Montas Mystifies Mariners In No-Hit Bid

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Here’s an oversimplification: If Frankie Montas continues to pitch like he did on Thursday afternoon against the Mariners, finishing four outs shy of his first career no-hitter, then the rebuilding Athletics are primed to receive quite the prospect haul in exchange for their hard-throwing, front-line starter later this summer at the trade deadline. The dynamic 29-year-old right-hander came close to etching his name into the record books, issuing just a pair of walks, and taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before Adam Frazier and Luis Torrens delivered back-to-back singles with two outs in the frame. He managed to coax an inning-ending grounder from J.P. Crawford, putting the finishing touches on a masterful eight-inning shutout performance in which he recorded eight strikeouts and also limited Seattle’s offense to just six batted balls with an exit velocity over 90 mph.

Given the sheer volume of contending teams in desperate need of high-end starting pitching depth, Montas – who is entering his final arbitration-eligible season next year – will be among the most highly-sought potential trade chips heading into the major-league trade deadline on August 2. He’ll aim to keep the momentum going, carrying a sparkling 3.21 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 92/22 K/BB ratio across 89 2/3 innings (15 starts) into an extremely-challenging road matchup on Tuesday against a loaded Yankees’ lineup.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Dean Kremer vs. White Sox

5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

30% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

It’s time to give Kremer some credit. After missing the first two months of the 2022 campaign due to an oblique injury, the 26-year-old righty has pitched extremely well, compiling a microscopic 1.71 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 14/5 K/BB ratio across 21 innings (four starts) since making his season debut back on June 5. He's lined up for an intriguing road matchup on Tuesday against the Mariners, and represents an intriguing streaming option for fantasy managers moving forward, despite his rather pedestrian strikeout upside.

Devin Smeltzer vs. Guardians

6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

27% CSW, 8 swinging strikes

Smeltzer put together a brilliant effort on Thursday afternoon, spinning six shutout frames in a victory over the Guardians. The 26-year-old lefty wasn’t overpowering, as evidenced by just three strikeouts, but he managed to limit Cleveland’s lineup to just three hits in this one. He’s pitched extremely well over the last few weeks, allowing three earned runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts since joining Minnesota’s starting rotation back on May 13. He’s emerged as a viable back-end rotation starter for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Reds

6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

33% CSW, 11 swinging strikes

Kershaw delivered yet another throwback performance on Thursday afternoon in Cincinnati, striking out seven batters and allowing just one run over six frames in a win over the Reds. The 34-year-old lefty, despite missing a chunk of time last month due to a pelvic-related back issue, has shown zero signs of slowing down this season, recording a stellar 2.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 47/7 K/BB ratio across 45 innings (eight starts). He’ll face a stiffer test his next time out on Tuesday in a road contest against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Hitters with an EDGE

Jon Berti vs. Rockies

2-for-4, R, 2 SB (20, 21)

Berti has emerged as one of the premier stolen base threats in the entire game this season, swiping an absurd 17 bases in just 21 games since June 1. The 32-year-old utility infielder, who was limited to just 85 games last year due to a concussion that ended his season in late July, is hitting .286/.383/.414 with two homers and a major league-leading 21 stolen bases across 154 plate appearances this season. He served as Miami’s main offensive catalyst on Thursday evening, hitting a third-inning double and swiping third base before picking up his second steal of the contest after reaching on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning. There’s a strong possibility that he finishes the 2022 campaign as the most impactful waiver wire pickup in the entire fantasy landscape.

Dansby Swanson vs. Giants

3-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR (11, 12), 3 RBI

Swanson blasted his first career leadoff homer in the opening frame on Thursday afternoon, and also went deep in the fourth inning, giving him round-trippers in three consecutive at-bats going back to Wednesday evening. It was his seventh multi-homer effort and first time he’s accomplished the feat this season. The 28-year-old shortstop has put together the strongest offensive campaign of his career so far, hitting .302/.368/.500 with 47 runs scored, 12 homers, 41 RBI and 11 stolen bases across 291 plate appearances.

Cody Bellinger vs. Reds

3-for-4, 3 R, HR (9), 3 RBI, SB (9)

Now that’s more like it. Bellinger tallied three hits, including a two-run homer off Reds’ electrifying rookie Hunter Greene in the fourth inning, and also picked up his ninth stolen base of the season on Thursday afternoon. The Dodgers launched five home runs at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in this one as Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Will Smith and Trayce Thompson also went deep in the one-sided affair.

Aaron Judge vs. Astros

2-for-5, R, RBI

​​It's still only late June, but this contest felt like a playoff game. Judge stepped to the plate with a chance to deliver the game-winning hit in the ninth inning and came through on Thursday evening, capping the Yankees' remarkable comeback with a walk-off single to left field against Astros' righty Ryne Stank. The 30-year-old impending free agent, who is set to square off against New York in his salary arbitration hearing on Friday, is the current front-runner for the American League MVP Award this season, hitting .304/.379/.658 with 58 runs scored, a major league-leading 27 home runs, 53 RBI and five stolen bases across 299 plate appearances. Unreal.

Yordan Álvarez vs. Yankees

2-for-5, R, HR (22), 3 RBI

Álvarez crushed a three-run shot to right field -- his 22nd round-tripper of the season -- in the third inning off Yankees' starter Jameson Taillon. He also tattooed a 114.7-mph single to center field in the fifth inning to notch his 24th multi-hit performance in 62 games this year. The 24-year-old slugger has gone deep five times over his last five games. He's raised his offensive game to new heights this season, slashing an astronomical .317/.406/.665 with 46 runs scored, 22 home runs and 54 RBI across 261 plate appearances. If he keeps hitting like this, he'll contend for the American League's MVP Award this season.

Adley Rutschman vs. White Sox

2-for-4, R, HR (2), 3 RBI

Rutschman broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a gargantuan 402-foot moonshot to right field against White Sox' starter Johnny Cueto. It was the second round-tripper of his big-league career. He also delivered an RBI double in the sixth inning as well. The 24-year-old top prospect hasn't exactly torn the cover off the ball since arriving in the majors last month, but he's notched nine hits, including seven extra-base hits, over his last seven games since June 15. He's finally starting to heat up, folks.

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Closing Time

Tanner Scott vs. Rockies

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (7th save)

Scott struck out the side in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, working around a one-out single by Brendan Rodgers, to collect his seventh save of the season. The 27-year-old lefty appears to be in the driver’s seat for save opportunities in Miami at the moment, especially with Anthony Bender still on the injured list for at least a few more weeks with a back injury, and has converted seven of eight save chances so far this season. He should be rostered in all fantasy formats by this point.

Kenley Jansen vs. Giants

1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (19th save)

Jansen served up a solo homer to former Dodgers teammate Joc Pederson with two outs in the ninth inning, trimming the Giants’ deficit to just one run at the time, but managed to coax a game-ending fly out from Evan Longoria to extinguish San Francisco’s comeback hopes. The 34-year-old veteran stopper has excelled in his Braves debut this season, converting 19 of his 22 save opportunities to go along with a pristine 3.23 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 42/8 K/BB ratio across 30 2/3 innings.

Caleb Thielbar vs. Guardians

0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)

The Twins elected to pull hard-throwing rookie righty Jhoan Duran, who struck a pair of batters in a scoreless eighth inning and also whiffed Franmil Reyes to open the ninth inning, after just 17 pitches, and handed the ball to Thielbar to close it out. He gave up a double to Andrés Giménez, but managed to get Ernie Clement to ground out and also whiff pinch-hitter Steven Kwan to end the contest. It was his first career save in 214 career appearances.

Josh Hader vs. Cardinals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (21st save)

Hader fired a perfect ninth inning on Thursday evening, protecting a two-run lead against the Cardinals to collect his major league-leading 21st save of the season. The 28-year-old left-hander has converted 21 of his 22 save opportunities this season to go along with a microscopic 0.83 ERA, 0.60 WHIP and 36/6 K/BB ratio across 21 2/3 innings. He remains the most dominant relief pitcher in baseball.

Paul Sewald vs. Athletics

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (5th save)

Sewald got the call to guard a narrow one-run lead in the final frame, after the Mariners scored a pair of runs on three walks and a pair of wild pitches in the top of the ninth inning, and needed just 11 pitches (seven strikes) to slam the door. The 32-year-old righty will likely cede some future save chances to Ken Giles now that the veteran stopper is back in the mix, but he should be a reliable saves source moving forward.

A.J. Puk vs. Mariners

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 2 WP (1st blown save)

With primary closer Dany Jiménez on the injured list with a right shoulder strain, the Athletics turned to Puk to protect a one-run lead after righty Zach Jackson issued a pair of walks and recorded two outs to start the final frame. The 27-year-old lefty walked pinch-hitter Kevin Padlo to load the bases before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. He tossed another wild pitch to ensuing batter Abraham Toro that allowed Seattle to take the lead for good. It doesn't sound like Jiménez is going to miss significant time, and it appears likely Puk and Jackson will continue to receive the bulk of the save chances in his absence. However, this wasn't the type of outing that inspires confidence and trust moving forward.

Ryan Pressly vs. Yankees.

0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (3rd blown save)

Woah. Pressly surrendered four runs on three hits, including a game-tying, three-run homer, and recorded just one out in the ninth inning on Thursday in a blown save against the Yankees. He immediately walked Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres to open the frame before giving up a three-run homer to Aaron Hicks. He was ultimately saddled with a loss when Ryne Stanek coughed up a walk-off RBI single to Aaron Judge later in the frame.

Jorge López vs. White Sox

0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (12th save)

López was called upon to face the top of the White Sox' lineup and protect a four-run lead, with a pair of runners on-base and the potential tying run in the on-deck circle, which made it a save situation. He struck out Tim Anderson and Andrew Vaughn on just seven pitches to preserve the victory. The 29-year-old righty has converted 12 of his 14 save opportunities this season.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Orlando Arcia, 2B, Braves

Arcia has taken over as the Braves’ primary second baseman after Atlanta lost All-Star infielder Ozzie Albies to a fractured left foot earlier this month. The 27-year-old former top prospect has excelled offensively this season, hitting .329/.389/.506 with three homers in 90 plate appearances. He’s recorded at least one hit in nine of 10 games since being elevated to an everyday role in Atlanta. There isn’t a ton of over-the-fence power or stolen base potential, but Arcia is playing everyday and producing, which makes him worthy of a roster spot in deeper mixed leagues.

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Justin Verlander (8-3, 2.30 ERA) vs. Luis Severino (4-1, 3.27 ERA) - 7:05 PM ET

It’s a pretty unbelievable fact that Verlander and Severino, a pair of the most dominant starting pitchers in the American League in recent memory, threw just 12 innings combined over the last two years due to injuries. They’re back fully healthy, have been pitching extremely well this season, and will lock horns in the most exciting matchup on Friday’s jam-packed slate. This should be a good one in New York, especially after a wild back-and-forth roller coaster affair in Thursday’s series opener. Get your popcorn ready.

American League Quick Hits: X-rays came back negative on Ty France’s left elbow after leaving Thursday’s game against the Athletics following a fifth-inning collision. … Byron Buxton (knee) was held out of the Twins’ starting lineup on Thursday for the second consecutive game due to knee discomfort. … Luis Robert (leg) was absent from the White Sox’ starting lineup for Thursday’s game against the Orioles due to leg soreness. … Aledmys Díaz (shoulder) remained out of the Astros’ lineup on Thursday for the fourth straight game due to left shoulder discomfort. … White Sox placed INF Danny Mendick on the 10-day injured list with a torn ACL in his right knee and also put OF Adam Engel on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. … Tom Murphy has elected to undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. … Red Sox optioned INF Jeter Downs to Triple-A Worcester. … Rays acquired RHP David McKay from the Yankees for cash. … Giancarlo Stanton slugged a three-run homer and Aaron Hicks walloped a game-tying three-run homer sparking the Yankees to an eventual walk-off victory over the Astros. … Carlos Correa notched three hits and Nick Gordon slugged a solo homer in the Twins’ victory over the Guardians … Julio Rodríguez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the Mariners’ narrow win over the Athletics. … Ryan Mountcastle went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the Orioles’ victory over the White Sox. … Alex Bregman swatted a three-run homer and Jose Altuve reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances in the Astros’ loss to the Yankees. … José Abreu went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in the White Sox’ loss to the Orioles. … Andrés Giménez doubled in the Guardians’ shutout loss at the hands of the Twins. … Christian Bethancourt hit an RBI single in the Athletics' loss to the Mariners. … Robbie Ray recorded six strikeouts and yielded one run over six innings in a no-decision against the Athletics. … Framber Valdez struck out seven batters and allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Yankees. … Jameson Taillon was crushed for a season-high six runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Astros. … Johnny Cueto allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Orioles. … Zach Plesac gave up one run over six innings in a loss to the Twins.

National League Quick Hits: Giants acquired OF Willie Calhoun from the Rangers for OF Steven Duggar. … Ke’Bryan Hayes was diagnosed with left shoulder soreness following a 10th inning collision at home plate with Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras. … Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson told reporters that no decision has been made as to whether Zach Eflin (knee) will start on Saturday against the Padres. … Giants placed OF Luis González on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 22, with a lower back strain. … Manny Machado (ankle) remained out of the Padres’ starting lineup on Thursday for the fourth consecutive contest due to a left ankle sprain. … Luke Voit was also absent from the Padres’ starting lineup on Thursday due to a minor hamstring issue. … Brandon Crawford (knee) remained out of the Giants’ starting lineup for the second straight game due to a left knee contusion. … Nick Lodolo (back) threw four scoreless innings on Thursday in a minor league rehab start for Triple-A Louisville … Brewers released OF Lorenzo Cain. … Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and J.T. Realmuto added a three-run homer in the Phillies’ win over the Padres. … Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Will Smith and Trayce Thompson homered in the Dodgers’ blowout win over the Reds. … Jazz Chisholm Jr. doubled and stole a base in the Marlins’ victory over the Rockies. … Travis d’Arnaud went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the Braves’ win over the Giants. … Bryan Reynolds and Michael Chavis went deep in the Pirates’ extra-inning victory over the Cubs. … Tyrone Taylor walloped a three-run homer and Willy Adames added a solo shot in the Brewers’ win over the Cardinals. … Eric Hosmer went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Padres’ loss to the Phillies. … Brendan Rodgers went 4-for-5 with an RBI in the Rockies’ narrow loss to the Marlins. … Joc Pederson and Austin Slater walloped solo homers in the Giants’ loss at the hands of the Braves. … Tommy Pham went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer in the Reds’ lopsided defeat against the Dodgers. … Nico Hoerner went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the Cubs’ extra-inning loss to the Pirates. … Lars Nootbaar went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the Cardinals’ loss to the Brewers. … Ranger Suárez yielded two runs over 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Padres. … Jason Alexander allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a win over the Cardinals. … Kyle Wright gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a win over the Giants. … Kyle Freeland yielded two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Marlins. … Braxton Garrett recorded seven strikeouts and was charged with two runs (one earned) over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rockies. … José Quintana struck out six batters and allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Cubs. … Justin Steele was charged with six runs (five earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Pirates. … Dakota Hudson was charged with five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Brewers. … Hunter Greene was shelled for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Dodgers. … Alex Wood was obliterated for six runs over one inning in a loss to the Braves. … Joe Musgrove was torched for a season-high six runs over six innings in a loss to the Phillies.