Fantasy Baseball Final: July 2, 2015
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Thursday was a day of returns in Major League Baseball as three notable ace’s made their way back to the field after extended stints on the disabled list and several long months of rehab. Matt Moore took the mound for the Rays for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2014, and was matched up against reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians at home in Tampa Bay. Moore started out the day strong, throwing nine of his first 10 pitches for strikes and holding the Indians hitless for the first three innings. He began to show signs of fatigue in the fourth after uncorking two wild pitches and surrendering his first run of the day on a sac fly from Michael Brantley. Moore gave up two more runs in the following inning before being lifted for the bullpen with two outs in the fifth, but still struck out six batters in his 4 ⅔ innings of work. Moore’s fastball topped out at 94 MPH today, which is roughly two miles per hour slower than where he was prior to injury; however, his strong start to today’s game was encouraging and the Rays will hope he regains his velocity as he continues to throw.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
In addition to Matt Moore’s return, Jose Fernandez and Matt Cain both made their season debuts as the two faced off this afternoon in Miami; Fernandez pitching for the first time since May 9th of 2014, and Cain for the first time since July of the same year. Cain and the Giants had a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning until Fernandes homered off his counterpart, and sparked a rally that gave the Marlins a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the afternoon. After a 21-pitch, two-run first inning, Fernandez settled in and was impressive. He struck out six over the course of his six innings of work and was able to get his fastball all the way up to 99 MPH. Matt Cain pitched decent for the first four inning of his return as well, giving up just one run in that time before unraveling in the fifth. Look for both of these pitchers to improve as the season wears on while continue to work up the strength in their pitching elbows.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
Despite having third baseman Daniel Murphy back in the lineup and hitting cleanup behind Lucas Duda, the Mets offense still struggles to score runs. Cubs’ right-hander Jake Arrieta faced off against Jacob deGrom today, and dominated the Mets by scattering five hits over the course of eight innings while striking out seven along the way. Arrieta didn’t walk a single batter today, and gave up just one run on a third inning double by New York’s hottest hitter, Curtis Granderson. It seems Arrieta continues to fly under the radar, but the Cubs starter is quietly putting together another very good season with a 8-5 record, 2.80 ERA, and 110 strikeouts. DeGrom’s three earned runs in his 5 ⅓ innings of work today only brought his ERA up to 2.30; and while it may not have been a typical deGrom outing, it has to be extremely frustrating to watch your team continue to struggle at the plate the way that the Mets are. In fact, deGrom scored the only run for the Mets today in the 6-1 loss. The loss also finishes out a season sweep for the Cubs over the Mets.
WHAT WE DIDN’T EXPECT…
The Boston Red Sox surprised the number one offense in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays, by rallying for eight runs in the top of the first at the Rogers Centre. Boston got back to back homers from David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez as part of the six straight hits they started the game with. The Sox added three more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth in tonight’s 12-6 win. Each Boston starter , with the exception of catcher Ryan Hanigan, recorded a hit tonight, and five of those players drove in runs as well. The Jays got two RBIs from Jose Bautista, and one from Josh Donaldson, but couldn’t muster enough offense tonight to get within 4 runs of the Sox.
– A.J. Ramos (12)
– Cody Allen (15)
– Mark Melancon (25)
– Francisco Rodriguez (18)
– Shawn Tolleson (12)
– Craig Kimbrel (20)
–Glen Perkins (26)
The Houston Astros placed outfielder George Springer on the 15-day disabled list Thursday after he was forced to leave Wednesday night’s game against the Royals due to injury. Springer took a 95 MPH fastball from Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez off the right wrist in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 6-5 win. Though he remained in the game to run the bases and play the sixth inning in the field, the fractured wrist caused Manager A.J. Hinch to use a pinch hitter in place of Springer for his next AB. Springer hit 20 home runs in his rookie season last year, and had finally started to come around after a difficult start to 2015, bringing his slash line up to .264/.365/.457. He will be likely be out at least six weeks, which is tough for an Astros team that is in the playoff hunt really for the first time since being swept in the 2005 World Series. Houston will soon get both Colby Rasmus and Jake Marisnick back in the lineup which should help their outfield situation in Springer’s absence.
RUMORS & TRANSACTIONS
The floodgates of the 2015-16 International Signing Period opened yesterday, and with it came a river of hungry prospects inking deals with a variety of different MLB clubs. Among the teams that have been actively making moves thus far include the Braves, Mets, Nationals, and Reds; however, no signing has drawn more attention than the Toronto Blue Jays coming to terms with Dominican outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Guerrero is the son of former MLB outfielder and future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, and is said to possess talents at the plate similar to his old man. Jr. is already a great hitter in terms of his contact ability and is believed to have the potential to also hit for power as he continues to mature. Guerrero was ranked first and fourth on the respective lists of Baseball America and MLB.com’s Top international prospects. Vlad Sr. was a lifetime .318 hitter with over 2,500 hits and 449 home runs so if Jr. can put together a career anything like his dad’s, the Blue Jays should be very excited for the future.