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Gaus-Mania Runs Wild Over Dodgers
Kevin Gausman continued to build his resume as one of the top pitchers in all of baseball on Sunday, racking up seven strikeouts and surrendering only two hits over six scoreless innings in a victory over the Dodgers.
The star right-hander allowed a second-inning double to Gavin Lux and a fourth-inning single to Matt Beaty, but that was the extent of the offense against him.
Unfortunately, he was forced to exit his start after only six innings and 72 pitches due to tightness in his left hip. Gausman fired a jaw-dropping 62 of those 72 pitches for strikes in the contest. He generated 16 whiffs on the afternoon -- seven each on his fastball and splitter, two on his changeup -- and registered a stellar 43 percent CSW.
Thankfully, Giants skipper Gabe Kapler noted that Gausman’s exit was purely precautionary. Gausman himself also sounded optimistic postgame, telling reporters, “I haven’t missed a start yet and don’t plan to”. While that sounds all well and good, fantasy managers should make sure to check for any additional information on Monday to ensure that he’s going to make his next start before locking him into lineups for the week.
With the victory over the Dodgers, Gausman now sits at 6-0 on the season with a 1.40 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 83/16 K/BB ratio across 70 2/3 innings through his first 11 starts. Some questioned the Giants for extending him the $18.9 million qualifying offer in the off-season (which he accepted), but as it turns out it may wind up being the biggest bargain of the winter.
He has been especially good as of late, allowing a grand total of three earned runs over 37 innings in the month of May (0.73 ERA). He hasn’t surrendered a single run over his last three starts -- victories over the Reds, Diamondbacks and Dodgers, all on the road -- while compiling a 24/4 K/BB ratio across 17 frames.
As long as he makes it through the season healthy, the 30-year-old hurler will be looking at a massive payday on the free agent market. The Giants would be wise to at least attempt to lock him up to a long-term deal now, though in-season negotiations can be incredibly difficult.
Either way, Gausman has been one of the major catalysts of the Giants impressive start to the season. Entering play on Monday, they sit at 33-20 -- just a half-game behind the Dodgers and Rays for the best record in all of baseball.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Lucas Giolito - 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 12 K
40% CSW, 28 swinging strikes
The 12 strikeouts were a season-high for Giolito. He generated a jaw-dropping 28 whiffs in this one and an elite 40 percent CSW as the Orioles were flailing all afternoon. Aside from his one major blip on Patriots Day against the Red Sox, he has been outstanding again this season. He allowed one run or fewer in five of his six starts during the month of May and now sports a 3.73 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 78/24 K/BB ratio across 62 2/3 innings on the season.
Tarik Skubal - 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K
36% CSW, 15 swinging strikes
Tarik Skubal delivered perhaps the finest start of his young career on Sunday, hurling six shutout innings in a victory over the Yankees. The 24-year-old southpaw generated a career-high 15 whiffs in the game while recording eight or more strikeouts for the third consecutive start. He made a critical pitch mix change in early May, ditching the splitter that he developed for this year and going back to his changeup, and the results have been terrific. He needs to be owned everywhere at this stage if the last four starts are a sign of things to come.
Brandon Woodruff - 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K
33% CSW, 12 swinging strikes
I don’t think the fantasy community as a whole is truly appreciating just how good Woodruff has been this season. He out-dueled Max Scherzer and posted another absolute gem on Sunday, eclipsing the double-digit strikeout plateau for the third time in his last five starts. For the season, he owns the best ERA (1.27) and WHIP (0.69) among all qualified starting pitchers. If you’re more into advanced metrics, he also owns the best FIP (2.13) and ERA+ (319). Yeah, he’s been pretty damn good. He also owns a terrific 83/16 K/BB ratio across 71 frames.
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Hitters with an EDGE
Ketel Marte - 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB
This is the type of game that fantasy managers have been waiting all season for. Marte clubbed a solo homer off of Kwang Hyun Kim and added a two-run single during a 9-2 victory over the Cardinals to snap the Diamondbacks’ 13-game losing streak. The 27-year-old is now slashing a robust .333/.377/.556 with three long balls and 11 RBI through his first 17 games of the season.
Mauricio Dubon - 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB
Mauricio Dubon led the way in a victory over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Sunday with a two-run shot off the veteran southpaw in the opening inning. He hasn’t contributed as fantasy managers had hoped in the power and speed categories thus far, but his bat has perked up as of late -- slashing .315/.333/.463 with a pair of homers and nine RBI over his last 19 games.
Charlie Blackmon - 3-for-4, 3B, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Blackmon filled up the box score in a come-from-behind victory over the Pirates on Sunday. He also played a key role in delivering that victory. After delivering a game-tying RBI triple earlier in the contest, Blackmon victimized Pirates’ closer Richard Rodriguez with a game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning, then came around to score the winning run on an RBI single off the bat of Matt Adams. The 34-year-old outfielder is off to a slow start this season (.250/.351/.381, 3 HR, 0 SB), but he has been swinging a hot bat as of late, hitting .320/.400/.480 with a pair of homers and 13 RBI over his last 24 games.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Avisail Garcia, OF, Milwaukee Brewers -- Available in 60% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
To be honest, I had to do a bit of a double-take when looking at that overall ownership percentage for Garcia. There aren’t many hitters on the planet who are swinging a hotter bat than the 29-year-old outfielder right now. He crushed a two-run homer off of Max Scherzer in the first inning on Sunday -- which wound up standing up as the difference in the contest. Garcia now has blasted seven homers and driven in 14 runs over his last 18 ballgames.
Tyler Chatwood had an epic meltdown in a save chance against the Indians on Sunday, allowing two runs on a hit and five walks over 1 1/3 innings. Astoundingly, the right-hander threw only seven of his 32 pitches in the contest for strikes. Jordan Romano worked a scoreless ninth inning to protect a three-run lead in the first game of their doubleheader, earning his third save. He looks like the clear arm to own at the back-end of the Jays bullpen.
Richard Rodriguez suffered his first blown save of the season on Sunday. He bailed Kyle Crick out of a jam in the eighth inning, but came back for the ninth and allowed a game-tying double to Charlie Blackmon and a go-ahead RBI single to Matt Adams. Still, he has converted six of seven chances on the year and owns a stellar 1.61 ERA and 0.58 WHIP. There’s no reason to worry about his performance -- only the lack of save chances and the increasing likelihood that he’s moved before the trade deadline.
Daniel Bard didn’t get credited with a save on the other side of that one, but he did earn a victory. Bard worked a scoreless eighth inning with his team trailing 3-2, then came back and closed it out for himself working a scoreless ninth to preserve the one-run advantage. The ratios aren’t going to be pretty in Coors, but he still looks to be locked into the closer’s role for the time being.
Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth inning to protect a three-run lead against the Twins, earning his third save in the process. It looks like manager Mike Matheny is going to continue to mix-and-match in the closer’s role while Josh Staumont is sidelined -- so not the ideal place to go speculating on saves.
Liam Hendriks closed out Lucas Giolito’s gem against the Orioles with a perfect ninth inning. He’s now up to 13 saves on the season and remains firmly entrenched in the upper-echelon of closers.
Keynan Middleton retired all three hitters that he faced in the ninth inning, closing out a two-run victory over the Rangers. He has now locked down four saves on the season and should continue to be in the mix for chances while Kendall Graveman (COVID-19 IL) is sidelined.
Tejay Antone picked up his third save of the year, getting the final four outs against the Cubs on Sunday. He’s being utilized in more of a fireman role than a traditional closer, but he’s clearly the most trusted option in manager David Bell’s bullpen at the moment.
Raisel Iglesias continues to right the ship after a rough start to the season. He converted his seventh straight save chance on Sunday -- his ninth total on the season -- with a four-out save against the Athletics. During the month of May, he lowered his ERA from 6.00 to 4.29.
Jake McGee gave up two runs (one earned) in Sunday’s outing against the Dodgers, but managed to escape with his 12th save of the season. Tyler Rogers is still a threat to steal some chances, but McGee still looks to be the leader of the committee for manager Gabe Kapler.
Monday’s Matchup of the Day
Jack Flaherty (STL) vs. Trevor Bauer (LAD)
We’ve got 10 early to mid-afternoon starts in a jam-packed slate of action on Memorial Day, but the apple of my eye is in the evening in Los Angeles. Trevor Bauer will look to get the Dodgers back on track after being swept by the Giants in their weekend series while Flaherty will try to get the Cardinals back in the win column after dropping a tough one to the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Bauer has lived up to the hype and the massive contract so far this season, registering a 2.07 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 91/22 K/BB ratio across 69 2/3 innings. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner is looking to rebound from one of his worst starts of the season -- where he allowed a pair of runs while striking out a season-low three batters over six innings in a loss to the Astros.
On the other side of the diamond, Flaherty is also coming off of a clunker in his last outing, where he allowed seven runs (three earned) while recording only 11 outs against the Cubs. Even with that poor effort though, he still boasts a 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 58/19 K/BB ratio across 57 innings of work.
The over/under for this one opened at 6.5 and to be honest, even that number looks a bit high given how dominant both of these right-handers have been this season.
American League Quick Hits: Yordan Alvarez (wrist) was held out of the Astros lineup again on Sunday, though manager Dusty Baker indicated that he could return early in the upcoming week… Yuli Gurriel missed his second straight game with inflammation in his left middle finger, he’s considered day-to-day… Jose Urquidy will be activated from the injured list to start against the Red Sox on Monday… Adam Eaton (hamstring) sat out his fifth consecutive game Sunday and may wind up on the injured list… Jesus Luzardo was activated from the injured list and will work out of the A’s bullpen for the time being… The Royals recalled outfield prospect Edward Olivares from Triple-A Omaha. He possesses an intriguing blend of power and speed and could be a mixed league asset for the remainder of the season… The Twins placed Max Kepler on the injured list with a strained left hamstring… Mike Montgomery indicated he plans to opt-out of his contract with the Yankees on June 1… Lance Lynn will start on three-days rest for the White Sox on Wednesday… Jose Quintana experienced shoulder discomfort during his start on Sunday and will be heading for further evaluation… Josh Naylor went 3-for-3 with a solo homer as the Indians fell to the Blue Jays in the first game of their doubleheader… Marcus Semien went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a walk as the Jays beat the Indians... Willi Castro drove in three runs, leading the Tigers to a victory over the Yankees and an improbable sweep of their three-game weekend set… Austin Meadows reached base in all four of his plate appearances and scored as run as the Rays topped the Phillies… Mike Zunino clubbed his 12th homer in that win… Zack Greinke hurled eight innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Padres… Billy Hamilton homered for the second straight game as the White Sox topped the Orioles, completing their weekend sweep… Whit Merrifield swiped his major league-leading 15th base in a victory over the Twins… Yusei Kikuchi struck out five over 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Rangers… Jared Walsh clobbered his 12th home run as the Angels defeated the Athletics.
National League Quick Hits: While the game was rained out, Jazz Chisholm (ankle) was not in the Marlins lineup for the fourth consecutive game on Sunday. He’s still considered day-to-day, but if he isn’t ready after Monday’s off-day, don’t be surprised if he winds up on the injured list… Adam Duvall (side) was also out of Sunday’s lineup -- for the third straight day -- though he’s likely to return on Tuesday… Buster Olney of ESPN reported that Pete Alonso, Kevin Pillar and Seth Lugo are all expected to be activated from the injured list on Monday… Trevor Williams was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Sunday morning… The Phillies placed Roman Quinn on the 60-day injured list with a left Achilles injury suffered while rounding the bases on Saturday… Chad Kuhl (shoulder) is expected to be activated from the injured list to start Monday against the Royals… Will Harris will undergo thoracic outlet surgery on Friday, ending his 2021 season -- and potentially his career… The Cubs placed David Bote on the injured list with a separated left shoulder -- Sergio Alcantara was recalled from Triple-A Iowa to take his place on the active roster… Mookie Betts was scratched from the Dodgers lineup on Sunday due to allergies… Christian Pache was held out of action on his minor league rehab assignment due to minor groin discomfort. He’s expected to rest for a few days before resuming… MacKenzie Gore had his scheduled start at Triple-A El Paso skipped on Sunday due to a blister issue… Max Scherzer piled up 10 strikeouts over six innings of two-run ball in a tough-luck loss against the Brewers… Blake Snell was lit up for a career-high seven runs over three innings in a loss to the Astros… Joe Musgrove followed him with five scoreless innings in relief… Tyler Mahle struck out eight over five innings of one-hit ball in a victory over the Cubs… Clayton Kershaw gave up five runs on seven hits over six innings in a loss to the Giants… Albert Pujols crushed a two-run homer in a losing effort there.