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In the midst of arguably his strongest outing of the 2021 campaign, Reds’ righty Sonny Gray was removed from Tuesday’s start against the Brewers at Great American Ballpark after experiencing left groin tightness while warming up before the top of the fourth inning. He had tallied five strikeouts, and scattered a pair of harmless singles, while throwing just 50 pitches over three scoreless frames before being forced to exit the contest.
The 31-year-old righty, who had his season debut delayed until mid-April due to a mid-back strain, which he sustained during spring training, is slated to undergo a precautionary MRI on his groin on Wednesday morning, which will likely determine whether he’ll require a trip to the injured list. If he’s sidelined for an extended period, it would be a significant loss for the Reds (who find themselves just five games out of the division-lead in the NL Central), and fantasy managers as well. Gray has delivered a near carbon copy of his 2019 and 2020 performances, compiling a sparkling 3.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 65/20 K/BB ratio across 50 innings (10 starts) to open the 2021 campaign. He’s been the model of consistency from a run prevention standpoint, allowing three earned runs or fewer in nine of his 10 starts. As far as in-house replacements are concerned, the Reds already have rookie right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez in the starting rotation in place of an injured Jeff Hoffman, so the logical choice would be to give Jose De Leon another opportunity at the major-league level.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Tyler Glasnow vs. Nationals
7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K
38% CSW, 27 swinging strikes
Glasnow generated an eye-popping 27 whiffs, including 12 on his newly-added slider, and finished with a stratospheric 38 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) on Tuesday evening in a win over the Nationals. The hard-throwing 27-year-old fantasy ace notched his seventh double-digit strikeout performance of the 2021 campaign, and continued his dominance at pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field in this one. He’s allowed just eight runs on 26 hits with a 66/9 K/BB ratio over 43 2/3 innings across six home outings this season. He’ll face an extremely tough challenge on Monday in a road matchup against the White Sox.
Framber Valdez vs. Red Sox
7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
36% CSW, 18 swinging strikes
Strikeouts and ground balls. That’s what Framber does. The 27-year-old southpaw dominated the Red Sox for the second consecutive start on Tuesday night, coaxing 11 ground-ball outs, generating 18 swinging strikes, and racking up eight strikeouts over 7 1/3 stellar frames at hitter-friendly Fenway Park. He’s been simply magnificent, posting a microscopic 1.47 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 22/4 K/BB ratio over 18 1/3 innings (three starts) since returning from the injured list at the end of May. He’ll aim to keep the momentum going in a road tilt against the Twins on Sunday.
Pablo Lopez vs. Rockies
8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
32% CSW, 13 swinging strikes
It was a perfect confluence of variables, including an extra day of rest and a mediocre Rockies’ lineup on the road, which enabled Lopez to author his strongest performance of the 2021 campaign on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old righty posted eight strikeouts for the third time in his last four starts, and limited the Rockies to just a pair of runs on five hits over a career-high eight frames at loanDepot park (yes, that’s the correct spelling). With the exception of a pair of six-run implosions on the road, he’s been phenomenal, allowing two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 starts this season. He’ll carry a sparkling 2.76 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 76/19 K/BB ratio across 75 innings (13 starts) into another home outing versus the division-rival Braves on Sunday.
Robbie Ray vs. White Sox
6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K
35% CSW, 21 swinging strikes
It’s gotta be the tight pants, right? Ray threw a whopping 72 of 102 pitches for strikes, induced a preposterous 21 swinging strikes and finished with an elite 35 percent CSW on Tuesday evening in an extremely challenging road matchup against the White Sox. He didn’t hand out a free pass and a solo homer by Andrew Vaughn in the seventh inning represented the lone tally against him in this one. The 29-year-old lefty has solved the omnipresent control issues that plagued him throughout his career and has recorded an astronomical 76/6 K/BB ratio across 54 1/3 innings over his last nine starts since April 24. He’ll square off against the Red Sox in Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.
Walker Buehler vs. Pirates
7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
25% CSW, 10 swinging strikes
Buehler wasn’t overpowering, as evidenced by just 10 swinging strikes and a pedestrian 25 percent CSW, but he managed to limit a lackluster Pirates’ lineup to just three baserunners over seven dazzling frames. The 26-year-old flame-thrower has been on a roll recently, allowing six runs (five earned) on 19 hits with a 25/11 K/BB ratio across 33 innings (five starts) since May 17. He’s in line for an extremely tasty matchup with the Rangers at home on Sunday.
Hitters with an EDGE
Ronald Acuna Jr. vs. Phillies
3-for-4, 2 R, HR (18), 3 RBI, BB, CS
Seriously, were you expecting someone else in this space? Acuna Jr. pulled back into a tie for the major league-lead with his 18th round-tripper of the season, a colossal 460-foot shot to left field off Phillies’ ace Aaron Nola in the third inning. He also chipped in a double, and a two-run single off righty reliever Sam Coonrod in the eighth inning, to record his sixth three-hit effort of the 2021 campaign. The 23-year-old fantasy superstar owns a robust .288/.395/.621 triple-slash line with 48 runs scored, 18 home runs, 38 RBI and 11 stolen bases across 238 plate appearances.
Carlos Correa vs. Red Sox
3-for-3, 2 R, HR (11), 2 RBI
Yordan Alvarez vs. Red Sox
1-for-3, 1 R, HR (8), 2 RBI, BB
Correa, who is slated to cash in with a massive payday in free agency next offseason, set the tone early on Tuesday evening with a towering solo shot over the Green Monster off lefty Martin Perez in the opening frame. He also added an RBI double in the ensuing frame and capped off the three-hit effort with a leadoff single in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Alvarez was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded in the second inning and also crushed a 451-foot moonshot to center field -- his eighth long ball of the season -- off righty reliever Matt Andriese in the fourth inning. If the Astros, who also just got veteran presence Michael Brantley back from the injured list, are fully healthy, and firing on all cylinders, the American League better start looking out.
Brandon Crawford vs. Rangers
2-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB
Crawford’s remarkable late-career renaissance campaign continued on Tuesday evening with his first multi-homer effort since July 15, 2019. He tattooed a go-ahead solo shot off righty Jordan Lyles in the sixth inning and also crushed a three-run blast to right field off lefty reliever Taylor Hearn in the ninth inning. The 34-year-old shortstop is already up to 14 round-trippers on the season and is well on his way to surpassing his previous career-high mark of 21, which he established back in 2015, nearly a decade ago.
Patrick Wisdom vs. Padres
1-for-4, 1 R, HR (8), 2 RBI
Anthony Rizzo vs. Padres
2-for-4, 2 R, HR (6), 4 RBI
Wisdom's remarkable home run barrage continued at Petco Park on Tuesday evening as he clobbered a line-drive two-run homer to left-center field -- his eighth round-tripper of the season -- off righty reliever Miguel Diaz in the sixth inning. The 29-year-old slugger has come out of nowhere to record a sublime .375/.432/1.025 triple-slash line across 15 games since being called up from Triple-A Iowa on May 25. His extra-terrestrial current pace is obviously unsustainable long-term, but his mammoth over-the-fence power is extremely real. He's worthy of a roster spot in all fantasy formats, especially since he's shown zero signs of slowing down during his extended hot streak.
Rizzo padded the Cubs early lead with a two-run double into the right-center field gap off hard-throwing righty Dinelson Lamet in the fourth inning, and also drilled a two-run shot to left-center field -- his sixth long ball of the season -- off righty reliever Nabil Crismatt in the seventh inning. The 31-year-old first baseman has missed time due to a back issue recently, but it hasn't impacted his performance at the plate. He's slashing .267/.362/.445 with 26 runs scored, six homers, 26 RBI and four steals across 224 plate appearances.
Pete Alonso vs. Orioles
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (9), 3 RBI
Alonso recorded his first multi-homer effort of the 2021 campaign, swatting a two-run homer off lefty Bruce Zimmerman in the opening frame and also lifted a solo shot in the ninth inning off righty reliever Travis Lakins Sr. It wasn’t enough to lead the Mets to a victory, however, as the Orioles exploded for 10 runs on 16 hits in the one-sided affair.
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Kenley Jansen vs. Pirates
0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (13th save)
Jansen was called upon to record the final out of the Dodgers’ two-run victory over the Pirates on Tuesday evening after righty Nate Jones coughed up a pair of homers to open the final frame. The 33-year-old veteran stopper fanned Phillip Evans to eliminate the threat and pick up his 13th save of the season. He’s allowed just two earned runs over 14 innings with a 16/10 K/BB ratio since May 1.
Jose Cisnero vs. Mariners
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (2nd save)
Cisnero has collected a pair of saves since righty Michael Fulmer landed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain last weekend. The 32-year-old righty has been solid, posting a 4.01 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 35/9 K/BB ratio over 24 2/3 innings this season. He appears to have a firm grip on the ninth inning in Detroit moving forward, at least until Fulmer is ready to return, and is certainly worthy of a speculative roster spot for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.
Diego Castillo vs. Nationals
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (10th save)
Castillo was summoned to protect a two-run lead in the ninth inning and needed just nine pitches (nine strikes) in a perfect frame to slam the door. The hard-throwing 27-year-old righty has reeled off five consecutive scoreless appearances and remains the Rays’ primary closer moving forward.
Lou Trivino vs. Diamondbacks
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (9th save)
Trivino fired a scoreless ninth inning on late Tuesday night, protecting a three-run lead against the Diamondbacks to collect his ninth save of the season. He surrendered a two-out single to Pavin Smith, but managed to coax a game-ending fly out from ensuing batter David Peralta to extinguish any hopes of a Diamondbacks' comeback. The 29-year-old righty has converted four of his last five save opportunities since May 8.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Tucker Davidson, SP, Braves
Davidson will have his hands full against a tough Phillies’ lineup at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday evening, but he represents an intriguing streaming candidate for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues. The 25-year-old southpaw has held his own in a pair of spot starts against the Nationals and Mets, respectively, compiling a solid 2.31 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10/6 K/BB ratio across 11 2/3 innings this season. There isn’t a ton of strikeout upside, but he’s excelled at limiting hard contact, and could have success against a Phillies’ squad that has been mediocre against left-handed pitching so far this season.
Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
Chris Flexen, Mariners (5-3, 4.70) vs. Casey Mize, Tigers (3-4, 3.34) - 7:10 PM ET
Mize appears to be on the verge of blossoming into a full-fledged upper-echelon fantasy starter, allowing three earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts since April 29. The 24-year-old righty has given up plenty of homers (10 over 64 2/3 innings this season), but nine of them have been of the solo variety. He’s also experienced an uptick in strikeouts, recording at least six punch-outs in each of his last four outings. Given the Mariners’ omnipresent offensive struggles, there’s a chance he could author his most dominant performance of the season on Wednesday evening.
American League Quick Hits: Rangers designated Khris Davis for assignment … Shohei Ohtani, who hit his 17th homer of the season in the Angels’ blowout win over the Royals, will make his next pitching appearance on Friday against the Diamondbacks … Nelson Cruz (knee) remained out of the Twins' starting lineup for Tuesday’s contest against the Yankees … J.D. Martinez (wrist) returned to the Red Sox’ starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Astros … Chris Sale (elbow) threw a bullpen session Tuesday at Fenway Park … Joey Gallo slugged a solo homer before being removed from Tuesday night's game against the Giants due to right groin tightness … Jose Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI, powering the Indians to a blowout win over the Cardinals … Andrew Vaughn belted his fifth homer of the season, and Tim Anderson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and his 10th stolen base of the year, propelling the White Sox past the Blue Jays … Maikel Franco went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, leading the Orioles to a lopsided victory over the Mets … Eric Haase went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, lifting the Tigers to a narrow win over the Mariners … Manuel Margot drilled a solo homer in the Rays’ victory over the Nationals … Chad Pinder went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in the Athletics’ win over the Diamondbacks … Gary Sanchez walloped a two-run homer in the Yankees’ win over the Twins … Bo Bichette went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in the Blue Jays’ loss to the White Sox … J.P. Crawford went 3-for-4 with a walk in the Mariners’ loss to the Tigers … Isiah Kiner-Falefa went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Adolis Garcia hit an RBI double in the Rangers loss to the Giants … Ryan Jeffers went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the Twins’ loss to the Yankees … Michael Brantley went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his return to the Astros’ lineup against the Red Sox after being activated from the 10-day injured list … Shane Bieber allowed one run over six innings in a win over the Cardinals … Chris Bassitt yielded two runs over seven innings on Tuesday in a win over the Diamondbacks … Carlos Rodon racked up eight strikeouts over five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Blue Jays … Andrew Heaney posted seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a win over the Royals … Bruce Zimmerman whiffed a season-high seven batters over five innings of two-run ball in a win over the Mets … Matthew Boyd allowed one run (zero earned) over six innings in a win over the Mariners … Jordan Montgomery struck out six batters and yielded three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Twins … Michael Pineda surrendered two runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Yankees … Jordan Lyles was charged with two runs (one earned) over six frames in a no-decision against the Giants … Marco Gonzales gave up four runs over five frames in a loss to the Tigers … Kris Bubic coughed up six runs, including four homers, over four innings in a loss to the Angels … Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Tuesday that Cavan Biggio (neck) will spend a little more time on his minor-league rehab assignment … Lance McCullers Jr. (shoulder) will make a minor-league rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Sugar Land.
National League Quick Hits: Rockies manager Bud Black said Tuesday that Trevor Story (elbow) is “very close” to returning … Tony Gonsolin (shoulder) will make his season debut Wednesday versus the Pirates … Corey Seager (hand) could soon begin hitting off a tee … Javier Baez (thumb) remained absent from the Cubs' starting lineup on Tuesday night for the second consecutive game … Yadier Molina (knee) was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup again on Tuesday … Cubs placed Adbert Alzolay on the 10-day injured list with a blister on his right middle finger … Austin Riley and William Contreras tallied three hits and homered in the Braves’ win over the Phillies … Starling Marte went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Marlins’ victory over the Rockies … Avisail Garcia slugged his 12th round-tripper of the season in the Brewers’ win over the Reds … Mike Tauchman walloped a grand slam in the Giants victory over the Rangers … Chris Taylor scorched a two-run homer in the Dodgers’ win over the Pirates … J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper went deep in the Phillies’ loss to the Braves … Bryan Reynolds socked a solo homer in the Pirates’ loss to the Dodgers … Nick Castellanos doubled in the Reds’ loss to the Brewers … Christian Walker went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Athletics … Brandon Belt went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a walk in his return from the 10-day injured list … Joey Votto walked twice in his return from the 10-day injured list … Zach Davies fired six scoreless innings on Tuesday in a win over the Padres … Adrian Houser yielded one run over 5 1/3 frames in a win over the Reds … Aaron Nola posted seven strikeouts over five innings of four-run ball in a no-decision against the Braves … Dinelson Lamet recorded six strikeouts over five innings on Tuesday in a loss to the Cubs … Antonio Senzatela notched a season-high eight strikeouts over six innings in a loss to the Marlins … Carlos Martinez struck out seven batters and gave up five runs over four innings in a loss to the Indians … JT Brubaker whiffed six batters over 4 2/3 innings of three-run ball in a loss to the Dodgers … Alex Wood was charged with four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision versus the Rangers … Drew Smyly was charged with three runs (two earned) over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Phillies … Mets manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday that Michael Conforto (hamstring) is still “maybe a couple weeks away” from beginning a minor-league rehab assignment … Trent Grisham (foot) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A El Paso within the next couple of days … Sixto Sanchez (shoulder) has been cleared to resume throwing.