‘Tis But A Scratch
Dinelson Lamet and the San Diego Padres are doing their best to remain optimistic amid the latest injury setback to hit the right-hander. Padres manager Jayce Tingler said on Thursday that Lamet felt “very, very good,” just a day removed from exiting a game due to right forearm tightness.
No inflammation or fluid was found during his ultrasound and there are no current plans to have an MRI, according to Tingler. It’s difficult to imagine why an MRI would be anything other than mandatory at this stage, but as stated earlier, the team is being optimistic.
Lamet was among the Cy Young leaders in the National League last season after breaking out with a 2.09 ERA with 93 strikeouts over 69 innings with just 20 walks. However, the 28-year-old suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his final regular-season start which many thought would lead to surgery. The Padres elected to go with rest and a PRP injection instead in hopes of avoiding an invasive procedure.
San Diego treated their prized right-hander with kid gloves all offseason in hopes of slowly building Lamet up in order to escape a season-ending fate. The latest setback led many to fear the need for a second Tommy John surgery, as the right-hander had already spent the entire 2018 season and half of 2019 recovering from his first. Tingler stated that despite several delays in spring training, the pain Lamet felt on Wednesday was the first sign of trouble since last season.
The Padres are expected to provide an update on Friday after Lamet resumes this throwing program, but have been vocal about their intention to remove their star right-hander from the injured list once his 10 days are up. If laughter is not the best medicine, maybe the optimism in San Diego’s front office is. Fantasy shareholders should keep their fingers crossed, but it may be time to think about MacKenzie Gore in the event that there is a long-term need who is not Ryan Weathers.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Angels superstar Mike Trout left Thursday’s game with a left elbow contusion after being hit by Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier. Trout initially stayed in the game, clearly in pain, before being pulled a few innings later. No further details are known at the time this article was written, but keep your fingers crossed.
Pirates' third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes re-aggravated his injured left wrist Wednesday while taking swings and will now head back to Pittsburgh to be re-examined by the team’s medical staff. This is unfortunate news considering the 24-year-old was close to returning to action after being sidelined since opening weekend. Fantasy managers will want to make sure Pirates infielder Phillip Evans is rostered while Hayes remains on the injured list.
It has been a rough season for injuries and Thursday claimed several more victims including Miguel Sano (hamstring), Brian Anderson (oblique), Joc Pederson (wrist), Evan Longoria (hamstring), Keone Kela (shoulder), Donovan Solano (calf)and Chad Kuhl (shoulder), while seeing setbacks and lineup scratches to Julian Merryweather (oblique), Chris Taylor (back), and Zach McKinstry (back). It is going to be a long season.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Cristian Javier vs LAA - 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K
The Angels had no answer for Javier on Thursday, as they were shut out for five innings while scattering four baserunners. The 24-year-old was demoted earlier this season to the team’s alternate training site due to early-season logistics but did not miss a beat generating a career-best 21 whiffs, including 11 on his slider alone. Javier now holds an impressive 1.32 ERA, 0.88 WHIP over 13 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts this season.
Walker Buehler vs SD - 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 9 K
Buehler’s fastball was up to 97.5 miles per hour during the contest, averaging 95.5 with his fastball. The right-hander earned 14 swinging strikes on his four-seam for a 48 percent whiff rate with 11 called strikes. Buehler held a 32 percent CSW against the Padres in what was a much-needed bounce-back performance after a somewhat concerning start to the season. Slow starts are to be expected of some pitchers, but it does not make them any less hard to tolerate if you are a fantasy shareholder. Hopefully, this performance is a positive sign of things to come for the 26-year-old.
Hitters with an EDGE
Jesse Winker vs ARI - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 RBI
Winker is now batting .373 with three homers and 11 runs scored in 51 at-bats. The heart of the Reds lineup has done a superior job of driving Winker in when he is on the basepaths as the leadoff hitter, but fantasy shareholders would sure benefit from a slight drop in the Cincinnati lineup. Unfortunately, Winker gets on base at a high enough clip where his place is likely cemented near the top, even if he offers little value on the basepaths.
David Peralta vs CIN - 5-for-6, HR, 3B, 7 RBI, 2 R
Peralta raised his average 56 points during the contest with a career-high five hits and seven RBI. The 33-year-old had a legitimate shot at the cycle during the game after collecting a bases-loaded triple in the tenth inning but ended up falling one double short.
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Jon Berti, 2B/3B/SS/OF Marlins (Available in 84 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues)
Injuries to Adalberto Mondesi, Tim Locastro, and Jean Segura, just to name a few, have left some fantasy managers with a need for stolen base production. After the Marlins announced Thursday that third baseman Brian Anderson would be headed to the 10-day injured list, Jon Berti should be at the top of their waiver wire shopping list.
The 31-year-old is off to a slow start at the plate batting just .200 in 35 at-bats, but also carries a spring speed in the 96th percentile. Berti should see regular at-bats during Anderson’s absence and was able to swipe 17 bags back in 2019 over 256 at-bats and nine last season in just 120 at-bats. Overall production will not come without flaws, but if you have a need for speed, this could be an answer.
Richard Rodriguez pitched a clean frame, striking out one on Thursday, to pick up his third save of the season. Even though the 31-year-old pitches for the Pirates, he seems to be one of very few with a complete stranglehold of a ninth-inning job in baseball. It is highly likely the right-hander will be moved closer to the trade deadline, but for now, it pays to roster Rodriguez.
Lucas Sims allowed three earned runs over an inning of work and took the loss Thursday against the Diamondbacks. The righty entered the game in the ninth in a tie game to get one out before coming back for the 10th and allowing two hits and walks. Sims saw his ERA climb to 6.43 at a time where he had a legitimate chance to unseat Amir Garret as the closer in Cincinnati. It remains to be seen what will happen, but it’s likely the Reds will give their right-hander another shot.
Stefan Crichton is day-to-day after being struck by a comebacker Thursday on his palm. Arizona has the closer carousel working overtime and even though X-rays were negative, it may not be a surprise to see names like Kevin Ginkel, J.B. Bukauskas, or even Caleb Smith find their way to the ninth sooner or later if Crichton is forced to miss any time.
Aroldis Chapman dominated, striking out three of the four batters he faced on Thursday to pick up his third save of the season. The flamethrower has now collected 16 punchouts over six scoreless innings this season thanks to the use of his new splitter.
Jake McGee, fresh off the injured list, struck out the side in a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his major league-leading seventh save of the season.
Not to be outdone, Padres closer Mark Melancon needed only 13 pitches (10 strikes) to pick up his seventh save of the season against the Dodgers, keeping pace with McGee. The right-hander struck out the side, sitting down Luke Raley, Austin Barnes and Mookie Betts and now carries a 0.90 ERA, 0.30 WHIP across 10 innings.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
Yu Darvish, Padres (1-1 2.55 ERA 0.81 WHIP)
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (3-1 2.19 ERA 0.97 WHIP)
In a rematch of last week’s masterpiece, two of the league's best will face off in a division battle Friday night. The pair combined for one earned run over 13 innings with 17 strikeouts and 31 whiffs in their previous outing, with Kershaw getting the better of Darvish.
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American League Quick Hits: Twins have promoted top outfield prospect Alex Kiriloff along with infielder Nick Gordon … Miguel Sano was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring injury. … Astros manager Dusty Baker suggested that Jose Altuve could be activated over the weekend. … George Springer (oblique), who has yet to play in a game this season, is expected to play in an intrasquad game Friday. … Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano could return from the injured list on Saturday while Julian Merryweather has been shut down for a couple of weeks with an oblique injury. … Luke Voit is expected to report to the Yankees alternate training site early next week. … Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters that Chris Rodríguez could eventually move into the starting rotation.
National League Quick Hits: Phillies manager Joe Girardi expects Didi Gregorius to return to the lineup Friday. … Pirates placed Chad Kuhl on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder discomfort. … Jonathan India hit his first major league home run Wednesday. … Mookie Betts was back in the starting lineup for the Dodgers after missing action due to a forearm injury, but both Chris Taylor and Zach McKinstry were scratched with lower back tightness. … Joc Pederson was placed on the 10-day injured list with left wrist tendonitis after being hit by a pitch Wednesday. … Padres placed Keone Kela on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder tendonitis. … Marlins placed Brian Anderson on the injured list with a left oblique strain and recalled infielder Jose Devers, who is the brother of Rafael Devers.