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Baseball Daily Dose

Five Tampa Bay Rays Combine on No-Hitter vs. Cleveland Indians

by David Shovein
Updated On: July 8, 2021, 9:48 am ET

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As we learned after Madison Bumgarner held the Braves hitless in a seven-inning complete game back in April, Major League Baseball does not officially recognize seven-inning no-hitters. That doesn’t mean it’s not a heck of an accomplishment still.

There have already been a whopping seven no-hitters thrown during the 2021 season, and that’s excluding Bumgarner’s gem. Joe Musgrove, Carlos Rodon, John Means, Wade Miley, Spencer Turnbull, Corey Kluber and a team effort from the Cubs (Zach Davies, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel). 

We already know that Bumgarner’s fantastic outing isn’t officially recognized, and history hasn’t always revered combined no-hitters in the same way as individual ones. So what’s going to happen when a team throws a combined no-hitter during a seven-inning game.

We no longer need to worry about the answer to that question. On Wednesday, five Tampa Bay Rays hurlers combined to hold the Indians without a hit in the second game of their doubleheader. Collin McHugh started and worked the first two innings, followed by Josh Fleming for 2 2/3 frames. Diego Castillo got the final out of the fifth inning, then Matt Wisler and Peter Fairbanks worked the sixth and seventh innings respectively.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, any game that goes fewer than nine innings in which a pitcher, or pitchers, do not allow a hit should be considered a “notable achievement”. This Rays effort isn’t going to gain any notoriety and isn’t going to be officially recognized, but for one day at least we should celebrate the fact that they completed an entire MLB game without surrendering a hit to the opposing team.

Perhaps the bigger story at play here though is that it was the third time this season that the Indians have been held hitless for an entire game. They were already victimized in Carlos Rodon and Wade Miley’s no-hitters. It goes without saying, but perhaps fantasy managers should look to stream pitchers against the Tribe whenever possible.

The Field is Set

Juan Soto and Joey Gallo officially committed to the Home Run Derby on Wednesday, completing the field of eight competitors for Monday’s must-watch event at Coors Field. Soto and Gallo will join Shohei Ohtani, Trey Mancini, Matt Olson, Salvador Perez, Trevor Story and Pete Alonso. While this event has lost some of its luster in recent years, all eyes will certainly be on it this year given the venue and the stacked lineup of participants.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Luis Garcia - 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 32% CSW, 17 swinging strikes

Garcia delivered yet another strong performance against the Athletics on Wednesday, racking up 17 swinging strikes (nine on his cutter) over five frames. He left with a two-run lead and in line for a victory in this one, but Cristian Javier came on for the sixth and gave up a pair of runs before he recorded an out. Garcia now boasts a terrific 3.06 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 97/29 K/BB ratio over 85 1/3 innings on the season.

Sonny Gray - 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 29% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

Gray looked extremely sharp in his second start back from the injured list, picking up his second victory of the season. He generated 16 whiffs in the game -- at least three on each of his sinker, slider, curveball and changeup. Gray needed just 99 pitches (61 strikes) to navigate seven frames in this one. He looks poised for a very strong second half.

Jacob deGrom - 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 40% CSW, 18 swinging strikes

It’s crazy how good this guy is every time that he takes the hill. If only the Mets could provide him with a shred of run support on occasion as he had to settle for another no-decision in this one -- and would have been on the hook for a loss had the Mets not tied the game in the seventh on a Jose Peraza homer off of Josh Hader. Both runs that he did allow were on solo homers -- to Luis Urias and Jace Peterson. Of his 18 whiffs in the game, 12 of them came on his slider. What the 33-year-old hurler has done through 15 starts this season is unbelievable. He owns a magnificent 1.08 ERA, 0.54 WHIP and 146/11 K/BB ratio over 92 innings.

Hitters with an EDGE

Vidal Brujan - 1-for-3, RBI, R, SB

Brujan impressed in his big league debut against the Indians on Wednesday afternoon, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a stolen base. He collected his first big league hit in his first at-bat, lining an RBI single into right field off of J.C. Mejia to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead in the first game of their doubleheader. He then promptly swiped second base without a throw. Things didn’t go quite as well in the nightcap, as Brujan went 0-for-3 with a strikeout to finish his day 1-for-6 overall. He started at second base in the first game and in right field for the second one, giving a glimpse into how the Rays plan to utilize his versatility. He’s going to remain with the big league club at least until the All-Star break with Manuel Margot (hamstring) on the injured list. How much longer he’ll stick around after that, likely depends on how well he swings the bat this week. So far, so good for the 23-year-old top prospect who should be owned in all mixed leagues at this point.

Shohei Ohtani - 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI

It legitimately seems like every day Ohtani is doing something noteworthy, and Wednesday was no exception. He crushed a 433-foot solo shot off of Eduardo Rodriguez leading off the fifth inning -- his 32nd home run of the season. That passes Hideki Matsui and gives Ohtani the most home runs in any MLB season by a Japanese-born player. An absolutely amazing accomplishment in it’s own right, but even more unbelievable considering we haven’t even reached the All-Star break yet. He’s now slashing .279/.364/.700 with 32 bombs, 69 RBI and 12 stolen bases in what’s shaping up to be a season for the ages.

Jared Walsh - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI

Lost in all the hype over all of the historic things that his teammate Shohei Ohtani is doing, Jared Walsh is having one heck of a season himself at the dish. He blasted another pair of home runs in Wednesday’s victory over the Red Sox giving him 22 on the season to go along with a .282/.340/.571 slash line and 64 RBI. He and Ohtani have kept the lineup afloat while Mike Trout has been sidelined.

Garrett Cooper - 3-for-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

Garrett Cooper had a huge day at the plate in Wednesday’s victory over the Dodgers. He opened the scoring with a solo shot off of Jake Reed in the first inning, then hit a game-tying solo shot off of Phil Bickford leading off the sixth inning. After reaching in all four of his plate appearances, Cooper is now slashing .284/.377/.479 with nine long balls and 31 RBI on the season.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Ranger Suarez, RP, Philadelphia Phillies -- Available in 77% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

While nothing has been made official by Phillies manager Joe Girardi yet, if you’re reading the tea leaves, Ranger Suarez is currently the team’s closer. The 25-year-old southpaw has been outstanding this season, compiling a 0.85 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 29/8 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings, and has done so while the rest of the Phillies bullpen has been a dumpster fire around him. Not only did he close out the Padres on July 3 to earn his first career save, he was also getting ready for a potential save situation against the Cubs on Monday -- after Archie Bradley had worked the seventh and Jose Alvarado had been tasked with the eighth -- but wound up sitting back down after the Phillies tacked on six runs in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth. Don’t wait for the next save chance as his price will skyrocket after he’s called upon and converts again. Now is the time to scoop him up wherever he’s available.

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Closing Time

Anthony Bender vs. Dodgers

1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K (1st Win)

Fantasy managers who speculated on Anthony Bender over the weekend in free agent bidding had to be psyched when Bender came on and converted his first career save on Monday. That excitement level had to be ratcheted up even higher on Wednesday, when he was called upon over Yimi Garcia (who had worked in three of the last four games) to close out a one-run lead against the Dodgers. Unfortunately, Bender served up a one-out, game-tying homer to Zach McKinstry -- but struck out the other three hitters that he faced. You’d hope that Marlins manager Don Mattingly realizes that not all blown saves are created equal, and that Bender was still dominant in this outing, but stranger things have happened. He did still vulture a victory in this one after Jesus Aguilar’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. He should still be a priority addition for those speculating on saves.

Gregory Soto vs. Rangers

2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K (7th Save)

Soto had to be brought on in the eighth inning of this one, after Erasmo Ramirez loaded the bases without recording an out. The 26-year-old flame-throwing southpaw got Adolis Garcia to pop out to first base, before issuing a run-scoring walk to Joey Gallo. He responded by blowing away John Hicks and Jonah Heim each on swinging third strikes to end the frame. Soto then returned for the ninth where he worked around a leadoff double by Andy Ibanez to secure the two-run victory. He’s clearly the top dog in the Tigers bullpen while Michael Fulmer is sidelined.

Chad Green vs. Mariners

1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (3rd Save)

Even with Aroldis Chapman available in the Yankees bullpen on Wednesday, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone turned to Chad Green instead to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning. Green responded in a big way, setting down Jake Fraley, Tom Murphy and Shed Long Jr. in order to put the game in the win column for the Bronx Bombers. Green has been outstanding all season, posting a 2.23 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 48/8 K/BB ratio over 44 1/3 innings. He has proven to be a capable fill-in for Chapman in the ninth inning. What isn’t yet clear, is whether or not this is going to be a permanent change, or if the Yankees are just giving Chapman a breather for a few days to hopefully right the ship. I would lean towards the latter, but at the same time Green makes a fantastic speculative addition for fantasy managers in need of saves.

Heath Hembree vs. Royals

1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1K (4th Save)

Another popular free agent addition from the weekend, Hembree was right back up on the horse on Wednesday after suffering a blown save against the Royals on Tuesday night -- though to be fair most of the trouble was caused by Brad Brach and an error by Eugenio Suarez played a major role in the inning. Still, Hembree set down the Royals in order on Wednesday to protect a three-run lead. He sports a 5.14 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the season and looks to be the man to own in the Reds bullpen for the time being. Of course, that’s all likely to change once Lucas Sims and/or Tejay Antone return in late July.

Joakim Soria vs. Rockies.

1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2K (2nd Save)

The 37-year-old hurler struck out Raimel Tapia and Trevor Story as part of a perfect inning to protect a two-run lead. He has now recorded two saves and a victory within the last week and suddenly looks relatively stable as the primary ninth-inning option for the Diamondbacks. They aren’t going to give him many save chances, but there’s still mixed league value to be had here.

Thursday’s Matchup of the Day

Yu Darvish (SD) vs. Max Scherzer (WAS)

There are some really intriguing pitching matchups on the docket for Thursday, including Sandy Alcantara taking on Julio Urias in the first game of the day, and Zach Plesac’s triumphant return from his finger injury. My attention, however, will be on the final game of the evening in San Diego.

Yu Darvish has been everything that the Padres could have envisioned when acquiring him over the off-season, going 7-3 with a 2.65 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 123/24 K/BB ratio across 102 innings through 17 starts. 

On the other side, Max Scherzer has rebounded beautifully from a disappointing 2020 campaign to have a career renaissance in his age-36 season. The right-hander boasts a 2.10 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 127/21 K/BB ratio over 94 1/3 frames in 16 starts.

Scherzer hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start since April 27 -- and he hasn’t allowed more than one run in a start since May 30.

Run scoring is going to be at a premium in this one, as evidenced by the over/under of seven that has been set for the game - which still seems a bit high given the two superstar right-handers on the mound.

 

American League Quick Hits: Trevor Rosenthal will miss the remainder of the 2021 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum. … Yasmani Grandal underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair the torn tendon in his left knee. He’s expected to be sidelined at least 4-to-6 weeks. … The White Sox designated outfielder Adam Eaton for assignment after hitting just .201 with a .642 OPS in 58 games. … The Rays placed Manuel Margot on the injured list with a hamstring strain. He should be ready to return after the All-Star break. … Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush indicated that Chris Sale (elbow) won’t return until he’s stretched out to five or six innings, so expect him to require several minor league rehab starts. … Justin Upton (back) isn’t likely to return before the All-Star break. … Maikel Franco landed on the injured list with a sprained ankle… The Mariners placed struggling southpaw Justus Sheffield on the injured list with a left forearm strain. … Franmil Reyes belted his 13th home run to celebrate his 26th birthday in a losing effort against the Rays. … Michael Wacha fired six innings of one-run ball to emerge victorious from the first game of the Rays doubleheader against the Indians. … Kevin Kiermaier homered, doubled and drove in five runs to lead the charge in that one. … Joey Gallo crushed a pair of homers off of Casey Mize in a losing effort against the Tigers. … Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out seven over five innings of one-run baseball in a victory over the Orioles. … Bo Bichette went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI to pace the Jays offense in the win. … Jose Altuve smacked his 19th home run as the Astros triumphed over the Athletics. … Aaron Judge homered and drove in two runs to lead the Yankees past the Mariners.

National League Quick Hits: Dodgers ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday with left forearm inflammation. It’s unclear if the Dodgers are just being cautious here and using this to cut back on his workload a bit heading into the All-Star break, or if there’s a reason to be concerned long-term. … Ozzie Albies was pulled from Wednesday’s game against the Pirates due to tightness in his neck. The move was considered precautionary and he’s listed as day-to-day. … Javier Baez was scratched from the Cubs lineup on Wednesday due to a right thumb sprain. … Kris Bryant was pulled from Wednesday’s game due to a tight hamstring. He’s considered day-to-day. … The Braves demoted slumping catcher William Contreras to Triple-A Gwinnett, purchasing the contract of Jonathan Lucroy to take his place. … Lorenzo Cain (hamstring) started a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville. … LaMonte Wade left Wednesday’s game with a left hand strain. … The Pirates signed Dee Strange-Gordon to a minor league contract. … The Cardinals placed Carlos Martinez on the injured list with a right thumb ligament sprain. … The Nationals activated Daniel Hudson (elbow) from the injured list. … Ronald Acuna Jr. blasted his 24th homer, doubled and scored three runs as the Braves routed the Pirates. … Abraham Almonte homered and drove in four in that victory. … Jonathan India went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI as the Reds topped the Royals. … Brett Anderson fired four scoreless innings against the Mets in his return to the Brewers rotation. … Justin Turner went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer as the Dodgers fell to the Marlins. … Jesus Aguilar crushed a walk-off three-run homer to power the Marlins past the Dodgers. … Zack Wheeler was roughed up for seven runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Cubs. … Eduardo Escobar went 3-for-4 with his 19th homer and three RBI, leading the Diamondbacks past the Rockies. … Alex Wood fanned six over seven innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Cardinals. … Chris Paddack was crushed for nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits over two innings against the Nationals. … Juan Soto homered and drove in three runs to lead the charge against him.