Fantasy Baseball: Snake Repellent

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Not a record you necessarily want to break. With their 10-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, the Arizona Diamondbacks have now lost 23 straight games on the road. This is the longest road losing streak in league history, breaking a modern-era major league record. 

Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen’s return to the mound did not go as planned; before his start today, the 25-year-old missed five weeks due to a forearm strain. His last appearance was May 7, when he faced the Mets. Against the NL West-leading Giants, Gallen was pulled after 58 pitches over 2 2/3 innings. While he was expected to be on a limited pitch count upon returning from his injury, in that span he yielded four runs off four hits, while walking one and striking out three. One of the hits was a two-run bomb hit by Curt Casali in the second inning; he also threw two wild pitches and hit one batter, indicative that he’s still easing himself back into the swing of things.

Gallen’s return to the Diamondbacks seemed rather abrupt. Instead of a rehab assignment, the right-hander threw a simulated game on Saturday that consisted of 46 pitches — a puzzling move by Arizona to expedite his return to the rotation, considering they’re in last place in the NL West, 24.5 games behind the Giants. 

When healthy, Gallen is regarded as a high-level fantasy starter. In what might be a promising sign, however, he reached a top velocity of 96.7 mph in this start, while he averaged 93.3 mph before his injury.

That makes 14 straight losses overall for the D-Backs. Arizona now carries a 20-30 record, 9-31 on the road. 

Pitchers with an EDGE

Kevin Gausman vs Arizona

8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 34% CSW

One of the hits Gausman surrendered was actually to his counterpart, Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen. In this start, Gausman’s ERA increased from 1.43 to 1.51 which is still the second-lowest mark in the Majors, behind only the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (0.54).

Kyle Hendricks vs Mets

6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 26% CSW

This was Hendricks’ seventh straight victory, and seventh straight quality start. He’s now gone at least six innings in nine of his last 11 starts, dating back to April 23. With this win, Hendricks is now 9-4 with a 4.13 ERA; also, the Cubs have snapped their three-game skid. 

Charlie Morton vs Cardinals

7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 32% CSW

In this fantastic start by Morton, he took a no-hitter into the seventh, allowing three hits eventually — all singles. Morton induced 18 swings and misses, contributing to a fantastic 32% CSW. His fastball was especially crisp, hitting a high of 97.1 mph; his season average is at 95.3 mph.  

Hitters with an EDGE

Gio Urshela vs Blue Jays

3-for-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI

Urshela’s third inning homer was his eighth of the year, and plated Giancarlo Stanton. He also hit a double. This was Urshela's first three-hit game since April 11, where he posted four hits against the Rays.

C.J. Cron vs Brewers

2-for-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI

Cron contributed to a first inning headache for Brandon Woodruff by clobbering a grand slam for his eighth home run; he also hit a double in the seventh inning. With Cron’s help, the Rockies are now on a four-game winning streak.

Victor Caratini vs Reds

2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI

What a comeback: Caratini clobbered a two-run walk-off homer to push the Padres to a thrilling 6-4 come from behind victory over the Reds, for his fifth dinger of the season. 

 

Priority Pickup

Jake Fraley (Available in 68% of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues)

The 26-year-old has been on a tear at the plate lately, slashing .279/.426/.558 with four home runs, 10 runs scored, 15 RBI, and 11 walks in his last 15 games. The 11 walks are contributing nicely to his overall .458 OBP through 83 plate appearances - and an attractive .941 OPS on the year. On Friday, the lefty-hitting Fraley goes up against Michael Wacha of the Rays; Fraley has a career .776 OPS versus right-handed pitchers. An excellent pickup, if he’s available in your league. 

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Closing Time

Craig Kimbrel vs Mets

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (19th Save)

Kimbrel has now converted 19 out of 21 save opportunities, and he has not allowed an earned run since May 15. He carries forth an impressive 0.64 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. 

Raisel Iglesias vs Tigers

2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (15th Save)

The Tigers made things interesting for Iglesias, who entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, in the eighth inning. Niko Goodrum singled off Iglesias, plating Robbie Grossman; next. Eric Haase grounded out, causing Jonathan Schoop to score. Iglesias did get out of the eighth inning jam by inducing a groundout from Akil Baddoo. The ninth raised blood pressures of Angels fans as Iglesias gave up a leadoff double to Willi Castro. After two outs, he walked Schoop, and a wild pitch caused Castro to score, bringing the Tigers within two runs, at 7-5. A Jeimer Candelario groundout finally ended a long two innings for the Angels. 

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA, 97 K, 0.84 WHIP)

Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA, 72 K, 1.04 WHIP)

Rodon has had an impressive 2021 so far; the southpaw took a no-hitter — what would have been his second of the year — into the seventh inning in his last start versus the Tigers, where he was brushing 99.9 mph on the radar gun, on pitch 100. Rodon is well-known for those late inning spikes in his velocity, as well as his wipeout slider that lures swings and misses as it carries a 45.6 Whiff%. 

The 24-year-old righty Luis Garcia takes the mound opposite Rodon today. Garcia has a five-pitch arsenal, with an exceptionally great cutter; opponents currently have an .088 average against that pitch. He had won five consecutive starts for the Astros, until he gave up four runs (three earned) in a loss to the Twins on Saturday. 

 

American League Quick Hits: Gleyber Torres left Thursday's game with lower back stiffness. ... Evan White has been taken off his rehab assignment after suffering a minor setback to his hip flexor strain. ... Blue Jays transferred Carl Edwards Jr. from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list with a left oblique strain. ... Astros placed INF Alex Bregman on the 10-day injured list with a left quad strain. ... White Sox placed OF Adam Eaton on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 15, with a right hamstring strain. ... Indians transferred OF Jordan Luplow from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. ... Indians placed C Austin Hedges on the 7-day concussion injured list, Ryan Lavarnway has been called up from Triple-A in a corresponding move. ... Byron Buxton (hip) has yet to resume his minor league rehab assignment. ... Justin Dunn left Thursday's game due to right shoulder discomfort.

National League Quick Hits: Cardinals transferred INF Max Moroff from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list with a shoulder injury. ... Rockies placed RHP Mychal Givens on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain. ... Jacob deGrom visited a doctor Thursday who found no issues with his right shoulder.