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Nobody has perfected homecoming quite like Albert Pujols over the last few years. Just a few moments after receiving a standing ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd in his return to the Midwest for the first time in a Dodgers uniform on Tuesday evening, the future Hall of Famer launched the 679th home run of his illustrious career off lefty J.A. Happ in the opening frame, powering the Dodgers to a decisive 7-2 victory over the Cardinals. The 41-year-old slugger also went deep in his return to St. Louis with the Angels back in 2019. It was his lone hit in four at-bats, but Pujols’ early homer set the tone for the Dodgers' eventual runaway win. Justin Turner launched a pair of homers and Will Smith tallied four hits and also went deep, as Los Angeles kept pace with the Giants in the NL West division race.
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Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Blake Snell vs. Angels
7.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
35% CSW, 19 swinging strikes
Snell retired 18 consecutive batters, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning before issuing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher. He kept the no-hit bid intact until Jo Adell sliced a two-run single to center field with two outs later in the frame. The 28-year-old left-hander tied a Padres franchise record with 13 consecutive hitless innings over his last two starts and has recorded an astounding 1.85 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 65/14 K/BB ratio across 43 2/3 innings (seven starts) since August 3.
Wade Miley vs. Cubs
7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
34% CSW, 21 swinging strikes
Miley rebounded from a rocky outing against the Cardinals his last time out, matching a season-high with eight strikeouts over seven innings on Tuesday evening to pick up a win over the rebuilding Cubs. The 34-year-old left-hander generated an absurd 21 swinging strikes and finished with a robust 34 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs).
Eric Lauer vs. Phillies
7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
30% CSW, 7 swinging strikes
Lauer scattered four hits and a walk over seven scoreless frames on Tuesday night in a win over the Phillies. The 26-year-old lefty wasn’t overpowering as evidenced by just seven swinging strikes, but he managed to avoid giving up any extra-base hits in this one. He’s been on an incredible run lately, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts since June 20.
Hitters with an EDGE
Nelson Cruz vs. Red Sox
4-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR (29, 30), 4 RBI
Mike Zunino vs. Red Sox
3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (28, 29), 4 RBI
Cruz and Zunino formed a dynamic tag-team at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, launching a pair of homers each to spearhead the Rays’ blowout victory over the division-rival Red Sox, increasing their AL East lead to nearly 10 games in the process. The 41-year-old ageless wonder notched his fourth multi-homer effort of the season to eclipse the 39-homer plateau for the seventh time in the last eight years. He also added an RBI double in the seventh inning just for good measure. Meanwhile, Zunino smacked a two-run triple in the second inning and also added a pair of solo homers in the Rays’ lopsided win.
Alejandro Kirk vs. Yankees
3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR (6, 7), 2 RBI
Marcus Semien, who is up to 38 round-trippers on the season after going deep eight times over his last 12 games, has justifiably garnered the overwhelming majority of the recent headlines in Toronto, but Alejandro Kirk has quietly been on a tear at the dish himself, going deep four times over his last eight games. The 22-year-old catcher recorded his second career multi-homer performance on Tuesday evening in the Blue Jays’ pivotal victory over the Yankees. He drilled a solo shot to right field off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in the second inning and also added a solo blast off righty reliever Clay Holmes in the eight inning to cap the multi-homer effort. Given his combination of impressive plate skills, over-the-fence pop and catcher eligibility, he should be rostered in all fantasy formats over the final three weeks of the regular season.
Pete Alonso vs. Marlins
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (31, 32), 3 RBI, BB
Alonso became the second-fastest hitter in major-league history to reach the 100-homer milestone, accomplishing the feat in just 347 career games. The 26-year-old slugger tattooed a pair of homers on Tuesday evening, propelling the Mets to a much-needed win over the Marlins. It was his third multi-homer effort of the 2021 campaign.
Alex Colome vs. Cleveland
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (13th save)
Colome was summoned to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Tuesday evening and worked around a one-out single from Amed Rosario to slam the door on Cleveland. The 32-year-old righty has reeled off seven consecutive scoreless appearances and converted 11 of 14 save opportunities since taking over as the Twins’ primary stopper since the All-Star break.
Chris Stratton vs. Tigers
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3rd save)
Stratton tossed a scoreless ninth inning on Tuesday night against the Tigers to collect his first save since August 24. The 31-year-old righty will continue to vulture the occasional save chance in Pittsburgh over the final three weeks of the regular season.
Mychal Givens vs. Cubs
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (6th save)
Givens worked around a two-out single by Alfonso Rivas to spin a scoreless frame on Tuesday evening, picking up his sixth save of the year against the Cubs. The 31-year-old side-winder has converted six of his seven save chances this season.
Will Smith vs. Nationals
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (31st save)
Smith tossed a perfect frame on Tuesday night, guarding a three-run lead against the Nationals to record his 31st save of the season. The 32-year-old left-hander has converted 31 of 35 save opportunities this year.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Joe Ryan, SP, Twins
Ryan was saddled with a loss, allowing three runs over five frames last week in his major-league debut against the Cubs, but he showed immense potential, especially from a strikeout upside standpoint. The 25-year-old righty generated a whopping 14 swinging strikes, including nine on his fastball, and finished with a 29 percent CSW. He’s in line for another favorable matchup on Wednesday against Cleveland and represents an extremely high-upside streaming option for fantasy managers over the final three weeks of the 2021 campaign.
Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
American League Quick Hits: Gerrit Cole made an early exit from Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays due to left hamstring tightness … Angels manager Joe Maddon had no update Tuesday on when or if Mike Trout (calf) might be able to return … White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Tuesday that there is no timetable for Tim Anderson (hamstring) to return from the injured list … Lance Lynn (knee) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday … Lucas Giolito (hamstring) threw at max effort Tuesday without issue … Xander Bogaerts (COVID-19) could return as early as Friday … Kyle Lewis has been shut down for the remainder of the season due to a bone bruise in his right knee … George Springer (knee) was held out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup on Tuesday against the Yankees … Trey Mancini (oblique) remained out of the Orioles' starting lineup on Tuesday versus the Royals … Alex Bregman went 3-for-5 with a game-tying two-run homer and three RBI in the Astros’ extra-inning victory over the Mariners … Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays and DJ Stewart homered in the Orioles’ win over the Royals … Brent Rooker drilled a solo homer, lifting the Twins to a narrow win over Cleveland … Jordan Luplow went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer in the Rays’ win over the Red Sox … Bobby Dalbec came off the bench to blast a pair of two-run homers in the Red Sox’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Rays … Kyle Seager belted a solo homer in the Mariners’ extra-inning loss to the Astros … Jose Ramirez singled, walked twice and stole a base in Cleveland’s loss to the Twins … Miguel Cabrera posted three hits in the Tigers’ loss to the Pirates … Whit Merrifield singled and stole a base in the Royals’ loss to the Orioles … Andrew Velasquez went 2-for-3 with a stolen base in the Yankees’ loss to the Blue Jays … Drew Rasmussen fired five scoreless innings in a win over the Red Sox … Steven Matz posted six strikeouts and allowed one run over six innings in a win over the Yankees … John Gant struck out seven batters and handed out four free passes over five scoreless frames in a win over Cleveland … James Kaprielian gave up one run over four innings in a no-decision against the White Sox … Jimmy Lambert allowed one run over five innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Jake Odorizzi gave up two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Mariners … Logan Gilbert surrendered two runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Astros … Wily Peralta gave up one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Pirates … Alex Wells allowed two runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Royals … Packy Naughton struck out five batters over five shutout frames in a no-decision against the Padres … Spencer Howard tossed two perfect innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks … Aaron Civale fanned six batters and allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Twins … Eduardo Rodriguez was obliterated for six runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rays … Jackson Kowar posted seven strikeouts and was torched for six runs over six innings in a loss to the Orioles … Michael Baumann was charged with one run (zero earned) over 3 2/3 innings to pick up a win in relief against the Royals in his major-league debut.
National League Quick Hits: Mets president Sandy Alderson revealed Tuesday that Jacob deGrom (forearm, elbow) was diagnosed earlier this summer with a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow … Fernando Tatis Jr. said Tuesday that he does not anticipate undergoing shoulder surgery after the season … Clayton Kershaw (forearm) allowed two earned runs over three innings in a rehab start Tuesday night with Triple-A Oklahoma City … Jesse Winker (intercostal) suffered a minor setback recently with his recovery from an intercostal strain … Connor Joe (hamstring) received a platelet-rich plasma injection for his injured right hamstring … Avisail Garcia (back, leg) returned to the Brewers' lineup Tuesday against the Phillies … Keibert Ruiz (knee) remains out of the Nationals' lineup on Tuesday … Jonathan India and Nick Castellanos crushed solo homers in the Reds’ win over the Cubs … Ozzie Albies went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI in the Braves’ victory over the Nationals … Christian Yelich went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the Brewers’ blowout win over the Phillies … Steven Duggar went 3-for-5 with three RBI, leading the Giants to a lopsided victory over the Rockies … Ke’Bryan Hayes went 2-for-5 with a stolen base in the Pirates’ win over the Tigers … Ian Happ, Willson Contreras and Rafael Ortega launched solo homers in the Cubs’ loss to the Reds … Juan Soto reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances and Yadiel Hernandez drilled a three-run homer in the Nationals’ loss to the Braves … Tyler O’Neill tallied three hits, including a pair of doubles, and stole a base in the Cardinals’ loss to the Dodgers … Daulton Varsho singled and stole a base in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Rangers … Logan Webb yielded three runs over seven innings in a win over the Rockies … Carlos Carrasco was charged with four runs (one earned) over five innings in a win over the Marlins … Max Fried allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision against the Nationals … Dillon Peters gave up two runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Tigers … Paolo Espino struck out seven batters and gave up five runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Braves … Edward Cabrera walked four batters and was charged with four runs over 2 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mets … Zac Gallen recorded eight strikeouts and yielded three runs over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers … Aaron Nola surrendered three runs over five innings in a loss to the Brewers … J.A. Happ gave up four runs over five innings in a loss to the Dodgers … Adrian Sampson allowed two runs over five innings in a loss to the Reds … Chi Chi Gonzalez was obliterated for five runs over 1 1/3 innings in a loss to the Giants.