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For a few hours, Albert Pujols was the biggest story in Los Angeles. That changed abruptly on Saturday evening when X-rays revealed that Dodgers’ superstar shortstop Corey Seager suffered a fractured right hand during the team’s blowout victory over the Marlins. The 27-year-old was struck directly on his right hand while attempting to get out of the way of a pitch high and inside from lefty reliever Ross Detwiler in the fifth inning. It’s unclear exactly how long he’ll be sidelined, but it’s looking like a lengthy absence for the reigning World Series MVP. It’s a significant loss for the Dodgers and fantasy managers as well. As far as internal options are concerned, either Gavin Lux or Chris Taylor could potentially take over as the team’s primary shortstop moving forward. There’s also a strong possibility that the team could pursue an established veteran alternative on the trade market over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
Until Seager’s significant injury, the buzz surrounding the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon centered around Albert Pujols’ decision to reportedly stay in Los Angeles. There hasn’t been any official confirmation from the Dodgers organization, but multiple media outlets have confirmed initial reporting from Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers reached an agreement with free agent first baseman Albert Pujols on a one-year, major-league deal for the remainder of the 2021 campaign. The 41-year-old future first-ballot Hall of Famer was officially released by the Angels on Thursday and didn’t have to wait very long to find a new home. Despite switching leagues for the first time in a decade, he won’t have to drive very far to continue his legendary career, either. It’s fair to wonder exactly how much he has left in the tank considering his lackluster .198/.250/.372 triple-slash line with five homers across 92 plate appearances this season, but could be a serviceable platoon option for the Dodgers versus left-handed pitchers or a valuable pinch-hitting bench option. It’s a bit surprising that he was able to find a landing spot so quickly, especially in the National League, given his defensive limitations and struggles at the plate in recent years.
Max Muncy will continue to serve as the Dodgers’ everyday first baseman, but the team has had issues with its depth from a position-player standpoint over the first six weeks of the 2021 season, which is where Pujols figures into the equation. Cody Bellinger (leg), Zach McKinstry (oblique) and A.J. Pollock (hamstring) have been sidelined due to injury and the team also lost Edwin Rios to season-ending shoulder surgery earlier this week. Now they’ll also be without Seager for an extended period. Youngsters Sheldon Neuse, Luke Raley and DJ Peters have looked overmatched in their brief exposure to big-league pitching, which leaves Matt Beaty as the only reliable bench option for the team at the moment. It’s not a role Pujols may have envisioned at the outset of the season, but there’s certainly a path to consistent at-bats in Los Angeles moving forward.
In addition to the high-profile Pujols signing, the Dodgers also added another veteran bat to their mix on Saturday afternoon, acquiring infielder Yoshi Tsutsugo from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations. The 29-year-old slugger was designated for assignment by the Rays after struggling to a .187/.292/.336 triple-slash line over 272 plate appearances with the club. Tsutsugo represents the latest low-risk reclamation project for the Dodgers, who have had success with similar moves in recent years. There aren’t a ton of fantasy takeaways, especially for managers in shallow mixed leagues, but Pujols and Tsutsugo could flourish in a part-time platoon role over the remaining four months of the season.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Trevor Bauer vs. Marlins
7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
32% CSW, 21 swinging strikes
There were very few stellar pitching performances on Saturday’s busy slate, which made Bauer’s seven-inning gem stand out even more. The 30-year-old righty generated a season-high 21 swinging strikes and scattered two hits over seven shutout frames. He’ll carry a sparkling 2.20 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 77/14 K/BB ratio across 57 1/3 innings (nine starts) into a home outing against the Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Shane McClanahan vs. Mets
5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
35% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
McClanahan recorded a career-high seven strikeouts while surrendering six hits, including a three-run homer to Jose Peraza in the second inning and a solo shot to Pete Alonso in the ensuing frame, which accounted for all of the damage against him. He generated a season-high 16 swinging strikes and finished with a stellar 35 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). The hard-throwing 24-year-old rookie southpaw has compiled a 4.67 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 22/5 K/BB ratio across 17 1/3 innings (four starts) this season. He's lined up to face the division-rival Blue Jays on the road his next time out on Friday.
Mike Minor vs. White Sox
7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
28% CSW, 11 swinging strikes
Minor delivered arguably his best start of the year on Saturday afternoon as a solo homer by Jose Abreu represented the lone tally against him. The 33-year-old left-hander has recorded at least six strikeouts in five of his eight starts this season. He’ll carry a 5.02 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 44/17 K/BB ratio across 43 innings (eight starts) into a tasty matchup against the Tigers next Saturday. He’s a viable streaming option for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.
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Hitters with an EDGE
Xander Bogaerts vs. Angels
2-for-2, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB
Bogaerts spearheaded the Red Sox’ nine-run offensive explosion against the Angels, crushing a three-run homer off righty Dylan Bundy in the fifth inning to effectively seal the blowout victory. The 28-year-old shortstop has blossomed into one of the best hitters in baseball over the last few years and owns a sublime .354/.414/.626 triple-slash line with 24 runs scored, nine homers, 26 RBI and two stolen bases across 162 plate appearances this season. He’s been on a tear at the plate recently, going deep six times over his last 15 games dating back to April 30.
Austin Nola vs. Cardinals
3-for-5, R, HR, 6 RBI
Nola walloped a three-run homer -- his first of the season -- off veteran righty Adam Wainwright in the third inning before also slicing an RBI single in the ensuing frame and smacking a two-run single in the seventh inning. The 31-year-old backstop finished with a career-high six RBI in the blowout victory. He’s missed significant time due to injury, but has been solid at the dish, hitting .241/.395/.414 across 38 plate appearances this season.
Joey Gallo vs. Astros
3-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI
Gallo made some serious noise in his return to the Rangers' starting lineup after sitting out Friday’s game against the Astros due to a minor hamstring issue. The 27-year-old slugger belted a three-run homer to right field -- his seventh round-tripper of the season -- off righty Ryne Stanek in the eighth inning to cap off a season-high three-hit effort. He’s starting to show some real signs of life after a slow start to the 2021 campaign.
Joey Wendle vs. Mets
4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
Wendle went 4-for-5 with three doubles and two RBI on Saturday, leading the Rays to a blowout victory over the Mets. He reached on an infield single and also stole second base -- his third steal of the season -- in the opening frame. He also doubled and scored a run in the fourth inning, doubled in the seventh inning, and also smacked a pivotal two-run double in the eighth inning. The 31-year-old infielder has been phenomenal for the Rays this season, hitting .289/.341/.471 with 23 runs scored, three homers, 18 RBI and three stolen bases across 132 plate appearances.
Eduardo Escobar vs. Nationals
3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Escobar slugged a three-run shot off righty Joe Ross in the fourth inning and capped off the multi-homer effort with a two-run blast against reliever Austin Voth in the eighth inning of the one-sided affair. It was his ninth career multi-homer performance and his seven RBI matched his previous career-high, set back on August 3, 2019.
Jose Abreu vs. Royals
2-for-4, R, HR, RBI
It’s pretty remarkable that Abreu was able to play on Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after being involved in a terrifying head-on collision with Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier on Friday afternoon. The 34-year-old reigning AL MVP blasted his eighth round-tripper of the season and is now up to 33 RBI on the year. He’s going to be just fine.
Craig Kimbrel allowed two runs -- one earned -- while recording only two outs in a blown save against the Tigers in extra innings. The first run was unearned because it was the inherited runner due to the new extra-innings rule, but a two-out single by Nomar Mazara resulted in the blown save, before JaCoby Jones stole second base and came around to score after pinch-running for Mazara on Harold Castro’s RBI single. The 32-year-old righty has been outstanding overall this season, reverting back to the elite form he displayed earlier in his career. He remains the undisputed closer in Chicago moving forward.
Jake McGee had another meltdown on Saturday night, coughing up a walk-off, two-run homer to Jacob Stallings in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was his second consecutive blown save in as many days. The 34-year-old southpaw got off to a strong start, but has faltered recently. It might be time for the Giants to consider going in another direction, but they don’t exactly have too many plausible alternatives at the moment. It’s a situation worth monitoring closely over the next few days.
Ryan Pressly tossed a perfect ninth inning versus the Ranger to pick up his seventh save of the season. He coaxed fly outs from Willie Calhoun and Nick Solak before whiffing Nate Lowe to end the contest. The 32-year-old righty has compiled a minuscule 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 20/3 K/BB ratio over 18 innings this season.
Hansel Robles fired a scoreless ninth inning against the Athletics, protecting a one-run lead to collect his first save of the 2021 campaign. The Twins’ closer situation remains extremely murky, but left-hander Taylor Rogers and Robles remain the safest bets in that bullpen moving forward.
Jake Diekman was unable to put out a fire started by Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth inning, surrendering a go-ahead, three-run homer to Miguel Sano, which resulted in his first blown save of the season. The Athletics’ closer situation remains in flux, but both Diekman and Lou Trivino should continue splitting save chances moving forward.
Heath Hembree allowed an unearned run in extra-innings, but was able to protect a two-run lead in the 12th inning to pick up his first save of the year. Both Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims tossed a pair of innings earlier in the contest, which required Reds manager David Bell to turn to the veteran righty to end the extra-inning marathon. It’ll be some combination of Antone and Sims at the end of games moving forward in Cincinnati.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Jacob Stallings, C, Pirates
The catching landscape is a dystopian wasteland at the moment, which is exactly why Stallings deserves mention in this space after a herculean effort against the Giants on Saturday evening. The 31-year-old backstop went 3-for-5 with a two-run, walk-off homer and four RBI, leading the Pirates to a dramatic comeback victory. He’s hitting .255/.371/.449 with 10 runs scored, three home runs and 15 RBI across 116 plate appearances. The Pirates’ lackluster supporting cast limits his potential upside, but he’s proven to be a solid, yet unspectacular catching option. Fantasy managers in desperate need of catching help due to the rash of recent injuries at the position should strongly consider rostering Stallings.
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Sunday’s Matchup of the Day
It doesn’t get more electric than this, folks. Ynoa and Peralta have been two of the most prominent breakout stars of the 2021 campaign and they’ll go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss it.
American League Quick Hits: Angels acquired Hunter Strickland from the Rays for a player to be named later or cash considerations … Giancarlo Stanton was held out of the Yankees’ starting lineup for the second consecutive game on Saturday against the Orioles due to left quad tightness … Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer before being removed from Saturday's game against the White Sox due to groin tightness … Jeimer Candelario left Saturday's game against the Cubs with a left knee contusion. He will not be in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched his 10th round-tripper of the season in the Blue Jays’ win over the Phillies … Mitch Haniger walloped his 12th long ball of the season in the Mariners’ win over the Indians … Aaron Judge went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, powering the Yankees to a win over the Orioles … Jose Ramirez collected three hits and reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances in the Indians’ loss to the Mariners … Miguel Sano walloped a go-ahead, three-run homer to lift the Twins past the Athletics … Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker slugged two-run homers in the Astros’ win over the Rangers … Whit Merrifield went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a pair of runs scored in the Royals’ victory against the White Sox … Yandy Diaz went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, and Randy Arozarena went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the Rays’ lopsided win over the Mets … Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers went deep in the Red Sox’ blowout win over the Angels … Dylan Moore socked a three-run homer in the Mariners’ win over the Indians … Domingo German yielded one run and notched six strikeouts over six frames in a win over the Orioles … Dylan Bundy was obliterated for seven runs over four innings in a loss to the Red Sox … Jose Berrios struck out six batters over seven innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Cole Irvin allowed one run over 6 2/3 frames in a no-decision against the Twins … Justus Sheffield allowed two runs over six innings in a win over the Indians … Martin Perez tossed six shutout frames to pick up a win against the Angels … Luis Garcia allowed one run over five innings versus the Rangers to collect his first win of the year … Anthony Kay scattered three baserunners and struck out six batters over four innings in a no-decision against the Phillies … Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that Aaron Hicks (wrist) will be placed on the 10-day injured list … Astros manager Dusty Baker said Saturday that Yordan Alvarez will not play left field on Sunday afternoon because his legs are sore … Rays activated Ji-Man Choi from the 10-day injured list … Twins placed Jake Cave on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower back … Athletics manager Bob Melvin said Saturday that James Kaprielian will have his next start pushed back to the team's upcoming road series against the Angels next weekend.
National League Quick Hits: J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper exited Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays early due to a left wrist injury and right shoulder tightness, respectively … Jazz Chisholm (hamstring) could be activated off the injured list on Sunday before the series finale against the Dodgers … Diamondbacks placed Carson Kelly on the 10-day injured list with a tuft fracture in his left big toe … Nick Castellanos went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBI, leading the Reds to a win over the Rockies in extra-innings … Freddie Freeman launched his 10th round-tripper of the season in the Braves’ win over the Brewers … Francisco Lindor drilled his third homer of the season and Pete Alonso snapped a 15-game homerless drought in the Mets’ loss to the Rays … Trent Grisham and Jake Cronenworth collected three hits in the Padres’ lopsided win over the Cardinals … Ryan McMahon hit his ninth homer of the year in the Rockies’ loss to the Reds in extra-innings … David Peralta went deep in the Diamondbacks’ blowout win over the Nationals … Max Muncy went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Dodgers’ win over the Marlins … Matt Duffy went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and five RBI in the Cubs’ loss to the Tigers in an extra-inning marathon … Juan Soto went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, Trea Turner went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored, and Victor Robles went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the Nationals’ loss to the Diamondbacks … Darin Ruf, Brandon Crawford and Mike Tauchman left the yard in the Giants’ loss to the Pirates … Kyle Farmer went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in the Reds’ win over the Rockies in extra-innings … Harrison Bader went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Cardinals’ loss to the Padres … Tyler Anderson notched seven strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision against the Giants … Ian Anderson allowed one run over six innings to pick up a win against the Brewers … Tyler Mahle was charged with two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Rockies … Chris Paddack allowed one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals … Adam Wainwright was lit up for six runs on eight hits over four innings in a loss to the Padres … Mets manager Luis Rojas said Saturday that J.D. Davis (finger) will require a minor-league rehab assignment. He also added that Seth Lugo (elbow) will begin a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse next week … Rockies manager Bud Black said late Friday that Charlie Blackmon is dealing with a minor groin strain … Cubs activated Ian Happ from the 10-day injured list … Braves activated Guillermo Heredia from the 10-day injured list … Nick Senzel (heel) and Mike Moustakas (hand) were absent from the Reds' starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Rockies … Didi Gregorius (elbow) remained out of the Phillies’ lineup for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays … Mike Yastrzemski was held out of the Giants’ starting lineup Saturday due to a side injury … Dodgers placed A.J. Pollock on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain … Diamondbacks placed Chris Devenski on the 60-day injured list with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament … Donovan Solano (calf) began a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento.