Rodón Dazzles in Pittsburgh

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On a Friday full of impressive pitching performances, Carlos Rodón was among the best, with eight shutout innings in a 2-0 win against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He had allowed just one walk and faced the minimum before Jack Suwinski knocked a single in the fifth inning for the Pirates first hit of the game. A single by Ke'Bryan Hayes would be the only other hit allowed by Rodon. He tossed an efficient 71-of-98 pitches for strikes while inducing 18 swings and misses for eight strikeouts.

Luis Gonzalez would give Rodon all the run support he needed with a solo homer to lead off the game. Joc Pederson would add a run in the fourth with a leadoff blast. With the two-run lead going into the ninth, Camilo Doval was summoned to close it out. He made quick work of the Pirates, getting three outs on 11 pitches for his tenth save. Rodon goes to 6-4 on the year after picking up the win. He brings his ERA down to an excellent 2.84 with a 1.14 WHIP and 91 strikeouts across 73 innings. The 29-year-old left-hander has gotten back on track with back-to-back scoreless outings after tossing six shutout innings against the Dodgers his last time out. Rodon had hit a rough patch, giving up 16 runs across 24 innings over five starts from May 15 to June 7. He'll look to keep the run going with a start against the Braves in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Hitters with an EDGE

Pete Alonso vs. Marlins
2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, BB

Alonso drew a walk in the third inning and singled in the fifth before stepping up to the dish with the bases loaded in the sixth. He cleared them all, launching a home run off Tommy Nance for the grand slam. It was the 19th homer for one of the best sluggers in the game. Alonso has done it all this season, slashing .284/.365/.556 with 63 RBI and pair of stolen bases to go with the 19 blasts.

CJ Cron vs. Padres
3-for-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI

Cron had a big day at the plate Friday, driving in five of the Rockies' ten runs against the Padres. He took MacKenzie Gore deep in the first inning for a two-run shot. With a runner on in the fifth, he went yard once again for his second two-run homer of the game. Cron would drive in one more run with a base hit in the sixth. The 32-year-old first baseman is having an incredible season, hitting .291/.339/.551 with 16 homers and 49 RBI across 278 plate appearances.

Anthony Rizzo vs. Blue Jays
2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB

Rizzo knocked a single in the third inning before getting hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth and scoring on a Giancarlo Stanton homer. Later in the same frame, he entered the batter's box with the bases loaded and cranked a grand slam off Trevor Richards. It was the 17th homer of the season for the 32-year-old first baseman. Rizzo has provided plenty of fantasy value despite a .228 average, blasting the 17 home runs with 47 RBI and six stolen bases.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Shane Baz vs. Orioles
6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K
14 swinging strikes, 32% CSW

Baz bounced back from his poor first start with an outstanding performance against the Orioles. He held them to just two hits with no walks, throwing 48-of-76 pitches for strikes in the efficient outing. The low pitch total makes his 14 whiffs all the more impressive as he collected seven strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Rays couldn't provide anything in run support to get Baz the win. Next up for him is a tough matchup against the Yankees in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Keegan Thompson vs. Braves
6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K
18 swinging strikes, 33% CSW

Thompson was dominant for the Cubs in a no-decision Friday against Atlanta. He scattered two hits and two walks while holding the Braves scoreless over six innings. The 27-year-old right-hander generated 18 whiffs, ten on the fastball, to strike out a season-high nine batters. It was undoubtedly Thompson's best start this season. He'll look to follow the excellent performance in a matchup against the Pirates in Pittsburgh his next time out.

Charlie Morton vs. Cubs
7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K
21 swinging strikes, 39% CSW

Morton pitched on the other side of Friday's pitchers' duel in Chicago. He held the Cubs off the board for seven shutout innings. The 38-year-old right-hander was efficient, throwing 61-of-94 pitches for strikes while not walking a batter. He induced an impressive 21 whiffs against the Cubs, collecting nine strikeouts. It was a much-needed outing for Morton, who carries a 5.08 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 75 strikeouts across 67 1/3 innings. He'll get the Giants in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Jon Gray vs. Tigers
7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
13 swinging strikes, 30% CSW

Gray followed his six-inning, ten strikeout performance with another excellent outing. He kept the Tigers off the board for seven scoreless innings on Friday, scattering five hits and no walks. Gray generated 13 whiffs to strike out six, ending his day with a 4.27 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 63 strikeouts across 59 innings.

Robbie Ray vs. Angels
7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K
17 swinging strikes, 30% CSW

Ray had his best outing of the season on Friday, holding the Angels to one run over seven innings. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Max Stassi broke it up with a two-out single. Ray would go back out to pitch the eighth but allowed a triple and a double to bring home the only run for the Angels. The 30-year-old left-hander recorded 17 whiffs on 102 pitches to tie a season-high ten strikeouts. Ray will take a 4.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 91 strikeouts across 84 2/3 innings into his next start against the A's in Oakland on Thursday.

Priority Pickup

Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Rangers -- Available in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues

Lowe is having a big month, hitting .312 with four doubles and five homers across 66 plate appearances in June. The 26-year-old first baseman is enjoying a good season overall, slashing .275/.321/.432 with eight homers and a stolen base over 237 plate appearances. While Lowe had a solid 2021 season, it was capped by a 54.5 percent ground ball rate. He's continued to hit the ball hard this season but is showing improvements in his batted ball profile with a 44.4 percent ground ball rate this season. If he can sustain the lowered ground ball rate, Lowe could set a new career-high in home runs this year while hitting for a solid average.

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Closing Time

Jorge Lopez reached double-digit saves with his tenth on Friday against the Rays. He finished the low-scoring affair with a four-out save to hold the Orioles' 1-0 lead. Lopez worked around one hit and recorded all four outs via the punchout.

David Robertson was called on to close the game out for the Cubs with a 1-0 lead. He walked two batters and struck out one in the scoreless outing. Robertson is up to eight saves on the year to go with a 1.82 ERA across 24 2/3 innings.

With Corey Knebel out of the closer role, Brad Hand was summoned in the ninth inning for the Phillies on Friday against the Nationals. He gave up one hit and walked one but stuck out the final batter to lock down the win. Hand could be the favorite for saves going forward. Seranthony Domínguez, who pitched the eighth inning, is another name to watch.

Brad Boxberger got the call for the Brewers in the ninth inning with Josh Hader on the paternity list. Boxberger worked around a hit and a walk in the scoreless inning, picking up his first save of the season.

The Red Sox almost let the game get away Friday against the Cardinals. With a five-run lead going into the ninth, Austin Davis allowed a run and left two runners on base for Tanner Houck. Houck surrendered a pair of doubles to make it a one-run game before striking out Paul Goldschmidt to end the threat. He's up to three saves and looks to be taking a hold of the closer role in Boston.

Camilo Doval followed Carlos Rodón's eight shutout innings with a scoreless ninth inning to earn his tenth save. The 24-year-old right-hander has an excellent 2.54 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts across 28 1/3 innings.

Matchup of the Day

Jameson Taillon (NYY) vs. Alek Manoah (TOR)

Saturday brings a division battle in Toronto between the Blue Jays and Yankees, featuring a pair of starters off to a great start. Taking the mound for the Blue Jays will be Alek Manoah, who sports an American League-best 1.67 ERA to go with a 0.91 WHIP and 68 strikeouts across 75 2/3 innings. He's coming off one of his best starts this season, going six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts against the Orioles. On the other side, Jameson Taillon has been a significant part of the Yankees' successful season, producing a 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 52 strikeouts over 67 2/3 innings.

American League Quick Hits: Tim Anderson is expected to return from the injured list on Monday... Anthony Rendon will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his right wrist... Wander Franco could rejoin the Rays by the end of next week... Jorge Polanco was placed on the 10-day injured list with lower back tightness... Alex Kirilloff was recalled from Triple-A... The Tigers will promote Riley Greene from Triple-A on Saturday... Nathan Eovaldi (back) may not be able to return to the rotation when first eligible as the Red Sox had hoped... Austin Meadows was placed on the COVID-19 injured list... The Orioles activated Anthony Santander from the restricted list... The Mariners recalled Justin Upton and optioned Sam Haggerty to Triple-A... Lance McCullers threw a controlled live batting practice session on Friday... The Blue Jays recalled Otto Lopez from Triple and optioned Matthew Gage...

National League Quick Hits: Kris Bryant is expected to go on a short minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A before returning to the Rockies next week... The Padres placed Joe Musgrove on the COVID-19 injured list... Mets placed Tylor Megill on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder strain... The Cardinals placed Yadier Molina on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation and recalled Iván Herrera... Marcus Stroman resumed a throwing program Friday... Seiya Suzuki took some dry swings Friday... Frank Schwindel left Friday's game with lower back tightness... The Marlins placed Jesus Sanchez and Jesus Aguilar on the COVID-19 injured list... The Nationals are worried Stephen Strasburg could be dealing with a recurrence of thoracic outlet syndrome... Nationals optioned Andres Machado to Triple-A and recalled Cory Abbott... Pirates placed Canaan Smith-Njigba on the 60-day injured list with a fractured right wrist... Tony Santillan was placed on the 60-day injured list with a lower back strain... Cubs sent Clint Frazier outright to Triple-A...