What’s the recipe for starting the season 7-0?
Having your pitching staff put up a 2.86 ERA certainly helps. Having your cleanup hitter bat .464/.500/.714 also doesn’t hurt.
Mark Trumbo continued his early-season assault on the American League on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and three runs scored in a victory over the Red Sox. Each of the outfielder’s first nine hits of the season were singles, which was a bizarre trend for a guy known as an all-or-nothing slugger. Trumbo has found his power stroke the last few days, however, going deep in two straight contests while also adding a double.
In a lineup that features Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones and others, it’s understandable that Trumbo can get somewhat overlooked. He’s in a great spot this season, though, hitting fourth behind the aforementioned trio and ahead of Matt Wieters and Pedro Alvarez, not to mention playing his home games at Camden Yards. The Orioles’ home park is more favorable for left-handed hitters, but it’s very generous to right-handed batters, as well. Trumbo is also in his walk year, which might mean nothing but certainly can’t be dismissed as a potential motivating factor.
Things didn’t go well for Trumbo in his year-plus in Arizona the first time he played in a hitter-friendly home park, but injuries can be at least partly blamed for his struggles there. He’s in another great hitting environment in 2016 and it’s looking like there’s a good chance we’ll see his best fantasy season since 2013.
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He didn’t hit another home run, but otherwise Kenta Maeda’s performance in his second start of the season essentially mirrored his first outing.
Pitching one day after his 28th birthday, Maeda held the Diamondbacks to just five hits and one walk while recording four strikeouts over six scoreless innings on Tuesday. He left the game with a 1-0 lead but saw his win slip away when the Dodgers’ bullpen got tagged with four runs over the final three frames.
First against the Padres and then versus the D’Backs, the Japanese import has spun six shutout innings in each of his first two major league starts. He’s put up an 8/1 K/BB ratio and has induced 20 groundballs to 11 flyballs to this point.
Maeda certainly hasn’t been overpowering, with a fastball sitting in the 90-91 mph range and a 6.0 K/9 rate. However, the right-hander has kept opposing offenses at bay with a four-pitch mix that’s resulted in just two extra-base hits (both doubles) over his first 12 innings.
While Maeda probably isn’t going to help out fantasy owners much in the strikeout department, he’s looking like a good bet in the early going to be a boon for your ERA and WHIP. He’ll get the Giants at home this weekend and then will face his most difficult task to date with an outing at Coors Field next week.
Dodgers Get Back Grandal, Kendrick
It will be interesting to see how both players are used by manager Dave Roberts now that they’re back in the fold. Grandal missed the first week-plus of the season with a strained right forearm but picked up three hits – including a home run – over nine at-bats while on his rehab assignment. The switch-hitter did not start on Tuesday, although he picked up an RBI groundout as a pinch-hitter. Kendrick, who was out with a calf injury, did start the game at second base, but the interesting part is that he finished it in left field.
Kendrick has a bit of experience in left field, although he hasn’t started a game at the position since 2011. Ultimately, he should still see the bulk of his playing time at second base. However, with Chase Utley’s nice start at the plate (.300/.382/.433) and injuries to Andre Ethier (leg), Carl Crawford (back) and Van Slyke (back), an argument could be made that the Dodgers could use Kendrick more in left field. Enrique Hernandez started in left field on Tuesday and the anticipation is that he and Trayce Thompson will see the bulk of the time at the position while the Dodgers are battling injuries.
Grandal is expected to start on Wednesday after coming off the bench Tuesday. How often he’ll catch remains to be seen. We know that A.J. Ellis will be behind the plate for most of Clayton Kershaw’s starts, and it appears the Dodgers like to pair Ellis with Maeda, as well. Plus, the club might want to ease Grandal into things as he returns from a forearm ailment. Fantasy owners should be prepared for him to sit a couple times per week.
National League Quick Hits: Noah Syndergaard recorded 12 strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball in Tuesday’s loss to the Marlins ... Jacob deGrom (lat) could need a stint on the disabled list, although the Mets are holding off on a move for now ... Buster Posey sat out Tuesday with a bruised foot but is expected back in the lineup Wednesday. Trevor Brown filled in for him and hit two homers ... Francisco Liriano will miss his scheduled start Wednesday with a hamstring injury but is expected to avoid the disabled list. Ryan Vogelsong will fill in ... Jeff Samardzija was held the Rockies to just two runs over eight innings in Coors Field on Tuesday ... Charlie Morton struck out seven over 6 2/3 shutout frames in a win over the Padres ... Jeanmar Gomez notched his third save over the last four days on Tuesday ... Gio Gonzalez struck out four over six shutout frames against the Braves in his season debut on Tuesday ... Jhoulys Chacin recorded eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings versus the Nationals on Tuesday ... Patrick Corbin tossed six innings of one-run ball Tuesday in a no-decision against the Dodgers ... Zack Wheeler underwent a procedure Tuesday to remove an undissolved stitch from his right elbow ... Juan Nicasio was lit up for four earned runs in three innings Tuesday in a loss to the Tigers ...
American League Quick Hits: J.J. Hardy launched a pair of home runs and drove in five runs in Tuesday's win over the Red Sox ... Marcus Semien hit a pair of solo homers in Tuesday’s loss to the Angels ... Adrian Beltre homered and drove in five runs in Tuesday’s victory over the Mariners ... Derek Holland spun 6 2/3 shutout frames against the Mariners ... Justin Upton finished 4-for-5 with a home run and a pair of RBI in Tuesday’s win over the Pirates ... Matt Moore struck out five over seven innings of one-run ball in Tuesday’s win over the Indians ... Francisco Lindor went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Tuesday's loss to the Rays ... David Ortiz doubled in a run and ripped career home run No. 506 in Tuesday's loss to the Orioles ... Brian McCann homered on Tuesday but left the game with a bruised foot. He’ll sit out Wednesday but is expected to be fine ... Lance McCullers (shoulder) is expected to go four innings or throw 60-75 pitches on Saturday in his second rehab start ... James McCann was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a Grade 2 sprain of his right ankle and he is expected to be sidelined for 2-4 weeks ...