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After allowing seven combined runs over his first two May starts, Sandy Alcantara has taken his game to another dimension. His latest sparkling performance came in a 2-1 win over the Nationals on Wednesday. Setting aside that Alcantara tossed nine shutout frames and did not earn a decision – the game was won when the Marlins plated two runs in the bottom of the tenth – this was a sixth consecutive masterpiece.
All six of his showings since the aforementioned wobbles have had him working seven innings or more, with four starts going eight or more innings. Alcantara has now fired off back-to-back shutout performances. Currently holding an immaculate 1.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 77/24 K/BB ratio (12 starts), Both the earned run and WHIP numbers would represent career bests for Alcantara if the season ended today.
Hitters with an EDGE
Jake Cronenworth – 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 5 RBI
On the season, Cronenworth has collected 14 of his 33 RBI over his last seven games. His overall numbers (.226/.313/.373) still lack for much punch, but there are clear signs that he might be starting to move those numbers in the right direction.
Ozzie Albies – 1-for-3, HR, 4 RBI
Albies made his first mark against the A’s with an innocuous sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. He would belt a three-run homer for the loudest blow in a seven-run seventh by the Braves. The tater – his seventh of the season – was his first since he took Miami to task with a long ball back on April 23.
Randy Arozarena – 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI, 1 R
Arozarena set a new season-best for runs batted in on Wednesday. This was also his fifth game (in 54 contests) of three or more hits. He owns a .267/.314/.433 triple-slash with six homers, 28 RBI and 10 steals. Already halfway home to matching his stolen base total from the 2021 campaign.
Jose Miranda – 3-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 2B, 1 R
The Twins took a break from serving as New York’s punching bag, striking back at the Yankees for an 8-1 win on Wednesday. Miranda has now collected multiple hits in three of his last five games as he works to an overall .233/.255/.416 triple-slash across his first 94 MLB at-bats.
Bryce Harper – 1-for-5, HR, 3 RBI
Harper finished with just the one hit, but sometimes, all you need is one. He has been tattooing the ball since the calendar flipped to June, socking four homers in the span of five games. In that same space, he has also driven in 12 runs. Yikes.
Kyle Schwarber – 4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
Schwarber needed this kind of game, too, as his average had dipped back under the Mendoza Line a couple of games ago. At the same time, 23 of his 41 hits this season have gone for extra bases. You take the good with the bad.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Sandy Alcantara – 9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB
We already waxed poetic about Alcantara in our open, but there’s plenty more to wax poetic about, here. Alcantara’s 1.61 ERA (12 starts) is the third-best in baseball, while his 83 2/3 innings are the most in the league. By a lot. The next closest in terms of innings pitched this season is Aaron Nola (more on him below) at 74 2/3 innings.
Alex Wood – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 5 K, 0 BB
Wood has largely disappointed this season, but bucked the trend for at least one turn through the rotation against the Rockies. Fantasy managers don’t need to rush out to the waiver wire to scoop Wood up, but for the sake of history, he has now given up just three runs over his last two starts (12 1/3 innings).
Aaron Nola – 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 K, 0 BB
Nola was sitting at a very, very reasonable 103 pitches at the end of the eighth inning, but was not even given the shot to come out for the complete game shutout in the ninth. And that was with the Phillies leading 10-0 and in a situation where those final three outs may well have come fast. Regardless, Nola did well to bounce back from a five-run-allowed dud against the Giants last time out. This was his second shutout in 12 starts.
Nathan Eovaldi – 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 5 K, 0 BB
In what finished as a 1-0 win, Eovaldi pitched without a safety net for his entire time on the mound. He could have probably gone two more innings if needed, as he finished throwing just 84 pitches. Eovaldi has not allowed a run in either of his last two starts.
Sean Manaea – 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 K, 3 BB
Manaea coming in with a strong performance on Wednesday, though it was not much to look at in terms of strikeouts. But he continues to be an innings machine, having now made it through at least six innings in 10 of his 11 starts this season.
EDGE Priority Pickup – Ezequiel Duran, INF, Rangers; Available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues
Always a little dicey picking up rookies immediately upon their call-up, especially when they have never played above Double-A (yeah, that makes it a little nervy) but Duran has already found success in limited at-bats since his call-up earlier this month, posting a pair of multi-hit showings. Duran was hitting .317/.365/.574 with seven homers and seven steals in 200 plate appearances at Double-A Frisco. Just remember, that’s Double-A Frisco. We are talking a big jump, here, but for fantasy managers with a roster spot to spare in deeper formats, Duran makes for an intriguing flier.
Gregory Soto – SV (12), 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K, 1 BB
In a 3-1 game, Soto retired Pittsburgh’s first two batters in the ninth without issue before issuing a walk to Daniel Vogelbach and allowing a Diego Castillo single. Tying runs on base, Soto proceeded to strike out Cal Mitchell swinging to preserve the victory. He is 12-of-13 in save opportunities this season while boasting a sub-2.00 ERA. The Tigers might not be a great team, but Soto has made the most of his chances.
Diego Castillo – SV (4), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K, 0 BB
Castillo struck out the side – a feat he has now achieved in three of his last four appearances – to close out the Mariners’ 6-3 win over the Astros. While Castillo owns a 5.57 ERA in 21 innings this season, he should continue to draw save opportunities while splitting ninth-inning duties with Paul Sewald this summer. Especially if he keeps fanning the side.
Daniel Hudson – SV (5), 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 K, 0 BB
With Craig Kimbrel out on paternity leave, Hudson filled in to help shut down the White Sox 4-1 on Wednesday. Given that Kimbrel has been very, very up-and-down even when with the team, Hudson makes for a somewhat interesting fantasy flier for those in deeper mixed-league formats.
Matt Strahm – SV (3), 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB
That makes saves for Strahm in back-to-back appearances. Bringing Strahm into a 1-0 game for the final two outs shows a ton of trust on manager Alex Cora’s part. With Matt Barnes injured, Strahm is well worth waiver-wire consideration for those fantasy managers hard-strapped for saves in AL-only and deeper mixed-league formats.
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Thursday’s Matchup of the Day
A couple of intriguing storylines with this one. The Angels looked like they might actually be a good team – like for real – early in the season but they have completely unraveled since then, having now lost 14 (!) games in a row, including Wednesday’s 1-0 toughie. The odd thing of it is that Los Angeles is just four games under .500 and we have yet to hit Father’s Day – there is plenty of time for the team to turn it around, even as bad as everything seems right now. A big performance by Ohtani on Thursday just to calm things down would be a step in the right direction. On the Boston side of the equation, we’re keen to see whether Nick Pivetta can continue to build on a nice stretch of starts. Pivetta has allowed one or no runs in five of his last six outings, including a two-hit, seven-inning shutout last time out against the A’s.
AL Quick Hits: Nestor Cortez finally had a letdown, yielding four runs to the Twins. … Byron Buxton hit his 13th homer. … Jurickson Profar drove in three runs and scored three runs as he tries for a post-hype Renaissance. … Mitch Garver struck out four times. … the Blue Jays are reportedly on the verge of promoting top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno. … Xander Bogaerts (shoulder) was back in the lineup. … O’s/Cubs was rained out. … Franmil Reyes (hamstring) took live batting practice … Logan Gilbert posted a quality start. … Jose Urquidy was cracked for five runs by the Marlins. … Ty France hit his ninth homer while reaching base three times. … Taylor Ward (hamstring) looks to be on track to return early next week. … Mike Trout (groin) sat against the Red Sox, as if the Angels need another problem. … Mitch Haniger (ankle) has been cleared for work in the batting cage. … Daulton Jeffries will undergo season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. … Sal Perez tripled? … Carlos Santana doubled twice on a four-hit day. … Amir Garrett (COVID-19) has begun a rehab assignment.
NL Quick Hits: Bryson Scott scored three runs. … Tony Gonsolin improved to 7-0 on the season. … Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run. … Chris Bassitt was rocked for seven runs. … Christian Walker slugged his 15th homer. … Wade Miley (shoulder) is expected to return from the injured list for a start against the Yankees on Friday, which is certainly one way to be greeted back into the fold after resting up a balky wing. … Tyler O’Neill homered and drove in three. … Kris Bryant (back) took dry swings. … Brandon Crawford (quad) was a scratch on Wednesday. … Nick Senzel was scratched due to lower back pain. … Starling Marte (quad) is hopeful he can avoid a tripe to the injured list. … Nolan Arenado had a rest day.