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Strider Stacks Up Strikeouts Against Cardinals

Spencer Strider

Spencer Strider

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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One year ago, Spencer Strider was coming off his 10th professional start for the Double-A Mississippi Braves after being selected in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft the previous summer. Exactly one year later, he’s evolved into one of the most prolific strikeout artists in the entire game, and authored yet another dominant performance on Thursday evening, carving up a formidable Cardinals’ lineup in his eighth career major-league start.

The hard-throwing, electrifying 23-year-old rookie right-hander’s first nine outs on Thursday night at Truist Park came via strikeout and he finished with a career-high 12 punchouts over six virtually flawless frames. He allowed just four total baserunners, induced an eye-popping 23 swinging strikes, and finished with an elite 41 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs), needing just 100 pitches (69 strikes) to navigate six innings. The burgeoning fantasy ace, who has racked up three double-digit strikeout performances over his last five starts since June 15, has compiled a sublime 2.60 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 102/25 K/BB ratio across 65 2/3 innings (19 appearances, eight starts). He’s lined up to take the ball on Tuesday in a pivotal home outing against the division-rival Mets.

Strider’s phenomenal start set the stage for a back-and-forth pitcher’s duel, which remained deadlocked at one run apiece until extra-innings. The Cardinals pulled ahead with an RBI sacrifice fly from rookie slugger Juan Yepez in the top of the 10th inning before Matt Olson countered with a game-tying RBI single against Ryan Helsley in the bottom of the frame. Dylan Carlson put the Cardinals ahead for good with an RBI single off lefty Tyler Matzek in the top of the 11th inning before Packy Naughton came on to lock down the save. Despite wasting a sublime effort from Strider, the defending World Series champions have won seven of their last 10 games and find themselves just a handful of games out of the NL East division lead approaching the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the division-leading Mets plated a whopping 10 runs on 12 hits and got a two-hit shutout performance from Trevor Williams and Jake Reed on Thursday night in a lopsided victory over the Marlins, increasing their division lead to three and a half games in the process. Williams recorded a season-high seven strikeouts and allowed just a pair of baserunners over seven shutout frames before Reed came on to toss a pair of perfect frames to close it out. J.D. Davis stepped into the spotlight as the Mets’ main offensive catalyst in this one, notching three hits – including a fifth-inning grand slam off Marlins’ reliever Jimmy Yacabonis – and collecting five RBI in the one-sided affair. The two teams are slated to square off in a pivotal three game series on Monday in Atlanta. Get your popcorn ready.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Tony Gonsolin vs. Cubs

7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

32% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

Gonsolin carried a shutout into the fifth inning before serving up a two-run homer to Cubs’ rookie sensation Christopher Morel, which accounted for all of the damage against him in this one. He finished with three strikeouts and didn’t hand out a free pass. The 28-year-old righty has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 16 consecutive starts to open the 2022 campaign. He’ll carry a microscopic 1.62 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 80/23 K/BB ratio across 88 2/3 innings (16 starts) into a challenging road tilt on Wednesday against the Cardinals. There’s a strong possibility that he starts the All-Star game later this month at Dodger Stadium.

Roansy Contreras vs. Reds

6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

30% CSW, 11 swinging strikes

Contreras was shipped back to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday evening, following his latest gem against the Reds in the front-end of Thursday’s doubleheader, in an effort to manage his workload with a planned shutdown heading into the All-Star break in roughly two weeks. The 22-year-old rookie right-hander completed six innings for the first time in the majors, registering seven strikeouts and only allowing five baserunners. A fifth-inning solo homer by Reds’ veteran infielder Donovan Solano represented the lone tally against him in this one. It’s unclear how much of a break he’ll wind up receiving, and there should be some clarity on that process in the coming days, but it’s become abundantly clear that he should be rostered in all fantasy formats given his recent performance. He’s recorded a strong 3.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 50/22 K/BB ratio across 50 innings (12 appearances, nine starts).

Dylan Cease vs. Tigers

6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K

32% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

Cease recorded eight strikeouts and yielded one run over six innings on Thursday in a loss to the Tigers. He induced 16 swinging strikes and finished with a 32 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). A fourth-inning solo homer off the bat of Javier Báez accounted for all of the damage against him in this one. The 26-year-old righty has allowed just three runs on 28 hits with a 62/24 K/BB ratio across 45 1/3 innings over his last eight starts since May 29. He’ll carry a sparkling 2.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 133/43 K/BB ratio across 92 innings (17 starts) into a home outing on Tuesday against the Guardians.

Hitters with an EDGE

Rafael Devers vs. Yankees

2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR (18, 19), 5 RBI, BB

Devers, who supplied all five of the Red Sox’ runs and also reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances on Thursday evening against the Yankees, has put himself squarely in the American League MVP Award discussion approaching the All-Star break, hitting .330/.387/.598 with 59 runs scored, 19 home runs, 51 RBI and two stolen bases across 351 plate appearances. After missing a pair of contests earlier this week due to mild soreness in his back and right hamstring, the 25-year-old superstar third baseman snapped a nine-game homerless drought with a pair of gargantuan round-trippers off Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole in the third and fifth innings, respectively. It was his second multi-homer effort of the 2022 campaign and 12th time he’s accomplished the feat in his career. It’s frightening to think that he’s just starting to enter his prime and won’t even hit free agency until after the 2023 campaign.

Mookie Betts vs. Cubs

2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR (19, 20), 2 RBI, HBP

Betts launched a pair of solo homers on Thursday night, powering the Dodgers to a narrow victory over the Cubs. He walloped a leadoff homer to left field off Cubs’ righty Mark Leiter Jr. to open the contest and capped off the multi-homer performance with a solo shot against reliever Michael Rucker in the eighth inning. It was his third multi-homer effort of the 2022 campaign. He’s gone deep three times in five games since returning from a rib injury last weekend and is now up to 20 round-trippers in 297 plate appearances.

Darick Hall vs. Nationals

2-for-4, 2 R, HR (4), 2 RBI

Hall put the Phillies on the scoreboard on Thursday afternoon with a third-inning RBI double to center field against Nationals’ starter Joan Adon. He also plated a key insurance run with a seventh-inning solo homer off veteran side-winding reliever Steve Cishek. The unheralded 26-year-old slugger has capitalized on his unexpected opportunity to replace an injured Bryce Harper in Philadelphia’s lineup by clobbering four round-trippers in eight games since being called up to the majors last week. Obviously, he won’t sustain his torrid pace forever, but fantasy managers in deeper formats should continue to ride the recent power surge.

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Closing Time

Ryan Pressly vs. Royals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (18th save)

Pressly was summoned to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon and required just 13 pitches (seven strikes) to dispatch the Royals in a perfect frame. The 33-year-old righty has converted 18 of his 21 save opportunities this season.

David Bednar vs. Reds

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (14th save)

Bednar rebounded nicely on Thursday afternoon from a couple of shaky recent outings, tossing a scoreless frame against the Reds to collect his 14th save of the season. The 27-year-old righty, who figures to be one of the most desirable potential trade acquisitions at next month’s deadline, has reeled off three consecutive scoreless appearances on the heels of a pair of blow-up performances last week. He’s converted 14 of his 17 save chances this season to go along with a solid 2.31 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 52/12 K/BB ratio across 39 innings (32 appearances).

Seranthony Domínguez vs. Nationals

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

Dominguez got the call to guard a two-run lead in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, and wound up netting his third save of the season. It was the Phillies’ first save chance since last Friday, so it remains a bit of a toss-up between Dominguez and fellow lefty Brad Hand, who worked the eighth inning during Thursday’s victory, for supremacy in the Philadelphia bullpen moving forward. It feels like Dominguez has a slight edge at the moment and should be rostered in deeper mixed leagues until further notice.

Jorge López vs. Angels

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (15th save)

López was brought on to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Thursday night against the Angels and wound up working around a one-out single from Luis Rengifo to collect another save. The 29-year-old stopper, who has converted 15 of his 19 save opportunities this season, figures to net the rebuilding Orioles a decent prospect package from a contender in need of some bullpen help at next month’s trade deadline.

Clay Holmes vs. Red Sox

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (16th save)

Aroldis Chapman may be back from the injured list, but with the Yankees clinging to a one-run lead at Fenway Park on Thursday evening, it was Holmes who got the call to work the ninth inning against the Red Sox. The 29-year-old righty induced a harmless pop up from Trevor Story, struck out Franchy Cordero and coaxed a game-ending grounder off the bat of Rob Refsnyder to collect his 16th save of the season. He’s converted 16 of his 17 save opportunities this year to go along with a microscopic 0.47 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 39/5 K/BB ratio across 38 innings (37 appearances). Simply put, he’s blossomed into one of the best relievers in baseball.

Gregory Soto vs. White Sox

1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (17th save)

Talk about a high-wire act. This one wasn’t easy, folks. Soto allowed one run in the ninth inning on Thursday, but still managed to hang on against the White Sox for his 17th save of the season. He coughed up a one-out single to Tim Anderson before issuing a four-pitch walk to AJ Pollock, which put the tying runs on-base. He served up an RBI double to ensuing batter Luis Robert, which slashed the Tigers’ lead in half before somehow managing to wriggle out of the jam by striking out José Abreu and inducing a game-ending ground ball off the bat of Eloy Jiménez. He’s converted 17 of his 19 save opportunities this season.

Daniel Bard vs. Diamondbacks

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (17th save)

Bard fired a scoreless ninth inning on Thursday, guarding a one-run lead against the Diamondbacks to collect this 17th save of the season. He issued a two-out walk to Daulton Varsho, but managed to settle down afterwards, retiring Geraldo Perdomo to end the contest. The 37-year-old right-hander has converted 16 of his 18 save chances this season to go along with a sparkling 2.27 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 38/17 K/BB ratio across 31 2/3 innings.

Alex Vesia vs. Cubs

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)

Vesia became the third different Dodgers’ pitcher in the last four days to record a save. The 26-year-old lefty was called upon to relieve Craig Kimbrel, who was pulled after 31 pitches (19 strikes), after allowing one run on two hits and a walk to open the frame. He managed to retire pinch-hitter Nelson Velázquez to end the contest. It doesn’t sound like there’s any shot that Kimbrel loses the closer role in Los Angeles yet, but the veteran stopper has allowed four runs over his last three appearances.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Harold Ramirez, OF, Rays

Barreled Ramirez, as he’s known to his Rays teammates, has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball over the last few weeks, slashing a stratospheric .370/.417/.511 with two homers, 16 RBI and two stolen bases across 103 plate appearances over 29 games since June 1. The 27-year-old outfielder, who flew under the radar when he was acquired from the Cubs in a offseason trade, has carved out an everyday role in Tampa Bay and offers a boost in the batting average department for fantasy managers moving forward. He doesn’t offer much in terms of over-the-fence pop or stolen bases, but Ramirez is quietly putting together a strong breakthrough campaign and should be rostered in all fantasy formats.

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Reid Detmers (2-3, 4.66 ERA) vs. Tyler Wells (7-4, 3.09) - 7:05 PM ET

Detmers, who tossed a no-hitter back on May 10 against the Rays, will be recalled from the minors to start in place of an injured Michael Lorenzen on Friday evening against the Orioles. The 22-year-old left-hander told reporters that he recently worked with the Angels’ minor league pitching coordinator to tweak his slider and used it to rack up 14 strikeouts over six innings for Triple-A Salt Lake back on June 29. He’s an extremely intriguing streaming option for fantasy managers and is worthy of a speculative roster spot in all fantasy formats.

American League Quick Hits: Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed Thursday that Chris Sale (ribs) will make his season debut on Tuesday against the Rays. … Kevin Gausman (leg) underwent an MRI on Thursday which came back negative for a fracture in his right ankle. It remains unclear when he will make his next start for the Blue Jays. … Michael Wacha (arm) will not start on Friday against the Yankees. … Angels placed RHP Michael Lorenzen on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to July 4, with a right shoulder strain. … Blue Jays placed LHP Yusei Kikuchi on the 15-day injured list with a neck strain. … Nathan Eovaldi (back) will make a minor league rehab start on Sunday for Triple-A Worcester. … Garrett Whitlock (hip) will make a minor league rehab appearance on Friday for Triple-A Worcester. … Enrique Hernandez (hip) will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Worcester. … Kyle Bradish (shoulder) will make a minor league rehab start on Saturday for Double-A Bowie. … Aaron Judge (lower body) was absent from the Yankees’ starting lineup on Thursday due to lower body soreness and Anthony Rizzo (back) was held out for the third consecutive contest due to lower back stiffness. … Jeremy Peña (illness) was held out of the Astros’ starting lineup on Thursday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. … Andrew Vaughn (illness) was absent from the White Sox’ starting lineup on Thursday due to a non-COVID illness. … George Springer was held out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup on Thursday for the second straight contest. … Austin Meadows (Achilles) was held out of the lineup on Thursday for Triple-A Toledo due to bilateral Achilles soreness. … Ryan Mountcastle went 1-for-2 with a pair of RBI in his return to the Orioles’ lineup after missing a pair of games due to a non-COVID illness. … Ty France singled in his return to the Mariners’ lineup after missing just under two weeks due to a Grade 2 flexor strain in his left elbow. … Josh Donaldson went 2-for-4 with a grand slam, powering the Yankees to a narrow win over the Red Sox. … Jose Altuve belted a two-run homer and Yordan Álvarez crushed his 26th home run of the season, propelling the Astros to a victory over the Royals … Adley Rutschman walloped a solo homer in the Orioles’ win over the Angels. … Cal Raleigh went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI in the Mariners’ win over the Blue Jays. … Javier Báez crushed a tie-breaking solo homer and Spencer Torkelson delivered a pinch-hit RBI single, leading the Tigers to a narrow victory over the White Sox. … Nicky Lopez went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in the Royals’ loss to the Astros. … Brandon Marsh singled and stole a base in the Angels’ defeat at the hands of the Orioles. … Jarren Duran went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the Red Sox’ loss to the Yankees. … Luis Robert hit an RBI double in the White Sox’ loss to the Tigers. … Santiago Espinal went 3-for-4 with a run scored in the Blue Jays’ loss to the Mariners. … Justin Verlander recorded eight strikeouts and was charged with two runs (one earned) over six innings in a win over the Royals. … Gerrit Cole posted seven strikeouts and allowed five runs over six innings in a win over the Red Sox. … Jordan Lyles allowed one run over six innings in a win over the Angels. … Beau Brieske fired 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the White Sox. … Marco Gonzales was charged with three runs (two earned) over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Blue Jays. … Josh Winckowski issued five walks and was lit up for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Yankees. … Chase Silseth coughed up four runs over four innings in a loss to the Orioles. … Kris Bubic walked six batters and was charged with three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Astros.

National League Quick Hits: Jurickson Profar was removed from Thursday’s contest against the Giants after a collision with teammate C.J. Abrams and later transported to UC San Diego Health Hospital for further evaluation. … Brusdar Graterol was removed from Thursday’s contest against the Cubs in the eighth inning due to right side soreness. … Chris Bassitt (COVID-19) will return to the Mets’ starting rotation on Friday against the Marlins. … Tyler Stephenson (thumb) could be activated from the injured list to return this weekend against the Rays. … Kyle Hendricks (shoulder) will not require surgery after an MRI on his right shoulder revealed no structural damage. … Marcus Stroman (shoulder) and Drew Smyly (oblique) are expected to start this upcoming weekend against the Dodgers. … Jazz Chisholm Jr. (back) has progressed to fielding grounders and participating in agility drills. … Jesús Luzardo (forearm) will throw another bullpen session on Friday. … Willson Contreras (hamstring) remained absent from the Cubs’ starting lineup on Thursday for the third consecutive game due to left hamstring tightness. … Joey Votto (back) remained out of the Reds’ starting lineup for both contests of Thursday’s doubleheader due to back tightness. … Ha-Seong Kim (thumb) was held out of the Padres’ starting lineup on Thursday due to left thumb soreness. … Luis García exited Thursday’s contest against the Phillies due to a stomach illness. … Nelson Cruz (illness) went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was also hit by a pitch in his return to the Nationals’ starting lineup against the Phillies after missing a pair of contests due to a non-COVID illness. … Manny Machado clobbered a solo homer and Jorge Alfaro delivered a walk-off single in the Padres’ extra-inning victory over the Giants. … Dylan Carlson went 3-for-3 with an RBI in the Cardinals’ extra-inning win over the Braves. … James McCann swatted a three-run homer in the Mets’ lopsided victory over the Marlins. … Diego Castillo went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, lifting the Pirates to a win over the Reds in the opening contest of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Reds. … Tyler Naquin hit a game-tying solo homer, propelling the Reds to a comeback win over the Pirates in the second game of Thursday’s twin bill. … Didi Gregorius golfed an RBI triple in the Phillies’ win over the Nationals. … Kris Bryant hit an RBI double in the Rockies’ win over the Diamondbacks. … Gavin Lux hit a two-run homer and Justin Turner also went deep in the Dodgers’ victory over the Cubs. … Carson Kelly went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Rockies. … Micahel Harris blasted a solo homer in the Braves’ extra-inning loss to the Cardinals. … Juan Soto went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the Nationals’ loss to the Phillies. … Donovan Solano went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the Reds’ loss to the Pirates in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader. … Daniel Vogelbach notched three hits and an RBI in the Pirates’ loss to the Reds in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader. … Christopher Morel blasted a two-run homer in the Cubs’ loss to the Dodgers. … Reiver Sanmartin spun 2 2/3 scoreless frames to collect a win in relief against the Pirates. … Joe Musgrove struck out six batters over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Giants. … Logan Webb allowed one run over eight innings in a no-decision against the Padres. … Dallas Keuchel allowed three runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Rockies. … Matthew Liberatore fired four scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Braves. … Bailey Falter struck out six batters and served up two runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Nationals. … Austin Gomber gave up three runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks. … Mike Minor recorded eight strikeouts and gave up four runs over 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Pirates. … Mark Leiter Jr. allowed four runs over five innings on Thursday in a loss to the Dodgers. … Bryse Wilson was charged with four runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Reds. … Joan Adon was tagged for four runs over four innings in a loss to the Phillies. … Daniel Castano was torched for six runs (five earned) over four innings in a loss to the Mets. … Steven Matz (shoulder) allowed two runs over 3 1/3 innings in a minor league rehab start for Triple-A Memphis.