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Jays Take Flight - Blast Eight Homers in Rout
The Blue Jays have turned into one of the most powerful and exciting young offenses in all of baseball, and they certainly flexed their muscles in Sunday’s 18-run outburst against the Red Sox.
They got to work early and often in this one, with Teoscar Hernandez starting the fun with a three-run blast over the Green Monster in left field off of Red Sox southpaw Martin Perez in the opening inning. Two batters later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. belted a 400-foot solo shot and the Jays were off.
Marcus Semien clobbered a 414-foot blast off of Perez in the second inning to make it a 5-0 ballgame. Hernandez then took another turn -- this time launching a three-run homer off of Ryan Weber to make it 9-1. That one -- unlike the 366-foot shot off of Perez in the first inning -- was a no-doubter that was smashed at 114.3 mph and traveled 440 feet to center.
Bo Bichette decided to get in on the fun in the fifth inning, tagging Weber for a three-run blast of his own to make it a 13-3 ballgame. That one was “only” hit at 109.5 mph and traveled 405 feet.
Cavan Biggio was the next of the Baby Jays to leave the yard, slugging a 409-foot solo shot off of Weber in the sixth to make it 14-3. Not to be left out of the party, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. stepped up in the seventh inning and cranked an opposite-field 402-foot two-run shot off of Weber to make it 16-3.
Mercifully, Weber was finally pulled after allowing 11 runs on 13 hits and a pair of walks over 5 2/3 innings. Marwin Gonzalez replaced him and worked a perfect eighth inning, but it wasn’t quite as smooth for fellow position player Christian Arroyo in the ninth. There, he served up a 414-foot two-run blast to Rowdy Tellez to finish the onslaught.
All told, the Blue Jays smashed eight home runs in the ballgame that traveled a combined 3,250 feet. It’s the second highest total in Jays franchise history for home runs in a ballgame, behind only the time that they blasted 10 home runs against the Orioles in 1987.
The Jays also made a bit of history on Sunday afternoon, as their eight long balls were the most by any visiting team in the history of Fenway Park.
Teoscar Hernandez finished the contest 3-for-6 with a pair of homers, a double and six RBI. Bo Bichette went 4-for-5 with five runs scored, three RBI a homer, double, walk and a stolen base. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI. Massive fun was had by all. Except for Randal Grichuk who went 1-for-5 and didn’t drive in or score a run -- and Riley Adams who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
As a team, the Blue Jays now pace the majors with 99 home runs. They should be the first time to eclipse the 100-homer plateau, unless the next closest team (the Twins at 95) do some serious work against Marco Gonzales and the Mariners on Monday night. Only two other teams have surpassed 90 long balls on the season -- the Braves with 93 and the Giants with 91. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pirates are far and away the lowest total in all of baseball with only 46 homers on the season -- less than half of what the Jays have.
The Jays aren’t just socking dingers though, they’re also pitching well and winning ballgames. Robbie Ray delivered another strong start on Sunday -- striking out 10 over six innings of three-run ball, bringing the Jays to 33-30 on the season. They’ll enter play on Monday in third place in the American League East, 7 1/2 games behind the Rays and 4 1/2 back of the Red Sox. They’re currently three games behind the Astros for the second Wild Card spot.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Aaron Nola - 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K
33% CSW, 15 swinging strikes
It was a nice rebound effort for Nola after giving up seven runs over 10 innings over his previous two starts. In one of his most dominant starts of the season, Nola fired 75 of his 103 pitches for strikes. He generated eight whiffs on his knuckle curve, five on his fastball and two on his changeup. He now owns a 3.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 94/18 K/BB ratio across 83 innings on the season.
Framber Valdez - 7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 K
22% CSW, 9 swinging strikes
Valdez struggled with his command in this one -- throwing just 56 of his 97 pitches for strikes and issuing three walks -- but he still limited the Twins offense to just one earned run over 7 2/3 innings. A big part of his success in this one was generating 13 ground outs. Valdez has been outstanding since his return from the injured list, registering a 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 24 strikeouts over 25 1/3 innings.
Carlos Rodon - 7 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K
39% CSW, 22 swinging strikes
The dominant left-hander carried a bid for his second no-hitter of the season into the seventh inning on Sunday before he allowed a one-out double to Eric Haase. He generated a season-high 22 swinging strikes in the contest and posted an eye-popping 39 percent CSW. The 28-year-old has been perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2021 season, compiling a ridiculous 1.89 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 97/17 K/BB ratio across 66 2/3 innings.
Logan Gilbert - 6 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K
36% CSW, 19 swinging strikes
The highly-touted rookie right-hander delivered perhaps the finest start of his young career, racking up 19 swinging strikes (10 on his fastball, 5 on his slider, 4 on his changeup) while posting a terrific 36 percent CSW. It was the highest usage that we have seen for Gilbert’s changeup (10%) and he induced four whiffs on six swings against it. After struggling in his big league debut, Gilbert has now surrendered three runs or fewer in each of his last five starts and seems to be getting better each time out. He now owns a 4.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 28 1/3 innings on the season.
Joe Ross - 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 9 K
31% CSW, 12 swinging strikes
The 28-year-old right-hander came through with his most dominant effort of the season, registering a season-high nine strikeouts over eight shutout innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in either of his last two starts, lowering his ERA from 5.40 to 4.19 in the process. He’s extremely volatile -- as evidenced by his 10 earned run debacle against the Cardinals in April -- but Ross is worth a look as a streaming option in good matchups.
Hitters with an EDGE
Fernando Tatis Jr. - 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
Fernando Tatis Jr. brought SlamDiego back to life on Sunday, clubbing a go-ahead grand slam off of Jacob Barnes in the seventh inning to deliver the Padres a 7-3 victory over the Mets. He has been unbelievable this season, slashing .279/.354/.654 with 19 homers, 44 RBI and 13 stolen bases through his first 50 games.
Matt Olson - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
Matt Olson’s impressive 2021 campaign continued in Sunday’s victory over the Royals as he blasted a pair of solo home runs off of Royals southpaw Kris Bubic. He’s now slashing .289/.374/.610 with 18 homers and 47 RBI on the season.
Michael Brantley - 4-for-5, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R
Several Astros had big days at the plate as they piled up 14 runs in a victory over the Twins, but Brantley led the charge. The 34-year-old has been as good as ever this season, slashing a robust .337/.381/.497 with three homers and 21 RBI in 202 plate appearances over 46 games.
Taylor Walls - 3-for-4, 2 RBI, R, SB
The 24-year-old rookie shortstop swiped his third base of the season and delivered a go-ahead two-run single off of Bruce Zimmerman in Sunday’s victory over the Orioles. After a slow start, he has been swinging a hot stick as of late -- hitting .310 (9-for-29) with a homer, five RBI and two stolen bases over his last eight games. If he’s still hanging around on the waiver wire in deeper mixed leagues, he could be an attractive middle infield option.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Adam Duvall, OF, Miami Marlins -- Available in 76% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Duvall, a notoriously-streaky hitter, is on a tear at the moment. Coming off of a week where he blasted three homers, drove in eight runs and stole a pair of bases, it’s crazy that he’s still only 24% owned in Yahoo leagues. The batting average is undeniably poor on the season (.201), but he’s got 12 homers, 41 RBI and four swipes. At the very least, he should be owned and started in deeper mixed leagues -- at least until his bat begins to cool off.
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Liam Hendriks picked up his 17th save of the season with a perfect inning to protect a three-run lead against the Tigers. He remains as elite and as reliable as ever.
Josh Hader struck out the side (and walked a batter) to preserve a three-run lead against the Pirates. After a slow start, he’s now up to 17 saves on the season with an other-worldly 0.68 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 46 strikeouts across 26 2/3 innings.
Lucas Sims didn’t get credited with a save -- since he came on with a four-run lead -- but he got the final six outs in Sunday’s victory over the Rockies. He looks like the clear front-runner for saves in that bullpen at the moment.
Will Smith notched his 12th save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning against the Marlins. The ratios haven’t been great (4.56 ERA, 1.17 WHIP), but he still has a strangehold on the closer’s job in Atlanta.
Lou Trivino struck out a pair in a perfect ninth inning to close out the Royals and earn his 10th save of the season on Sunday. He owns a 2.32 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 31 innings on the season, though he’s still sharing save chances with Jake Diekman depending on matchups.
Kenley Jansen came on and put out a fire in the ninth inning on Sunday, ultimately converting his 15th save of the season. He has been rock solid once again and now owns a brilliant 1.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 30/19 K/BB ratio across 26 2/3 innings on the season.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side (while walking Paul Goldschmidt in between) to preserve a two-run lead against the Cardinals in the ninth inning on Sunday. The 33-year-old owns an elite 0.67 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 45/9 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings on the season.
Monday’s Matchup of the Day
Two of the best right-handers in the American League will go head-to-head in a battle of division leaders in Chicago on Monday night.
Lance Lynn enters with a fantastic 7-1 record, 1.23 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 72/17 K/BB ratio across 65 2/3 innings in his 11 starts. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a single start all season, and has surrendered a total of two runs over his last four starts combined.
Tyler Glasnow has been outstanding as well, carrying a 5-2 record, 2.57 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 117/26 K/BB ratio over 84 innings in his 13 starts. While Lynn owns the top ERA in the American League among qualified hurlers, Glasnow ranks second behind only Shane Bieber with his lofty strikeout total. He has struck out 10 or more batters in seven of his 13 starts on the season.
American League Quick Hits: Mitch Haniger left Sunday’s game against the Indians after fouling a ball off of his knee. He’s considered day-to-day with a deep bone bruise and is likely to miss a game or two. … Michael Pineda was pulled from Sunday’s start against the Astros after four innings due to right forearm tightness. … Jake Odorizzi will pitch out of the Astros bullpen on Tuesday in a piggyback role following Lance McCullers Jr., and will then return to pitch as part of a six-man Astros rotation. … The Indians optioned struggling right-hander Triston McKenzie to Triple-A Columbus. … Xander Bogaerts returned to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday after missing two games with left knee soreness. … Aaron Judge was held out of the Yankees lineup on Sunday due to back spasms. … Jonathan Schoop was scratched from the Tigers lineup on Sunday due to a sore hand. He’s considered day-to-day. … The Rangers placed Khris Davis on unconditional release waivers. … The Angels claimed Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Mariners. … Tigers top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Dillon Dingler were promoted to Double-A Erie on Sunday… Randy Arozarena clobbered a grand slam as the Rays defeated the Orioles. … Jose Abreu went 3-for-5 with an RBI as the White Sox completed their three-game sweep of the Tigers. … Randy Arozarena blasted a grand slam as the Rays topped the Orioles. … Domingo German was torched for a season-high seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Phillies. … Shane Bieber was shelled for five runs over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Mariners.
National League Quick Hits: Ronald Acuna Jr. was pulled from Sunday’s game as a precautionary measure with right pectoral muscle tightness. He’s expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday after the team’s off-day on Monday. … Cody Bellinger (hamstring) was held out of the Dodgers lineup on Sunday. He’s still considered day-to-day, but will be re-evaluated on Monday. … Javier Baez was scratched from the Cubs lineup on Sunday due to renewed soreness in his right thumb. … Colin Moran left Sunday’s game due to tightness in his lower back. He’s considered day-to-day. … Kwang-Hyun Kim (back) threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday and is on track to return to the Cardinals rotation on Tuesday against the Marlins. … Reds top pitching prospect Hunter Greene is expected to be promoted to Triple-A Louisville this week. … Chris Paddack struck out nine over six innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Mets. … Jean Segura went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI as the Phillies routed the Yankees. … Josh Harrison collected four hits as the Nationals beat the Giants. … Kyle Schwarber blasted a pair of homers off of Johnny Cueto to lead the Nats to victory in that one. … Ryan McMahon belted his 15th homer in a loss to the Reds… Austin Riley homered and drove in three runs as the Braves defeated the Marlins. … Starling Marte drove in three runs and swiped a base in a losing effort there. … Walker Buehler struck out five over six scoreless innings in a victory over the Rangers. … Mookie Betts homered and scored three runs in the victory… Carlos Martinez didn’t allow an earned run while striking out six over seven innings in a tough-luck loss against the Cubs. … Zach Davies fired 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball with six strikeouts in an impressive victory over the Cardinals.