The Familia Effect
The Athletics made a bold move on Saturday, deciding to be buyers and making a push for the Wild Card this season. They acquired Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia for a pair of low-level minor league prospects as a way to bolster their bullpen in front of closer Blake Treinen.
That move began paying immediate dividends. Familia debuted with the Athletics on Sunday, taking the hill in a 5-5 game against the Giants in the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Austin Slater, before striking out Steven Duggar and getting Alen Hanson to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Familia remained on for the 10th inning after the A’s failed to score in the bottom half of the ninth, retiring the top three hitters in the Giants’ lineup in order without issue.
The A’s then rallied in the bottom half of the 10th, with Marcus Semien dashing around to score on an infield single by Matt Chapman to send the home faithful into a frenzy.
The right-hander threw 22 pitches, 15 of them for strikes, over his two innings. He earned his fifth victory of the season for his work, lowering his ERA to 2.74 in the process.
While this was a tremendous addition for the Athletics, it was a death blow to the fantasy value of Familia. With Treinen entrenched as the man in the ninth inning, Familia’s usefulness will be relegated to those that play in leagues which count holds. He’s a useful handcuff for Treinen owners, but not much more.
With the victory, and the Mariners also winning on Sunday, the Athletics remain three games back in the race for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.
They may not be done making additions to their roster either. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported on Sunday that that A’s have expressed interest in Tigers’ right-hander Mike Fiers.
Fiers has been tremendous over his final 10 outings, registering a 2.47 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 50/14 K/BB ratio over 62 innings. He’s a free agent at season’s end and increasingly likely to be dealt by the Tigers in advance of this month’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Even after acquiring Familia on Saturday, the Athletics’ farm system is loaded. Morosi cautions that the two sides have not begun any serious discussions on the matter yet, but on paper it looks like there could be a match in the works here.
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The Washington Nationals have enough to worry about already, as a club that was supposed to dominate in the National League East finds itself at 49-49 through the team’s first 98 games. That’s good for third place in the National League East and puts the Nationals five games back of the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
This is a point in the season where they need all hands on deck and need to start stringing wins together in bunches. What they don’t need, is an even bigger injury than originally thought for their shutdown closer.
What was expected to be just a minimum stint on the disabled list with a strained toe on his left foot has turned into a multi-week absence with what’s now being called a stress reaction in the bridge of Sean Doolittle’s left foot.
While no clear timetable has been given yet, the good news is that Doolittle was told that it would be “weeks, not months”.
Fortunately for the Nationals, they have a very capable replacement on hand. Kelvin Herrera, acquired from the Royals last month, knows a thing or two about being a force in the ninth inning.
The 28-year-old hurler recorded the final five outs against the Braves on Sunday to earn his 15th save of the season and first as a member of the Nationals. While not quite on Doolittle’s level, Herrera owns a brilliant 1.89 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across his 38 innings on the season.
He needs to be added immediately in all leagues where he may have become available following the trade from the Royals. Even if he only holds onto the job for a couple of weeks while Doolittle is sidelined, he’ll be an elite option during that time.
Ryon Healy had a magnificent afternoon at the plate in Sunday’s victory over the White Sox, blasting a pair of three-run home runs in an 8-2 win.
Healy's first three-run shot came off of White Sox’ starter Reynaldo Lopez and capped off a five-run first inning for the host Mariners. His second one in the bottom of the eighth came off of Hector Santiago and put the game completely out of reach. He also singled in the contest, finishing the afternoon 3-for-4.
Even with this huge game, the month of July hasn’t been kind to the Mariners’ first baseman. He has hit just .214 (12-for-56) with four homers, 13 RBI and a 15/1 K/BB ratio in 15 games.
Healy has an ugly .274 on-base percentage in 82 games this season for Seattle, but he's up to 20 home runs and 53 RBI. That puts him on pace to finish the year with 32 homers and 86 RBI -- both of which would be career highs.
American League Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that there has been a “bit of interest” in Yankees’ right-hander Sonny Gray… Heyman also notes that the Yankees spoke briefly to the Marlins about Dan Straily, but that the two sides “don’t appear to be close”... Marco Estrada (glute) will make a minor league rehab start at Double-A New Hampshire on Monday, rather than returning right to the Jays’ rotation as originally planned… Ervin Santana (finger) will make his season debut for the Twins on Wednesday against the Blue Jays… Jaime Barria will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to start for the Angels on Monday… Carlos Correa (back) has finally resumed throwing and running drills. There’s still no clear timetable for his return, but this is a step in the right direction… James Paxton (back) is expected to rejoin the Mariners’ rotation on Tuesday against the Giants… Joey Gallo was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Indians with a left ankle sprain… Yangervis Solarte belted a go-ahead two-run home run (his 17th homer of the season) in the eighth inning to beat the Orioles… Andrew Cashner allowed just one run over 5 ⅔ innings in his return from the disabled list… Jake Odorizzi fanned eight over six innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Royals… Drew Butera, the fleet-footed 34-year-old backstop with zero career stolen bases, hit a three-run inside-the-park homer to help beat the Twins… Wily Peralta converted his fourth straight save chance and looks to be the guy to own in the Royals’ bullpen at the moment… Daniel Robertson belted a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam off of Marlins’ closer Kyle Barraclough, propelling the Rays to a dramatic comeback victory… Chris Sale registered nine strikeouts over six shutout innings in a victory over the Tigers… Jackie Bradley clubbed a three-run homer as the Red Sox routed the Tigers… Chris Archer punched out a season-high 13 batters, but had to settle for a no-decision against the Marlins after allowing three runs on eight hits over his six frames… Yovani Gallardo turned back the clock, hurling six shutout innings in a win against the Indians… Rougned Odor went 3-for-3 with a homer as the Rangers beat the Tribe… Marco Gonzales earned his 11th victory, holding the White Sox to two runs over 6 ⅓ innings while striking out six… Khris Davis and Matt Olson each slugged a pair of home runs, leading the A’s to an extra-inning victory over the Giants… Mike Trout homered and stole a base as the Angels walloped the Astros. He now has 26 long balls, 16 swipes and an other-worldly 1.057 OPS on the season…
National League Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of Fancred added the Braves to the growing list of teams that have expressed interest in Orioles’ closer Zach Britton… Meanwhile, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio hears that the Astros are “all-in” on Britton… Heyman also notes that the Giants and Red Sox are interested in free agent outfielder Austin Jackson… Also from Heyman, Zack Wheeler remains the most likely Mets’ hurler to be traded prior to the trade deadline…Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Brewers, Indians and Phillies are among the suitors for Mets’ second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera… Ozzie Albies sat out his second straight game with a tight right hamstring. He’s day-to-day, but could be held out of the Braves’ next two games as well to be on the safe side… Josh Harrison (hamstring) missed his third straight game, but is was available to pinch hit. He should return to the Pirates’ lineup early in the week… Walker Buehler will return from Triple-A Albuquerque to start against the Phillies on Wednesday… Rookie phenom Freddy Peralta will rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Wednesday against the Nationals… Manuel Margot (wrist) was held out of the starting lineup for both games of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Phillies, but he’s expected to return to the lineup on Monday…Justin Turner is expected to head back to the disabled list after aggravating his right groin injury on Sunday… Luke Farrell will make a spot start for the Cubs on Monday against the Diamondbacks… Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after Sunday's game that he expects Brent Suter to land on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a left forearm strain during Sunday's start against the Dodgers… Todd Frazier (ribs) was able to hit off of a tee on Sunday and will begin "more intense baseball activities" within the next couple of days…Clay Buchholz will rejoin the Diamondbacks’ rotation on Tuesday against the Cubs... Eric Thames will test out his hamstring on Monday and if all goes well could be activated from the disabled list… The Phillies optioned slumping outfielder Aaron Altherr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Matt Harvey was rocked for eight runs over 3 ⅔ innings in a loss to the Pirates… Chad Bettis was pulled from his minor league rehab start after four innings due to the blister on his right middle finger bothering him again… Zack Greinke piled up 13 strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball in an impressive victory over the Rockies… Max Scherzer earned his 13th victory of the season, limiting the Braves to two runs on eight hits over his six innings...Matt Kemp went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers as the Dodgers crushed the Brewers… Vince Velasquez punched out seven over seven shutout innings in a dominant victory over the Padres… Rhys Hoskins homered in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Padres.