So Thursday's slate played out pretty much the way we all expected. Aroldis Chapman blew a save against the Marlins, Justin Verlander gave up eight runs and couldn't escape the third, and, of course, Francisco Liriano struck out seven batters in an easy win.
Baseball, you guys. Almost too predictable. Why they even play the games, I don't really know.
We're heading straight to the bullets, because nothing makes sense just now...
• Stay ready, Mike Dunn. Steve Cishek took an extra-inning loss on Thursday (following the Chapman blown save), giving up three hits, two walks and three runs to the Reds. He struck out no one, raising his ERA to 5.40 and his WHIP to 1.44. He's allowed runs in six of his 16 appearances. Most of Thursday's damage was inflicted in his second inning of work, so at least he has a valid excuse. Cishek hasn't been terrible in recent appearances, so he's probably safe(ish) for the moment. Probably. But Mike Dunn should stay ready.
• Here's a 458-foot Travis Snider homer, hit clean out of PNC and into the water. Please enjoy. Snider went 3-for-5 against Milwaukee, driving in three runs and swiping a bag. I'm starting Snider in an NL-only league, but I won't give a hard sell to mixed gamers quite yet. Just know that he's out there, hitting competently.
• We had a glitch-in-the-matrix moment in St. Louis, when Daniel Murphy's sixth-inning double somehow traveled through the right field wall. Yup, through the wall, not over it. Check the highlight right here. Not quite your standard-issue ground-rule double.
Murphy is blisteringly hot right now, we should note. He went 4-for-4 on Thursday afternoon, and he's 11-for-20 over his last five games. Murphy is owned in just 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues, eligible at multiple positions (1B-2B). AND HE CAN HIT BALLS THROUGH WALLS. How can you leave a guy like that unowned? You can't.
Ike Davis went 0-for-5 with four Ks from the clean-up spot, by the way, lowering his season average to .157. He's now hitless in his last 22 at-bats. Manager Terry Collins has apparently taken a blood-oath to keep Davis in the No. 4 spot in the batting order through the weekend, which seems...well, bold.
• David Price has hit the 15-day DL with a triceps strain, so that's a small inconvenience. Or, if you've been rolling with him in every start, maybe it's a relief. In any case, we don't believe he has terminal triceps soreness. According to his manager, we should not expect an extended absence.
The Rays have called up LHP Alex Torres from Triple-A Durham to take Price's spot on the active roster, though it sounds like he'll work from the 'pen. We could potentially see Jake Ororizzi take Price's next turn at Toronto on Monday, which would be fun. (Note: "Fun," not actionable. I'm not adding, just watching.) Odorizzi is 4-0 at Durham with a 3.83 ERA and 47 Ks in 44.2 IP. He was rocked on Wednesday (6 ER, 3 HR), but it's been a mostly good year for the righty.
• Miami farmhand Christian Yelich is still stinging the ball, in case you were wondering. He launched two homers on Wednesday in a 3-for-6 performance for Double-A Jacksonville, raising his season slash line to .319/.390/.659. He now leads the Southern League in OPS and slugging percentage. When Yelich gets the call, you should care.
• Mitch Moreland continued his binge, smoking a two-run double in the third inning on Thursday, off maybe the worst pitch of Justin Verlander's career. (Lazy slider, on a tee.) Moreland is on an absolute tear at the moment. He added an opposite-field RBI double in the fifth, finishing his night 2-for-3.
We can't blame velocity for Verlander's messy line against the Rangers, just so you know. He was hitting 97-99 mph from the stretch in the third, but strike-throwing was an issue — a major issue. He hit one batter and twice issued bases-loaded walks. Not normal.
• Nine of Fernando Rodney's first 11 pitches on Thursday were non-strikes. That's not generally a successful approach in the ninth, especially against a lineup like Boston's. Rodney eventually walked the bases loaded, then allowed a two-out, bases-clearing double to Will Middlebrooks. Save, blown. Arrow, not launched. Rodney had converted his three previous save chances and seven of his last eight, so it's not like he's useless. And he hit 100 on the gun on Thursday, so he ain't hurtin'. Still, if you're speculating, Joel Peralta is the play.
Junichi Tazawa got the win for Boston, shutting the door, but he's just a seat-warmer for Andrew Bailey.
• Nolan Arenado homered off Matt Cain in Colorado's loss to the Giants, his fourth bomb in only his 17th game. Arenado hasn't seemed over-matched so far, and deserves better than his current ownership percentage (45). Talented hitter, tricky position, friendly park.
• Speaking of under-owned young hitters: Jedd Gyorko went 2-for-3 against the Strasburgs on Thursday. That's five hits for Gyorko over the past two days; he's now batting .271, with three homers so far this month. He's just 29 percent owned, eligible at second and third. The kid hit 30 homers in the high minors last season, so we know the power is legit.
• The Cubs really need Matt Garza to emerge as a serious trade chip over the next two months, and Thursday's rehab start helped the cause. Garza pitched six scoreless frames for Triple-A Iowa, striking out six batters, walking none and yielding just two hits. Not sure what else you need to see, Texas. Let's see an offer, please.