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The Royals came away with their sixth victory in the last eight games with a 3-1 win over the A's on Friday. Unfortunately, they had already suffered a significant loss before the first pitch. MRI results showed star catcher Salvador Perez sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. Perez left Tuesday's game against the Angels in the third inning after taking a swing that left him in obvious pain. He spent time on the injured list in May with a thumb sprain and returned on May 28 before reaggravating the same thumb Tuesday. Perez was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday morning and underwent successful surgery to repair the torn UCL. Royals manager Mike Matheny stated the 32-year-old backstop is expected to miss eight weeks as he recovers, with a hopeful return in late August. Last season's home run leader has stuggled at the plate as he's played through the injury, hitting .211/.254/.426 with 11 homers and 34 RBI across 236 plate appearances.
With Perez out for an extended time, MJ Melendez will handle most of the playing time at catcher. The 23-year-old slugger has been rotating at catcher, designated hitter, and right field to keep his bat in the lineup. Melendez is hitting .230/.331/.412 with six homers and 17 RBI over 172 plate apperances. He's managed just a 22.1 percent strikeout rate and exceptional 13.4 percent walk rate. Rostered in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues, Melendez should be added across all mixed formats. And with Perez on the injured list, could the opportunity arise for the team to add top first base prospect Vinnie Pasquantino? The 24-year-old is hitting .279/.367/.588 with 18 homers, three steals, and a 36/34 K/BB ratio over 283 plate appearances in Triple-A and appears ready to make the leap to the majors. Rostered in only 12 percent of Yahoo leagues, he's become a must-stash.
Hitters with an EDGE
Edward Olivares vs. A's
2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Olivares got the start in right field for the Royals against left-hander Cole Irvin. He got the scoring started in the third inning with a leadoff homer. It was déjà vu in the fifth as he led off the frame with a solo blast for his second of the game. It was the first game off the injured list for Olivares. That's certainly one way to make a comeback. The 26-year-old outfielder is hitting .395/.439/658 with two homers and two steals across 41 plate appearances.
Trea Turner vs. Braves
3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI
Turner collected three hits on Friday against the Braves. He started with a leadoff single in the first inning before scoring on a base hit by Will Smith. Turner added a hit in the second inning, then blasted a solo homer to lead off the fifth. The 28-year-old star is hitting .318/.365/.500 with ten homers, 52 RBI, and 14 steals across 302 plate appearances.
Alejandro Kirk vs. Brewers
4-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Kirk is making his case for best offensive catcher in the game. He led off the second inning against the Brewers with a base hit and scored on a double by Matt Chapman. He added a pair of singles in the third and fourth innings before blasting a two-run homer off Trevor Kelley in the seventh. Kirk is up to nine home runs with a .321/.406/.513 triple-slash across 224 plate appearances. He did leave Friday's game with an injured hand after he was hit on a backswing in the seventh inning.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
German Marquez vs. Twins
7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 2 K
3 Swinging strikes, 25% CSW
Marquez had his best outing of the season on Friday against the Twins, tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings. It was the first time he held the opposing team scoreless all season despite issuing five walks and striking out only two batters. While he didn't succeed by getting whiffs, he induced 12 groundouts to just four fly-outs. Marquez lowers his ERA to 5.58 with a 1.50 WHIP and 68 strikeouts over 80 2/3 innings. He'll get a tough test against the Dodgers in Coors Field his next time out.
Julio Urías vs. Braves
6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K
20 swinging strikes, 37 percent CSW
Urias continued his run of solid starts with six innings of one-run ball against the Braves. The one run came on a sacrifice fly by Matt Olson in the sixth inning after two singles and a walk loaded the bases. Urias was otherwise impressive, generating an incredible 20 whiffs to strike out nine batters. He's seen an uptick in his strikeout rate over his last five starts. The 25-year-old left-hander will take a 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 71 strikeouts over 76 1/3 innings into his next start against the Rockies in Colorado on Wednesday.
Kyle Hendricks vs. Cardinals
7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Hendricks tossed one of his better games on Friday with seven shutout innings against the Cardinals. He scattered five hits and walked one batter while inducing 11 whiffs to strike out six. The closest St. Louis would get to scoring came in the eighth after they led off with a single and a double to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Hendricks would get Lars Nootbaar to strike out before his day was done. Chris Martin entered and stranded the runners to keep the Cardinals off the board. Hendricks will take a 4.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts across 75 1/3 innings into a start against the Reds in Chicago on Thursday.
Christian Walker -- Available in 56 percent of Yahoo leagues
Walker has been hot at the plate, blasting three homers this week to give him 19 on the year. He's hitting .207/.302/.488 across 281 plate appearances. But don't let the surface stats fool you. He's been making some of the best contact of his career with a career-high 16.3 percent barrel rate and an impressive 45.8 percent hard-hit rate while striking out just 19.9 percent of the time. While he's crushed left-handed pitching, it seems he's been unlucky against righties with a .156 babip. It's as good a time as any to add the 31-year-old first baseman as the Diamondbacks go to Colorado for a three-game series in Coors Field on Friday.
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After German Marquez went 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Twins, Daniel Bard took it the rest of the way with a four-out save. He did not allow a hit or a walk, getting three of his four outs via groundout. Bard is up to 15 saves on the year with a 1.88 ERA across 28 innings.
Craig Kimbrel worked around a leadoff single, striking out one batter on his way to his 13th save in the Dodgers' 4-1 win over the Braves.
Scott Barlow took the mound for the Royals in the ninth inning with a two-run lead against the A's. He gave up a leadoff double to Seth Brown before striking out two batters and inducing a groundout for the third. Barlow is up to nine saves with a 2.25 ERA across 32 innings.
With Ryan Pressly unavailable after pitching in back-to-back games, Rafael Montero got the call in the ninth for the Astros on Friday against the Yankees. He worked around two walks to close it out for his fifth save of the season.
Edwin Diaz picked up his 15th save on Friday after a scoreless ninth inning against the Marlins. He worked around a pair of base hits, finishing the day with a 2.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings.
With the Cubs taking a three-run lead into the ninth inning, David Robertson was called on to close it out. He pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout to record his ninth save to go with a 1.95 ERA over 27 2/3 innings.
Hunter Strickland got the save chance for the Reds on Friday. He protected the two-run lead in the ninth, working around a walk to keep the Giants off the board for his third save.
Tanner Rainey took the mound in the ninth inning for the Nationals with a one-run lead against the Rangers. He allowed a walk and a hit with one out to put runners on the corners. Rainey escaped the jam by getting Marcus Semien to pop out before Corey Seager flew out to center field. It was save number nine on the season for Rainey to go with a 3.13 ERA over 23 innings.
Matchup of the Day
The Yankees and Astros continue their showdown in New York with the third game of a four-game series. Taking the mound for Houston will be Cristian Javier, who carries a 3.07 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 68 strikeouts across 55 2/3 innings. He joined the starting rotation after 11 scoreless innings in relief to begin the year and has recorded a 3.86 ERA across nine starts. He's coming off a five-inning, one-run performance with five strikeouts against the White Sox his last time out. Javier has walked 12 batters over his previous four starts. He'll have to keep the free passes in check against a dangerous Yankees lineup.
Going for the Yankees will be their ace, Gerrit Cole. Cole carries a 3.14 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 103 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He's coming off what might have been his best outing this season, striking out 12 batters with one run allowed over 7 1/3 innings against the Rays.
American League Quick Hits: The Yankees and Aaron Judge avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $19 million contract... Byron Buxton was held out again Friday due to knee discomfort... Austin Meadows cleared COVID-19 protocols and will begin a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday... Yoan Moncada could return from the injured list as soon as he's eligible on Tuesday... The Royals placed Daniel Lynch on the 15-day injured list with a blister on his left index finger... The Blue Jays placed Yimi García on the 15-day injured list with a back strain and recalled Jeremy Beasley... Nate Pearson was diagnosed with a right lat strain... Angels designated Juan Lagares for assignment and purchased the contract of Monte Harrison... The Red Sox activated Christian Arroyo from the COVID-19 injured list... The Astros designated Dillon Thomas for assignment and optioned Jose Siri to Triple-A... Houston activated Jake Meyers from the 60-day injured list... The Orioles placed Kyle Bradish on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation...
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom is scheduled to throw live batting practice for the second time on Saturday... Tyler O'Neill will be reevaluated for a minor league rehab assignment early next week... Kolten Wong will begin a minor league rehab assignment over the weekend... The Giants optioned Zack Littell to Triple-A and recalled Yunior Marte... The Cubs designated Jonathan Villar for assignment and activated David Bote on the 60-day injured list... Andrew Heaney was placed on the 15-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation... Dustin May faced live batters on Friday... The Dodgers will recall Mitch White from Triple-A to start against the Braves on Saturday... The Reds placed Jeff Hoffman on the COVID-19 injured list and recalled Jared Solomon from Triple-A... Miguel Rojas was scratched from the Marlins lineup Friday due to a right foot contusion... The Brewers optioned Mark Mathias to Triple-A and activated Mike Brosseau from the 10-day injured list... Steven Matz is expected to make his first minor league rehab start on Tuesday... James McCann was activated from the 10-day injured list...