Baseball Daily Dose

The Harder They Sandoval

by George Bissell
Updated On: July 25, 2021, 1:49 pm ET

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Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval authored one of the most dominant performances of the entire 2021 campaign on Saturday evening, racking up a career-high 13 strikeouts, and finishing just two outs shy of registering the seventh individual no-hitter of the season against the Twins at Target Field. The electrifying 24-year-old induced an eye-popping 21 swinging strikes, including 13 on his changeup alone, and finished with an elite 37 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) on 108 pitches (68 strikes) over 8 2/3 innings. Perhaps most impressively, he allowed just four hard-hit batted balls with an exit velocity in excess of 95 mph. He issued a leadoff walk to Josh Donaldson in the second inning, and also hit Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach with errant pitches in the fourth and eighth innings, respectively, but still carried a no-hitter bid into the ninth inning. He whiffed Jorge Polanco to open the final frame before rookie outfielder Brent Rooker, who came into the low-scoring contest with just three hits across 33 at-bats at the major-league level this season, sliced a clean double down the right-field line to break up the no-hitter.

Sandoval may have fallen just short of etching his name into the record books on Saturday evening, but he’s unquestionably blossomed into an upper-echelon starting pitcher during his meteoric rise over the last two-plus months. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 11 starts since becoming a full-fledged member of the Angels’ starting rotation back on May 17 and owns a sparkling 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 81/26 K/BB ratio across 71 2/3 innings (14 appearances, 11 starts). Despite a narrow 2-1 victory over the floundering Twins on Saturday night, the Angels still find themselves 11 games out of first place in the AL West. However, it appears that they’ve managed to develop a potential front-line starting pitcher in Sandoval to complement Shohei Ohtani at the front of their starting rotation moving forward. From a fantasy perspective, Sandoval’s ability to generate whiffs, coax ground balls at an elite rate, and limit hard contact inspire confidence that he will remain an elite fantasy contributor moving forward. Simply put, he looks like a potential ace and should be rostered in all fantasy formats.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Braxton Garrett vs. Padres

7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

44% CSW, 9 swinging strikes

Making an emergency spot start in place of Trevor Rogers, who was scratched just a few hours prior to his scheduled start on Saturday evening, Garrett got off to a rocky start, serving up a gargantuan solo homer to Fernando Tatis Jr. in the opening frame, and a solo shot to opposing starter Ryan Weathers in the third inning. However, he allowed just three additional baserunners and finished with a career-high 10 strikeouts over seven frames. He also relentlessly pounded the strike zone, throwing 57 of 85 pitches for strikes, and posting an extraterrestrial 44 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). The 23-year-old left-hander has struggled at the major-league level, especially with his control, but he’s an intriguing lottery ticket for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues. Given the slew of recent injuries to the Marlins’ rotation, Garrett will get plenty of opportunities over the final six weeks of the 2021 campaign. 

Luis Castillo vs. Cardinals

7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K

33% CSW, 23 swinging strikes

Castillo continued his remarkable mid-season turnaround with another dominant performance on Saturday evening, racking up nine strikeouts over seven stellar frames versus the Cardinals. The 28-year-old righty generated an absurd 23 swinging strikes, including 18 whiffs on his four-seam fastball and changeup combination, and finished with a solid 33 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts since May 29. Unreal.

Jose Berrios vs. Angels

7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

24% CSW, 8 swinging strikes

Berrios was overshadowed by lefty Patrick Sandoval on Saturday evening, but still delivered one of his finest performances of the 2021 campaign. He was charged with a pair of unearned runs on three hits and notched four strikeouts over seven solid frames. The 27-year-old righty has been prominently featured as one of the highest-profile starting pitchers rumored to be available ahead of next week’s trade deadline. It would take a considerable haul to pry him away from Minnesota, especially with a year remaining on his current contract, but it’s impossible to rule out a potential trade.

Nathan Eovaldi vs. Yankees

7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

36% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

Eovaldi had the #goodstuff on Saturday afternoon against the long-time rival Yankees at Fenway Park, racking up eight strikeouts and working into the eighth inning in a dazzling performance. The 31-year-old righty touched triple digits with his fastball, generated 14 swinging strikes, and also finished with a stellar 36 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). Unfortunately, the Red Sox bullpen couldn’t hold onto the lead, coughing up four runs in the eighth inning. 

Wil Crowe vs. Giants

5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

39% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

Crowe authored his strongest performance of the 2021 campaign on Saturday night in a challenging road tilt against the Giants, tallying a career-high nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 solid frames. He generated a whopping 14 swinging strikes and finished with an elite 39 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). The 26-year-old rookie righty has struggled from a run prevention standpoint this season, but he’s shown some flashes of potential as a mix-and-match streaming option for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues, especially if he can continue to generate strikeouts at this type of a level.

Hitters with an EDGE

Daulton Varsho vs. Cubs

2-for-4, 2 R, HR (4), 3 RBI

It’s finally happening, isn’t it? Varsho homered for the third consecutive game on Saturday afternoon, blasting a game-tying two-run shot to straightaway center field off Cubs righty Alec Mills in the fifth inning. He also picked up an RBI with a single to left field off dominant southpaw reliever Andrew Chafin in the seventh inning. The 25-year-old backstop is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with three homers, eight RBI and two steals in seven games since the All-Star break. It’s too small of a sample size to draw any definitive conclusions, but he’s starting to put it all together at the highest level.

Freddie Freeman vs. Phillies

2-for-4, 3 R, HR (23), 2 RBI, BB

After a frosty start at the plate to open the 2021 season, Freeman has been the hottest hitter in the galaxy since the All-Star break, slashing .517/.571/.931 with four home runs and eight RBI across eight games. He’s piled up a whopping 15 hits and scored 12 runs during that span. The 31-year-old first baseman set the tone for the Braves’ eventual 15-run, 17-hit explosion with a solo shot to right field -- his 23rd long ball of the season -- in the opening frame. He’s arguably the hottest hitter in baseball right now, which is excellent news for the Braves as they make a push for a playoff spot over the final six weeks of the regular season. 

Juan Soto vs. Orioles

1-for-4, R, HR (17), RBI

Soto put the Nationals on the scoreboard with an opposite-field shot into the left-field seats against righty reliever Adam Plutko in the seventh inning. The 22-year-old fantasy superstar has been on a surreal power surge, launching a major league-leading six round-trippers across eight games since the All-Star break. It might not be enough to keep the Nationals in the playoff picture right now, but he’s certainly delivering for fantasy managers with his recent offensive performance.

Austin Meadows vs. Cleveland

2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (17, 18), 4 RBI

Meadows snapped a 22-game homerless drought by crushing a two-run homer off righty J.C. Mejia in the third inning and also belting a two-run shot off righty reliever Trevor Stephan in the ninth inning to record his third career multi-homer performance. The 26-year-old slugger has a realistic shot at reaching the 30-homer plateau for the second time in the last three seasons. 

Kevin Newman vs. Giants

4-for-5, R, 3 RBI

Hello, Newman. The 27-year-old infielder scalded four hits and also tallied three RBI on Saturday night in the Pirates’ blowout victory over the Giants. Not bad. 

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Closing Time

Aroldis Chapman vs. Red Sox

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (18th save)

Chapman was summoned to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon and barely managed to hang on against the Red Sox. He issued a two-out walk to Hunter Renfroe and surrendered a ground-rule double to Christian Vazquez before fanning Enrique Hernandez to extinguish the threat. He’s converted 18 of 22 save chances this season.

Kenley Jansen vs. Rockies

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (22nd save)

The Dodgers avoided a potential fourth straight ninth-inning meltdown on Saturday evening when Jansen came out to toss a scoreless frame, protecting a slim one-run lead against the Rockies. Based on his recent usage, and the fact that manager Dave Roberts has continued to go back to him after a handful of blown saves, it doesn’t appear like there will be a chance in Los Angeles anytime soon.

Yimi Garcia vs. Padres

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (15th save)

Garcia has re-established himself as the Marlins’ primary closer over the last few weeks, converting each of his two save chances since the All-Star break. He was brought on to guard a one-run lead against a tough Padres’ lineup and needed only 13 pitches to slam the door on Saturday night.

Heath Hembree vs. Cardinals

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (8th save)

Hembree has done a magnificent job, filling in as the Reds’ closer over the last few weeks. The 32-year-old righty has allowed just two runs over 12 2/3 frames since June 28. He’s also converted eight of nine save chances this season.

Dillon Tate vs. Nationals 

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2nd save)

Tate got the call of the Orioles to protect a two-run advantage on Saturday night versus the Nationals. The 27-year-old righty picked up a pair of strikeouts and worked around a two-out single from Josh Harrison to net his second save of the season.

Raisel Iglesias vs. Twins

0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (21st save)

Iglesias was called upon to record the final out in the ninth inning after left-hander Patrick Sandoval tossed a one-hit gem on Saturday evening. He surrendered an RBI double to Josh Donaldson, with the run being charged to Sandoval, but managed to strike out Miguel Sano to end the contest. The 31-year-old righty has converted 21 of 25 save opportunities this season.

Wade Davis vs. Tigers

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)

Davis came on to clean up a mess in the ninth inning after Greg Holland allowed two runs on two hits and a pair of walks to open the frame. He fanned Jeimer Candelario to preserve a narrow one-run lead. It was his second save of the season.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Daulton Varsho, C/OF, Diamondbacks

One of the most electrifying power/speed combo athletes at the catching position in years, Varsho appears to be on the precipice of a legitimate breakthrough at the major-league level. The 25-year-old top prospect has been sizzling at the dish recently, homering in three consecutive games, while also slashing .429/ with three homers, eight RBI and two steals in seven games since the All-Star break. Given his immense talent and state of the catching landscape overall, Varsho is worthy of a speculative roster spot in all fantasy formats.

Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Jon Gray (Rockies) vs. Josiah Gray (Dodgers) - 4:10 PM ET

Gray versus Gray. Get excited, folks. Well, at least for Dodgers rookie sensation Josiah Gray, who punched out seven batters over four frames in his major-league debut earlier this week, and will be making his first career start on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.


American League Quick Hits: Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Saturday that Eduardo Rodriguez is "feeling better" after experiencing migraine symptoms on Friday night … Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Alex Bregman (quad) "probably" won't return for the team’s upcoming road trip … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Saturday that he believes Aaron Judge (COVID-19) will be an option "at some point" during the team's upcoming series in Tampa Bay … Luis Severino (groin) threw a live batting practice session on Saturday at Fenway Park … Gary Sanchez (back) was absent from the Yankees' starting lineup on Saturday against the Red Sox … Alek Manoah (back) will throw a simulated game on Monday in Florida … George Springer, Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez and Bo Bichette homered in the Blue Jays’ blowout victory over the Mets … Shohei Ohtani doubled twice and scored a run in the Angels’ win over the Twins … Mitch Haniger went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBI in the Mariners’ win over the Athletics … Yordan Alvarez went 2-for-2 with a solo homer and two RBI in the Astros’ win over the Rangers … Gleyber Torres went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of stolen bases in the Yankees’ comeback victory over the Red Sox … Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle hit solo homers in the Orioles’ win over the Nationals … Nicky Lopez tallied three hits, while Salvador Perez and Carlos Santana drilled three-run homers in the Royals’ victory over the Tigers … Ji-Man Choi went 4-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBI in the Rays’ lopsided win over Cleveland … Bobby Bradley launched his 11th round-tripper of the season in Cleveland’s loss to the Rays …  Andy Ibanez walked twice and drilled a solo homer in the Rangers’ loss to the Astros … Josh Donaldson hit an RBI double in the Twins’ loss to the Angels … Andrew Vaughn went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the White Sox’ loss to the Brewers … Chris Bassitt allowed four runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Mariners … Carlos Rodon was charged with four runs (two earned) over four innings in a loss to the Brewers … Jameson Taillon was charged with three runs (one earned) over seven innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox … Framber Valdez tallied four strikeouts and also walked six batters over six hitless frames in a win over the Rangers … Kyle Gibson walked eight batters and was charged with three runs (two earned) over six innings in a loss to the Astros … Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mets … Logan Gilbert surrendered three runs over 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Casey Mize notched six strikeouts and coughed up four runs over 4 2/3 frames in a no-decision against the Royals … Matt Harvey turned back the clock, reeling off six scoreless innings in a win over the Nationals … Carlos Hernandez was charged with five runs (four earned) over 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers … Drew Rasmussen notched three strikeouts and also allowed one run over three innings against Cleveland … J.C. Mejia was tagged for five runs over six innings in a loss to the Rays … Rays optioned SS Taylor Walls to Triple-A Durham.

National League Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that Max Scherzer, who was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday against the Orioles due to right triceps discomfort, has been discussed in potential trades with the Nationals … Marlins placed LHP Trevor Rogers on the 10-day injured list with lower back muscle spasms … Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters on Saturday that there's no timetable as to when Jacob deGrom (forearm) will throw a bullpen … Rich Hill is scheduled to make his debut with the Mets on Sunday against the Blue Jays … Jack Flaherty (oblique) will make a minor-league rehab start on Tuesday at Triple-A Memphis … Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Phillies are among several teams interested in acquiring Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill KellyYadier Molina (neck) was absent from the Cardinals' starting lineup on Saturday against the Reds … Cody Bellinger (hamstring) and Mookie Betts (hip) were held out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup on Saturday versus the Rockies … Fernando Tatis Jr. walloped his 30th round-tripper of the season in the Padres’ loss to the Marlins … Joc Pederson went 4-for-6 with a three-run homer and four RBI in the Braves’ blowout victory over the Phillies … Jesse Winker went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI in the Reds’ win over the Cardinals … Bryce Harper reached base three times in five plate appearances and stole another base in the Phillies’ loss to the Braves … Trea Turner went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the Nationals’ loss to the Orioles … Willson Contreras hammered his 15th round-tripper of the season in the Cubs’ loss to the Diamondbacks … Rowdy Tellez went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBI in the Brewers’ lopsided win over the White Sox … Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and three RBI in the Pirates’ blowout victory over the Giants … Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Mets’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays … Andy Young slugged a two-run homer in the Diamondbacks’ victory over the Cubs … Miguel Rojas went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a stolen base in the Marlins’ win over the Padres … LaMonte Wade Jr. walloped his 10th big fly of the season in the Giants’ loss to the Pirates … Austin Barnes went 2-for-3 with a solo homer to lead the Dodgers past the Rockies … Corbin Burnes struck out six batters and yielded one run over six innings in a win over the White Sox … Kevin Gausman was shelled for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Pirates … Taijuan Walker was obliterated for six runs over four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays … Tony Gonsolin notched seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 scoreless frames in a win over the Rockies … Kyle Freeland yielded one run over seven innings and was saddled with a tough-luck loss against the Dodgers … Merrill Kelly whiffed six batters and yielded two runs over six innings in a win over the Cubs … Drew Smyly fired four scoreless frames against the Phillies before departing early due to a left knee injury … Ryan Weathers hurled four shutout frames against the Marlins in his return to the Padres’ starting rotation after missing two weeks due to right ankle inflammation … Alec Mills gave up two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Cubs … Jon Lester was charged with three runs over five innings in a loss to the Orioles … Vince Velasquez was torched for six runs over 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Braves … Jake Woodford allowed three runs over five innings in a loss to the Reds … Diamondbacks placed INF Josh Rojas on the 10-day injured list with a dislocated left finger … David Peterson has a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot and isn’t expected to return until late August … Nationals recalled INF Carter Kieboom from Triple-A Rochester … Mets acquired OF Mark Payton from the Reds for cash considerations … Braves designated OF Ender Inciarte for assignment.