The Angels aren’t a team that strikes out very much. That is, unless they’re trying to hit a Luis Castillo changeup.
Castillo put together a dominant outing Monday, striking out a career-high 13 batters while holding the Angels to two runs on three hits and a walk over seven innings. The right-hander’s 119 pitches in the start were also a career high.
Out of Castillo’s 13 punchouts on the night, 11 came on his changeup. As noted by Andrew Simon of MLB.com, that’s the most strikeouts a pitcher has recorded on a changeup in the last six seasons.
Going into Monday, only the Astros had struck out fewer times than the Angels as a team this season. The total of those two teams was way lower than everyone else, too, as the Pirates had the third-lowest total and they had 50 more whiffs than the Halos.
It gives you an idea as to how nasty Castillo was Monday. It’s been that way pretty much all season, though, as the 26-year-old now boasts a 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 164/60 K/BB ratio over 137 innings covering 23 starts.
Castillo has also gotten his walks under control lately with just a 2.1 BB/9 ratio since the beginning of July. That’s really the only thing that’s held him back this season, if you can even call it that.
Castillo will try to keep things rolling this weekend with a home matchup versus the Cubs.
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Cubs Lose Kimbrel
Fantasy owners that stashed Craig Kimbrel had to wait until late June before he finally made his season debut. They’re now going to have to wait on him some more.
The Cubs placed Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list Monday with inflammation in his right knee. The closer felt discomfort in the knee during his last appearance on Saturday and underwent an MRI, which revealed the inflammation.
"We assessed it yesterday morning and it looked like there was a strain and some swelling in there," Kimbrel said Monday. "We're just going to let it calm down instead of trying to throw through, which I'm pretty confident that I could."
Kimbrel seems to think he will be ready to go when his 10 days are up, and the Cubs are similarly optimistic. He’s been up and down this season, striking out 17 over 12 2/3 innings but also walking eight, posting a 5.68 ERA and blowing two of 11 save opportunities. Kimbrel had been scored upon in just one of his last 11 appearances.
Pedro Strop was the Cubs’ closer prior to them signing Kimbrel, but he’s also on the IL with neck tightness. He is expected back soon, although with his struggles before getting hurt (9.00 ERA in his last eight appearances), Strop probably isn’t a great bet for saves before Kimbrel returns.
Manager Joe Maddon said Monday that he would use a committee to close games while Kimbrel is out, although he’s made such statements before and almost always goes with a set guy. The best bet would seem to be Steve Cishek, who was the closer earlier this season when Strop was out with a hamstring injury. Cishek has been arguably the team’s most consistent reliever the last two years and makes for a worthy pick-up in fantasy leagues even if he’s only a short-term closer.
On the Mike
The Yankees have received unexpected contributions from a variety of players this season as they try to run away with the American League Central. Mike Tauchman is the latest example.
Tauchman slugged a solo home run and also a two-run homer Monday as the Yankees topped the Orioles. It was one of five long balls that the Bronx Bombers had on the night, as Brett Gardner, Austin Romine and Mike Ford also went deep. Tauchman also singled and scored an additional run.
Things didn’t go so well for Tauchman in his first few stints in the majors, but it’s been a different story since he was recalled in late June. In 22 games and 72 plate appearances since he returned, the 28-year-old has batted .424 with five dingers, 20 RBI and two stolen bases.
When the Yankees acquired Tauchman from the Rockies late in spring training, it was in large part due to his solid glove in the outfield. He’s been plenty productive at the plate the last few years in the minors, though, including last year when he put up a .978 OPS with 20 homers and 12 steals for Triple-A Albuquerque.
National League Quick Hits: Christian Yelich went 4-for-5 and hit two solo homers Monday as the Brewers topped the Pirates. … Robinson Cano has been diagnosed with a torn left hamstring following an MRI. … Willson Contreras (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined for four weeks. … Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a walk in the Braves’ loss to the Twins on Monday. … Bryan Reynolds went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double Monday against the Brewers. … Javier Baez homered twice and drove in three runs to power the Cubs to a victory over the Athletics on Monday. … Tony Gonsolin whiffed seven across six shutout frames Monday versus the Cardinals. … Michael Conforto went 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI and a walk in the nightcap of the Mets’ doubleheader sweep of the Marlins. … The Reds claimed Kevin Gausman off waivers from the Braves. … Isan Diaz homered off of Jacob deGrom in his major league debut Monday in the first game of a doubleheader. … Erick Fedde went six shutout innings Monday in San Francisco. … Jon Heyman of MLB Network has reported that the Nationals have signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a major league contract. … The Brewers placed Zach Davies on the 10-day injured list with back spasms. … The Reds placed Derek Dietrich on the IL with left shoulder inflammation.
American League Quick Hits: Jonathan Villar hit for the cycle in a loss to the Yankees on Monday. … Marcus Semien homered twice and drove in three runs in the Athletics’ loss to the Cubs on Monday. … Mike Minor blanked the Indians for seven innings and struck out seven for a victory. … Gary Sanchez (groin) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and is on track to return Friday. … Carlos Carrasco (cancer) is scheduled to throw a couple bullpen sessions this week. .. Bo Bichette homered and doubled Monday as the Blue Jays downed the Rays … Mike Trout went 2-for-3 with a homer, a walk and a steal Monday against the Reds. … Yonny Chirinos (finger) won't throw for the next two weeks and is expected to be sidelined for four-plus weeks. … Andrew Heaney (shoulder) is on track to rejoin the Angels' rotation this weekend in Boston. … Jeimer Candelario is dealing with a left thumb injury and could need a stint on the injured list. … Jacob Waguespack shut the Rays out for six innings Monday in the Blue Jays’ win. … Aaron Civale took a loss despite holding the Rangers to one run and three hits in six innings Monday.