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The Dodgers’ odyssey to repeat as World Series champions has taken plenty of unexpected twists and turns, perhaps none more bizarre than the ongoing saga surrounding the health of franchise cornerstone Mookie Betts, who was scratched from the team’s starting lineup prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Phillies. According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the lingering discomfort in Betts’ right hip is so significant that it will likely require a trip to the injured list. The 28-year-old superstar outfielder has been plagued by nagging hip issues throughout the 2021 campaign, including a trip to the 10-day injured list back in late July due to hip inflammation.
The hip issue doesn’t appear to be going away either. “We’ve given it days (off), and it almost seems like when he comes off the off-day, it’s worse,” Roberts elaborated on Tuesday afternoon. “I think everything’s on the table right now. We’re having conversations, tests, and I think we’ll know more later.” It’s possible that Betts could receive another cortisone injection, but that didn’t resolve the issue last month, and a surgical procedure doesn’t sound like a realistic option until the offseason.
The injury-related absence of Betts, and middle-of-the-order catalyst Justin Turner, who remains sidelined due to a minor groin issue didn’t disrupt the Dodgers on Tuesday evening as they rolled to a decisive 5-0 victory over the Phillies. Newly-acquired ace Max Scherzer was off to a phenomenal start, striking out six batters and scattering three hits over 3 1/3 scoreless frames, before a nearly two-hour rain delay forced Roberts to turn to his bullpen for the remainder of the contest. Corey Seager went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and Max Muncy also went deep, supply some key insurance runs, and a combination of six relievers -- Alex Vesia, Corey Knebel, Justin Bruihl, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen and Conner Greene -- scattered six baserunners over the final 5 2/3 frames to complete the shutout. With the victory, Los Angeles remains three games clear of the Padres in the Wild Card seeding and seven and a half games ahead of the Reds, who find themselves four games behind San Diego for the final senior circuit playoff spot.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Griffin Jax vs. White Sox
6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
35% CSW, 14 swinging strikes
Jax recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts, flummoxing a robust White Sox’ lineup on Tuesday evening. The 26-year-old rookie right-hander had his hard-biting slider working to perfection, generating nine swinging strikes and an eye-popping 46 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs), over six stellar frames. A two-run homer by Adam Engel and a solo shot from Jose Abreu in the third inning accounted for all of the damage against him in an otherwise flawless outing. He’s certainly worthy of consideration for a roster spot in deeper mixed leagues, especially since he’s compiled a microscopic 2.66 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio across 20 1/3 innings (four starts) since the All-Star break.
Hitters with an EDGE
Salvador Perez vs. Yankees
3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (29), 3 RBI
Perez tallied three hits and homered twice off crafty southpaw Nestor Cortes on Tuesday evening, leading the Royals to an unexpected victory over the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. The 31-year-old backstop is up to a career-high 29 round-tripper’s on the season after his fourth multi-homer performance of the year. With 50 games left on the schedule, it’s not inconceivable that he reaches the 40-homer plateau, a feat no catcher has accomplished since Javy Lopez and Mike Piazza back in the early-2000’s. Unreal.
Buster Posey vs. Diamondbacks
2-for-2, 3 R, HR (14), RBI, 3 BB
Buster Posey reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances, and also clobbered a solo homer on Tuesday evening, leading the Giants to an eventual 8-7 walk-off victory against the Diamondbacks. He increased the Giants' early lead to five runs when he walloped a solo homer to center field -- his 14th long ball of the season -- off righty Zac Gallen in the fifth inning. He also drew three walks in the back-and-forth slugfest. The 34-year-old backstop has put together a remarkable renaissance campaign, slashing .333/.428/.549 with 50 runs scored, 14 home runs and 38 RBI across 297 plate appearances.
Anthony Santander vs. Tigers
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (9), 2 RBI
On a night in which teammate Cedric Mullins extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 17 games, Santander clobbered a pair of solo homers off rookie right-hander Casey Mize to record his first multi-homer effort since August 18, 2020. He’s been sizzling-hot at the dish recently, putting together a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s gone deep three times. The 26-year-old slugger looked like a potential building block for the Orioles during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, launching 11 homers in just 165 plate appearances before a season-ending oblique injury. Injuries derailed the outset of his follow-up campaign, but he’s looked fully healthy lately, returning to form as a middle-of-the-order masher recently, hitting .327 (16-for-49) with three homers across 13 games since the All-Star break.
Mark Melancon vs. Marlins
1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (34th save)
Melancon recorded the final four outs on Tuesday evening against the Marlins to collect his major league-leading 34th save of the season. He was summoned to record the final out of the eighth inning, striking out Jorge Alfaro to end the frame, before coming back out to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Sandy León, but managed to retire the next three batters he faced to slam the door. The 36-year-old veteran righty has converted 34 of 39 save opportunities this season.
Devin Williams vs. Cubs
1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2nd save)
With Josh Hader still on the COVID-19 injured list, Williams stepped in to record his first second of the season on Tuesday afternoon in the front-end of a doubleheader against the Cubs. The dynamic 26-year-old righty is one of the preeminent setup specialists in the game, and a strong fantasy contributor, thanks to his lofty strikeout totals. He coughed up three singles to load the bases with only one out, but managed to whiff Patrick Wisdom and Greg Deichmann to preserve the victory.
Raisel Iglesias vs. Blue Jays
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (25th save)
Iglesias was called upon to guard a three-run lead in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays and struck out a pair of batters in a perfect frame to collect his 25th save of the season. The 31-year-old righty has converted 25 of 30 save opportunities this season.
Alex Reyes vs. Pirates
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (26th save)
Reyes needed only seven pitches (five strikes) to slam the door on the Pirates on Tuesday night, collecting his 26th save of the season in the process. The 26-year-old fireballer has been the definition of effectively wild, managing to survive with plenty of traffic on the basepaths this season. He’s converted 26 of his 27 save chances and remains an upper-echelon fantasy stopper moving forward.
Will Smith vs. Reds
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (23rd save)
Smith rebounded from an ugly blown save over the weekend against the Nationals to quiet the Reds on Tuesday night at Truist Park. He allowed a pair of baserunners, but was able to spin a scoreless frame, preserving a one-run lead. The 32-year-old veteran southpaw has converted 23 of his 26 save chances this season.
Alex Colome vs. White Sox
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (6th save)
With Taylor Rogers sidelined due to a finger injury, and Hansel Robles traded away at the end of July, Colome has re-emerged as the Twins closer by default. He needed only 10 pitches (six strikes) to dispatch the White Sox, his former organization, on Tuesday night. The 32-year-old veteran righty has converted all four of his save chances since August 4.
Jake McGee vs. Diamondbacks
0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (3rd blown save)
McGee surrendered two runs and recorded only two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday and was charged with a blown save against the Diamondbacks. He was fortunate to escape with merely a blown save as he gave up two hits and also handed out a pair of free passes, including a bases-loaded walk to Josh VanMeter. It was the first time he's allowed an earned run since May 30. The 35-year-old southpaw has converted 24 of his 27 save opportunities this season.
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EDGE Priority Pickup
Josh Rojas, INF/OF, Diamondbacks
Rojas launched three homers and also stole a base during his three-game minor-league rehab assignment last week with Triple-A Reno. Granted, it was the high-octane offensive environment of the Pacific Coast League, but the versatile 27-year-old infielder/outfielder has shown flashes of immense fantasy upside as a potential power/speed combo mixed-league contributor, especially when he tore the cover off the ball in the Cactus League this spring. He’ll have an opportunity to play everyday for a rebuilding Diamondbacks squad over the final seven weeks of the regular season. With stolen base sources extremely scarce, and fantasy managers in dire need of speed, Rojas fits the bill as a sneaky pickup in deeper mixed leagues.
Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
The healthy version of Montas is pretty special to watch. The hard-throwing 28-year-old righty has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last few weeks, recording a stellar 2.76 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 53/12 K/BB ratio across 42 1/3 innings (seven starts) since June 26. Meanwhile, Quantrill has quietly blossomed into a viable mixed-league fantasy contributor, allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts since July 4. He’s compiled a sparkling 1.96 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 32/13 K/BB ratio across 41 1/3 innings during that span. It’s a fascinating pitching matchup and one that fantasy managers should be monitoring closely on Wednesday evening.
American League Quick Hits: Angels manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that there is “nothing new” on the status of Mike Trout's (calf) rehabilitation … Gerrit Cole (COVID-19) could rejoin the Yankees’ starting rotation this weekend … Yuli Gurriel (neck) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Friday … Yasmani Grandal (knee) is close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment … Bo Bichette (shin) returned to the Blue Jays’ lineup on Tuesday against the Angels … Josh Donaldson (hamstring) returned to the Twins' starting lineup on Tuesday … Rays activated OF Randy Arozarena from the COVID-19 injured list and also placed LHP Ryan Yarbrough on the COVID-19 injured list … Kyle Schwarber (hamstring/groin) went through a workout on Tuesday afternoon … Matthew Boyd (elbow) will make a minor-league rehab start on Thursday with Triple-A Toledo … Jose Urquidy (shoulder) is expected to return to the Astros in early September … Athletics recalled LHP A.J. Puk from Triple-A Las Vegas … Royals optioned OF Edward Olivares to Triple-A Omaha … Angels RHP Griffin Canning will miss the remainder of the season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back … Josh Harrison was removed from Tuesday night's game against the Indians due to an apparent injury … Ross Stripling was pulled from his start Tuesday night against the Angels due to a left oblique strain … Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill exited Tuesday’s win over the Orioles after a full-speed collision in left-center field … Justin Upton went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base to lift the Angels past the Blue Jays in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader … Lourdes Gurriel hit a two-run single, powering the Blue Jays to a narrow victory over the Angels in the second game of Tuesday's twin-billing … Brandon Lowe tallied three hits, including a solo homer, propelling the Rays past the Red Sox … Jed Lowrie delivered a tiebreaking RBI double, lifting the Athletics to a victory over Cleveland in an extra-inning marathon … Willians Astudillo launched a go-ahead two-run homer, powering the Twins to a narrow win over the White Sox … Willi Castro went 2-for-4 with three RBI, powering the Tigers to a blowout win over the Orioles … Taylor Jones went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI, leading the Astros to a win over the Rockies … Yonny Hernandez went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two stolen bases in the Rangers’ win over the Mariners in an extra-inning slugfest … Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe went deep in the Red Sox’ loss to the Rays … Jose Abreu and Adam Engel homered in the White Sox’ loss to the Twins … Kyle Seager and Mitch Hanger left the yard in the Mariners’ loss to the Rangers in an extra-inning contest … Amed Rosario went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in Cleveland’s loss to the Athletics in an extra-inning affair … Kyle Higashioka drilled a two-run homer in the Yankees’ loss to the Royals … Jake Odorizzi scattered five baserunners over five scoreless frames in a win over the Rockies … Luis Patino whiffed seven batters and yielded four runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox … Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight batters and allowed only two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rays … Logan Gilbert recorded five strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision against the Rangers … Kolby Allard yielded two runs over six innings on Tuesday in a no-decision against the Mariners … Sean Manaea walked three batters and was charged with three runs over 1 2/3 frames in a no-decision against Cleveland … Daniel Lynch struck out six batters, issued four walks and surrendered three runs across 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Yankees … Casey Mize was charged with four runs (three earned) over 4 1/3 frames in a no-decision against the Orioles … Chris Rodríguez allowed one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Blue Jays … Triston McKenzie allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Jose Suarez yielded four runs over 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday in a loss to the Blue Jays … Nestor Cortes was charged with five runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Royals … Steven Matz was charged with four runs (two runs) over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Angels … Dallas Keuchel walked four batters and was charged with four runs over six innings in a loss to the Twins … Keegan Akin coughed up six runs over three innings in a loss to the Tigers … Andrew Kittredge struck out five batters over two scoreless frames to collect a win in relief against the Red Sox.
National League Quick Hits: Tuesday’s game between the Nationals and Mets was suspended due to rain. It will resume on Wednesday evening as part of a seven-inning doubleheader … Jack Flaherty (oblique) will return to the Cardinals’ starting rotation on Friday against the Royals … Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) is expected to be activated by the Braves from the 60-day injured list on Wednesday … Mets interim general manager Zack Scott suggested Tuesday that Noah Syndergaard will likely return as a reliever later this season … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that Justin Turner (groin) will likely be sidelined until Friday. He also added that Mookie Betts (hip) will likely be placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday after being scratched from the Dodgers’ starting lineup on Tuesday against the Phillies due to renewed hip discomfort … Tyler O'Neill was scratched from the Cardinals starting lineup on Tuesday against the Pirates due to COVID-19 vaccination side effects … Javier Baez (back) was held out of the Mets’ lineup on Tuesday against the Nationals with lower back tightness … Didi Gregorius (elbow) returned to the Phillies’ lineup on Tuesday against the Dodgers … Evan Longoria (shoulder) could be activated from the 10-day injured list on Wednesday … Phillies placed 1B Rhys Hoskins on the 10-day injured list with a left groin injury … Rockies placed OF Raimel Tapia on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right big toe … Diamondbacks activated INF/OF Josh Rojas from the 10-day injured list … Dodgers activated RHP Corey Knebel from the 60-day injured list … Tejay Antone (forearm) threw a scoreless inning on Tuesday in a minor-league rehab appearance with Triple-A Louisville … Braves designated RHP Shane Greene for assignment … Willy Adames, Avisail Garcia and Lorenzo Cain homered to lead the Brewers past the Cubs in the opening contest of Tuesday’s doubleheader … Luis Urias and Eduardo Escobar collected four hits and plated two runs in the nightcap to power the Brewers to a sweep of the twin-billing … Dylan Carlson tallied three hits and scored a run, while Tommy Edman and Paul DeJong both left the yard in the Cardinals’ victory over the Pirates … Adam Duvall delivered a two-run homer, lifting the Braves past the Reds … Wil Myers went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a stolen base to lead the Padres over the Marlins … Patrick Wisdom went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the Cubs’ loss to the Brewers in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader … Hoy Park hit his first major-league home run in the Pirates’ loss to the Cardinals … Aristides Aquino slugged a two-run homer in the Reds’ loss to the Braves … Jean Segura collected three hits in the Phillies’ loss to the Dodgers … Ketel Marte went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Giants … Jorge Alfaro plated two runs and also stole a base in the Marlins’ loss to the Padres … Freddy Peralta recorded eight strikeouts and yielded two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a win over the Cubs … Drew Smyly notched seven strikeouts and allowed two runs over six innings in a win over the Reds … J.A. Happ struck out five batters and gave up one run over six innings in a win over the Pirates … Sonny Gray posted eight strikeouts and allowed two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Braves … Max Scherzer struck out six batters over 3 1/3 scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Phillies … Aaron Nola posted seven strikeouts over four scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers … Zac Gallen recorded seven strikeouts and was charged with five runs over six innings on Tuesday in a no-decision against the Giants … Alex Wood notched five strikeouts and allowed five runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks … Braxton Garrett was charged with five runs across 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday in a no-decision against the Padres … Aaron Ashby fired two scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Cubs … Alec Mills struck out three batters over 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Brewers … Jon Gray netted nine strikeouts and allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Astros … Steven Brault fanned six batters and allowed two runs over five frames in a loss to the Cardinals … Justin Steele allowed three runs over five innings in a loss to the Brewers … Craig Stammen was torched for four runs over two innings on Tuesday as the Padres opener against the Marlins.