White Sox prevail in extras against Boston
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Saturday baseball was filled to the brim with games after Mother Nature postponed many games in the Mid-West and East Coast. One of the more exciting games was in Boston, as the red-hot Dylan Cease faced the ice-cold Red Sox lineup.
It was pretty much a pitcher’s duel as Dylan Cease struck out eight batters while only giving up four hits and an earned run. Cease’s four-seam fastball wasn’t as effective this outing (only a 27 CSW% with a 24 whiff%) but his secondaries bailed him out. If your starter throws 101 pitches in a start, you expect him to go more than five innings. Dylan Cease is good (occasionally great!) but his command will limit his potential. If you have him on your roster, enjoy it! However, there will be outings that make you scratch your head.
Nick Pivetta was the opposing pitcher in this game and on paper, this seemed like an easy win for the White Sox. Pivetta has been awful to date but was (strangely) effective on Saturday. He made it through six innings and picked up eight punchouts while walking no one. As someone who watched the game, I was pretty surprised to look at the results after the game. When Pivetta is on, it is knuckle curve is the pitch that does most of the damage. He hasn’t had a feel for the pitch this year and only got one whiff against the White Sox on Saturday. Don’t ‘buy in’ on this game.
Hitters with an EDGE
Tyler Stephenson vs Pirates
3-for-4. 1 R, 4 RBI
Stephenson started the first game of the Reds-Pirates doubleheader on Saturday. The run-scoring came early as he doubled to left field against J.T. Brubaker in the bottom of the first inning to give the Reds an early two-run lead. Later in the game, Stephenson comes up big in the bottom of the eighth as he doubled to right scoring Brandon Drury and Tommy Pham. If we are being honest, there is not much on the Reds roster to get excited about but Stephenson is a game-changer and needs to be rostered.
Brandon Lowe vs Mariners
2-for-2, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Lowe homered off Marco Gonzales in the top of the 4th and 6th inning on Saturday. He reached base (walk or home run) in all four at-bats. Lowe’s season has been shaky to start but has a .375/.583/.500 in his last three games. When you see Lowe start to put hits and walks together, you know he is about to light it up.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Astros
6 ⅔ IP, 1 H. 1 R, 3 BB. 8K
12 swinging strikes, 29% CSW
Rodriguez has been a rough hold in your fantasy league but he came up big in his outing against the Astros. He went toe-to-toe with Framber Valdez and punched out eight Astros in his best start to date. He faces the Oakland A’s on Thursday and is an easy start.
Max Fried vs Brewers
7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8K
15 swinging strikes, 32% CSW
Corbin Burnes and Max Fried faced off on Saturday and was the must-watch game on the slate. Both starters have pitched like aces but Burnes was ‘Fried’ by some bad defense and bad luck. Max Fried, on the other hand, limited contact and was more efficient which help push Atlanta over the top.
George Kirby, RHP, Mariners - Available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagued
George Kirby and Matt Brash were battling in Spring Training for the fifth starter role for the Mariners. Brash won the battle but Kirby might win the war? After Brash lost command of his pitches, and his role on the active roster, the Mariners announced that George Kirby will take his spot and will make his debut against the Tampa Bay Rays today. A first-round pick for Seattle in 2019, Kirby has been excellent in Double-A Arkansas. He has a 1.82 ERA, .89 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts over 24 ⅔ innings of work. Kirby brings strikeouts but also above-average command. Seattle has only let him go about five innings per start this year in Double-A but Kirby could help all fantasy managers with ratios and strikeouts.
It has been a rough season in Boston and Saturday was no different. In a 1-0 game, Hansel Robles was on the bump to lock down the save. Narrator: He did not pick up the save. Robles walked off the leadoff batter, gave up a double to Adam Engel, and then Leury Garcia comes up big with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Matt Barnes started the top of the tenth inning and it went as expected. Jose Abreu double which scored A.J. Pollock (extra-inning rules are fun), and Luis Robert single which scored Abreu after a poor throw from Jackie Bradley Jr. At this point, Barnes should not be on your fantasy team roster.
Liam Hendriks came up big in the tenth inning. He faced the heart of the Red Sox lineup and got Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez to ground out. Those early-season worries are long gone as he is 5-for-5 with zero earned runs and eight strikeouts in his last five appearances.
Jhoan Duran picked up a two-out save against the Oakland Athletics for his second save of the season. The A’s could not make contact on most of Duran’s filthy arsenal as he struck out five of the eight batters he faced.
After blowing his first save chance after returning from the injured list, Ryan Pressly picked up his first save against the Detroit Tigers. He generated 3 whiffs on 5 swings but his velocity is still one mile per hour less than it was last year. I would continue to stash Rafael Montero and monitor Pressly’s velocity (and performance) in his next couple of outings.
Kenly Jansen entered the ninth with a two-run cushion against the Brewers. He led off the inning by giving a double to Christian Yelich. He then struck out Hunter Renfroe before giving up a single to left field to Tyrone Taylor. I was watching the game and I was starting to get nervous as red-hot Rowdy Tellez stepped into the box. Jansen locked it down with a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out as Travis d’Arnaud threw a bullet to Dansby Swanson to catch Tyrone Taylor attempting to steal second base.
In the second game of the day for the Pirates and Reds (yay?) David Bednar was locked in. He struck out all three batters (Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, and Mike Moustakas) to pick up his fourth save of the season. The Pirates are (stubbornly) playing halfsies with Bednar and Stratton. Bednar has been the better pitcher to date and the one I would roster on my fantasy team.
Matchup of the Day
After two good outings for Trevor Rogers against Braves and Nationals, fantasy managers thought Rogers was turning his disappointing season around. However, his bad luck returned and he gave up five earned runs on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He looks to bounce back against the San Diego Padres. The 24-year-old southpaw has a 6.14 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts over 22 innings of work. With his talent and a shocking low 53 LOB%, fantasy managers should expect positive regression soon. Joe Musgrove will take the mound for the San Diego Padres. Musgrove has been excellent to start the season with a 1.97 ERA, .91 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts over 32 innings.
American League Quick Hits: Byron Buxton left Saturday’s game early with hip discomfort. … Stephen Piscotty headed to the injured list with a Grade 1 calf strain. … Chris Sale (rib) recovery delayed by non-COVID medical issue. … Enrique Hernandez activated from COVID-19 IL. … Jarren Duran optioned to Triple-A. … James Paxton shut down from throwing. … Teoscar Hernandez was activated from the injured list.