Red Sox Lose Chris Sale to Broken Finger

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The Red Sox thought that they were making a big addition to their starting rotation in July with the long-awaited return of left-hander Chris Sale. And they did, at least for a hot minute. Sale was brilliant in his season debut against the Rays on Tuesday, striking out five batters over five shutout innings.

He then took the hill against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon where tragedy struck. In the opening inning, Sale was drilled in the hand by a 106.7 mph line drive off the bat of Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks. X-rays quickly confirmed that the star southpaw had suffered a broken pinkie finger on his pitching hand.

The Red Sox wouldn’t commit to any sort of timeline for a potential return, noting that he’ll be re-evaluated in a couple of days. Sale wasn’t shy when speaking to the media after the game though, announcing that he’s confident he’ll be able to return during the 2022 season. By all accounts, it sounds like he’ll be shelved for around 4-to-6 weeks, which would put his return sometime around the end of August.

The Red Sox already navigated nearly the entire first half of the season without Sale, so they’ll certainly be able to absorb the loss – painful as it may be. The Red Sox head into the second half of the season a staggering 16 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, but just two games out of the final Wild Card spot.

Second Generation Stars Top MLB Draft

With all eyes on the MLB draft on Sunday evening in Los Angeles, it was a pair of second-generation stars that topped the proceedings.

The Orioles made a bit of a surprise selection, taking high school shortstop Jackson Holliday – son of former big league All-Star Matt Holliday – with the first overall pick. According to our own Christopher Crawford, the Oklahoma State commit is a terrific athlete, and he’s the rare middle-infielder who has a swing that suggests he can hit for both average and power from the left side. He’s all a well above-average runner, so stolen bases should come with it. He’s not a lock to stay at shortstop, but the athleticism and arm should be good enough to keep him there, with a move to either second or third not out of the question. Holliday has big-time fantasy upside, and becomes someone you must roster in eligible keeper leagues.

The Diamondbacks followed that pick by taking another second generation star – this time the consensus top overall player on the board in high school outfielder Druw Jones – the son of former star OF Andruw Jones. According to Crawford, the 18-year-old outfielder has five tools that have a chance to be plus when he’s done developing, and like his dad, he’s a terrific outfielder with a strong throwing arm. His smooth swing and bat speed give him a chance to hit for average, and he’s already showing plus power with a chance for more as he fills out his 6-foot-4 frame. Jones will need a few years in the minors, but he’s the type of talent that could someday be the best fantasy prospect in baseball.

The biggest shock of the first round came next, as the Rangers selected right-hander Kumar Rocker with the third overall selection. Crawford notes that while the Rocker story is one you’ve likely heard, it bears repeating. He was considered one of the top arms in the 2021 class, but after being selected with the Mets with the 10th pick that summer, he went unsigned to make him eligible for this year’s version. The right-hander has a top-of-the-scales slider, a plus curve and a fastball that can get into the mid-to-high 90s, but does offer injury risk as someone who has had an operation on his shoulder and some concerns about his elbow trouble. Still, Rocker’s ability to miss bats is impressive, and he could be a quick advance as long as he can stay on the mound.

Other notable second generation stars in this draft class included Justin Crawford – the son of Carl Crawford – going to the Phillies with the 17th pick and Cam Collier – the son of Lou Collier – going 18th to the Reds. Be sure to check out our player news page for complete draft coverage.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Dylan Cease - 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 8 K, W (9), 38% CSW, 21 swinging strikes

Perhaps getting snubbed from the American League All-Star team gave Cease a little extra motivation in this one. Cease got a whopping 21 swinging strikes in the contest – 15 of those on his wipeout slider. He allowed just one hit in the contest – a one-out single to Alex Kirilloff in the fifth inning. The 26-year-old hurler was fantastic in the first half, registering a 2.15 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 150/48 K/BB ratio over 104 2/3 innings in 19 starts. Both his 150 strikeouts – and his 48 walks – lead all American League hurlers.

Aaron Nola - 8 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 K, W (6), 35% CSW, 18 swinging strikes

The Phillies right-hander carried a bid for a shutout into the ninth inning, but was yanked after allowing a pair of singles. Of the 18 swinging strikes that he got, Nola tallied five or more on each of his fastball, knuckle curve and changeup. He wraps up the first half with a terrific 3.13 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a 137/16 K/BB ratio over 126 2/3 innings through his first 19 starts.

Gerrit Cole - 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 12 K, W (9), 39% CSW, 20 swinging strikes

Cole certainly pitched like an ace in Sunday’s victory over the division-rival Red Sox, racking up 12 strikeouts over seven strong frames. Half of the 20 swinging strikes that he piled up in the contest came on his fastball. The only blemish on his day was a two-run blast by rookie Jeter Downs in the third inning, otherwise he was brilliant. The 31-year-old hurler concludes another terrific half of baseball with a 3.02 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 147/30 K/BB ratio over 113 1/3 innings in his 19 starts.

Hitters with an EDGE

Tim Locastro - 3-for-5, HR (2), 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB (6)

Locastro certainly made the most of his spot start against the Red Sox on Sunday, crushing a 410-foot two-run homer off of Jake Diekman and swiping a pair of bases. The first swipe actually came in the same inning as his homer, as he led off the fourth with a single, stole second, came around to score on a single by DJ LeMahieu and then belted his two-run shot later in the fourth inning. This may wind up being a career-best game for the 30-year-old speedster.

Andrew Vaughn - 3-for-4, HR (10), 2B, 3 RBI, R

Vaughn – hitting out of the third slot in the White Sox lineup – went back-to-back with teammate Yoan Moncada in the seventh inning. That’s after he had already smacked a two-run double in the fifth inning. The 24-year-old had himself a terrific first half, slashing .301/.350/.470 with 10 homers, 48 RBI and a 51/18 K/BB ratio over 72 games.

Marcus Semien - 2-for-4, HR (13), RBI, R, SB (17)

Semien had a jack and a bag as the Rangers fell to the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. He has really picked it up offensively after a brutal start to the season and heads into the All-Star break with a .239/.297/.400 slash line, 13 homers, 50 runs scored, 43 RBI and an already career-high 17 stolen bases over 89 games.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Leody Taveras, OF, Texas Rangers – Available in 60% of Yahoo fantasy leagues

While everyone is pining after Esteury Ruiz as a speed source off the waiver wire, Taveras has seemingly flown under the radar just a bit despite his strong performance at the dish. Over the last two weeks, he’s hitting a sizzling .410 with a homer, 11 RBI and four stolen bases. On the season, he’s slashing a tremendous .341/.367/.553 with three long balls, 15 RBI and five swipes in his first 90 plate appearances. He’s definitely worth rostering until he cools off or begins to cede playing time, but there haven’t been any indications yet that he’s about to start slowing down.

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Closing Time

Jason Adam vs. Orioles - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (fourth save)

The right-hander made it look easy, protecting a two-run lead against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, needing just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to retire Cedric Mullins, Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander in order. He has been outstanding out of the Rays bullpen this season, registering a 1.41 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 46/8 K/BB ratio across 39 1/3 innings in an American League-leading 42 appearances.

Lou Trivino vs. Astros - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (eighth save)

While his season-long numbers don’t paint the picture, Trivino looked the part of a dominant closer on Sunday afternoon, retiring all three Astros hitters that he faced to protect a one-run advantage in the ninth. That included strikeouts of Jake Meyers and J.J. Matijevic. He has now recorded each of the A’s last six save chances while Dany Jiménez has been on the injured list, though he does sport an unsightly 6.59 ERA and 1.94 WHIP over 27 1/3 innings on the season.

Mark Melancon vs. Padres - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (13th save)

The 37-year-old right-hander plowed right through the heart of the Padres lineup in this one, retiring Manny Machado, Nomar Mazara and Luke Voit in order to preserve a two-run lead. He owns a troublesome 5.12 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over 31 2/3 innings on the season, though he has managed to convert 13 of his first 15 save opportunities.

American League Quick Hits: Mike Trout will sit out the upcoming All-Star game due to back spasms. … Frankie Montas (shoulder) responded “really well” to his bullpen session and is a possibility to start against the Tigers on Thursday. … Felix Bautista was held out of action again on Sunday due to a sore right hand, though he’s expected to be available after the All-Star break. … The Rays placed Jalen Beeks on the 15-day IL with right lower leg tightness. … Pete Fairbanks was activated from the 60-day IL and rejoined the Rays bullpen. … Jordan Romano, Ty France and Liam Hendriks were added to the American League All-Star team. … The Rangers recalled Nick Solak from Triple-A Round Rock. … Yordan Álvarez (hand) hit on Sunday for the first time since landing on the injured list. … Dany Jiménez (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session in Arizona on Wednesday. … The Tigers and Guardians were postponed due to inclement weather, it’ll be made up as part of a doubleheader on August 15. … Daniel Lynch landed on the injured list with a blister on his pitching hand.

Kris Bubic allowed just two unearned runs over seven frames in a no-decision against the Jays. … Jordan Lyles was crushed for six runs over 2 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rays. … Randy Arozarena crushed a two-run homer to lead the Rays in that one while Brandon Lowe went 4-for-4 with a run scored. … Jeter Downs walloped his first career home run – off of Gerrit Cole – in a loss to the Yankees. … Stephen Vogt drove in a pair of runs, leading the Athletics past the Astros… Sam Haggerty went 3-for-4 and scored a run as the Mariners defeated the Rangers. … Nick Pratto blasted his first home run in a loss to the Blue Jays.

National League Quick Hits: Devin Williams was added to the National League All-Star squad. … Zach Eflin will be evaluated after feeling renewed soreness in his right knee following his simulated game on Saturday. … The Cubs and Cardinals were postponed due to inclement weather, it’ll be made up on September 17 as part of a doubleheader. … Tomás Nido underwent an MRI exam on his left forearm, though Mets skipper Buck Showalter downplayed the severity of the injury.

Juan Soto clubbed his 20th home run as the Nationals defeated Spencer Strider and the Braves. … Anthony Bass delivered his 16th consecutive scoreless appearance in a loss to the Phillies. …Mike Clevinger struck out eight over six innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss to the Diamondbacks. … Michael Chavis went 3-for-5 and drove in a run as the Pirates topped the Rockies. … Brandon Belt homered and drove in three runs as the Giants triumphed over the Brewers. … Willy Adames clobbered his 19th homer in a losing effort against the Giants. … Logan Webb surrendered two runs over six frames against the Brewers to earn his ninth victory of the season. … David Peterson racked up eight strikeouts and didn’t allow an earned run over five innings against the Cubs.