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Sandy is dandy; dominates in Atlanta

Sandy Alcantara

Sandy Alcantara

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In his first start since throwing a complete game versus the Braves last Sunday, Sandy Alcantara looked poised to repeat the feat against the same Atlanta squad but this time on their home turf. After his pitch count crept above 100 pitches in the eighth inning, Don Mattingly smartly decided to pull his ace out of the game. Alcantara was maybe even more impressive on Saturday than he was in his previous game against the Braves. He finished the night with 14 strikeouts, four hits, 27 swings and misses, and an elite 37 CSW%. He was no match for Atlanta and I bet they are excited to not face him next week. Sandy picked up his fifth win of the season and the Marlins move to 19-25 on the year.

What makes Alcantara impressive is not his high nineties sinker, even though that is really great! His ability to constantly go deep into games is not something we have seen in baseball recently. With many starters struggling to go five innings per outing, Alcantara has reached the sixth inning in seven out of his nine starts. Even with a hiccup against the Mariners at the beginning of May, he has a 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 63/22 K/BB, and currently leads the majors with 67 ⅔ innings pitched this year. He looks to extend his innings pitch lead against the Giants at LoanDepot Park on Thursday.

Hitters with an EDGE

Nolan Gorman vs. Brewers

4-for-4, 3 R, 1 HR (1), 4 RBI

The 22-year-old had the best day at the plate of his young career. Gorman got the Cardinals on the board with a 449-foot blast in the first inning, which was the first home run of his career. In hit a single in the 3rd inning to drive in Harrison Bader and then smacked a double to deep right field to drive in another two runs. He has started every game when the Cardinals have faced a right-hander and with a couple of left-handers on the schedule next week, it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals trust him enough to give him the start.

Victor Robles vs Rockies

3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR (1), 6 RBI, 1 SB (2)

Victor Robles enjoyed his combo meal during the first game against the Rockies on Saturday. He singled in the first which scored Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz and followed with another RBI single in the second inning. He quickly picked up his second stolen base of the season but was left stranded after Alcides Escobar struck out looking. Robles blasted a ball 377 feet for his first home run of the season and put the game out of reach for Colorado to make a comeback.

Corey Seager vs Athletics

3-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR (5), 2 RBI, 1 SB (2)

Corey Seager didn’t want to feel left out on the home run parade and smacked his fifth bomb of the season on Saturday. In a surprising turn of events, he also swiped third base for his second theft of the season. The 28-year-old has been underwhelming this year and is hitting .225/.290/.391 with eight homers and 20 RBI. Hopefully, this excellent game will get him out of his rut.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Nathan Eovaldi vs Orioles

9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

32% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

The Red Sox ace has bounced back after giving up five home runs against the Astros two starts ago. The 32-year-old right-hander has a 3.77 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and impressive 59/9 K/BB ratio. The long ball has been Eovaldi’s issue this year. He already has 16 so far this year. If he keeps the ball in the park, he should continue to keep you WHIP in shape. He looks to continue his recent dominance against the A’s in Oakland on Friday.

Gerrit Cole vs. Rays

6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K

33% CSW, 20 swinging strikes

The pitcher most likely taken first in your fantasy draft put up first-round production on Saturday night against the Rays. Cole had his four-seamer and slider working well and only gave up two hits on the night. Sadly, the Yankees bullpen could hold on and the 31-year-old did not factor into the decision. Cole needed this rebound game as he had a 5.63 ERA over the past week. He takes on the lowly Tigers on Friday in Yankee Stadium.

Tony Gonsolin vs. Diamondbacks

6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

37% CSW, 10 swinging strikes

Gonsolin was no match for the Diamondbacks on Saturday night in Arizona. While he didn’t get as many whiffs as would expect, he mostly kept the ball on the ground en route to his fifth win of the season. Only Justin Verlander and teammate Walker Buehler have more than five wins this year. Honestly, the best thing about Saturday’s outing was the zero walks. While he will probably never get back to the 4 BB% that he had across 46 ⅔ innings in 2020, if we see more outings like this one, he would be a must-start, even for ten-teamers.

Priority Pickup

Roansy Contreras (Pirates) SP - Available in 74% of Yahoo leagues

After Mitch Keller increased fastball velocity did not lead to better results the Pirates called on Roansy Contreras, one of the bigger prospects the Pirates received in the trade that sent Jameson Taillon to the Bronx. After the trade, there was a notable tick-up in his velocity, and had a career-high 34.9 K% in Double-A before an arm injury shut him down for most of the summer. Contreras begin the season this year in the bullpen but was sent to Triple-A to get stretched out. He returned on May 24 against the Rockies at home at threw five innings of three-hit ball and picked up five punchouts while walking two batters. He also had 10 swings and misses and a respectable 31 CSW%. Not too shabby for his first start in the Majors this season! Contreras faces off against the Padres on Sunday and then lines up to face the Diamondbacks and Braves in his next two starts. While the possibility of a win is low (I’m sorry Pirates fans), his ability to generate strikeouts while limiting walks is too tempting to leave on the waiver wire.

Closing Time

Cole Sulser vs. Braves

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (2nd save)

Sulser struck out two batters en route to his second save. It wasn’t easy going as he gave up a two-out double to Dansby Swanson followed by a walk to Marcel Ozuna which bought the tying run to the plate. He struck out Austin Riley with five straight changeups and the Marlins won their 19th game of the year. The Marlins’ closing situation has been in flux all year and with Anthony Bass blowing his save opportunity on Friday, Sulser could see more opportunities in the future.

Colin Poche vs. Yankees

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (2nd save)

Poche only needed 13 pitches to pick up his second save of the season. He got a struggling Joey Gallo to pop out to first before getting D.J. LeMahieu and white-hot Aaron Judge to ground out to shortstop as the Rays picked up their 27th win of the year. Just like the other Florida baseball team, the Rays’ closing situation has been all over the place but Poche was the last Ray to convert a save. Is this the next Rays closer? Probably not. Oh, Tampa, why must you frustrate us, fantasy managers.

Tony Santillan vs. Giants

1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (3rd save)

Santillan came into the eighth inning after Ross Detwiler gave up two hits and put the go-ahead run at the plate. Santillan induced a groundball from Thairo Estrada to get out of the sticky situation. The ninth inning wasn’t any easier. He gave up a lead-off hit to Curt Casali before striking out Tommy La Stella and walking Mike Yastrzemski. Joey Bart came in the game to run for Casali and was thrown out at home after Wilmer Flores’ single to right-center. The Reds don’t have a go-to closer and with very few leads to protect, he should only be picked up in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

Daniel Bard vs. Nationals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (11th save)

In the second game of the doubleheader, Bard made quick work to pick up his 11th save of the season. The 36-year-old has rebounded from a miserable 2021 season and has a 3.31 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 23/6 K/BB ratio over 16 ⅓ innings of work. Unless there are a few blown saves, Bard has locked down the closer role in Colorado.

Jorge López vs. Red Sox

1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (6th save)

López was a bit shaky in the ninth but stuck it out to pick up his sixth save of the year on Saturday. In the ninth, Bobby Dalbec was safe after a throwing error by Jorge Mateo. Jackie Bradley Jr. would single and then Christian Arroyo would ground into a fielder’s choice bringing Dalbec in from third to score. Enrique Hernandez would ground into a game-ending double play and the Orioles would take the second game of the doubleheader. After not picking up a save since April 23, López has picked up saves on May 23 as well as Saturday and is still Baltimore’s go-to option in the ninth.

Daniel Hudson vs. Diamondbacks

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (3rd save)

After Craig Kimbrel threw 26 pitches on Friday, Dave Roberts went to the veteran to close out Saturday’s matchup against the Diamondbacks. Things got tense after Hudson gave up a lead-off double to Ketel Marte. However, he settled down and struck out David Peralta and Jake McCarthy as the Dodgers picked up their 32nd win of the year. Kimbrel is still the go-to guy in the ninth but Hudson will pick up the odd save chance when Kimbrel needs to rest.

Taylor Rogers vs. Pirates

1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (2nd blown save)

David Bednar vs. Padres

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (9th save)

Rogers entered the game in the ninth in back-to-back games. Rogers did not look crisp as he gave up a leadoff double to Diego Castillo and walked Tucupita Marcano before giving up a three-run bomb to dead centerfield off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes, which was Hayes’ first round-tripper of the season. This was the first home run Rogers has given up during this time in San Diego. This was just a blip on the radar and Rogers still has total command of the closer role for the Padres. David Bednar locked down his ninth save of the year and made quick work of the bottom of the Padres lineup. Sure, the Pirates do not win many games but Bednar and his microscopic .75 ERA and .67 WHIP easily makes him one of the better closers in fantasy baseball.

Jordan Romano vs. Angels

0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (1st hold)

In his third consecutive game, the Blue Jays called on their closer Jordan Romano to face Mike Trout, Matt Duffy, and Jared Walsh. Maybe that was not the wisest decision as Romano was not his dominant self in this outing. He was pulled after only getting two outs, one run scored, and the bases loaded. Ross Stripling followed and only needed one out to pick up his first save of the season. Even with the poor outing, Romano is the Jays’ first choice in a save situation.

Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Luis Severino (Yankees) vs. Shane McClanahan (Rays)

Sunday showcases an exciting matchup in the Battle for the American League East crown. Luis Severino has been surprisingly great returning from a multitude of injuries that limited him to only throw six innings in 2021. The 28-year-old has a 3.02 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 43/11 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3rd innings of work. On the other side, Shane McClanahan is truly having a breakout season. The 25-year-old lefty has a 2.08 ERA, .88 WHIP, and impressive 74/12 K/BB ratio in his 52 ⅓ innings of work. The Yankees are missing some of their more formidable boppers so all of us McClana-STANs out there can enjoy him racking up the strikeouts.

American League Quick Hits: Eloy Jiménez leaves rehab game with right leg soreness. … Jahmai Jones was designated for assignment by O’s…Dallas Keuchel was designated for assignment by the White Sox. … Daulton Jefferies is seeking a second opinion on his neck injury. … Yoán Moncada missed a second consecutive game with quad issue. … Luis Robert is feeling better but not ready to return from COVID-IL. … Anthony Rendon (wrist) placed on 10-day IL. ... Marcus Semien hit a grand slam for his first home run of the season. ... Kurt Suzuki was removed from Saturday’s game with a neck contusion. ... Brady Singer struck out eight batters en route to his second win of the season. ... Julio Rodriguez stole his league-leading 14th base against the Astros on Saturday. ... Luis Arraez went 3-5 to bring his average up to .359. ... Jose Ramírez hit his 12th homer of the season and fifth stolen base against the Tigers. ... Ramón Laureano hit his first homer of the year against the Rangers. ... Logan Gilbert scattered four hits across seven innings of shutout ball against the Astros.

National League Quick Hits: Top Prospect for the Braves, Michael Harris II selected by the Braves and picked up his first hit while batting ninth. … Hunter Harvey (elbow) begins a throwing program. … Aníbal Sánchez (neck) close to throwing off mound…Hunter Renfroe (hamstring) begins running on Saturday. … Salvador Perez returned to the Royals lineup. … Willy Adames (ankle) beginning rehab assignment. … Jazz Chisholm (hamstring) missed his fourth game in a row. … Tommy Pham was suspended three games for the Joc Pederson slap. … Brian Anderson was a late scratch on Saturday with a back issue…Kevin Pillar returns to the majors with the Dodgers. … Jacob deGrom has begun throwing from 135 feet. … Nationals designate Aaron Sanchez for assignment. … Ke’Bryan Hayes (back) returned to the Pirates lineup and picked up three hits including a three-run homer off Padres closer Taylor Rogers in the ninth inning. ... Ronald Acuña Jr. returned to the lineup a stole his ninth base. ... Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil led the Mets over the Phillies as they each drove in three runs. ... Nico Hoerner picked up three hits and his third stolen base of the season.