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Baseball Daily Dose

Empire State of Scherzer

by George Bissell
Updated On: May 9, 2021, 9:55 am ET

Despite wet field conditions and unseasonably cool temperatures in New York City on Saturday afternoon, Max Scherzer authored his most dominant start of the 2021 campaign, recording a season-high 14 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Yankees. The 36-year-old veteran right-hander completely overpowered a fully-loaded Yankees’ lineup, working into the eighth inning and allowing only three baserunners the entire contest. A solo homer by Kyle Higashioka in the third inning represented the lone tally against him in an otherwise flawless performance. He induced an eye-popping 22 swinging strikes, his highest single-start total since July 6, 2019 and also finished with an elite 41 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). His 14-strikeout effort represented the highest single-start total by an opposing starting pitcher at Yankee Stadium since 2009. He’s been phenomenal over his last two starts, allowing only two runs on seven hits with a 23/1 K/BB ratio across 16 1/3 innings. He’ll look to keep the momentum going against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday evening.

Pearson Of Interest 

There hasn’t been any official confirmation yet, but it appears that Blue Jays’ hard-throwing righty Nate Pearson will be activated from the 10-day injured list to start Sunday’s series finale against the Astros. The 24-year-old flame-thrower is one of the top pitching prospects in the entire game, but has been sidelined since early March due to a groin strain. He was extremely impressive, recording eight strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings in an abbreviated start at Triple-A Buffalo earlier this week. There’s plenty of risk in his profile, especially considering that he’ll likely be facing a loaded Astros’ lineup in his regular season debut, but Pearson possesses an extremely high ceiling thanks to his exceptional swing-and-miss stuff. He’s worthy of a speculative roster spot for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Clayton Kershaw vs. Angels

5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

30% CSW, 11 swinging strikes

On the heels of the shortest outing of his major-league career against the Cubs earlier this week, Kershaw rebounded to scatter two hits and a walk over five shutout frames against the Angels. He was staked to a massive 13-run lead, thanks to the Dodgers’ offensive explosion, and wasn’t asked to work past the fifth inning in this one. He’ll carry a 2.62 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 46/8 K/BB ratio across 44 2/3 innings (eight starts) into an extremely favorable home matchup against the Marlins next Sunday.  

Adrian Houser vs. Marlins

6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

35% CSW, 17 swinging strikes

Houser served as a dual-threat, crushing his second round-tripper of the season, and recording a season-high 10 strikeouts to propel the Brewers past the Marlins. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts to open the 2021 campaign and is worthy of a roster spot for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues moving forward. He’ll square off against the Braves on Friday in his next start.

Tyler Glasnow vs. Athletics

5.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 11 K

35% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

Glasnow struggled with his command, issuing four walks, and didn’t have his best stuff at times in this one, but still managed to record his fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the season. He dominated with his fastball/curveball combination, which generated 13 whiffs combined, and gave up only two hits over 5 2/3 frames. A two-run homer by Seth Brown and a solo shot from Austin Allen accounted for all of the damage against him. No matter how you slice the data, he’s one of the premier pitchers in the American League this season. He’ll carry a 2.37 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 75/19 K/BB ratio over 49 1/3 innings (eight starts) into a favorable matchup against the Mets at home on Friday. 

Kevin Gausman vs. Padres

6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

31% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

Gausman has been remarkably consistent, completing six innings while allowing one earned run or fewer in seven of eight starts to open the 2021 campaign. The 30-year-old righty is quietly emerging as a potential dark horse Cy Young Award candidate on the senior circuit. He’ll carry a pristine 1.97 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 47/12 K/BB ratio over 45 2/3 innings (seven starts) into a tasty matchup against the Pirates on Friday. 

Hitters with an EDGE

Adolis Garcia vs. Mariners

2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB

Joey Gallo vs. Mariners

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

Garcia and Gallo shared the spotlight in the Rangers’ dramatic victory over the Mariners. Garcia launched his eighth long ball of the season off lefty Anthony Misiewicz in the eighth inning, and also stole a base to pick up an increasingly-rare combo meal in this one. Meanwhile, Gallo slugged a pair of round-trippers to record his first multi-homer effort of the season. Per Sarah Langs of MLB.com, Garcia is now tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the most home runs (eight) in baseball since April 15. He’s so much fun to watch right now.

Yasmani Grandal vs. Royals

0-for-0, RBI, 4 BB

Grandal walked four times, reaching base safely in four of his five plate appearances, in the White Sox’ blowout win over the Royals. He also picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the opening frame. The 32-year-old on-base machine has walked 14 times over his last four games, and currently boasts the most bizarre-looking triple-slash line in the major leagues, hitting .121/.388/.259 with 11 runs scored, two homers and 10 RBI in 86 plate appearances. He’s drawn 26 walks and only struck out 16 times in 20 games this season.

Xander Bogaerts vs. Orioles

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

The model of consistency, Bogaerts put the exclamation point on the Red Sox’ eleven-run outburst with a two-run shot to left field in the sixth inning. It was his seventh round-tripper of the season. The 28-year-old fantasy stalwart is hitting .357/.400/.603 with 21 runs scored, seven homers, 20 RBI and a pair of stolen bases across 135 plate appearances.

Yordan Alvarez vs. Blue Jays

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

Alvarez blasted a two-run shot to left field off lefty Steven Matz in the fourth inning, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Astros past the Blue Jays. The 23-year-old middle-of-the-order masher has gone deep four times in seven games this month.

Austin Slater vs. Padres

2-for-2, R, HR, 3 RBI

Slater came off the bench to slap a two-out RBI single against Tim Hill in the sixth inning before launching a mammoth 456-foot two-run homer to center field off Nabil Crismatt in the eighth inning. The 28-year-old outfielder has been locked-in at the plate recently, homering in two consecutive games. It must be the new mustache.

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Closing Time

Brad Hand coughed up two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk in a blown save against the Yankees. The 31-year-old southpaw was tasked with protecting a one run lead in the ninth inning and surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Gleyber Torres. It was his first blown save of the season. He came back out to protect another one-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning and immediately served up a go-ahead RBI single to Mike Ford before being lifted from the contest. Technically, Hand blew two saves in the same game. Ouch.

Alex Reyes saw his scoreless streak to open the 2021 campaign snapped at 15 2/3 innings when he gave up an RBI single to Charlie Blackmon in the eighth inning. He managed to record the final out of the frame and struck out the side in the ensuing frame to protect a one-run lead and secure his 10th save of the season.

Craig Kimbrel worked around a two-out walk to hurl a scoreless frame, silencing the Pirates to nail down his sixth save of the season. The 32-year-old righty was unavailable for a save situation on Friday evening after pitching in four of the team's previous five games, but he showed zero signs of fatigue in his return on Saturday afternoon. 

Lou Trivino tossed 1 1/3 scoreless frames to pick up his sixth save of the season against the Rays. The 29-year-old righty came on to extinguish a fire in the eighth inning before tossing a shutout final frame to end the contest. He’s firmly entrenched as the Athletics’ primary closer and holds a 3.86 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 21/10 K/BB ratio over 18 2/3 innings this season.

Ian Kennedy gave up a run in the ninth inning against the Mariners, but still managed to protect a two-run lead to collect his American League-leading 10th save of the season. The 36-year-old journeyman righty has recorded a 2.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 20/2 K/BB ratio over 15 innings to open the 2021 campaign. 

Héctor Neris coughed up a game-tying, pinch-hit two-run homer to Pablo Sandoval in the bottom of the ninth inning and was charged with a blown save against the Braves. It’s possible that Phillies manager Joe Girardi could turn to Sam Coonrod, who has compiled a 1.13 ERA with an 18/2 K/BB ratio over 16 innings this season, for the next save chance, but as of right now, it appears that Neris will remain the primary closer in Philadelphia.

With Edwin Díaz likely unavailable after pitching in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday, respectively, Trevor May was summoned to protect a two-run lead against the Diamondbacks and needed only 13 pitches (12 strikes) to end the ballgame. He gave up a leadoff single to Carson Kelly, but locked-in to retire the next three hitters in order to preserve the victory and collect his first save of the season.

Blake Treinen fired a scoreless ninth inning, preserving a three-run lead against the Angels to collect his first save of the season. It's pretty remarkable that there ended up being a save situation in this one considering that the Dodgers held a 13-0 lead after five innings. The 32-year-old righty was summoned to protect a three-run lead and needed only 12 pitches (11 strikes) to ice the victory. He struck out Juan Lagares and Jared Walsh before getting Phil Gosselin to ground out to end it.

It didn’t end up as a save situation, since the Brewers increased their lead to a four-run advantage in the eighth inning, but J.P. Feyereisen, Devin Williams and Josh Hader combined to strike out eight batters and allowed only one baserunner over three scoreless frames, slamming the door on the Marlins. If you’re a fan of milestones, Hader became the fastest pitcher in major league history to reach 400 career strikeouts, breaking the previous mark established by Craig Kimbrel back in 2014.

EDGE Priority Pickup

Cole Irvin, SP, Athletics

Irvin recorded a career-high nine strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball on Tuesday in a win over the Blue Jays and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four consecutive starts since April 17. The 27-year-old lefty owns a 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 34/5 K/BB ratio across 35 innings (six starts) this season and is in line for an extremely favorable home matchup against the Rays on Sunday. Simply put, he should be rostered in all fantasy formats.

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Sunday’s Matchup of the Day

Shane McClanahan (Rays) vs. Cole Irvin (Athletics) - 4:07 PM ET

McClanahan has quickly evolved into one of the most exciting young pitchers in the entire game. The 24-year-old southpaw routinely touches triple-digits, and has been paired up with hard-throwing righty Luis Patiño to form a dynamic multi-inning tandem in recent weeks. It’s unclear how long either McClanahan or Patiño will go in this one, but it’s appointment viewing.  


American League Quick Hits: Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Saturday that Luke Voit (knee) will be activated from the 10-day injured list early next week … Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters that it's possible that Anthony Rendon (knee) could return off the injured list as soon as he's eligible on May 14 …Kevin Kiermaier has been diagnosed with a sprained left wrist after leaving Saturday's game against the Athletics … Rangers activated Khris Davis from the 10-day injured list … Yoán Moncada went 2-for-3 with three RBI, powering the White Sox to a lopsided victory over the Royals … Marcus Semien crushed a three-run homer and Cavan Biggio walloped a two-run blast in the Blue Jays’ win over the Astros … Seth Brown went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI to lead the Athletics to a win over the Rays … Robbie Grossman tallied three hits, including a solo homer, and Niko Goodrum went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a pair of walks in the Tigers’ win over the Twins … Cesar Hernandez drilled a three-run triple to lif the Indians to a win over the Reds … Jared Walsh went 2-for-4 with three RBI on Saturday in the Angels' loss to the Dodgers … Brandon Lowe clobbered a two-run homer in the Rays’ loss to the Athletics … Josh Donaldson swatted his third round-tripper of the season in the Twins’ loss to the Tigers … Alex Verdugo went 3-for-6 with a run scored, Michael Chavis belted a two-run homer and Christian Vázquez went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the Red Sox’ blowout win over the Orioles … Kyle Lewis had two hits and also walked twice, while Kyle Seager, Evan White and Luis Torrens left the yard in the Mariners’ loss to the Rangers … Lance Lynn recorded six strikeouts over five shutout innings in a win over the Royals … Corey Kluber whiffed six batters over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Nationals … Frankie Montas collected six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in a win over the Rays … Aaron Civale notched five strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Reds … Cristian Javier yielded five runs on four hits and struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Blue Jays … Garrett Richards allowed four runs over seven innings in a win over the Orioles … Steven Matz was charged with three runs over five innings in a win over the Astros … Daniel Lynch was obliterated for eight runs and recorded only two outs in a loss to the White Sox … Michael Fulmer spun 2 2/3 scoreless frames to pick up a win in relief against the Twins … Angels placed Alex Cobb on the 10-day injured list with a right middle finger blister … Alex Kirilloff (wrist) is expected to resume swinging a bat in the next few days … Jesús Luzardo (hand) played catch at a low-effort level from 60-feet on Saturday.

National League Quick Hits: Ronald Acuña Jr. exited Saturday's game against the Phillies after being hit by a pitch on his left hand. X-rays were negative and he’s considered day-to-day with a left pinky finger contusion … Mets interim general manager Zack Scott said Saturday that Jacob deGrom (side) is “ready to roll” for his scheduled start on Sunday against the Diamondbacks … Corbin Burnes will rejoin the Brewers on Monday and throw a bullpen session. The 26-year-old fantasy ace has been on the injured list since April 29 for an undisclosed reason. If the bullpen goes well, he reportedly could return to the team’s starting rotation at some point next week … Padres manager Jayce Tingler told reporters that Chris Paddack could start Sunday’s series finale against the Giants … C.J. Cron (back) was absent from the Rockies' starting lineup for the second consecutive game on Saturday … Javier Báez exited Saturday's game against the Pirates with back tightness … Giants placed Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day injured list with right biceps tightness … Cardinals activated C Yadier Molina from the 10-day injured list … Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a season-high four RBI, Corey Seager went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Will Smith went 2-for-5 with three RBI in the Dodgers' win over the Angels … Freddie Freeman swatted a solo homer and walked twice in the Braves’ win over the Phillies in extra-innings …Paul Goldschmidt collected three hits, blasted a two-run homer and drove in three runs in the Cardinals’ win over the Rockies … Fernando Tatis Jr. had two hits and stole a pair of bases in the Padres’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Giants … Jeff McNeil slugged a two-run homer in the Mets’ win over the Diamondbacks … Avisail Garcia went 3-for-5 with a two-run blast in the Brewers’ win over the Marlins … Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-4 with a two-run single in the Rockies’ loss to the Cardinals … Jean Segura went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the Phillies’ loss to the Braves in extra-innings … Victor Robles went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Nationals’ loss to the Yankees … Adam Frazier went 3-for-4 with a stolen base in the Pirates’ loss to the Cubs … Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford went deep in the Giants’ lopsided victory over the Padres … Tyler Naquin clubbed his seventh homer in the Reds’ loss to the Indians … Luis Castillo was shelled for six runs (four earned) over four innings in a loss to the Indians … Joe Musgrove allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out seven batters over five innings in a loss to the Giants … Ian Anderson struck out seven batters over six innings of three-run ball in a no-decision against the Phillies … Vince Velasquez notched six strikeouts and yielded only one run over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Braves … Wil Crowe registered five strikeouts over six innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Cubs … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said late Friday evening that A.J. Pollock has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain … Colin Moran exited Saturday's game against the Cubs with an apparent injury … Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) will throw another simulated game on Tuesday … Noah Syndergaard (elbow) and Seth Lugo (elbow) are expected to begin minor-league rehab assignments next week … Brett Anderson (hamstring) will be activated from the 10-day injured list on Sunday to start against the Marlins … Tony Gonsolin (shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Sunday.