Fantasy Baseball Final: June 25, 2015
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One of the first games to go final this Thursday was a back-and-forth contest between the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Sox scored five runs over the course of the first five innings today, but could not seem to shake off the Tigers who answered with a pair of 2-run homers from Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the first and fifth innings, respectively. Martinez has been on a tair his last 10 games with seven home runs and a .925 slugging percentage. Today’s long ball was J.D.’s 18th on year, and has already brought him within five home runs his career best of 23 before the All-Star break. The Tigers now have two of the top 20 fantasy outfielders in baseball to go along with the best hitter on the planet, Miguel Cabrera. Detroit ended up losing 8-7 today in 10 innings, but have to be encouraged by their 16 hits. Though they still find themselves looking up at the Royals and the Twins in their division, the recent return of Victor Martinez from knee injury deepens the Detroit lineup, who look poised to go on a run despite today’s tough loss.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
In 1981, the Montreal Expos set a franchise record scoreless streak of 39 consecutive innings from their starting pitchers. That record was broken today, as the now Washington Nationals extended their current scoreless streak to 41 ⅓ innings on the back of righty Doug Fister. Fister gave up just four hits over seven innings of work while striking out four Atlanta Braves. He was threatened in the fifth inning, but was able to get out of trouble thanks to a well timed double play on a chopper to shortstop Ian Desmond. The Nats had high expectations of “World Series or bust” entering the year with their potent pitching staff, but have yet to live up up to the potential. They are starting to put it together, winning six straight games and extending their lead in the NL East to 3 ½ games. Today’s 7-0 shutout win was also without two of the top National hitters, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
The New York Mets have a pretty fierce 2-headed monster at the top of their pitching rotation in the form of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Harvey has been the face of the Mets’ franchise since making his MLB debut four years ago (and that is including the entire 2014 season he missed due to Tommy John Surgery); however, it appears deGrom will not settle for playing sidekick to The Dark Knight. The reigning NL Rookie of the Year has been on a roll lately, going 5-1 in his last 8 starts while simultaneously dropping his ERA to a stellar 2.15, good for the seventh best mark in all of baseball. DeGrom added seven more strikeouts is his eight scoreless today, making him just the 11th pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts on the season. The 2-0 win snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Amazings, a feat even Matt Harvey could not accomplish in his last outing. DeGrom now at the top of all major pitching categories for Mets’ starters aside from wins, leaving many to wonder who the true number one ace in New York is.
WHAT WE DIDN’T EXPECT…
The National League West is a tough division to be in. Not only do you have to compete with the defending champs and dynasty that is the San Francisco Giants, but you also have the Los Angeles Dodgers; a team with a talented farm system and a seemingly endless payroll, and the much improved San Diego Padres. The two clubs often overshadowed by these other organizations met in Colorado today as the Arizona Diamondbacks looked to make it back to the .500 mark taking on the last place Colorado Rockies. Arizona was in position to win entering the eighth, but was thwarted by a Colorado rally in the bottom half of the inning. Troy Tulowitzki was given the day off initially, but came up to pitch hit and launched a game tying solo home run to get things started. The Rockies scored five runs in their eighth inning rally before getting the ball off to closer John Axford.
–David Robertson (15)
–Zach Britton (21)
–Tyler Clippard (13)
–Jeurys Familia (20)
–John Axford (13)
The Boston Red Sox have had a disappointing 2015 season to say the least. They are 9 games under .500 and are currently holding down last place in the surprisingly competitive American League East. It was originally thought that the Sox would be able to slug their way to the top of the Eastern division; however, even with all their offense, they have not been able to overcome a shaky pitching staff that ranks 20th in Major League Baseball and has the third highest ERA in the game at 4.43. Despite a strong outing from righthander Clay Buchholz in last night’s win, things have gone from bad to worse for Boston as they will be without both Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez for some time. Hanley left the game in the fifth inning after being hit on the basepath from a well struck ball by teammate Xander Bogaerts. Ramirez is currently listed as day to day and his x-rays showed no fractures, but he will likely be held out of the lineup for a few days due to his extensive injury history. Pedroia’s injury occurred in the following inning after he drove in a pair on a go-ahead single. Pedroia rounded first base hard, but awkwardly, and had to be lifted from the game immediately. The hamstring injury caused Pedroia to be placed the 15-day disabled list this morning and has left the Red Sox to scramble in an attempt to plug two prominent holes in their lineup. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been recalled from to help out in the outfield as the Sox option struggling pitcher Joe Kelly to Triple-A Pawtucket.
RUMORS & TRANSACTIONS
The Oakland A’s and New York Mets have had ongoing trade talks regarding veteran switch hitter and super-utility man, Ben Zobrist. Zobrist is owed a shade over four million dollars for the remainder of this season before he hits free agency at the end of the year. Zobrist has a career slashline of .263/.353/.430 and he is putting up numbers comparable to that this season after returning from injury. While Zobrist might not be the big offensive chip for the second place Mets’ to build around, he profiles well at a number of different positions to fit the teams need and is a step in the right direction if he can be acquired at a reasonable price. The Mets have been without David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud for the better portion of this season, and are currently the 24th ranked offense in baseball after losing seven straight before today’s win. New York’s pitching has kept them in the playoff hunt thus far, but still year or so away from serious contention, it doesn’t seem smart for the Met’s to part ways with one of their young arms to bring in just another piece with no superstar bat to build around.