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Verlander Flirts With No-Hitter Against A’s

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander excelled on Wednesday against the A’s, continuing to add to one of the more remarkable stories in the first half of the season. This turn through the rotation, the veteran hurler had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning when Elvis Andrus broke the hypnosis with a two-out RBI double. Verlander finished the contest having struck out six and walked two while allowing three runs over seven innings. This makes for his second near-no-hitter just this month, as he danced with a prospect of another history book performance against the Twins earlier in May. Verlander, for his career, has three no-hitters. Should he record a fourth at some point up ahead it would tie him with Sandy Koufax for second-most all-time behind Nolan Ryan (7).

What makes Verlander’s season such a surprise is not that he is excelling – he has been doing that for a long long time – but that he is doing it after missing a full season while recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. And he’s 39 years old. Through 10 starts covering 64 2/3 innings this season, the two-time Cy Young winner has posted a 2.23 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 61/12 K/BB ratio. Medical science is a marvel.

Hitters with an EDGE

Jazz Chisholm Jr. – 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R (doubleheader Game 1)

Chisholm was great, but throw a soft-tipped dart at any starter in Miami’s lineup and you would find a hit in the box score. All nine starters on offense picked up at least one knock in the Marlins’ 14-1 trolling of the Rockies, seven finished with two or more hits and five with three hits. By contrast, Colorado as a team managed three total hits. The Marlins in contrast – perhaps stoked about Derek Jeter’s emergence on social media – collected 21 hits.

Nolan Arenado – 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

Arenado provided the bulk of the Cards’ offense in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Padres. After going five straight games without a hit, Arenado has picked up five knocks over his last two games.

Rodolfo Castro – 2-for-2, HR, 4 RBI

Castro did not even come into the game until the eighth inning, but he made a huge mark in his two at-bats, launching a two-run homer and a two-run single in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, in what finished as an 8-4 win by the Pirates. For as sharp as this effort might have been, Castro had not homered nor driven in a run prior to his hot spot on Wednesday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. – 2-for-4, 3B, 4 RBI

Bradley Jr. made this list of the bases-clearing triple he picked up in the bottom of the eighth inning, one which gave the Red Sox a comfortable 7-1 lead. The triple was his first of the 2022 season after he raced around for six triples with the Brewers last season.

Brendan Rogers – 3-for-5, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, BB (doubleheader Game 2)

The Rockies were trounced in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, but came back with an epic vengeance in the second game, as Rogers put on his superhero cape with three homers, capping his showing off with a two-run walk-off dinger in the bottom of the 10th after Avisail Garcia had given the Marlins a 12-11 lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the frame. Rogers had gone 17 games without a homer prior to his monster performance on Wednesday.

Austin Riley – 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI

Riley continues to pulverize the ball, with Wednesday’s homer his fourth in his last seven games. He is already up to 13 long balls in 50 games this season as he tries to match or top the career-best 33 homers he bopped during the 2021 campaign.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Jon Gray – ND, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 12 K, 2 BB

You just kind of throw up your hands with Gray, because it feels like this happens every summer. He goes through a prolonged poor stretch before dropping a gem to bring up the hopes of fantasy managers, only to dash those hopes once more. We aren’t going to tell you not to pick up a guy who just struck out 12 across seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. But if you do pick Gray up from the wire, just remember that he was on the wire for a reason.

Tarik Skubal – W (4-2), 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 6 K, 1 BB

This was the third time in 10 starts this season that Skubal has made it through seven innings of work. He has now achieved that innings feat in back-to-back outings. Skubal is working to a crisp 2.15 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 61/10 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings.

Edward Cabrera – W (1-0), 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K, 4 BB

A really strong outing from Cabrera, who wasn’t great on the walk front but made up for it with terrific numbers in terms of strikeouts and hits (hit) allowed. This was the 24-year-old right-hander’s first start of the 2022 season. During the past campaign, in his first taste of big-league action, Cabrera filed forgettable numbers across seven starts (5.81 ERA, 1.63 WHIP). His work at Triple-A to start the current campaign were middling prior to his callup. No shame taking a lottery ticket for the bench if you are a fantasy manager with bench space in a deeper league, but don’t get your hopes up for too many repeats of Wednesday’s numbers.

Dakota Hudson – W (4-2), 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 K, 1 BB

Nothing fancy on the strikeout front, but Hudson put in nice length while helping the Cardinals to their 29th win of the 2022 campaign. This was the first time since his second start of the season that Hudson has managed not to walk multiple batters.

EDGE Priority Pickup – Jeffrey Springs, P, Rays; Available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues

Readily available in half of Yahoo leagues, Springs has been dynamite as both a reliever and starter this season, yielding more than one run in just three of his 14 appearances (six starts) this season. Over the course of 38 1/3 innings this season, Springs owns a superlative 1.88 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 40/8 K/BB ratio. So long as Spring is starting – his value takes a hit out of the bullpen – he should receive serious waiver-wire consideration from fantasy managers in deeper mixed formats as well as those who are struggling at the back end of the rotation.

Closing Time

Ryan Pressly – SV (10), 1 IP, 2 H, R, 0 K, BB

After nine pitchers logged saves during last week’s Dose in this space, we saw a mere four saves on Wednesday. Pressly finished out a 5-4 win over the A’s, but it was a drama-filled performance from the veteran reliever. He had posted eight scoreless appearances before being nicked for a run against the Athletics.

Corey Knebel – SV (9), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB

Knebel closed out a 6-5 win for the Phillies without any issue on Wednesday, requiring 14 pitches (nine strikes) to get the job done. With save No. 9 checked off for the season, Knebel is now 9-of-12 with his save opportunities while working to a 3.27 ERA and 21/10 K/BB ratio in 23 appearances.

Nick Wittgren – SV (1), 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 K, 0 BB

Wittgren scooped up his first save of the season when the Cardinals brought him in to get the final out the contest after Kodi Whitley had earlier in the ninth surrendered a solo homer to Luke Voit and subsequently loaded the bases. Wittgren induced a Robinson Canó flyout to end the game. Ryan Helsley, who had the day off, remains the top ninth-inning option in St. Louis.

Matt Wisler – SV (1), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 0 BB

Wisler came on in the bottom of the 11th to close out the Rays’ 4-3 win over the Rangers. While Wisler has pitched respectably this season (2.45 ERA, 20/7 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings), he is not a consistently relevant arm for high-leverage situations and holds little fantasy value as a result.

Thursday’s Matchup of the Day

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) at Nestor Cortes (NYY)

With the Yankees and Angels rained out on Wednesday, the two teams will square off for a doubleheader on Thursday. While Ohtani struck out 10 against the Blue Jays last time out, that performance also came with five runs allowed. He will look to bounce back against the Bombers. Facing off with Mike Trout and friends will be Cortes, who has blossomed as one of the pleasant surprises this season, rocking a 1.70 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 61/12 K/BB ratio in 53 innings.

AL Quick Hits: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. swatted a two-run homer. … Chris Sale (ribs) tossed a 25-pitch bullpen session without issue. … Hyun Jin Ryu was lifted against the White Sox due to left forearm tightness. … Robbie Ray was again mediocre, surrendering four runs to the Orioles while taking a loss. … Jose Miranda went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. … Sonny Gray (pectoral) played catch as he tries to avoid a trip to the injured list. … Cole Irvin allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings while taking a no-decision against the Astros. … The Yankees-Angels matchup was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Thursday. … Abraham Toro (shoulder) was activated from the 10-day injured list. … Kyle Lewis has landed on the 7-day concussion injured list after being hit by a pitch over the weekend. … Yoan Moncada missed another game due to quad soreness. … Angels released Austin Romine.

NL Quick Hits: German Marquez was dinged for seven runs against the Marlins. … Ryan McMahon picked up a triple, double and four RBI. … Mookie Betts blasted his 16th homer. … Jason Alexander tossed seven innings of three-run ball against the Cubs as the world unleashed wave after wave of SEINFELD jokes. … MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Robinson Canó will likely turn down an optional minor league assignment, making him a free agent; the former All-Star is currently rostered by the Pirates. … Josh VanMeter was lifted due to hand discomfort. … Hunter Renfroe (hamstring) took part in pregame batting practice. … Hunter Greene struck out eight but also allowed four runs against the Red Sox. … Aaron Nola was licked for five runs by the Giants. …Wilmer Flores smacked a three-run homer. … A struggling Craig Kimbrel was unavailable on Wednesday as he tries to fine-tune his mechanics. … Max Muncy (elbow) took part in pregame batting practice. … Clayton Kershaw (pelvis) turned in a successful bullpen session. … Bryce Harper was a late scratch due to right forearm soreness. … Jack Flaherty (shoulder) is expected to throw a Thursday side session before beginning a minor league rehab assignment.