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Most of the attention in Monday’s matchup between the Marlins and Brewers understandably centered on Corbin Burnes and his historic start to the season. Trevor Rogers also would like you to take notice of what he’s doing.
Rogers outdueled Burnes on Monday in Milwaukee, holding the Brewers off the scoreboard for six innings in the Marlins’ 8-0 victory. He limited the Brew Crew to six hits – all singles – while not issuing a walk and striking out seven.
Burnes was awfully good for five frames in this one but the Marlins dinged him for five straight hits and three runs in the sixth to knock him out of the game. Granted, most of the balls weren’t hit hard. The right-hander also had nine strikeouts and no walks, improving his K/BB rate on the season to an unfathomable 49/0. It’s a record for starters and is closing in on Kenley Jansen’s 51/0 K/BB rate from 2017. And, yet, somehow he’s just 2-2 and the Brewers are 2-3 in games he’s started. They’ve scored a total of one run in those three losses.
But let’s get back to Rogers.
The 23-year-old left-hander struggled in his first start of the season against the Cardinals, but that was really just a bad first inning and Rogers later admitted that nerves got the best of him. In his last four outings, Rogers boasts a 0.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 32/6 K/BB ratio over 24 innings. He “beat” Jacob deGrom for his first win of the season and has now “beaten” Burnes.
Going into Monday’s outing, only deGrom and Shane Bieber had a better swinging strike rate than Rogers this season. He also came into the start ranking seventh in CSW (called strikes + whiffs).
Monday’s start was just the second time in 12 career outings that Rogers didn’t walk a batter, and it came after he issued just one walk in his start against the Orioles last week. Free passes have been a problem at times for the southpaw, so it would be big if he can take some strides in that area.
Rogers is currently lined up to face the Nationals and Diamondbacks in his next two starts, teams which rank second and first, respectively, in team wOBA versus left-handed pitching. Both clubs are currently without their best hitters, though, and you’re not afraid to play Rogers against anyone right now, are you? I should think not.
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Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Anthony DeSclafani vs. COL – 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K
DeSclafani tossed his second career shutout and first shutout since 2016 on Monday in the Giants’ 12-0 thumping of the Rockies. He needed just 100 pitches to complete the gem. It’s early, but DeSclafani is looking like another gem of a pitching pickup by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. The right-hander boasts a 1.50 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 30/7 K/BB ratio over 30 innings this season covering five starts.
Zack Wheeler vs. STL – 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 9 K
Wheeler pitched into the ninth inning as the Phillies won a pitcher’s duel with the Cardinals by a score of 2-1 on Monday. He fell just shy of what would have been his second career complete game and first since 2014. Wheeler saw his strikeout rate plummet in his first season with the Phillies in 2020, but he’s bounced back with 35 strikeouts over 31 2/3 frames so far in 2021.
Adam Wainwright vs. PHI – 9 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 8 K
I told you it was a pitcher’s duel. Wainwright took a loss in this one in spite of his 25th career complete game. He yielded two solo home runs to Rhys Hoskins and that was enough with Wheeler throwing up zeroes on the other side. Wainwright is still seeking his first win of the season but has now posted back-to-back superb efforts.
Matt Harvey vs. NYY – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K
Harvey always fared well against the Yankees back in his Mets days. It turns out, he still likes facing them as an Oriole. The 32-year-old right-hander went six innings for the first time since 2019 on Monday, throwing 84 pitches while permitting just three hits. Harvey entered the start with a 5.14 ERA in four starts but a much better 3.41 FIP. He now has a 21/6 K/BB ratio over 25 1/3 innings.
Rich Hill vs. OAK – 6 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K
Hill allowed exactly four runs in each of his first four starts for the Rays and went beyond 4 1/3 innings just once. He had things rolling Monday, though, with the only blemish being a two-run homer hit by Sean Murphy in the fourth inning which was preceded by a two-out walk. It was the 41-year-old southpaw’s first double-digit strikeout game since May of 2019.
Hitters with an EDGE
Rhys Hoskins vs. STL – 2-for-4, 2 HR
Offense was hard to come by Monday night in St. Louis, but Hoskins popped a pair of long balls and the Phillies’ pitching made it hold up. The first baseman now has a league-leading eight dingers on the season and has gone deep six times in his last six games.
Buster Posey vs. COL – 4-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
All aboard the Posey Comeback train. Posey last had a five-homer month in May of 2017. Until now, that is. Posey has his batting line on the season up to .327/.397/.654 after his big night Monday. The Giants are not using Posey at all at first base this season and have given him many days off already. If it helps to keep him looking fresh and as healthy as he has in years, we’re all for it.
Cedric Mullins vs. NYY – 3-for-4, 2 HR, 2B
Mullins decided before the season to ditch switch-hitting and the left-handed swinger is now batting .455 (15-for-33) with a home run off of southpaws in 2021. The 26-year-old went undrafted in the majority of fantasy leagues this spring but has proven to be an early-season waiver wire gem in those leagues.
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Nico Hoerner, 2B/3B/SS, CHC – 11 percent rostered in Yahoo fantasy leagues
Hoerner seems determined to show the Cubs that they made a big mistake in not including him on their Opening Day roster. The former first-round pick had two hits out of the leadoff spot for the Cubbies on Monday and has now reached base 10 times in 18 plate appearances since being recalled from the alternate site. The ceiling with Hoerner probably isn’t super high, but he’s hitting the ball in the air more and hitting it incredibly hard in the early going.
Josh Staumont struck out one in a scoreless inning to pick up a save and nail down a 3-2 win for the Royals over the Tigers on Monday. It was the second save in three days for the hard-throwing right-hander. Scott Barlow and Greg Holland, two relievers who have also picked up saves for Kansas City this season, pitched the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Manager Mike Matheny has refrained from naming a closer and still might, but Staumont looks to be at the top of the food chain right now and is highly capable.
Lou Trivino pitched around a single and a walk to preserve a one-run win for the Athletics over the Rays on Monday. It came after Jake Diekman did the same thing in the eighth in pitching in and out of trouble. Trivino leads the A’s with three saves this season, but he and Diekman each have two over the last week.
Cesar Valdez continues to defy the odds. A 36-year-old journeyman and owner of the “dead fish” changeup, Valdez needed only nine pitches (eight of them called for strikes) to record four outs and preserve a two-run win against the Yankees on Monday.
Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
Both of these pitchers will be looking to bounce back from their worst starts of the season, although Maeda’s outing was certainly worse than Civale’s. Facing each other's offenses could be the trick, as the Twins are tied for 20th in scoring right now and the Orioles are sitting at 26th.
American League Quick Hits: Mike Trout (elbow) went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI on Monday in a win over the Rangers in his return to action … Jose Altuve (COVID-19) went 3-for-5 with two RBI on Monday in a win over the Mariners in his return to the lineup … Salvador Perez exited Monday's game against the Tigers due to right thumb discomfort. He’s considered day-to-day … Shohei Ohtani went five innings and allowed four runs with nine strikeouts while going 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored on Monday in the Angels' 9-4 win over the Rangers … Anthony Rendon (groin) went hitless but drew a walk Monday in his return from the IL … Luke Voit (knee) has been cleared to run outdoors and "is essentially going and really starting to ramp up now," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday … The Rangers optioned Leody Taveras to their alternate side Monday … The Astros placed Jake Odorizzi on the injured list with a right pronator muscle strain.
National League Quick Hits: Kris Bryant hit his sixth career grand slam and walked Monday in a loss to the Braves … Corey Dickerson went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI on Monday in a rout of the Brewers … Byron Buxton was held out of Monday's lineup against the Indians with patella tendinitis … Garrett Cooper went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI on Monday in a blowout win over the Brewers … Mike Soroka (Achilles, shoulder) has yet to resume a throwing program … Max Fried (hamstring) is on track to rejoin the Braves' rotation next week against the Nationals … The Twins activated Andrelton Simmons (COVID-19) from the IL … The Dodgers placed David Price on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain … Mike Yastrzemski has been diagnosed with a mild left oblique strain and the Giants hope he can avoid the injured list … Elieser Hernandez (biceps) is slated to resume throwing off a mound this week … Javier Baez was absent from the Cubs' lineup Monday due to some minor hamstring tightness … The Phillies added Odubel Herrer to the roster Monday and will give him a shot to be their regular center fielder … Jeff Bridich stepped down as the Rockies’ general manager on Monday.