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Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, hands down. Could he be the best player in the game? The 32-year-old ace did it all on Friday, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out ten batters with just one hit allowed. The only hitter to reach base on deGrom was Will Myers, who singled in the fifth inning but was caught stealing second base. Despite the hit, deGrom faced the minimum through six frames, tossing 53 strikes on 80 pitches. He got 18 swings-and-misses, including 13 on 19 swings with the slider, and averaged 99 miles per hour on the fastball. deGrom ended his outing with a 0.56 ERA, 0.53 WHIP, and. 103 strikeouts over 64 innings. That's just ridiculous. When he reached 100 strikeouts at 61 2/3 innings, it was the fewest innings by any starter to reach 100 strikeouts in the modern era. deGrom has been absolutely dominant.
Not only did deGrom stop the Padres from the mound, but he also drove in two runs with an RBI base hit in the fifth. With five RBI on the year, he's now driven in more runs than he's allowed (four). Oh, and he's 11-for-25, hitting .400 at the plate.
If there's anything that is going to stop deGrom from being the National League's Most Valuable Player, it'll be injuries. With the Mets leading by three runs, deGrom was pulled at just 80 pitches before the start of the seventh inning with right flexor tendinitis, an elbow issue. After the game, he expressed his level of concern was "not too high". He'll proceed with a little extra treatment but doesn't plan on getting any imaging done. So, it appears deGrom is on track to make his next start. In fact, the issue was something that he was apparently already feeling going into the start. It didn't seem to phase him on Friday as he dominated the Padres.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Clayton Kershaw - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 9 K, 37% CSW vs Rangers
Kershaw was dominant on Friday against the Rangers. He struck out nine batters and issued no walks, throwing 67-of-92 pitches for strikes and generating 21 whiffs. The only run against the 33-year-old left-hander came in the sixth inning after Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached third on an error and scored on a groundout. Kershaw has a 3.39 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 95 strikeouts over 82 1/3 innings. He's set to face the Phillies in Los Angeles next week.
Aaron Civale - 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K, 41 % CSW vs Mariners
Civale turned in one of his best performances of the season on Friday, shutting down the Mariners over eight innings. He allowed a single, a walk, and hit a batter in the first inning. After that, he tossed seven perfect innings, generating 15 whiffs and throwing 71-of-101 pitches for strikes. The 26-year-old right-hander takes an excellent 3.17 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts over 88 innings into his next start against the Orioles in Cleveland next week.
Anthony DeSclafani - 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 31% CSW vs Nationals
DeSclafani tossed a gem on Friday, recording a complete-game shutout of the Nationals in Washington on 103 pitches. He threw 71 for strikes, walking one batter and allowing just two hits on the day. DeSclafani got some help from left-fielder Mike Tauchman in the seventh inning, who reached over the fence as he leaped to rob Juan Soto of a home run. The 31-year-old right-hander will take on the Diamondbacks in San Francisco his next time out.
Hitters with an EDGE
Joc Pederson -- 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI vs Cardinals
Pederson hit his fourth home run in his last seven games on Friday and drove in three runs against the Cardinals. He took Johan Oviedo deep in the fourth inning to score the first run for the Cubs. With the game tied in the seventh, Pederson doubled to score two runs and put the Cubs up 7-5. The 29-year-old outfielder has been leading off against right-handed pitchers and is slashing .250/.321/.446 with eight homers and 25 RBI over 190 plate appearances.
Nick Castellanos -- 2-for-3, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB vs Rockies
Castellanos added two hits on Friday, including his 13th homer of the season in the first inning off of Kyle Freeland. The 29-year-old slugger is leading baseball with a .362 batting average to go with the 13 homers and 35 RBI over 246 plate appearances. It's a big turnaround from the .225 he hit in the shortened 2020 season.
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J.P. Crawford - SS, Seattle Mariners (Available in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Crawford was moved into the leadoff spot on June 1 and has been hot at the plate since. He's gone 15-for-39 (.385) in that stretch with six doubles, one homer, and a stolen base. While he won't do any one thing great, Crawford can be a valuable pickup for depth at the middle infield position in deeper leagues that won't hurt you. It's not out of the question that he can finish with double-digit homers and steals with a solid batting average and a decent number of runs scored as long as he continues to hit atop the Mariners' lineup.
Craig Kimbrel recorded his 16th save of the season on Friday against the Cardinals. He struck out one batter in a scoreless inning and did not allow a hit or a walk. Kimbrel has been absolutely dominant once again, posting a 0.69 ERA and 0.69 WHIP with 42 strikeouts over 26 innings.
Yimi Garcia worked around a leadoff single and a walk to hold the one-run lead for the Marlins and record his 11th save of the season on Friday against the Braves. Garcia struck out two in the scoreless outing to lower his ERA to 2.42 on the year.
Pete Fairbanks threw just ten pitches -- nine for strikes -- in a scoreless ninth inning to record his second save of the season for the Rays in a win over the Orioles. He struck out one and lowered his ERA to 1.20 with 19 strikeouts over 15 innings.
With a runner on first and two outs in the eighth inning, Edwin Diaz was summoned to protect a one-run lead against the Padres. He induced a fly-out to get out of the eighth, then struck out Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jake Cronenworth to start the ninth. Manny Machado got on with a single before Eric Hosmer popped out to end the game. Diaz is up to 11 saves now with a 2.92 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings.
Ryan Pressly locked down his tenth save of the season on Friday against the Twins. He tossed a scoreless ninth inning, striking out two while not allowing a baserunner. Pressly has a 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 27 strikeouts over 26 innings on the year.
Alex Claudio earned his first save of the season on Friday in extra-innings against the Diamondbacks. Eduardo Escobar hit a game-tying home run off of Raisel Iglesias in the ninth to extend the game. Claudio was called on to face just one batter, left-handed Stephen Vogt, and got him to strike out swinging to end the game.
Josh Hader locked down his 15th save of the season against the Pirates on Friday. He allowed one hit and struck out two batters. Hader lowered his ERA to 0.73 in the scoreless frame and has 43 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings this season.
Aaron Bummer got the save for the White Sox in the tenth inning on Friday after Liam Hendriks allowed the game-tying home run to Daz Cameron in the ninth. Bummer walked one batter and struck out two for his second save of the season.
Matchup of the Day
Garcia and the Astros play Berrios and the Twins for the second game of this three-game set in Minnesota. Garcia has been excellent this season, solidifying his spot in the rotation after filling in for Framber Valdez. He's yet to allow more than three runs in any start, bringing a 2.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.37 K/9 into this contest. On the other side, Berrios will be looking to earn his seventh win of the season. Consistency has been an issue for Berrios throughout his career. He allowed four runs over six innings his last time out against the Royals after giving up just one run over eight against the Orioles. The 27-year-old right-hander does have a career-best 19 percent K-BB rate. He'll have his hands full on Saturday against a tough Astros lineup.
American League Quick Hits: Xander Bogaerts was scratched from the Red Sox starting lineup on Friday with knee soreness ... Byron Buxton will work out with the Twins on Saturday before returning to a rehab assignment ... Kenta Maeda will rejoin the Twins rotation and start against the Mariners on Monday ... Kyle Lewis underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair the meniscus in his right knee... Alex Kirilloff returned to the Twins lineup on Friday ... Cavan Biggio was activated from the 10-day injured list on Friday ... Austin Hays was activated from the injured list on Friday ... Jeimer Candelario is expected to rejoin the Tigers over the weekend after he was placed on the bereavement list ... J.B. Wendelken threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Friday ... Rays manager Kevin Cash is optimistic Nick Anderson will return this season... the Mariners activated Justin Dunn and Kendall Graveman from the injured list ... Keynan Middleton was optioned to Triple-A ... Yacksel Rios was designated for assignment ... Luis Arraez began a rehab assignment on Friday ... the Blue Jays optioned Santiago Espinal to Triple-A ... The Rays acquired RHP Matt Wisler from the Giants in exchange for LHP Michael Plassmeyer.
National League Quick Hits: Max Scherzer was removed from Friday's start after 12 pitches with a groin injury... Javier Baez was back in the Cubs lineup on Friday and went 0-for-4... Corey Seager took ground balls prior to Friday's game ... Max Muncy was removed from Friday's game with right side tightness ... Eugenio Suarez left Friday's game with a cut finger... Jeff McNeil is expected to join the Mets this weekend ... Mike Moustakas did some running and fielded grounders on Friday ... Tejay Antone was placed on the 10-day injured list with forearm inflammation ... Mike Yastrzemski will be activated from the injured list on Sunday ... Zac Gallen is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday ... Carlos Carrasco received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right hamstring on Friday ... Sixto Sanchez has resumed throwing on flat ground from 60 feet ... Kwang-Hyun Kim threw a bullpen session on Friday ... Erick Fedde will be activated from the injured list to start against the Giants on Saturday ... Caleb Baragar was activated from the 10-day injured list ... Chris Owings is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Sunday ... Kodi Whitley has resumed playing catch ... Reds prospect Tony Santillan will be called up to make his major league debut on Sunday against the Rockies ... Jose Devers is dealing with a minor shoulder injury ... The Mets claimed Nick Tropeano off waivers from the Giants ... Tommy Hunter was transferred to the 60-day injured list ... P.J. Higgins was placed on the 10-day injured list by the Cubs with a forearm strain ... Jose Lobaton was recalled from Triple-A ... The Giants signed Akeel Morris to a minor league contract ... the Padres signed Joe Beimel to a minor league contract.