Jared Walsh goes Cycling against Mets

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All eyes have been on the Angels in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons. From the firing of manager Joe Maddon to their recently-snapped 14-game losing streak, the Angels could use some good publicity for a change. They got a bit of that in Saturday night’s victory over the Mets.

Somehow, on a night when Mike Trout (groin) clobbered a pair of home runs in his long-awaited return to the starting lineup and Shohei Ohtani left the yard, it was Jared Walsh that was the story for the Angels offense.

The 28-year-old started his day in unfortunate fashion, going down on strikes against Carlos Carrasco in the opening inning. On his next at-bat in the third inning, he smacked a single into right field that nearly netted him an RBI except Ohtani was cut down at the plate. Still nothing out of the ordinary. On his next at-bat in the fifth inning Walsh doubled to left-center, chasing Carrasco from the ballgame.

It was in the seventh inning that things got a bit more interesting, as Walsh crushed a 411-foot solo homer off of Chasen Shreve to extend the Angels lead to 9-1. It also put him within a triple of the cycle. Since it’s far and away the hardest component of the cycle to achieve though, there usually isn’t much of a cycle-watch for a player who is a triple away from the impressive feat.

Nonetheless, when Walsh strolled to the dish against Trevor Williams in the eighth inning, all eyes were on him. He hit a sinking line drive into left center field that center fielder Khalil Lee made the unfortunate decision to dive for, coming up just short and letting the ball roll past him all the way to the wall. Walsh, he of the four career triples heading into Saturday night, was on his proverbial horse for this one, hustling all the way to third with a stand-up triple to complete the cycle.

It was just the ninth cycle in the history of the Angels franchise. The last two Angels to complete the feat? Shohei Ohtani in 2019 and Mike Trout in 2013. That’s some pretty good company to be joining. After his massive offensive performance, Walsh is now hitting .260/.309/.474 with 11 homers and 36 RBI on the season.

Down Goes Walker Buehler - Dodgers Ace Sidelined

The news just continues to get worse for Dodgers ace right-hander Walker Buehler. First he was removed from Friday’s start after only four innings of work due to discomfort in his pitching elbow. Then he was heading for an MRI exam on that elbow and was expected to miss “a good bit of time”. Ultimately he landed on the 15-day injured list prior to Saturday’s contest with a right forearm strain.

The news continued a downhill trend though. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts told reporters on Saturday that Buehler’s injury is actually a flexor tendon strain and that the right-hander won’t even pick up a baseball for the next six-to-eight weeks. Yuck.

The lone shred of light coming from the Dodgers on this one is the fact that Roberts was sure not to rule out a potential return for Buehler before the end of the season. He’s not going to pitch until September at the absolute earliest and there’s a realistic chance that he winds up sidelined for the remainder of the season.

For fantasy managers in redraft leagues – without injured reserve spots on their rosters – now is the time to cut bait with the right-hander. The 27-year-old hurler sports a 4.02 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 58/17 K/BB ratio over 65 innings of work. He had struggled over his last three starts before landing on the injured list, watching his ERA rise from 2.91 to 4.02 during that stretch.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Zack Wheeler - 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K, W (5), 31% CSW, 13 swinging strikes

Wheeler delivered one of his finest performances of the season in Saturday’s victory over the Diamondbacks, scattering two hits over six shutout innings. He struck out eight batters on the afternoon, marking the eighth consecutive start in which he has fanned seven or more. He now boasts an impressive 2.84 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 75/15 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings on the season.

Hunter Greene - 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 31% CSW, 13 swinging strikes

The rookie right-hander was outstanding in a tough-luck no-decision against the Cardinals, allowing just one run over five-plus innings of work – and that one run was an inherited runner that scored after Greene had departed in the sixth inning. He left with a 3-1 lead and in line to earn a victory, but the Reds bullpen was unable to oblige.

Ryan Feltner - 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 27% CSW, 10 swinging strikes

The 25-year-old hurler came through with the finest start of his big league career in a no-decision against the Padres on Saturday, allowing just one run on two hits over six strong innings of work. It’s unclear if he’ll be optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque or if he has shown enough to get a real look in the Rockies starting rotation for the remainder of the season.

Hitters with an EDGE

Mike Trout - 3-for-4, 2 HR (16), 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B

Trout wasn’t the top story on his own offense on Saturday night due to Jared Walsh hitting for the cycle, but he still had a very impressive performance in his return to the Angels lineup. After missing three games due to tightness in his right groin, Trout returned to action with a bang on Saturday, belting a 425-foot solo homer off of Carlos Carrasco in the third inning. He doubled off of Carrasco in the fifth inning and rode home on Shohei Ohtani’s two-run blast, then clobbered another 425-foot bomb off of Jake Reed in the sixth inning to notch a two-run homer of his own. The superstar outfielder has been exceptional yet again this season, slashing .294/.394/.642 with 16 homers and 33 RBI – though he has yet to steal a base.

Shohei Ohtani - 3-for-4, HR (13), 3 RBI, 3 R, 2B, BB

On a night in which Jared Walsh and Mike Trout got plenty of accolades, Ohtani had himself quite a performance at the dish as well. He got the Angels on the board with a run-scoring double in the first inning then scored on a double by Anthony Rendon. He crushed a 388-foot two-run shot off of Carlos Carrasco in the fifth inning to extend the Angels lead to 5-0, then also singled and drew a walk in the contest. He’s now hitting .255/.333/.476 with 13 homers, 37 RBI and seven stolen bases on the season.

Aaron Judge - 2-for-3, 2 HR (24), 3 RBI, 2 R

Aaron Judge continued to distance himself from the rest of the field in the chase for the Major League home run crowd on Saturday, launching a pair of solo home runs as the Yankees clobbered the Cubs 8-0 in New York. Judge hit the first of six Yankees homers on the day with a solo shot off of Matt Swarmer on just the second pitch of the first inning. He repeated the feat in the fifth inning, again crushing a 1-0 pitch from Swarmer for a no-doubter. He also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. On the season, he’s now slashing a robust .313/.388/.691 with a league-leading 24 homers and 48 RBI.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies – Available in 90% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

Sure, just taking one look at Stott’s full-season numbers could leave any fantasy manager with a bad taste in his/her mouth, but if you dig a little deeper there’s actually a lot to like here. He has been a critical cog in the Phillies nine-game winning streak and now has the confidence of interim manager Rob Thomson to remain in the lineup on a daily basis. Blend that together with his top prospect pedigree, and you just may have something useful in deeper mixed leagues. Over his last nine games he’s hitting .333 (11-for-33) with four homers, 11 RBI and a stolen base. That will certainly play.

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Closing Time

Emilio Pagan vs. Rays - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (8th save)

Emilio Pagan delivered a dominant ninth inning to protect a one-run lead against the Rays, retiring the side in order including a pair of strikeouts. While everyone seems to want Jhoan Duran to run away with the closer’s gig, Pagan has done a nice job for the Twins this season, registering a 2.57 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 27/11 K/BB ratio over 21 innings while converting eight saves in 11 opportunities.

Jorge Lopez vs. Royals - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K (8th save)

Jorge Lopez made good on yet another save opportunity on Saturday afternoon, preserving a two-run victory over the Royals. The 29-year-old hurler has been outstanding in the ninth inning for the Orioles this season registering a minuscule 0.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 27/13 K/BB ratio over his 29 innings of work while converting eight of his first 10 save chances.

Gregory Soto vs. Blue Jays - 1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K (13th save)

It’s not always the smoothest of rides, but Gregory Soto got the job done again on Saturday against the Blue Jays. He came on with a three-run lead to protect and immediately struck out Lourdes Gurriel and Bradley Zimmer each on swinging third strikes. Then, to make things interesting, he allowed a single to Gabriel Moreno, walked Cavan Biggio and allowed an RBI single to George Springer that brought the go-ahead run to the plate. Fortunately, he battled back to get Bo Bichette to line out to right field to end it. Soto now sports a 2.05 ERA and 1.23 WHIP to go along with his 13 saves.

Jose Alvarez vs. Dodgers - 1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)

Giants skipper Gabe Kapler opted to deploy his best reliever – Camilo Doval – in the eighth inning with two runners in scoring position and only one out in a one-run game. The move paid off, as Doval (after walking Chris Taylor to load the bases) struck out Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts to end the threat. After the Giants tacked on a run in the home half of the eighth, Kapler called upon veteran southpaw Jose Alvarez to close it out. The 33-year-old hurler served up a leadoff homer to Freddie Freeman and a single to Trea Turner before settling in to retire Max Muncy on strikes and Will Smith on a fielder’s choice. Hanser Alberto then reached on a two-out single before Alvarez got Cody Bellinger on a grounder to end it. It was just the fourth save of his big league career and first since 2019.

Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Edward Cabrera (MIA) vs. Justin Verlander (HOU)

So many games, so little time. There’s plenty of action on a full slate of games on Sunday, but the one game that will draw the most attention is the battle between rookie right-hander Edward Cabrera and Cy Young hopeful Justin Verlander.

Cabrera impressed in his first start back with the Marlins, allowing just one run over six innings in a victory over the Nationals. The 24-year-old hurler holds a 0.75 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 13/6 K/BB ratio over 12 innings in two starts with the Marlins this season.

On the other side of the diamond, Justin Verlander hasn’t missed a beat since returning from Tommy John surgery. The 39-year-old hurler enters Sunday’s start with a 7-2 record, 2.13 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and a 73/14 K/BB ratio through 71 2/3 innings on the season. At some point, you’d think the workload may catch up to him, but he has been simply outstanding through his first 11 starts.

American League Quick Hits: Brandon Lowe (back) took dry swings on Friday… Nathan Eovaldi (hip) will not make his scheduled start against the Athletics on Tuesday. … Lance McCullers (forearm) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Friday… Enrique Hernandez (hip) is expected to return from the injured list when first eligible. … James Paxton (elbow) will throw a bullpen session over the weekend. … Aroldis Chapman (Achilles) threw a bullpen session on Saturday. … Robbie Grossman (knee) was held out of the Tigers lineup on Saturday. … Chad Pinder missed his third straight game due to neck stiffness… Eduardo Rodriguez (ribs) will make another minor league rehab start before rejoining the Tigers rotation. … The Orioles placed Ramón Urías on the 10-day IL with a left oblique strain. … The Mariners designated Drew Steckenrider for assignment in order to claim Kevin Padlo off of waivers from the Giants. … The Tigers acquired Michael Mariot from the Phillies for cash considerations. … Yasmani Grandal was pulled from Saturday’s game against the Rangers with a left leg injury. He’ll miss Sunday’s game at a minimum. … The Twins designated Chi Chi Gonzalez for assignment. … Nick Gordon was pulled from Sunday’s game due to right hamstring tightness. … The Angels designated Dillon Thomas for assignment. … Matt Chapman was held out of the Blue Jays lineup due to soreness in his wrist.

Gabriel Moreno went 1-for-4 with a single and a run-scored in his highly-anticipated MLB debut. … Shane Baz was hit hard in his season debut, giving up five runs on three hits over 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Twins. … Luis Arraez clubbed a grand slam to power the Twins in that one. … Adolís Garcia swatted a three-run homer as the Rangers rallied to beat the White Sox in 10 innings. … Tyler Nevin clubbed a go-ahead three-run homer to lead the Orioles past the Royals. … Seth Brown walloped a grand slam to lead the Athletics past the Guardians. … Michael Lorenzen allowed just one run over 6 1/3 innings in a victory over the Mets. … Julio Rodriguez blasted his eighth homer as the Mariners topped the Red Sox. … J.D. Martinez socked his seventh dinger in a losing effort there. … Beau Brieske hurled 5 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball in a victory over the Blue Jays… Giancarlo Stanton clobbered his 13th homer in a rout of the Cubs.

National League Quick Hits: Marlins top prospect Max Meyer (elbow) threw 30 pitches in a simulated game without issue on Saturday. It was the first time he had faced hitters since May 17. … Mike Soroka (Achilles) threw a successful bullpen session on Friday and is closing in on starting a minor league rehab assignment. … Robert Suarez underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs in his right knee. He’s unlikely to return until after the All-Star break. … Jack Flaherty looked dominant again in his second minor league rehab start and is closing in on a return to the Cardinals rotation and should need just one more rehab start… Kolten Wong finally landed on the 10-day IL with a right calf strain. … The Diamondbacks activated Carson Kelly from the 10-day IL. … The Padres placed Mike Clevinger on the COVID-19 IL. … The Reds claimed Stuart Fairchild off of waivers from the Giants. … The Marlins placed Garrett Cooper on the COVID-19 IL. … The Giants recalled Heliot Ramos from Triple-A Sacramento. … The Giants placed Jakob Junis on the 15-day IL with a left hamstring strain. … Evan Longoria (hamstring) was held out of Saturday’s lineup against the Dodgers. He’s considered day-to-day. … Wade Miley landed back on the 15-day IL with a left shoulder strain. … Corey Knebel felt tightness in his shoulder while warming up against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. … Seiya Suzuki (finger) continues to progress slowly and is unlikely to come off the injured list in the coming days. … Starling Marte (quad) was held out of the Mets lineup again on Saturday.

Tommy Edman blasted a walk-off two-run homer to lead the Cardinals past the Reds. … Bryce Harper reached base three times and swiped a bag in a victory over the Diamondbacks. … Eric Lauer was pounded for eight runs on seven hits over five innings in a loss to the Nationals. … Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz and Josh Bell blasted back-to-back-to-back homers in the fifth inning of that one. … Trent Grisham launched a solo homer as the Padres topped the Rockies in the first game of their doubleheader. … Braxton Garrett allowed just an unearned run and struck out five over 5 2/3 innings in a victory over the Astros. … Ozzie Albies swatted a grand slam to lead the Braves to their 10th consecutive victory. … Pete Alonso smashed his 17th homer in a lopsided loss to the Angels. … Kyle Freeland surrendered just two runs over six innings as the Rockies beat the Padres in the second game of their doubleheader. … MacKenzie Gore was crushed for six runs over 2 2/3 innings in a losing effort in that one.