The Phillies made a bold move on Friday morning, firing manager Joe Girardi and naming Rob Thomson as the interim skipper for the remainder of the season. The team had struggled to a 22-29 record and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski felt that a new voice was needed in the clubhouse. How they have responded to that change so far, has been pretty impressive.
The Phillies went out and crushed the Angels on Friday night 10-0. They defeated the Halos again on Saturday by a score of 7-2. If they were going to complete the three-game weekend sweep of the Angels on Sunday though, they had some serious work to do.
The Phillies entered the bottom of the eighth inning facing a 6-2 deficit. They got to work against left-hander Aaron Loup though, as Odúbel Herrera led off with a single and Johan Camargo reached on an error. After Bryson Stott reached on a fielder’s choice, Kyle Schwarber drew a walk to load the bases for Rhys Hoskins. At that point, Angels skipper Joe Maddon had seen enough and called for closer Raisel Iglesias.
Iglesias struck out Rhys Hoskins, setting the stage for Bryce Harper. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Harper worked the count full and then crushed a 426-foot game-tying grand slam. Iglesias was able to battle back and get Nick Castellanos to fly out to center, but the damage had been done.
The work for the Phillies wasn’t over yet though. The Angels scratched out a run off of Corey Knebel in the top half of the ninth inning on an RBI single by Matt Duffy to give them a 7-6 lead. Iglesias returned for the ninth inning, now trying to secure a victory for himself rather than a save.
The Phillies kept fighting. Alec Bohm reached on a one-out single, then Didi Gregorius smacked a first-pitch single with two outs in the inning, bringing rookie shortstop Bryson Stott to the dish. At that point, Maddon had seen enough from Iglesias and brought in Jimmy Herget to close it out.
Stott’s best friend – and eighth inning hero – Bryce Harper, turned to teammate Zack Wheeler and said “He’s about to go deep right here… I can feel it”. The two-time MVP’s premonition would wind up being right on. The 24-year-old crushed a 3-2 pitch into the right field seats to send the Phillies faithful into a frenzy.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Phillies franchise history that they had a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning and then a walk-off homer in the ninth. While it was a night that Stott will certainly never forget, he still finished the game just 1-for-5 and is hitting a paltry .159/.221/.250 with two homers, 13 RBI and a 27/7 K/BB ratio over 95 plate appearances on the season. It looks like Thomson is committed to letting the youngsters play though, so hopefully this moment propels Stott to sustained productivity and viability from a fantasy perspective.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Jakob Junis - 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 35% CSW, 9 swinging strikes
Junis continues to look like the next great Giants reclamation project. He delivered another gem on Sunday afternoon, allowing just a solo homer to Garrett Cooper over six stellar innings while racking up a season-high eight strikeouts. He boasts a tremendous 2.51 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 35/9 K/BB ratio over 43 frames on the season. As long as he remains in the rotation, he should be rostered in most mixed leagues.
Zach Plesac - 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 24% CSW, 13 swinging strikes
Don’t look now, but everyone’s favorite punching bag delivered his second straight quality start in Sunday’s victory over the Orioles, piling up a season-high eight strikeouts in the process. Plesac was denied a victory earlier in the week, after the Guardians bullpen blew his lead against the Royals, this time around they were lights-out for him. He’s had two disastrous outings – on the road at the Angels and on the road against the Astros – but otherwise he’s actually been a viable mixed league arm. He’ll carry a 4.72 ERA and 1.28 WHIP into next week’s premium matchup against the Athletics.
Rich Hill - 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 35% CSW, 6 swinging strikes
The 42-year-old ageless wonder picked up his second victory of the season with this brilliant gem against the Athletics on Sunday afternoon. It was just the second time all season that Hill has lasted six innings, and he needed only 78 pitches to get there. He now holds a 4.40 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 45 innings on the season.
Hitters with an EDGE
Yordan Alvarez - 3-for-4, HR (16), 3B, RBI, 3 R
Alvarez continued his hot-hitting ways in Sunday’s victory over the Royals. He smacked his second triple of the season and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning, then crushed a mammoth 456-foot solo shot off of Arodys Vizcaino in the eighth inning. After assaulting Royals pitching all weekend, he was then drilled in his final at-bat in the ninth. He now has four homers and eight RBI over his last six games and is slashing .295/.391/.624 with 16 homers and 34 RBI on the season.
Ronald Acuña Jr. - 4-for-5, HR (3), RBI, 3 R, SB (10)
Let me be the first to apologize for doubting the fact that the 24-year-old superstar would be running wild right away following his return from ACL surgery. Acuna Jr. has now swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts on the season and is showing no signs at all of slowing down. With his four-hit attack in Sunday’s victory over the Rockies, he’s now slashing a monstrous .313/.408/.475 with three homers and 13 RBI in 26 games. As long as he remains healthy, the sky's the limit.
Eugenio Suárez - 3-for-4, HR (11), 2B, 4 RBI, R, BB
The 30-year-old slugger blasted his 11th home run of the season – a solo shot off of Martín Pérez in the fourth inning – in a victory over the Rangers. Suarez also tacked on a game-tying RBI single in the sixth inning and a game-tying two-run double in the ninth. He’s quietly having a pretty productive season in his first year with the Mariners, slashing .236/.323/.472 with 11 homers and 32 RBI.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Frank Schwindel, 1B, Chicago Cubs – Available in 63% of Yahoo fantasy leagues
Schwindel was a breakout star during the second half of the 2021 season, but he fell flat on his face to begin the 2022 campaign. On May 8, he was slashing just .209/.250/.308 with only two homers in his first 96 plate appearances, causing the Cubs to demote him to Triple-A Iowa. Only, he didn’t even make it there. Due to a roster crunch, the Cubs recalled Schwindel the very next day, but the demotion lit a serious fire under him. Since returning, he’s hitting .275/.330/.520 with six homers and 20 RBI in 27 games and has re-established himself as the Cubs cleanup hitter. He should be rostered in far more than 37 percent of all Yahoo leagues.
Rafael Montero vs. Royals - 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (4th save)
So this one took a bit of a crazy turn. Ryan Pressly came on to protect a four-run lead in the ninth inning, but was ejected from the game after throwing near Michael A. Taylor after Yordan Alvarez had been hit during the top half of the inning. Phil Maton then came on and issued a pair of walks and allowed an RBI single, leaving the bases loaded with a three-run lead for Montero. The right-hander did a terrific cleanup job, getting Nicky Lopez to ground out to second base to end the game. He’s still second in line for save chances in Houston while posting an impressive 2.08 ERA and 0.97 WHIP on the season.
Paul Sewald vs. Rangers - 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K (4th save)
This afternoon, on the Mariners closer carousel, it was Paul Sewald who was able to close out a one-run victory over the Rangers in the 10th inning. That’s after Diego Castillo worked a scoreless ninth inning in a tied game to earn his third victory of the season. It’s going to continue to be a committee approach here, but with a 2.21 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 19/7 K/BB ratio over 20 1/3 innings, Sewald holds mixed league appeal even with only a partial share of the closer’s gig.
Taylor Rogers vs. Brewers - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K (18th save)
Rogers bounced back from blown saves in each of his last two save chances, to slam the door on the Brewers in the 10th inning on Sunday. He did allow the inherited runner to score, but was able to escape any further damage. Despite his recent slip-ups, Rogers still sports a solid 3.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 26/6 K/BB ratio on the season while converting 18 or his first 21 save chances. Sunday’s conversion should at least silence any chatter around the idea of Rogers losing his hold on the ninth inning – at least for now.
Steve Cishek vs. Reds - 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (1st save)
A bit of a blast from the past, the 35-year-old right-hander picked up his first save since 2019 – and the 133rd of his career – as he closed out a one-run victory over the Reds. Cishek was only given the opportunity due to the fact that Tanner Rainey had worked in each of the previous two games, so don’t expect that he’s going to be usurping the closer’s role any time soon. He also allowed a couple of base runners in this one, before picking Nick Senzel off of first base to end the game.
Monday’s Matchup of the Day
Carlos Carrasco (NYM) vs. Blake Snell (SD)
With only six games on the slate for Monday, the pickings are a bit slim in terms of must-see matchups, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of any intrigue.
The final game of the night pits a pair of high-quality hurlers against each other in a premium matchup in San Diego. Blake Snell will be making his fourth start of the season for the Padres and is still searching for his first victory. He pitched very well his last time out though, striking out six over six innings of two-run baseball in a no-decision against the Cardinals. He’ll be taking on a red-hot Mets team that’s fresh off of three straight victories against the Brewers.
For the Mets, it’ll be Carlos Carrasco taking the hill. The 35-year-old hurler has been a stabilizing force in an injury-depleted rotation this season, going 6-1 with a 3.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 51/13 K/BB ratio over 57 innings of work. He has won five straight decisions and each of his last three starts. He’ll try to extend that streak and run the Mets winning streak to three games in Monday’s series opener in San Diego.
American League Quick Hits: Orioles top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lat strain and is unlikely to pitch again until September. … The Angels placed Taylor Ward (hamstring) on the 10-day IL and recalled Jo Adell from Triple-A Salt Lake. … The Rangers designated Willie Calhoun for assignment. … Andrew Kittredge (back) returned from the 10-day injured list. … Gio Urshela (foot) returned to the Twins lineup on Sunday. … Austin Meadows (vertigo) could rejoin the Tigers on Tuesday. … Eduardo Rodriguez (ribs) could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. … Robbie Grossman (neck) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday. … Jonathan Loáisiga (shoulder) is expected to resume throwing on Monday. … The Rangers optioned Andy Ibáñez to Triple-A Round Rock. … Jeimer Candelario was removed from Sunday’s game against the Yankees with a shoulder injury. … Lance Lynn will make another minor league rehab start at Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday. … Chris Sale (ribs) will throw another bullpen session on Tuesday and then progress to facing live hitters on Friday. … The Athletics plan to recall Jared Koenig from Triple-A Las Vegas to start against the Braves on Wednesday. … Andrew Benintendi was pulled from Sunday’s game due to tightness in his calf. He’s considered day-to-day.
Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-3 and drove in a run in a loss to the Yankees. He’s hitting .301 on the season. … Joey Gallo crushed a two-run homer as the Yankees rallied to beat the Tigers. … Andres Gimenez clubbed a three-run homer, powering the Guardians past the Orioles. … Ryan Mountcastle slugged a two-run homer in a losing effort there. … George Springer blasted his 50th career leadoff home run in a loss to the Twins. … Luis Arraez went 4-for-4 with a pair of runs scored in a victory over the Blue Jays. … Isaac Paredes clubbed his fourth homer in a losing effort against the White Sox. … Liam Hendriks worked a perfect ninth inning to notch his 16th save there. … Ryan Yarbrough was blasted for six runs on eight hits over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox. … Salvador Perez homered, doubled and drove in three runs in a loss to the Astros. … Kyle Tucker smacked his ninth home run of the season as the Astros topped the Royals. … George Kirby allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Rangers. … Martín Pérez fanned seven over six innings of two-run ball against the Mariners. … Rafael Devers homered and drove in two runs on Sunday as the Red Sox triumphed over the Athletics. … Frankie Montas struck out seven over six innings against the Red Sox.
National League Quick Hits: Jonathan India (hamstring) will undergo a follow-up MRI on Monday to see if he has progressed enough to begin a minor league rehab assignment. … Stephen Strasburg (neck, shoulder) will throw a bullpen session on Monday, after which the Nationals will determine where his next start will come. It’s anticipated that he will join the Nationals rotation. … The Pirates recalled top outfield prospect Travis Swaggerty from Triple-A Indianapolis. Literally every top prospect not named Oneil Cruz is getting a chance with the Pirates. … Nick Ahmed has been shut down from throwing in extended spring training due to renewed shoulder soreness. … The Phillies activated Didi Gregorius from the 10-day IL. … Luis Urías (thumb) missed his second straight game. He’s still considered day-to-day. … Brandon Woodruff (ankle) resumed throwing on Sunday… Roman Quinn refused an outright assignment to Triple-A and elected to become a free agent. … The Diamondbacks claimed Cole Tucker off of waivers from the Pirates. … Kevin Pillar is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday. … Tylor Megill (biceps) threw 53 pitches over 3 2/3 innings in his first minor league rehab start at Double-A Binghamton on Sunday. … The Cubs optioned Caleb Kilian back to Triple-A Iowa. … Dylan Carlson (hamstring) played five innings in the field on Saturday and seven innings on Sunday. There’s a chance he could rejoin the Cardinals on Tuesday. … Jack Flaherty (shoulder) threw three perfect innings in his first minor league rehab start with Double-A Springfield.
Zach Thompson fired five shutout innings in a victory over the Diamondbacks. … Cal Mitchell belted his first big league home run to support the cause there. … Donovan Walton clobbered a grand slam on Sunday, powering the Giants to victory over the Marlins… Kolten Wong homered twice and drove in three runs in a loss to the Padres. … Mike Clevinger struck out five over three innings of one-run ball in his return from the injured list. … Jake Cronenworth launched a go-ahead three-run homer in the 10th to beat the Brewers. … Brendan Rodgers went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI as the Rockies fell to the Braves. … Justin Steele allowed just one earned run over seven innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals. … Harrison Bader went 2-for-5 with a triple and a pair of runs scored as the Cardinals rallied to beat the Cubs in extra innings. … Trea Turner belted a two-run homer in a loss to the Mets. … Adonis Medina worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first career save after Edwin Diaz was utilized in the eighth inning.