Blue Jays Move To Fire Charlie Montoyo

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The Blue Jays entered the season with expectations for a deep postseason run. And that remains possible. They had worked out to a 46-42 record entering action on Wednesday. So count it as a stunner when word began to float out that manager Charlie Montoyo was being fired. If nothing else, it’s a bold move for a team which currently holds the second Wild Card slot in the American League. A recent 1-6 road trip through Oakland and Seattle helped seal Montoyo’s fate.

While we understand impatience by degrees – and it’s tough when you see the Yankees blasting the AL East standings to smithereens every time you open the newspaper – this move smacks of shortsightedness to our reading. The Blue Jays aren’t going to suddenly become a better team with bench coach John Schneider promoted to the interim managerial lead. Any real roster fixes will need to come through trades. Beyond that, though, Toronto was not a bad team even with Montoyo at the helm. When the Orioles start creeping up on you from the basement, the front office starts to get nervous, clearly. Maybe Toronto will get its act together now that the clubhouse has been shaken up. We're guessing the end result is going to be net neutral, though. Removing the manager only works as a basic ripping off of the Band-Aid. It rarely works magic.

Hitters with an EDGE

Juan Soto (doubleheader vs. Seattle) – 2-for-6, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB

Soto had himself a loud two-game show in Wednesday’s doubleheader, cracking a three-run home run in the ninth inning of one game and a solo homer in the ninth inning of the other. Despite these pyrotechnics, the Nats were swept for the day’s action. Soto has now cracked four homers over his last five games. Washington is 0-5 during that stretch. Ouch.

Teoscar Hernández – 2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Hernández popped a pair of dingers in Wednesday’s win over the Phillies. This was his first multi-homer game in 65 games this season. Currently sitting on 11 long balls with a few days remaining before the All-Star Break, Hernández is going to need a prolonged hot streak in the second half of the campaign if he is to match the career-best 32 homers he launched last season.

José Iglesias – 3-for-5, HR, 6 RBI

Iglesias had not driven in more than two runs in a game prior to ripping it up with six RBI on Wednesday. Fantasy managers in most league formats need not go jumping to the wire for Iglesias, but those in deeper leagues who need a little help on the average front could do worse than Iglesias’ .301/.340/.405 efforts (269 at-bats).

Giancarlo Stanton – 1-for-4, game-tying solo HR

The Yankees faced a minor existential crisis in losing the final two games in their series against Boston this past weekend, as well as their Tuesday meetup with the Reds. Stanton helped ensure that the sky did not, in fact, fall in New York on Wednesday, mashing a game-tying solo home run in the eighth inning to give the Yankees a shot of life before the Bronx Bombers pulled out the win in extras on a wild pitch which allowed DJ LeMahieu to streak home. Stanton, by the by, was in the middle of his at-bat when LeMahieu won the contest.

Jose Miranda – 3-for-5, walk-off HR, 3 RBI

Miranda will be telling the grandkids about this someday, as the rookie infielder pounced on a Josh Hader offering for a walk-off homer with two on and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth. The contest had been a tight 1-1 game prior to Miranda sending everybody home happy. Miranda has homered in two of his last three games.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Jon Gray – 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K, 0 BB

We would like to offer a slight mea culpa in this space, as we dogged Gray earlier this season – rightfully, we would argue – for his inconsistencies. At least in recent days, though, Gray’s inconsistent career tendencies have laid dormant. He has dropped his ERA under 4.00 after it sat well over 5.00 in early June. Mea culpa to Gray. For now.

Shohei Ohtani – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 12 K, 2 BB

Four straight double-digit strikeout performances for Ohtani, who also worked a two-run triple against the Astros on Wednesday. If only the Angels could find another star to join their modern day Mickey Mantle (Mike Trout) and Babe Ruth (Ohtani), the organization could probably secure a Wild Card berth or something. We kid because we love and feel sorry for the Angels in equal measures.

Lucas Giolito – 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, R, 5 K, 1 BB

Not even the sharpest of starts, here, but frankly, it’s nice to see Giolito taking positive baby steps to get his season back in order. While he was wrecked for five runs by the Tigers last time out, Giolito has now very quietly allowed two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts. If you’re in the glass-half-empty crowd, though, Giolito has given up at least five runs in three of his last six starts. Numbers can be sliced in many, many ways.

Ross Stripling – 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 6 K, 0 BB

The absence of Charlie Montoya at play, clearly. Stripling has now allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of his last 14 appearances (he has seen work both out of the pen and as a starter this season).

JT Brubaker – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9 K, 2 BB

Best start of the season and a nice bounceback for Brubaker, who had walked five in five innings against the Brewers in his last outing. Brubaker will enter the All-Star Break holding a 4.02 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 106/42 K/BB ratio in 18 starts (94 innings)

EDGE Priority Pickup

Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets – available in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues

Nimmo’s numbers outwardly might look rather modest, but his .269/.355/.430 triple-slash, eight homers, 32 RBI and 54 runs scored collectively add up to Yahoo’s No. 103 overall player in fantasy with the All-Star Break just days away. Managers in deeper formats, in particular, might benefit from Nimmo as a bench cog who can chip in on multiple fronts.

Closing Time

Liam Hendriks – SV (18), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 0 BB

Hendriks closed out a 2-1 win over the Guardians without issue on Wednesday. He has now gone 14 straight appearances without allowing a run. While the White Sox and Blue Jays have seen their seasons unfold in quite similar fashion to date, Chicago continues to grind it out while Toronto just fired their manager. The White Sox sit five games back of the Twins in the AL Central, which is at least optically a nicer look than sitting 15-plus games back of the division leader ala the Blue Jays.

Scott Barlow – SV (15), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 K, 0 BB

Barlow was tasked with closing out a 5-2 win over the Tigers and did so without drama. He is now just one save shy of matching the 16 saves he posted during the 2021 campaign. Barlow has turned in five straight scoreless appearances after going through a little speed bump at the beginning of July.

Paul Sewald – SV (11), 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB/ SV (12), 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 K, 0 BB

Doubleheader saves! Sewald was barely needed in the first game against the Nationals, only entering to record the final out after Juan Soto’s three-run homer drew Washington to within two runs. Sewald’s second save was less clean, as Soto (him again) burned the reliever for a solo home run in what finished as a 2-1 win for the M’s. Sewald improved to 12-of-14 in save chances when everything was wrapped on Wednesday.

Garrett Richards – SV (1), 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB

One-pitch save for Richards, who collected the (really cheap) stat after the A’s smacked a pair of solo homers in the ninth to necessitate his entrance for a save. Steven Vogt flew out and just like that, the game was over. Richards has no fantasy upside as a middle reliever, but he can crow about this one to his grandkids.

Colin Poche – SV (6), 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB

Poche closed out Tampa Bay’s sweep of the Red Sox – the Yankees might have had a slight hangover off last weekend’s four-game split with Boston; but apparently it did nothing for the Red Sox, now on a three-game losing streak – on Wednesday and has now turned in six straight scoreless appearances.

Evan Phillips – SV (1), 1 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB

The Dodgers had already used Craig Kimbrel (who picked up the win) for the eighth and subsequently brought in Phillips for the save after the Dodgers plated the go-ahead run on a Hanser Alberto RBI single in the top of the ninth inning. Kimbrel remains The Man for closing duties in Los Angeles.

David Bednar – BS (4), 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 K, 1 BB

Bednar had a chance for his 17th save of the season after coming in for the bottom of the 10th with the Pirates holding a 4-2 lead. The game-winning run for the Marlins would come home on a Bednar wild pitch. That will sting.

Josh Hader – L (0-3), 0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 K, 1 BB

Hader put two on after coming in for the bottom of the ninth in a 1-1 game. Jose Miranda then put an end to this short and wobbly showing in dramatic fashion, pounding a three-run walk-off homer to stun one of the best relievers in the game. By the book, Hader has just one blown save in 28 chances this season, though performances such as Wednesday’s do not register as blown saves.

Thursday’s Matchup of the Day

Corbin Burnes (MIL) at Carlos Rodón (SFG)

On Wednesday, we saw Cristian Javier and Shohei Ohtani turn in dueling double-digit strikeout performances. Don’t be surprised if Burnes and Rodón achieve the same feat on Thursday. Rodón has four starts of at least 10 strikeouts in 17 outings this season (including two of his last four trips to the mound), while Burnes has rocked double-digit strikeouts in six of 17 outings for the campaign.

AL Quick Hits: Cristian Javier recorded 10 of his 11 outs via strikeout against the Angels, though he lasted just 3 2/3 IP in the 7-1 loss. … Austin Hays went 4-for-5 to help lead the Orioles to their 10th straight win. … Garrett Whitlock (hip) is expected to return to the Red Sox before the All-Star Break. … Michael Wacha (shoulder) is scheduled for a Saturday bullpen session. … Rich Hill (knee) will work a bullpen session on Thursday. … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched his 20th homer of the season. … The suddenly struggling Isaac Paredes went 0-for-4 against the Red Sox. … Jesse Winker cracked solo home runs in both games of Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep of the Nationals. … Eloy Jiménez was forced out with an apparent leg injury vs. the Guardians. … Luis Severino was forced out against the Reds due to right shoulder tightness. … Aaron Civale was lifted versus the White Sox due to a sore right wrist. … José Ramírez will reportedly participate in the Home Run Derby. … Frankie Montas (shoulder) is not expected to rejoin the team before the All-Star Break. … Mike Trout continues to fight through a back issue. … A whopping 10 Royals players will not be heading to Toronto this weekend due to their vaccination statuses. … Aaron Hicks (shin) expects to be available in the next few days … X-rays came back negative on Trevor Story’s injured right hand.

NL Quick Hits: Sam Hilliard stole a base and scored three runs. … Joe Musgrove was rocked for five runs by the Rockies. … Tony Gonsolin was blasted for five runs by the Cardinals while escaping with a no-decision. … Nolan Arenado hit homer No. 18. … Evan Longoria (oblique) could return from the injury list this weekend. … Brandon Belt is working through a bout of knee swelling. … Bryan Reynolds (oblique) has yet to begin baseball activities … Kyle Hendricks (shoulder) is at least two weeks out from a return. … Blake Treinen (shoulder) threw a clean bullpen session on Wednesday. … C.J. Cron (wrist) sat against the Padres. … Nationals recalled Tyler Clippard from Triple-A Rochester. … Francisco Lindor whacked his 16th homer of the campaign. … Chris Bassitt yielded one run on five hits over six innings in a win over the Braves. … Joc Pederson turned down an invitation to the Home Run Derby, citing minor health concerns. … Darren O’Day (calf) was placed on the injured list. … Braves activated Kenley Jansen (heart) from the injured list.