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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each crushed home runs and the New York Yankees won another baseball game. It seems to almost be a nightly occurrence these days, but it did happen again on Friday against the White Sox.
Stanton got the fun started in this one, crushing a 427-foot two-run bomb off of Vince Velasquez in the opening inning to give the Bombers an early 2-0 edge. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Judge – the major league home run leader – slugged his 355-foot blast off of Velasquez to make it a 6-0 ballgame.
That would prove to be more than enough run support for Gerrit Cole and company in this one, as the Yankees rolled to a 10-4 victory over the White Sox in Chicago. The Yankees currently sport the best record in all of baseball with their 24-8 start to begin the season.
This was the 22nd time that Judge and Stanton have homered in the same game together as teammates. The Yankees are now 21-1 in those contests.
Through the first 32 games of the season, Judge leads the big leagues with 12 home runs while Stanton has 10. That makes the duo just the third set of teammates in Yankees franchise history to each have double-digit homers through the team’s first 32 games – joining Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig from 1930 and Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra from 1956. That’s some mighty impressive company.
Clayton Kershaw to the IL
Dodgers veteran southpaw Clayton Kershaw was unexpectedly scratched from his scheduled start against the Phillies on Friday and was placed on the 15-day injured list with right SI joint inflammation.
The good news, if we can call it that, is that Kershaw himself told reporters on Friday that he underwent an MRI exam which did not reveal any structural damage. Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts told the media on Friday that Kershaw received an epidural after his back locked up on him on the team flight returning from Pittsburgh.
Roberts also noted that he’s optimistic and confident that the 34-year-old hurler will be ready to return after a minimum stint on the injured list. Fantasy managers knew the risks that were involved in calling Kershaw's name on draft day -- with a strong likelihood that he would have to spend at least some time on the injured list at some point.
Through his first five starts this season, Kershaw has been as good as ever -- registering a 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 32/3 K/BB ratio over 30 innings. Let's hope that this can all be taken at face value and that the future Hall-of-Fame hurler will be ready to return after only missing a pair of starts.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Chase Silseth - 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, `4 K, W (1), 32% CSW, 10 swinging strikes
The 21-year-old right-hander was recalled from Double-A Rocket City on Friday and got to make his big league debut against the Athletics. He had been off to a tremendous start at Double-A, registering a 2.08 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 37/7 K/BB ratio across 26 innings. That carried over into Friday’s start, where Silseth allowed just one hit – a leadoff single to Elvis Andrus in the third inning – over six shutout innings. He generated 10 whiffs on 81 pitches – six on his splitter – while posting a CSW of 32 percent. Silseth averaged 95.8 mph on his fastball and touched as high as 98.6 mph. If he sticks in the Angels rotation, this is definitely an intriguing mixed league arm.
Pablo Lopez - 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 11 K, 43% CSW, 20 swinging strikes
Lopez racked up a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven brilliant innings in a tough-luck no-decision against the Brewers. The only blemish on his day was a leadoff homer off the bat of Kolten Wong, but he was magnificent otherwise. He generated 20 swinging strikes in the game – 14 of those on his changeup – while posting a jaw-dropping 43 percent CSW. The 26-year-old hurler has been other-worldly this season, registering a 1.05 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and a 46/8 K/BB ratio over 43 innings through his first seven starts.
Tyler Mahle - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 35% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
Mahle delivered his best start since Opening Day in a victory over the Pirates on Friday night, piling up a season-high eight strikeouts over six innings of two-run baseball. He generated 16 swinging strikes on the night – nine of those on his fastball which averaged 93.4 mph and touched as high as 96.2 mph. Even with this strong outing though, he still sports a miserable 5.89 ERA and 1.47 WHIP over 36 2/3 innings through his first eight starts on the season.
Hitters with an EDGE
Royce Lewis - 2-for-4, HR (1), 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B
Twins 22-year-old phenom Royce Lewis smacked his first big league home run on Friday night – a 395-foot grand slam off of Bryan Shaw – that helped to propel the Twins to victory over the Guardians. Lewis also doubled in the contest, his second of the season. So far, so good as he’s hitting .320/.320/.520 through his first 25 plate appearances with the big league club.
Andrew Benintendi - 3-for-4, HR (2), 3 RBI, 2 R, 3B
In a 14-10 slugfest between the Chiefs and Broncos – err the Royals and Rockies – on Friday night, Benintendi smacked a two-run shot off of Kyle Freeland in the opening inning to get the Royals on the board. He also tacked on an RBI triple in the seventh inning to make it a 12-7 contest. On the season, he’s slashing a robust .324/.374/.432 though it’s with just two homers and 15 RBI.
Mike Moustakas - 2-for-5, 2 HR (3), 2 RBI, 2 R
Moustakas notched his first multi-homer game of the season on Friday night, powering the Reds to an 8-2 victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Hitting out of the cleanup spot in the Reds lineup, the veteran slugger tagged Mitch Keller for a solo blast in the fourth inning then added another off of Heath Hembree in the seventh. His bat has started to sizzle after a slow start and he’s now hitting .263/.326/.438 with three homers and nine RBI on the season.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Manuel Margot, OF, Tampa Bay Rays – Available in 37% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Pop quiz. Who is the top scoring fantasy player over the last two weeks? The surprising answer is Rays toolsy outfielder Manuel Margot. Over the last two weeks he’s hitting an absurd .429 with eight runs scored, three homers, 13 RBI, four stolen bases and a 1.259 OPS. That’ll certainly play in any format. Margot has always flashed the power and speed skills, he has just never quite been able to put it all together at the big league level. If this breakout is real, Margot could be a major difference maker for the remainder of the season. The fact that he’s still living on the waiver wire in nearly 40 percent of all Yahoo leagues hurts my soul.
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Taylor Rogers vs. Braves - 1 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K (13th save)
Rogers continued to impress on Friday night, racking up his 13th save of the season – tying him once again with Josh Hader for the big league lead. He came on with a man on, two outs and a one-run lead in the eighth inning. He did issue a walk to Matt Olson, but battled back to get Austin Riley to fly out to center to end the threat. Rogers has now converted 13 of his first 14 save chances on the season while registering a minuscule 0.64 ERA and 0.57 WHIP over 14 innings.
Josh Hader vs. Marlins - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (13th save)
Keeping pace with Taylor Rogers, Josh Hader racked up his 13th save of the season on Friday. Hader needed just seven pitches (six strikes) to set down the Marlins in order in this one. Hader has still yet to allow an earned run through 12 1/3 innings to begin the season – doing so with a 0.57 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio.
Mark Melancon vs. Cubs - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (7th save)
After an absolutely brutal outing his last time out where he gave up four runs on three hits and a walk over 2/3 of an inning in a loss to the Marlins, Mark Melancon jumped right back up on the horse on Friday. The right-hander set the Cubs down in order in this one, picking up his seventh save of the season. He still owns a miserable 6.17 ERA and 1.80 WHIP on the season, but those numbers are gradually declining. His job is still secure – for now – but one more blown save could obviously change that.
Will Vest vs. Orioles - 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (1st save)
Will Vest played the role of hero for the Tigers on Friday night, recording the final two outs to protect a two-run lead against the Orioles. Guillermo Soto started the ninth inning with a two-run lead, but hit the first two batters that he faced and allowed a one-out walk to Tyler Nevin to prompt a change. Vest came through by striking out Ramon Urias and Rylan Banning to end the night. Vest boasts a 1.17 ERA and 0.46 WHIP on the season. He’s working his way into the late-inning mix and could be the next one up if Soto loses his grip on the closer’s role.
Saturday’s Matchup of the Day
George Kirby (SEA) vs. Chris Bassitt (NYM)
Fresh off firing six shutout innings in his big league debut, Mariners rookie phenom George Kirby will get his next test on Saturday – going up against the National League East division-leading New York Mets.
Not only will he have to battle a deep and talented Mets lineup though, the pitcher that they’re running up against him isn’t a slouch. Chris Bassitt has been terrific through his first six starts with the Mets, going 4-2 with a 2.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 38/9 K/BB ratio.
Something has to give here, and given the early look of things from Vegas, it looks like Kirby’s Dream Land could be coming to an end, as the Mets are installed as -170 favorites.
American League Quick Hits: The Mariners demoted slumping outfielder Jarred Kelenic to Triple-A Tacoma… George Springer was removed from Friday’s game with a mild left ankle sprain. He’s considered day-to-day for now… Tigers top prospect Riley Greene (foot) resumed baseball activities on Friday… Dylan Bundy (COVID-19) is expected to return to the Twins rotation to take on the Guardians on Saturday… The Tigers claimed Sam Howard off of waivers from the Pirates… Hyun-Jin Ryu (forearm) will return from the injured list to start against the Rays on Saturday… The Guardians placed Josh Naylor on the COVID-19 IL… The White Sox placed Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 IL, though there’s still a chance that he’ll make his scheduled start on Monday… The White Sox activated Andrew Vaughn (hand) from the 10-day IL… The Orioles placed Ryan Mountcastle on the 10-day IL with a left wrist strain… Yandy Diaz was scratched from the Rays lineup with a non-COVID illness… Matt Manning fired 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in his latest rehab start with Triple-A Toledo… Taylor Ward (hamstring) returned to the Angels lineup on Friday… Jeremy Pena (knee) was held out of the Astros lineup, he’s still considered day-to-day… Austin Meadows sat out Friday’s game due to an inner ear infection… Alex Verdugo was removed from Friday’s battle against the Rangers due to a right foot contusion. X-rays came back negative and he’s considered day-to-day…
Ty France smacked a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning as the Mariners topped the Mets… Yuli Gurriel belted his first home run of the season as the Astros defeated the Nationals… Framber Valdez fanned six over 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball to earn a victory there… Andrew Velazquez smacked his first homer of the season as the Angels triumphed over the Athletics… Hunter Dozier went 5-for-5 with four runs scored and an RBI as the Royals topped the Rockies… Miguel Cabrera homered, doubled and drove in two runs in a rare Tigers victory over the Orioles… Eduardo Rodriguez hurled 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball to earn his first victory of the season there… Brandon Lowe went 2-for-4 with a pair of triples and an RBI as the Rays beat the Blue Jays… Kole Calhoun went 3-for-4 with a triple in a loss to the Red Sox… Nick Pivetta fired seven innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Rangers… Byron Buxton smacked his 10th home run as the Twins walloped the Guardians… Andres Gimenez belted his fourth long ball in a losing effort there… Gerrit Cole struck out nine batters over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his third victory of the season…
National League Quick Hits: Mets catcher James McCann was diagnosed with a left hamate bone fracture and is expected to miss the next six weeks. Tomás Nido will handle the bulk of the catching duties for the Mets in the meantime… Ronald Acuña Jr. (groin) remained out of the Braves starting lineup on Friday. He’s still considered day-to-day… Jonathan India (hamstring) resumed baseball activities on Friday… Kumar Rocker signed with the Tri-City Valleycats of the independent Frontier League as he looks to showcase his health before re-entering the amateur draft in July… The Marlins activated BrIan Anderson from the COVID-19 injured list and placed Joey Wendle on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain… Joey Votto (COVID-19) is a few days away from starting a minor league rehab assignment… The Padres signed Robinson Canó to a one-year contract and demoted Dinelson Lamet to Triple-A… Connoe Joe (illness) is expected to return to the Rockies lineup at some point over the weekend… Kris Bryant (back) took light batting practice on Friday. He’ll be re-evaluated on Sunday… Seiya Suzuki (ankle) was held out of the Cubs lineup yet again on Friday – he hasn’t started since Monday due to the injury… Will Smith sat out Friday’s game with a pectoral issue, but is expected to return to the lineup as the Dodgers designated hitter on Saturday… Avisail Garcia was removed from Friday’s loss to the Brewers due to stomach issues…
Corbin Burnes fanned seven over seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Marlins… Brandon Drury clubbed his seventh home run of the season as the Reds defeated the Pirates… Max Scherzer hurled seven innings of one-run baseball and struck out six in a tough-luck no-decision against the Mariners… Brendan Rodgers went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI in a losing effort against the Royals… Ketel Marte had three hits, including a pair of doubles, as the Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs… Sam Hilliard had a jack and a bag as the Rockies fell to the Royals… Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with a homer and two doubles in an extra-inning victory over the Dodgers… Nick Castellanos drove in three runs and swiped a base in that win for the Phillies… Justin Turner homered and plated four in a losing effort for the Dodgers… Wil Myers went 3-for-4 with a homer as the Padres topped the Braves… Ha-Seong Kim went 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs scored and three RBI to help pace the Padres attack… Logan Webb hurled six innings of one-run baseball against the Cardinals to earn his fifth win of the season…