Sizzling-Hot Story, Red Sox Keep Rolling

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There are hot streaks and then there’s whatever Trevor Story is doing at the moment. The 29-year-old second baseman continued his surreal hot streak Thursday evening, going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, four RBI and a stolen base in the Red Sox’ 16-7 blowout win over the White Sox. He kicked off the stat sheet-stuffing performance with an RBI single in the opening frame before launching a towering three-run homer to left field – his ninth long ball of the season – off White Sox’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel in the ensuing frame.

Entering a two-game series in Atlanta back on May 10, the Red Sox found themselves a staggering nine games under .500, and Story, who signed a massive six-year, $140 million contract in the closing moments of the offseason, was hitting just .194/.276/.269 with zero homers in 105 plate appearances. It’s been a remarkable turnaround ever since as Boston has won 10 of their last 13 games and find themselves back in the American League playoff picture after a brutal 11-20 start to the 2022 campaign. Meanwhile, Story has been at the epicenter of the Red Sox’ turnaround, going full supernova at the dish with nine round-trippers over his last 14 games. He’s hitting .293 (17-for-58) with 17 runs scored, nine round-trippers, 27 RBI and five stolen bases in 15 games since May 10. It's not a total surprise that Story has managed to turn things around after an ice-cold start to his Red Sox debut, especially after a shortened spring training, but he's performing like a five-category fantasy superstar at the moment. Clearly, he won't sustain this level of stratospheric offensive production indefinitely, but there's nothing inherently fluky about his recent power surge and stolen base uptick.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Frankie Montas vs. Rangers

7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K

36% CSW, 20 swinging strikes

Montas generated an eye-popping 20 swinging strikes Thursday night, including 10 on his splitter alone, and finished with an elite 36 percent CSW. It was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the 2022 campaign. The 29-year-old righty has been a reliable fantasy contributor this season, compiling a pristine 3.12 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 66/15 K/BB ratio across 57 2/3innings (10 starts). He'll face a challenge Tuesday against the division-rival Astros in his next start.

Martín Pérez vs. Athletics

7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

35% CSW, eight swinging strikes

Pérez continued his phenomenal 2022 campaign, limiting the Athletics to just one run on four hits and a pair of walks over seven frames on Thursday evening in Oakland. He also finished with six strikeouts in this one. The 31-year-old left-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in nine consecutive starts this season and also hasn't given up a home run yet. He'll carry a microscopic 1.60 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 44/14 K/BB ratio across 56 1/3 innings (nine starts) into a favorable home matchup Tuesday against the Rays.

Shohei Ohtani vs. Blue Jays

6.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

33% CSW, 17 swinging strikes

It turned out to be a rather bizarre final line Thursday evening for Ohtani, who was eventually pulled from the contest in the late innings with back stiffness, as he surrendered five runs on six hits, including a pair of solo homers, over six innings in a loss to the Blue Jays. Yet, he also finished with 10 strikeouts to record his third double-digit strikeout performance of the 2022 campaign. He induced 17 swinging strikes and finished with a 33 percent CSW. The 27-year-old two-way sensation has been excellent overall this season, allowing two earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts. He'll carry a strong 3.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 63/10 K/BB ratio across 44 1/3 innings (eight starts) into a road tilt Thursday against the Yankees.

Aaron Nola vs. Braves

8 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

36% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

Nola flummoxed the Braves’ lineup into the late stages of the contest, carrying a shutout into the ninth inning before being lifted after surrendering a one-out double to Matt Olson. He was charged with a run after Phillies’ closer Corey Knebel later allowed Olson to score on a wild pitch before closing out the low-scoring affair. It was his first double-digit strikeout performance of the season. He generated 15 swinging strikes and finished with a stellar 36 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). The 28-year-old workhorse righty will carry a solid 3.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 74/10 K/BB ratio across 60 2/3 innings into a home outing Tuesday against the Giants.

Nestor Cortes vs. Rays

8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

24% CSW, seven swinging strikes

Cortes wasn’t exactly overpowering Thursday evening in Tampa Bay, as evidenced by just seven swinging strikes and a lackluster 24 percent CSW, but he managed to limit the Rays to just five baserunners and one run over eight stellar frames. The 27-year-old southpaw has been phenomenal this season, blossoming into an upper-echelon fantasy contributor, allowing three earned runs or fewer in nine consecutive starts to open the 2022 campaign. He'll carry a microscopic 1.70 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 61/12 K/BB ratio across 53 innings (nine starts) into a favorable matchup Wednesday against the Angels.

Hitters with an EDGE

Freddie Freeman vs. Diamondbacks

4-for-5, 3 R, HR (4), 5 RBI

Freeman’s four-hit barrage Thursday evening catapulted the Dodgers to a 14-1 blowout victory over the division-rival Diamondbacks in Arizona. He opened the scoring with an RBI double off Diamondbacks' starter Humberto Castellanos in the opening frame before walloping a three-run homer to right-center field -- his fourth round-tripper of the season -- in the ensuing frame. He also added an RBI double to center field in the sixth inning, just for good measure. The 32-year-old fantasy superstar has put together a phenomenal Dodgers debut this season, hitting .312/.399/.500 with 32 runs scored, four homers, 28 RBI and three steals across 198 plate appearances.

Kyle Farmer vs. Cubs

4-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR (2, 3), 5 RBI

Farmer spearheaded the Reds’ unbelievable 20-run explosion Thursday afternoon, launching a pair of home runs against the Cubs, in his return to Cincinnati’s starting lineup following a three-game absence due to fatigue and general soreness. The 31-year-old middle infielder doesn’t offer a ton of relevance for fantasy managers outside of deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats, but he’s proven to be a key component of the Reds’ organization over the last few seasons.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. vs. Angels

1-for-4, R, HR (9), RBI

Guerrero Jr. snapped a 15-game homerless drought Tuesday against the Cardinals and followed it up with a solo homer off Angels' ace Shohei Ohtani in Thursday's series opener in Los Angeles. It was his ninth long ball of the 2022 campaign. The 23-year-old fantasy superstar has homered in back-to-back contests and appears to have finally snapped out of his recent funk at the dish. He seems poised for another monster summer. If he’s locked in again, look out.

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Closing Time

Josh Hader vs. Cardinals

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (16th save)

Hader fired a scoreless ninth inning Thursday, guarding a one-run lead against the Cardinals to collect his major league-leading 16th save of the season. He surrendered a leadoff single to Tommy Edman and also handed out a free pass to Nolan Arenado, but managed to escape unscathed in his first appearance since May 21 after spending time on the family medical emergency leave list. The 28-year-old left-hander struck out Paul Goldschmidt and also induced pop ups from Albert Pujols and Juan Yepez to put out a potential fire in the final frame. He's reeled off a surreal 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings with an absurd 22/6 K/BB ratio this season.

Joe Barlow vs. Athletics

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (8th save)

Barlow was called upon with a three-run cushion Thursday evening and needed just 14 pitches (nine strikes) to end the contest. He issued a leadoff walk to Tony Kemp, but managed to coax a double-play ball off the bat of Luis Barrera and induce a game-ending pop up from Elvis Andrus. The 26-year-old righty has converted all eight of his save opportunities and holds a sparkling 1.76 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 16/5 K/BB ratio across 15 1/3 innings this season.

Scott Barlow vs. Twins

2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (fifth save)

Barlow needed a whopping 41 pitches (25 strikes) Thursday evening to record the final six outs of the Royals’ one-run victory over the Twins. Clearly, manager Mike Matheny didn’t want to take any chances in this one, allowing his primary stopper to work around plenty of traffic on the basepaths and escape with his fifth save of the season.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Cristian Javier, SP/RP, Astros

Javier was absolutely electric Wednesday evening for the second consecutive start, utilizing his fastball and slider combination to strike out nine batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Guardians at Minute Maid Park. The dynamic 25-year-old righty, who recently rejoined Houston’s starting rotation due to injuries, became the first Astros’ pitcher to strike out at least nine batters and walk one or fewer batters in consecutive starts since Gerrit Cole accomplished the feat back in 2019. He generated a season-high 20 swinging strikes and finished with a solid 33 percent CSW in that one. He’s been excellent ever since getting lit up for seven runs against the Nationals back on May 14, allowing just one run on six hits with an 18/2 K/BB ratio across 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts. He’s in line for an extremely favorable road matchup Tuesday against the Athletics and should be rostered in all fantasy formats until further notice.

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Jameson Taillon (Yankees) vs. Jeffrey Springs (Rays) - 7:10 PM ET

This is a sneaky big-time pitching matchup, especially for Springs, who will face his toughest test since becoming a full-fledged member of the Rays’ starting rotation earlier this month. The unheralded 29-year-old lefty has recorded a microscopic 1.32 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 27/7 K/BB ratio across 27 1/3 innings (12 appearances, four starts) this season. He’s benefitted from some favorable starting assignments against the Mariners, Angels, Blue Jays and Orioles recently, so this will certainly be the most formidable lineup he’s faced in a while.

American League Quick Hits: Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it will allow teams to carry 14 pitchers on active rosters through June 19. … Taylor Ward (neck, shoulder) remained absent from the Angels’ starting lineup Thursday for the fifth consecutive contest, but was able to make an appearance as a pinch-hitter against the Blue Jays. … DJ LeMahieu (wrist) remained out of the Yankees’ starting lineup Thursday for the fourth straight game. … Yoán Moncada was held out of the White Sox’ starting lineup Thursday against the Red Sox due to leg soreness. … Ramón Laureano (hand) singled Thursday in his return to the Athletics’ starting lineup against the Rangers. … Aaron Hicks was scratched from the Yankees’ starting lineup Thursday against the Rays with right hamstring tightness. … Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters that Jorge Polanco (ankle) could return Friday against the Royals. … Guardians placed OF Franmil Reyes on the 10-day injured list. … White Sox placed RHP Joe Kelly on the 15-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. … Tigers OF prospect Riley Greene (foot) will begin playing rehab games Friday for Low-A Lakeland. … J.D. Martinez tallied three hits and Alex Verdugo went 4-for-6 with three RBI in the Red Sox’ blowout win over the White Sox. … Aaron Judge singled and stole a base in the Yankees’ victory over the Rays. … Miguel Cabrera capped off a three-hit performance with a tie-breaking RBI single in the ninth inning, lifting the Tigers to a walk-off victory over the Guardians. … Whit Merrifield drilled a game-tying RBI double and Bobby Witt Jr. delivered a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning, powering the Royals to a comeback win over the Twins … George Springer went 2-for-4 with a leadoff homer in the Blue Jays' win over the Angels. … Nathaniel Lowe hit a two-run homer, lifting the Rangers to a narrow victory over the Athletics. … Andrew Vaughn went 2-for-5 with five RBI in the White Sox' lopsided defeat at the hands of the Red Sox. … Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the Rays’ loss to the Yankees. … Owent Miller hit a two-run single in the Guardians’ loss to the Tigers. … Jose Miranda went 2-for-4 with a double in the Twins’ loss to the Royals. … Chad Pinder went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Athletics' loss to the Rangers. … Luis Rengifo went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Angels’ loss to the Blue Jays. … Hyun Jin Ryu allowed two runs over five innings Thursday in a win over the Angels, but exited that start with left elbow tightness. … Devin Smeltzer recorded six strikeouts over seven shutout innings in a no-decision against the Royals. … Tarik Skubal yielded three runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Guardians. … Michael Wacha was lit up for five runs over 4 1/3 innings Thursday in a no-decision against the White Sox. … Daniel Lynch allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Twins. … Konnor Pilkington gave up three runs over 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers. … Ryan Yarbrough was charged with three runs (two earned) over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees. … Dallas Keuchel was torched for six runs over two innings Thursday in a loss to the Red Sox. … Matt Manning (shoulder) has been shut down from throwing indefinitely due to biceps tendinitis. … Yankees signed INF Matt Carpenter to a one-year contract and also inked RHP Shane Green to a minor league contract. … Guardians released OF Anthony Alford to sign with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization.

National League Quick Hits: Jack Flaherty (shoulder) faced hitters Thursday for the first time in his rehabilitation process. … Seiya Suzuki has been diagnosed with a left ring finger spain after being removed from Thursday’s game against the Reds. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Max Muncy (elbow) could be headed to the 10-day injured list. … Clayton Kershaw (pelvis) has resumed throwing. … Ronald Acuña Jr. (quad) was absent from the Braves’ starting lineup Thursday against the Phillies. … Marcell Ozuna was scratched from the Braves’ starting lineup Thursday versus the Phillies with lower abdominal tightness. … Willson Contreras (hamstring) launched a solo homer Thursday in his return to the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Reds. … Cody Bellinger (illness) went 3-for-6 with three RBI on Thursday in his return to the Dodgers' lineup versus the Diamondbacks. … Cardinals placed RHP Jordan Hicks on the 15-day injured list with a right forearm flexor strain … Marlins activated INF/OF Joey Wendle from the 10-day injured list. … Luis Urías belted a solo homer in the Brewers’ victory over the Cardinals. … J.T. Realmuto slugged a solo homer in the Phillies’ win over the Braves. … Nick Senzel tallied four hits and also walked twice in the Reds’ blowout victory over the Cubs. … Dee Strange-Gordon went 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base in the Nationals’ win over the Rockies. … Christian Walker went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the Diamondbacks' blowout loss to the Dodgers. … Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Cardinals' loss to the Brewers. … Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ belted solo homers in the Cubs’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Reds. … Charlie Blackmon delivered an RBI triple in the Rockies’ loss to the Nationals. … Matt Olson doubled twice in the Braves’ loss to the Phillies. … Eric Lauer yielded two runs over five innings Thursday in a win over the Cardinals. … Hunter Greene struck out six batters and was charged with five runs over five innings in a win over the Cubs. … Patrick Corbin gave up three runs over 6 1/3 innings in a win over the Rockies. … Mitch White tossed four scoreless innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks. … Adam Wainwright was charged with four runs (three earned) over five innings Thursday in a loss to the Brewers. … Kyle Wright allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Phillies. … German Marquez was shelled for five runs over six innings in a loss to the Nationals. … Justin Steele was torched for seven runs over two innings in a loss to the Reds. … Humberto Castellanos was shelled for six runs over four innings Thursday in a loss to the Dodgers. … Marlins acquired INF/OF Luke Williams from the Giants for INF/OF Hayden Cantrelle.