The red-hot Braves won their 12th game in a row Monday, slugging five home runs in a 9-5 victory over the Nationals. Unfortunately, they lost one of their best players in the process.
Ozzie Albies injured his left foot on a bizarre play in the fifth inning when he had an awkward swing and his foot appeared to slip. He limped off the field and was pulled out of the game, with tests showing a fracture.
What kind of fracture Albies suffered isn’t yet known, and his timetable to return could vary greatly depending on that news. More specificity figures to be offered on Tuesday, but we probably wouldn’t see the star second baseman for 4-6 weeks even in a best-case scenario.
It’s been a disappointing season thus far for Albies, as he will head to the injured list with a lowly .244/.289/.405 batting line with eight home runs and three stolen bases. Six of those homers came in his first 16 games of the season before he went on a 40-game homerless streak. He had entered Monday’s game having gone deep twice in his last five tilts.
Albies does have 33 RBI and 34 runs, numbers good enough to put him in the top five at second base in those categories. Part of that is that he’s been such a workhorse, having played in all 62 games and started 61 of them. Albies entered this season having gone on the IL just once in his career and having played at least 156 games in three of the last four campaigns, with the only exception being the truncated 2020 season.
Orlando Arcia entered Monday’s game at the keystone after Albies exited and would figure to see the lion’s share of playing time at the position while Albies is on the shelf. The veteran infielder has posted a nice .313/.393/.458 batting line this season, slugging one home run over 56 plate appearances.
Arcia entered Monday’s action having put up a robust 93.8 mph exit velocity, which would be good enough to place him in the top-10 in baseball if he qualified. The track record, though, suggests that Arcia probably isn’t worth adding outside of NL-only leagues.
The good news for the Braves is that they have some hitters on heaters right now to cover some for the loss of Albies. Chief among them is the streaky Adam Duvall, who homered again Monday to give him five in his last eight games. Travis d’Arnaud, Marcell Ozuna, Dansby Swanson and Michael Harris also went deep.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Alek Manoah vs. BAL – 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K
The only real threat the Orioles were able to mount against Manoah on Monday came in the third inning with the help of two errors. Manoah gave up just one hit on the night, and that came off Jorge Mateo’s bat at only 74.6 mph. In fact, the right-hander surrendered just two balls which qualified as hard hit all night. Strikeouts have been disappointing this season for Manoah, but not on Monday as he fanned seven over his six frames. His ERA on the year is down to 1.67, and it’s never been higher than 2.00 after a start this season.
Yu Darvish vs. CHC – 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Darvish put together a dominant effort against his former team in his old stomping grounds on Monday, completing eight innings for the first time as a member of the Padres. A Yan Gomes home run to lead off the second inning was the only tally the right-hander permitted in his eight innings of work. Darvish now boasts a 1.98 ERA over his last five starts, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.35 which is the lowest it’s been since his first outing of the season. The strikeouts have mostly still been mysteriously absent during Darvish’s recent stretch, although he had seven Monday along with a season-high 17 swinging strikes.
Aaron Nola vs. MIA – 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 6 K
Nola and Sandy Alcantara had a nice pitcher’s duel on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. Both pitchers wound up being charged with two runs, although the second one charged to Alcantara scored after he was pulled with two outs and a runner on second base in the eighth inning. Nola has now gone four straight starts without issuing a walk and boasts a 91/10 K/BB ratio over 81 2/3 innings this season. His 9.1 K/BB ratio is easily the best in baseball among qualifiers.
Hitters with an EDGE
Jose Abreu vs. DET – 3-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 4 RBI
Abreu bookended his Monday evening with a home run in the first inning and another dinger in the ninth against the Tigers, giving him his first multi-homer game of the season. The three hits and a walk pushed Abreu’s OPS on the season up to .802, which is the highest it has been since April 12. We have yet to see Abreu go on an extended hot streak this season, but one is surely coming. He’s up to nine home runs and 28 RBI.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. vs. BAL – 3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
The weather is heating up, and so is the power in Vlad Jr.’s bat. Guerrero slugged a moonshot of a solo home run on Monday as the Blue Jays blew out the Orioles at Rogers Centre. He also added a pair of RBI singles as well as a walk. The reigning American League co-home run champ (with Salvador Perez) entered June with “only” nine long balls, but he’s got that total up to 15 after sending six over the boards in his first 12 contests this month.
Paul Goldschmidt vs. PIT – 3-for-4, HR, BB, 2 R
Goldschmidt’s 46-game on-base streak ended on Sunday, but he started another streak a day later. The big first baseman fell a triple shy of the cycle in the Cardinals’ comeback victory, with his home run in the seventh inning breaking a tie. Only Jose Ramirez (59) and Pete Alonso (57) have driven in more runs this season and Goldschmidt and his 48 RBI.
Kendall Graveman, RP, White Sox – Available in 66 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues
Liam Hendriks was unavailable Sunday and again Monday due to what manager Tony La Russa referred to vaguely as arm “stiffness.” There seems to be optimism that it will be a short-term injury for Hendriks, but any sort of arm ailment for the elite closer is a little scary. Graveman is the natural fill-in at closer. The 31-year-old had a breakout 2021 season as a full-time reliever to land a three-year, $24 million deal from the White Sox over the winter, and he’s notched a couple saves this year while holding a 2.52 ERA and 27/10 K/BB ratio over 28 2/3 innings.
With Joe Barlow unavailable the Rangers used Matt Moore to close out Monday’s 5-3 victory over the Astros. The veteran left-hander pulled it off without a sweat, needing just six pitches (all strikes) to dispose of the Astros in order. It’s the first save of Moore’s professional career, and that includes the minors. Although his control hasn’t been up to snuff, Moore has overall pitched very well this season with a 2.54 ERA and 35/16 K/BB ratio over 28 1/3 frames.
Ryan Helsley tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Monday to preserve the Cardinals’ 7-5 win over the Pirates. He had been preceded by Giovanny Gallegos – who entered in the seventh with the game tied and wound up being credited with a win – and Génesis Cabrera. Helsley has recorded four of the team’s last five traditional save chances, with the one exception going to Nick Wittgren on a day both Helsley and Gallegos were unavailable.
Hunter Strickland had a clean ninth inning Monday in Arizona to nail down his second save of the season. Tony Santillan, who arguably had seemed like the current favorite for saves in the messy Reds bullpen, got the final two outs of the seventh inning before yielding to Reiver Sanmartin and then Art Warren ahead of Strickland. Strickland has some closing experience, of course, but he’s been terrible this season and isn’t worth adding outside of deep formats.
Emilio Pagan pitched around a walk to close out the Twins’ 3-2 win over the Mariners on Monday. He now has a team-leading nine saves on the season and has notched four of the team’s last five opportunities. Pagan has been excellent since the beginning of May and seems to be manager Rocco Baldelli’s clear preference to close, as much as Baldelli has preferences with his bullpen usage, anyway.
Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
Kluber made 16 starts for the Yankees last season and will make his second start against them as a Ray on Tuesday. In his first outing on May 28 he tossed six innings of one-run ball versus his former club, allowing just three hits and no walks while fanning five. Kluber has mostly been very good in 2022 aside from a clunker last month against the Angels and over his last five starts holds a 3.12 ERA and 24/3 K/BB ratio across 26 frames. Cole also spun six frames of one-run ball in that same May 28 game, yielding two hits and three walks with 10 punchouts. He’ll be trying to bounce back from a rare poor start last week in Minnesota.
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American League Quick Hits: Back spasms sent Yasmani Grandal to the injured list Monday. … Joe Ryan (COVID-19) will rejoin the Twins’ rotation on Tuesday against the Mariners. … Jake Burger was removed from Monday’s contests against the Tigers with a bruised right hand, but X-rays came back clean and he’s day-to-day. … Willi Castro homered as part of a two-hit days Monday against the White Sox. … Michael Kopech could start on Sunday in Houston after having fluid drained from his injured right knee. … Eduardo Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list after informing the club that he will not rejoin them at this time due to a personal matter. … Chris Sale (ribs) threw a live batting practice session on Monday, reportedly hitting 96 mph on the radar gun.
National League Quick Hits: Stephen Strasburg will be placed back on the injured list after feeling discomfort during his normal between-starts bullpen session. … Jonathan India made a surprise return from the IL Monday. … Pablo López (wrist) will make his next scheduled start on Wednesday against the Phillies. … Dansby Swanson went deep and plated four runs on Monday against the Nationals. … Michael Chavis went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer as the Pirates fell to the Cardinals on Monday … Lane Thomas homered and reached base three times Monday versus the Braves. … Matthew Boyd's live batting practice session on Monday was cut short due to discomfort in his surgically-repaired left elbow. … Nick Ahmed will have shoulder surgery which could keep him out for the rest of the season.