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Fantasy Baseball Final: May 8th, 2016

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Photo Credit: geno k

There were pink uniforms aplenty on this Mother’s Day, 2016, with a full slate of 15 ballgames. Today’s action will be headlined by the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox squaring off in the Bronx at 8 PM EST. The Sox will send knuckleballer Steven Wright to the hill to try and avoid a three-game sweep in Yankee Stadium for the first time in the last four years. Wright is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA against the Yanks, and beat them 2-1 at The Stadium last August. New York will counter with the young righthander, Luis Severino, who has struggled to get going thus far this season. Severino pitched to the the tune of a 2.89 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings during his rookie year, but owns an unimpressive 6.31 ERA in 2016 with an 0-4 record.

 

IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…

The Cubs entered the day looking to win their sixth straight game, and 20th in a row with Jake Arrieta on the bump. The reigning National League Cy Young award winner had a 0.66 ERA in those 19 starts, with a 17-0 record and two no-hitters. Arrieta didn’t have his best stuff against the Nats today, but battled through five tough innings, giving up two earned runs and four walks while striking out seven. Arrieta gave up a run in three consecutive innings in a start for the first time since donning the Cubs uniform, and did not have a single 1-2-3 inning in his five innings of work today. Chicago bailed out their ace in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a two-RBI single from Kris Bryant. Bryant’s power has yet to really kick into full gear this season, but the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year is off to a strong start, hitting .299 after going 3-for-6 today, and cutting his strikeout rate down from 30.6% to 22%. The Cubs went on to win the game and complete the four-game sweep of Washington in the 13th inning after a Javier Baez walk-off homer. They scored 25 total runs in the series, and improved their run differential to an unprecedented +102 early on in the season.

 

JUST AS WE EXPECTED…

Matt Harvey finally started to look like himself in today’s start against the San Diego Padres, fanning 10 in six innings of work. Harvey’s velocity is almost back to full-volume, as he was sitting around 95-MPH with his fastball, and dialing it up to 97-MPH on occasion. His curveball and changeup command were solid as well today, although the slider could still use a bit of work. Many have pointed to last year’s workload and the late-season innings limit drama as to why Harvey has gotten off to a slow start; but, Harvey has denied such claims, stating that his body feels perfectly fine. “I don’t feel tired,” Harvey told MLB.com. “I don’t feel any downside from the workload last year. It’s just right now, I’m in a little funk with my mechanics, and we’re working to get rid of that.” The majority of Harvey’s struggles have some in the middle innings of the game this year. His ERA in the first three innings of games is an even 2.00, but that number balloons up to 7.88 in innings four, five, and six. Despite Harvey’s early season woes, the Mets starting rotation is still ranked number one in all of baseball in terms of WAR, and the staff has a collective ERA of 2.51 ERA since April 22nd. Yoenis Cespedes homered again on the offensive side of things, bringing him to 11 on the year. His 30 RBI lead the National League, and he has posted an impressive slashline of .299/.370/.701 in the early stages of the season. Cespedes has now played 83 games in a Mets uniform since joining the club at the end of July last year, and has accumulated 28 homers and 74 RBI with a .288 batting average in roughly a half-season’s worth of games. The win coupled with the National’s loss gives the Mets sole possession of first place in the NL East.

 

WHAT WE DIDN’T EXPECT…

Justin Verlander did all he could today to try and help the Tigers avoid a three-game sweep in Detroit at the hand of the Texas Rangers. The former MVP and Cy Young winner tossed his first scoreless outing of the 2016 season, giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out nine along the way. Verlander left after seven innings in position for the win; but the Detroit bullpen imploded, giving up seven runs in the eighth, and an additional run in the ninth. The decisive blow was a grand slam delivered by journeyman catcher Bobby Wilson, who was actually traded from the Tigers to the opposing Rangers this past week. Although Verlander did not factor in the decision today, his nine Ks moved him ahead of Jack Morris into second place  on the Detroit Tigers all-time strikeout list with 1,981 for his career. The 33 year-old now only trails Mickey Lolich at the top with 2,679 career strikeouts in a Tigers uniform. Detroit will hope that today’s outing is a sign of good things to come for Verlander who has posted a 5.40 ERA with a 9.07 K/9 so far this year. The veteran righthander turned it on in the second half of the 2015 season with a 2.12 ERA and 73 strikeouts in his last 11 outings.  

 

SAVE CHANCES

Cody Allen (8)

Kenley Jansen (11)

Jeanmar Gomez (11)

David Robertson (10)

Brad Ziegler (7)

Mark Melancon (10)

Jeremy Jeffress (8)

Jake McGee (8)

Alex Colome (9)

Jeurys Familia (10)

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