Coors Field Whammy
The league's best pitcher fell victim to Coors Field on Friday. Hyun-Jin Ryu was thrashed for a season-high seven runs -- all earned -- in a loss against the Rockies in Denver. That is more earned runs than he had allowed in his previous 10 starts combined. He served up two-run homers to Nolan Arenado, Pat Valaika and Ian Desmond. Ryu has been the most effective starter in the majors by a country mile this year but was dealt a body-blow by the mile-high altitude at Coors Field. He entered the game with a 1.27 ERA and departed with a 1.83 ERA, which is still easily the best mark in the majors (Mike Soroka of the Braves is second with a 2.13 ERA). The loss knocked Ryu's record down to 9-2 after 16 starts.
Ryu doesn't dominate by blowing hitters away -- his 94 strikeouts are tied for 30th in the majors. He gets by with pinpoint command and control. He has issued just seven walks on the season. His league-best 0.55 BB/9 is less than half that of the second-best walk rate in the majors, which is Zack Greinke's excellent 1.25 BB/9. Ryu's great success this season is no fluke, he had a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts last year in a season that was abbreviated by a torn hamstring. This guy doesn't get a ton of attention in fantasy circles but he's been one of the best pitchers in the major leagues for a long time. He's been in the big leagues since 2013 and owns a career 2.91 ERA. Coors Field has been his nemesis -- he's made five career starts in the thin air and has allowed 26 runs in 20 2/3 innings. His career ERA would be 2.72 without those five games in Coors.
Lance Lynn struck out 10 batters while firing eight shutout frames against the Rays. He improved to 10-4 with a 4.00 ERA after 17 starts. That ERA doesn't look great but it has been falling fast. The veteran right-hander has been on an extended roll, posting a 2.94 ERA with 82 strikeouts against just 10 walks in his last 67 1/3 innings over 10 starts. Most of the damage against his ERA came in a couple of blowup starts early in the season, which has skewed his ERA and obscured just how effective Lynn has been this year. He has an excellent 118:26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 108 innings pitched.
Success is no stranger to Lynn. He had a down season in 2018 with a 4.77 ERA but the three seasons prior to that he registered ERAs of 2.74, 3.03 and 3.43 from 2014 to 2017 (he missed the entire 2016 season). For his career he is 91-61 with a 3.63 ERA. Forget about last season and invest in Lynn with confidence.
Matt Olson went 3-for-3 with a pair of homers and five RBI to power the Athletics to a 7-2 win over the Angels. He ripped a two-run bomb in the first inning and topped that with a three-run shot in the third. The 25-year-old slugger has been on a tear at the plate recently, launching five homers in his last seven games. He owns a .254/.345/.575 triple-slash line with 28 runs scored, 16 homers and 32 RBI in just 50 games played this season. The 16 homers are all the more impressive when we consider that he missed a month with a broken hamate bone, which normally saps a hitter's power for about a year.
Lourdes Gurriel exploded a pair of bombs in a 6-2 victory over the Royals. He smacked a two-run shot off Danny Duffy in the sixth inning and popped a solo shot off Wandy Peralta in the eighth. Gurriel started off the season cold as ice and got sent to the minors for a month. He came back to the big leagues in late May and has been on fire ever since. He is rocking a .309 batting average with 14 home runs and 33 RBI on the season in 45 games. He has a 1.002 OPS in 165 at-bats. The 25-year-old may cool off at some point but fantasy owners should roll with him every day moving forward.
** Cubs starter Cole Hamels left Friday's game against the Reds in an odd manner. He was tossing his warmup pitches prior to the second inning when he suddenly just walked off the mound, through the dugout and into the clubhouse without saying a word to anyone. He was diagnosed with a left oblique strain and will be placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Saturday's game. He said after the game that he will take his time to heal properly rather than rushing back. Expect him to be out of action for at least a month.
** Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna is headed to the disabled list with a finger injury. He jammed his fingers on his right hand while diving back into first base as he got picked off on Friday night. The Cardinals are concerned about a potentially fractured middle finger. He could miss several weeks if the finger is broken.
** Pirates starter Chris Archer was removed from Friday's start against the Brewers due to left hip discomfort. His exit was deemed precautionary. It is not yet known if he will require a stint on the disabled list. He allowed two runs in four innings and did not get a decision in the ballgame.
** Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (thumb) took live batting practice on Friday and will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. He is expected to play two rehab games prior to being activated from the injured list for Tuesday's tilt against the Astros.
** Indians ace Corey Kluber (arm fracture) is now cleared to play catch. He will slowly ramp up a throwing program and figures to be out approximately another month.
** Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will begin a rehab with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Saturday. He will play designated hitter at first before getting in some work at shortstop in a couple of days. He could be activated from the injured list in about a week.
** Marlins starter Caleb Smith will make one more rehab start at Double-A Jacksonville on Sunday. He punched out 11 batters in 4 1/3 innings for Jacksonville this past Monday. He will likely return to the Marlins next weekend.
NL Quick Hits: Alex Dickerson went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI in the Giants' win over the Diamondbacks and is batting .311/.367/.578 with two homers, six runs scored, 14 RBI and one stolen base in 49 plate appearances... Buster Posey went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a run scored to lead the Giants to a 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks. It was a rare good game in a dismal season for the former superstar... Michael Wacha allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings in a loss against the Padres... Kirby Yates recorded the final four outs of the Padres’ victory over the Cardinals on Friday to record his major league-leading 27th save of the season... Eric Hosmer went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI in the Padres’ win over the Cardinals... Justin Turner went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a pair of walks in the Dodgers’ loss to the Rockies... Max Muncy went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and five RBI in the Dodgers’ loss to the Rockies... Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored in the Rockies’ victory over the Dodgers... Alex Verdugo went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, three runs scored and a walk in the Dodgers’ loss to the Rockies... Nolan Arenado went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and a pair of runs scored to propel the Rockies to a 13-9 victory over the Dodgers... Garrett Cooper finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored against the Phillies... Bryan Reynolds went 3-for-4 with a walk in the Pirates’ win over the Brewers. He is bashing to the tune of a .362/.422/.561 triple-slash line with 34 runs scored, six home runs and 28 RBI across 218 plate appearances... Joey Votto went 4-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a pair of runs scored as the Reds triumphed over the Cubs 6-3... Michael Lorenzen recorded the final five outs against the Cubs on Friday, preserving a three-run lead to earn his fifth save of the season. He's been on the mound for the Reds' last three save chances rather than regular closer Raisel Iglesias... Sonny Gray allowed two runs on four hits across 6 1/3 innings to beat the Cubs... Mike Soroka allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings in a win over the Mets. He improves to 9-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 14 starts... Austin Riley went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and two runs scored against the Mets... Jacob deGrom surrendered three runs over six innings and took the loss against the Braves... Pete Alonso went 2-for-4 with a solo homer against the Braves. He ranks second in the majors with 28 home runs, one behind Christian Yelich... Anibal Sanchez struck out eight batters while throwing six innings of one-run baseball in a win over the Tigers... Rockies manager Bud Black said Friday that he's contemplating removing Wade Davis from the closer role.
AL Quick Hits: Mike Fiers yielded one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Angels... Jose Berrios gave up six runs — three earned — over 7 1/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox... Mark Canha went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, three runs scored and a walk in the Athletics' win over the Angels... Eloy Jimenez went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in a 6-4 win over the Twins... Miguel Sano went 2-for-3 with a homer, four RBI, a walk, and two runs scored against the White Sox... Shohei Ohtani went 3-for-4 with a run scored in the Angels’ loss to the Athletics... John Means allowed just one hit over five scoreless frames in his return from the disabled list against the Indians... Mike Clevinger (ankle) struggled in his return from the disabled list, allowing a career-high seven runs over just 1 2/3 innings against the Orioles... Anthony Santander finished 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk, four RBI, and two runs scored in a blowout win over the Indians... Chance Sisco went 3-for-5 with a home run, five RBI and three runs scored in a win over the Indians...