Shohei Ohtani Snaps Angels' Losing Streak

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With Mike Trout, Taylor Ward and Anthony Rendon missing from the free-falling Angels’ lineup due to injuries, Shohei Ohtani figuratively and quite literally put Los Angeles on his back Thursday evening, almost single-handedly snapping the franchise’s surreal 14-game losing streak with a legendary two-way performance in a 5-2 victory over the Red Sox. The 27-year-old superstar limited a sizzling-hot Boston lineup to just one run over seven innings and also supplied a go-ahead, two-run homer off hard-throwing righty Nick Pivetta in the fifth inning. It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that no modern-era player has the potential to impact on the outcome of a single-game than Ohtani, who delivered one of the most memorable efforts of his career when Los Angeles needed it most. He'll carry a strong 3.64 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 71/13 K/BB ratio across 54 1/4 innings (10 starts) into a tough road tilt Wednesday against the Dodgers.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Shane McClanahan vs. Cardinals

8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

36% CSW, 20 swinging strikes

McClanahan was simply magnificent Thursday afternoon, recording nine strikeouts and limiting the Cardinals’ lineup to just three baserunners over eight dominant frames. He generated an absurd 20 swinging strikes, including 11 whiffs on his four-seam fastball alone, and finished with a robust 36 percent CSW. The dynamic 25-year-old left-hander told reporters afterwards that it was the first time he’d completed eight innings at any level in his professional career. Something tells us this won’t be the last time. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 12 consecutive starts to open the 2022 campaign and will carry a microscopic 1.87 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 98/13 K/BB ratio across 72 1/3 innings (12 starts) into a challenging road matchup Wednesday against the Yankees. He’s rapidly evolved into an upper echelon fantasy contributor and is putting together a serious push to be considered among the best starting pitchers in the game this season.

Miles Mikolas vs. Rays

8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

36% CSW, 12 swinging strikes

Mikolas went the distance Thursday afternoon in Tampa Bay, relentlessly pounding the strike zone over eight innings, but was narrowly edged by Rays’ burgeoning star Shane McClanahan, who allowed just an unearned run over eight innings in the low-scoring pitcher’s duel. The 33-year-old righty has been outstanding this season, compiling a strong 2.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 60/15 K/BB ratio across 73 2/3 innings (12 starts). He’ll aim to keep the momentum going on Tuesday against the Pirates in a favorable home matchup.

Max Fried vs. Pirates

6.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

29% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

Fried recorded eight strikeouts and didn’t hand out a free pass over six frames on Thursday evening in a win over the Pirates. He surrendered eight hits, but managed to limit the Pirates' lineup to just one run over six frames as a fourth-inning solo shot from Jack Suwinski represented the lone blemish in an otherwise flawless effort. He induced 15 swinging strikes and finished with a solid 29 percent CSW. The 28-year-old left-hander will carry a sparkling 2.64 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 69/12 K/BB ratio across 75 innings (12 starts) into a road tilt Tuesday against the Nationals.

Hitters with an EDGE

Byron Buxton vs. Yankees

2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (14, 15), 4 RBI, BB

Buxton clobbered two home runs and tallied four RBI on Thursday night, but it wasn't enough as the Twins suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Yankees. The superstar center fielder and teammates Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa launched three consecutive homers against Yankees' ace Gerrit Cole to kick off the opening frame. He also connected for a three-run shot to left field in the ensuing frame to record his third multi-homer performance this season. The 28-year-old fantasy stalwart is up to 15 round-trippers on the 2022 campaign and has gone deep four times over his last five games since June 3.

Joey Gallo vs. Twins

2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR (6, 7), 3 RBI

Gallo crushed two home runs and notched three RBI on Thursday evening, powering the Yankees to a 10-7 victory over the Twins. The all-or-nothing slugger did all of his damage in the early stages of the contest, walloping a pair of round-trippers against Twins' starter Dylan Bundy, helping spark the Yankees' eventual 10-run explosion. He belted a two-run shot to right field in the second inning and also connected for another tape-measure blast to right field in the fifth inning. It was his first multi-homer performance since last September. He also struck out three times in this one. The 28-year-old outfielder remains the ultimate three true outcomes masher these days, providing little else for fantasy managers besides the occasional homer and a bushel of strikeouts.

Max Muncy vs. White Sox

2-for-5, 2 R, HR (4), 5 RBI

Muncy provided an immediate spark Thursday afternoon in his return to the Dodgers’ lineup following a two-week absence due to left elbow inflammation. The 31-year-old slugger socked a two-run double off White Sox' righty Dylan Cease with two outs in the fifth inning and delivered a three-run blast -- his fourth long ball of the season -- in the ensuing frame against lefty reliever Bennett Sousa following a questionable intentional walk to Trea Turner. It's a positive sign for fantasy managers that Muncy is feeling rejuvenated after some extra time off and is back hitting the ball with authority again.

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Closing Time

Jason Adam vs. Cardinals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (2nd save)

With veteran stopper Andrew Kittredge set to miss at least a month due to right elbow surgery, the first save chance in Tampa Bay went to Adam on Thursday afternoon. The 30-year-old righty was called upon to guard a one-run lead in the ninth inning against the Cardinals following an eight-inning masterpiece from Shane McClanahan. He got off to a rocky start by walking Nolan Arenado, but struck out Nolan Gorman and induced a game-ending double play ball from Tyler O’Neill to preserve the narrow victory. It’s unclear what direction the Rays will go in, but they have a ton of options to fill their closer vacancy moving forward.

Clay Holmes vs. Twins

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (9th save)

Holmes fired a perfect ninth inning Thursday, preserving a three-run lead against the Twins to collect his ninth save of the season. He was summoned to face the top of the Twins' lineup and managed to coax ground outs from Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton before striking out Carlos Correa to slam the door. The ground ball machine hasn't allowed a run across 27 innings over 25 relief appearances since April 9. The 29-year-old righty has taken over as the Yankees' closer this season, converting all nine of his save opportunities, and emerging as one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

Kenley Jansen vs. Pirates

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (16th save)

Jansen fired a perfect ninth inning Thursday night, guarding a two-run lead against the Pirates to net his 16th save of the season. He struck out Michael Chavis, got pinch-hitter Tucupita Marcano to ground out and also whiffed Jack Suwinski to end the contest. The 34-year-old veteran stopper has converted 15 of his 18 save opportunities this season to go along with a respectable 3.51 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 36/8 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings of work. He's just two saves behind Josh Hader and Taylor Rogers for the major league lead in the saves department in his Braves debut.

Raisel Iglesias vs. Red Sox

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

Iglesias spun a perfect ninth inning Thursday night, preserving a three-run lead against the Red Sox to collect his 12th save of the season. It was a much-needed bounce-back for the veteran stopper after an ugly blown save last weekend against the Phillies. He struck out Franchy Cordero, got Jackie Bradley Jr. to line out to right field and whiffed Bobby Dalbec to end the contest. The 32-year-old righty has converted 12 of his 14 save opportunities this season.

Scott Barlow vs. Orioles

1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (6th save)

Barlow was summoned to record the Royals’ final four outs Thursday evening, preserving an eventual two-run victory over the Orioles to earn his sixth save of the season. He gave up an RBI double to Cedric Mullins with two outs in the eighth inning, but managed to put out the fire from there on before coming back out to toss a scoreless ninth inning as well. He's converted six of his seven save chances this season to go along with a stellar 1.78 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 23/9 K/BB ratio across 25 1/3 innings.

Tanner Scott vs. Nationals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3rd save)

The Marlins’ closer committee remains a convoluted mess, but Scott looked pretty sharp on Thursday night, needing just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to quiet the Nationals and preserve Miami’s three-run victory. It’s been Scott, Anthony Bass, Dylan Floro and Cole Sulser for save opportunities moving forward in the Marlins’ bullpen.

Alex Colomé vs. Giants

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

Colomé got the call to work the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon with primary stopper Daniel Bard unavailable after throwing 24 pitches over the previous two days. The 33-year-old veteran righty will continue to vulture the occasional save chance over the remainder of the year.

Ian Kennedy vs. Reds

1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (4th save)

Kennedy got the call to work the final frame following the Diamondbacks’ unexpected comeback after Mark Melancon had already pitched a scoreless eighth inning just to get some work in with Arizona trailing by a pair of runs. He served up a solo shot to Matt Reynolds with two outs in the frame, but managed to preserve the two-run lead to collect his fourth save of the season.

Tony Santillan vs. D-backs

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

Santillan was brought out to guard a two-run lead in the ninth inning and wound up retiring just one of the six batters he faced. The Reds’ bullpen remains one of the most unsettled closer situations in the game and fantasy managers should continue to steer clear, even in the deepest of fantasy formats.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Christopher Morel, INF/OF, Cubs

Morel has occupied the Cubs' leadoff spot for 15 consecutive games since May 25 and appears to be in the midst of carving out a permanent everyday role as a versatile defender and top-of-the-order offensive catalyst. The 22-year-old rookie spark plug has delivered some serious five-category goodness for fantasy managers since arriving in the big leagues last month, hitting .298/.381/.524 with 16 runs scored, three home runs, 10 RBI and six steals across 97 plate appearances. He’s capitalized on an early-season promotion from Double-A Peoria and there's simply no way the Cubs can justify sending him back to the minors anytime soon. He's worthy of a roster spot in all fantasy formats moving forward, especially if he's going to continue hitting for power and also stealing bases.

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Roansy Contreras (1-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. Spencer Strider (1-2, 2.76 ERA) - 7:20 PM ET

Contreras and Strider are among the most intriguing young starting pitchers in the game and will square off on Friday evening in Atlanta. It’s a matchup fantasy managers should be monitoring closely.

American League Quick Hits: Rays manager Kevin Cash said Thursday that closer Andrew Kittredge is likely to undergo surgery to remove a loose body from his right elbow, which could keep him sidelined for at least one month. … Nathan Eovaldi experienced hip discomfort during Wednesday’s start against the Angels. … Eduardo Rodriguez (ribs) recorded nine strikeouts over four scoreless innings Thursday in a minor league rehab start for Triple-A Toledo. … Joe Ryan (COVID-19) gave up one hit over three scoreless innings on Thursday in a minor league rehab start for Triple-A St. Paul. … Eloy Jiménez (hamstring) has been pulled from a minor league rehab assignment. … Mike Trout (groin) remained absent from the Angels’ starting lineup on Thursday for the second consecutive game against the Red Sox. … Luis Arraez swatted a leadoff homer Thursday in his return to the Twins’ lineup following a one-game absence due to right shoulder tightness. … José Ramírez launched his 15th round-tripper of the season in the Guardians' win over the Athletics. … MJ Melendez walloped a two-run homer and Bobby Witt Jr. stole two bases in the Royals’ victory over the Orioles. … Ji-Man Choi slugged a two-run homer in the Rays’ narrow win over the Cardinals. … Aaron Hicks went 2-for-5 with three RBI in the Yankees’ win over the Twins. … Andrew Velazquez hit a three-run homer in the Angels’ victory over the Red Sox. … Jake Burger belted a solo homer before exiting with a leg cramp and AJ Pollock went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the White Sox’ loss to the Dodgers. … Carlos Correa and Trevor Larnach homered in the Twins’ loss to the Yankees. … Christian Bethancourt went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the Athletics' loss to the Guardians … Gerrit Cole was lit up for seven runs over 2 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Twins. … Dylan Bundy was tagged for four runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Yankees. … James Kaprielian gave up two runs over five innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Guardians. … Konnor Pilkington was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Athletics. … Kris Bubic gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Orioles. … Dylan Cease was charged with six runs (zero earned) and struck out eight batters over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers. … Nick Pivetta recorded 11 strikeouts over five innings in a loss to the Angels. … Jordan Lyles was shelled for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Royals.

National League Quick Hits: Tyler Stephenson will miss four-to-six weeks with a fractured right thumb after being hit by a foul tip during Thursday’s game against the Diamondbacks with a hand injury. … Tylor Megill (biceps) will rejoin the Mets’ starting rotation on Friday against the Angels. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Clayton Kershaw (pelvis) could return on Saturday instead of Sunday against the Giants. … Brandon Woodruff (ankle) threw a bullpen session on Thursday, but has had his recovery slowed by ​​Raynaud's syndrome, an issue that causes decreased blood flow to the fingers and also creates problems with circulation. … Christian Walker exited Thursday's game against the Reds after taking a pitch to the head. … Nelson Cruz was scratched from the Nationals’ starting lineup Thursday against the Marlins due to back tightness. … Brandon Crawford (quad) singled as a pinch-hitter, but remained absent from the Giants’ starting lineup on Thursday against the Rockies. … Nick Senzel (back) was held out of the Reds’ starting lineup on Thursday for the second consecutive game. … Kolten Wong (calf) was absent from the Brewers’ starting lineup on Thursday for the second straight contest. … Nolan Arenado singled and also walked on Thursday in his return to the Cardinals’ lineup following a one-game absence after taking a pitch off his knee earlier this week. … Jesús Sánchez went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI on Thursday in his return to the Marlins’ lineup after missing one game due to upper back tightness. … Gavin Lux tallied four hits and an RBI while Freddie Freeman went 3-for-5 with three RBI in the Dodgers’ victory over the White Sox. … Bryce Harper launched his 15th round-tripper of the season in the Phillies’ decisive win over the Brewers. … Ronald Acuña Jr. stole his 11th base of the season in the Braves' victory over the Pirates. … Jazz Chisholm Jr. went 2-for-4 with a stolen base in the Marlins’ win over the Nationals. … Pavin Smith clubbed a solo homer in the Diamondbacks’ comeback win over the Reds. … Willy Adames and Hunter Renfroe drilled solo homers in the Brewers’ loss to the Phillies. … TJ Friedl went 3-for-5 with a stolen base in the Reds’ loss to the Diamondbacks. … Bryan Reynolds recorded a season-high three hits and Jack Suwinski hit a solo homer in the Pirates’ defeat at the hands of the Braves. … Lane Thomas went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Nationals’ loss to the Marlins. … Trevor Rogers allowed two runs over five innings in a win over the Nationals. … Austin Gomber allowed two runs over six innings in a win over the Giants. … Tyler Mahle recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts and allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks. … Zach Davies posted seven strikeouts and yielded three runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Reds. … Tyler Anderson coughed up four runs over three innings in a no-decision against the White Sox. … Zach Eflin allowed one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Brewers. … Corbin Burnes was charged with three runs (one earned) over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Phillies. … Logan Webb was charged with three runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rockies. … Stephen Strasburg was torched for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Marlins. … JT Brubaker allowed three runs over seven innings in a loss to the Braves.