the Year race due to his recent surge in production with Judge struggling since the All-Star break. Benintendi drove in nine runs during a three-game set becoming the first Red Sox player to do so in either Yankee Stadium since 1923. He went 5-for-13 in the series with three runs, three home runs and the nine RBI. Benintendi’s also in a seven-game hit streak and hit safely in eight of his last nine played. Over his last nine games, he’s 16-for-35 (.457) with 10 runs, three doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI and five stolen bases. Through 108 games this year, Benintendi’s scored 59 runs with 16 homers, 66 RBI and 14 steals with a .279/.360/.446 slash line.

  • Should Parker Bridwell garner more attention?

When the Angels acquired Parker Bridwell for cash from the pitching strapped Orioles, not many paid much attention. During his 72 innings with the Angels, Bridwell’s maintained a 2.88 ERA, 4.51 FIP and 1.17 WHIP. Bridwell’s record of 7 – 1 this year can be tough to ignore and the Angels are 10 – 1 in games he starts after a win on Sunday.

There’s bound to be some regression in his final month due to the FIP sitting over a run and a half higher than his ERA. But, he’s pitched around it to this point and Bridwell’s next start will come in Baltimore against the team who gave up on him. Almost all of his statistics hint at regression, but he keeps plowing forward. Those in deep leagues can give him a look with cautious optimism.

  • Will Aroldis Chapman get the next Yankee save? 

When the Yankees received both David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox in a trade to bolster their bullpen, it went mostly overlooked. But Aroldis Chapman’s a shell of his dominant self. Perhaps due to the heavy workload incurred in the playoffs last year with Joe Maddon using him at will to win his first title. Chapman did notch his 15th save on Friday night but allowed a run on three walks in the process. Last night, he allowed a game tying home run to rookie Rafael Devers. It’s the first home run to a left-handed hitter Chapman’s given up over the last 387 plate appearances versus left-handed batters.

His blown save on Sunday night also represents the first time since the last two games of the World Series he’s allowed runs on back-to-back appearances. Chapman’s 3.48 and 1.31 WHIP would represent a career worst if the season ended today. Despite his O-swing (Chase rate at pitches outside the strike zone) being steady, Chapman’s swinging strike percentage’s down by almost six percentage points and contact allowed increasing by over eight percent does not point to an immediate turnaround in performance. Neither does four walks against three strikeouts in two outings this weekend.

  • Bullpen musings

Ken Giles of the Astros recorded his first two inning save on Sunday giving up a hit and striking out two for his 23rd save this year. Zach Britton also served up a home run to a left-handed hitter, Matt Olson. It’s the first homer Britton’s allowed since April of last year and the first to a lefty since 2013.

Just when it seemed like Cam Bedrosian’s emerging as the closer for the Angels, Mike Scioscia used Keynan Middleton in the ninth on Sunday. Middleton did give up three hits and an earned run, but recorded his second save of the season. Perhaps it’s a time share, perhaps Scioscia does not care about saves and both could be true.

Tyler Clippard’s been traded to Houston to move into a set-up role with the team struggling of late. No idea who emerges between Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante or possibly Mike Pelfrey. With the amount of saves coming to the White Sox the rest of the way, it’s probably not worth finding out.

Statistical Credits: MLB.com, Fangraphs.com, ESPN.go.com

 

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Greg Jewett
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

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