Spencer Gifts a Win against Reds

·11 min read

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Spencer Strider had himself a day against the Reds in Great American Ballpark on Saturday. The 23-year-old not only racked up his fourth career win but also matched his career-high of 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work. He also limited the Reds to one run across the seven frames, which is nothing to scoff at. The Reds ballpark has been the most friendly ballpark for hitters, narrowly pushing out Coors Field for the top spot. The mustached right-hander only needed his four-seam and slider to get the Reds hitters to swing and miss 24 times. His slider was other worldly with a 50 CSW% on 32 pitches thrown. Strider came into the season as a lights-out reliever but he has secured his spot in the Braves rotation going forward. He will face off against the more patient Cardinals on Thursday in Atlanta which will be a much harder test for the young starter.

Hitters with an EDGE

Nolan Arenado vs. Phillies

2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (16, 17), 3 RBI

Well well well. What do you do after hitting for the cycle on Friday? How about smashing two balls over the fence in a close game against the Phillies? Nolan Arenado has been a man on a mission as of late. He is hitting .375 in his last five games and .288 with 17 bombs on the season. The 31-year-old struggled during his last season in Colorado but has gotten back to his All-Star form since coming over to St. Louis.

Jose Altuve vs. Angels

3-for-4, 3 R, 1 HR (16), 1 RBI, 1 SB (6)

Altuve must have been hungry Saturday night and he decided to pick up a combo meal during his game against the Angels. Altuve started the game off with a bang to left field for a double and was driven in by Kyle Tucker, giving the Astros a quick 1-0 lead. Altuve doubled again in the bottom of the second, stole third base, and was driven in by Alex Bregman’s single to left field. He wasn’t finished as he smashed a ball 385 feet to right field in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Astros a very comfortable six-run lead. The second base position had been a tough position to roster but fantasy managers are feeling great if they took the chance on the 32-year-old veteran.

Matt Carpenter vs. Guardians

3-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR (7, 8), 4 RBI

While the 36-year-old doesn’t get much time to play for the winningest team in baseball, when he does play, he typically plays a factor. In the second game of a double header against Cleveland, the veteran started the game at first base, giving Anthony Rizzo a breather. He smashed a ball over the fence in the sixth inning to put the Yankees up by two and then got an easy one when Ernie Clement threw in the top of the ninth. While there he has no fantasy baseball relevance, except in the deepest of leagues, seeing the ex-Cardinal demolish baseballs is fun.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Shane McClanahan vs. Blue Jays

7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

39% CSW, 18 swinging strikes

The 25-year-old came into the game only one strikeout behind Corbin Burnes for the major league lead in strikeouts so what does he do? He goes into Toronto and just does his thing, which is striking out batters. McClanahan was outstanding against his AL East foe. Things looked rough in the first as Bo Bichette smacked a double and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (on his bobblehead day ) drove him in on with a single to right field. It was smooth sailing for Sugar Shane after that and I feel justified taking him as the number one pitcher of the board when I was on the Circling The Bases podcast a couple of weeks ago.

George Kirby vs. A’s

7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

37% CSW, 15 swinging strikes

This was a much-needed bounce back for the young right-hander after only giving up seven earned runs against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The 24-year-old generated 10 whiffs on his fastball and went to his slider to pick up another four whiffs. He didn’t factor into the game as the Mariners struggled to put hits together against Paul Blackburn. The right-hander has an uphill battle as the mighty Toronto Blue Jays come into town next week.

Dylan Cease vs. Giants

5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

34% CSW, 19 swinging strikes

Cease picked up his seventh win of the season but shockingly only racked up four punchouts against the Giants on Saturday. Cease’s biggest issue this season has been his command and he walked three Giants while also needing 104 pitches to make it to the end of the fifth inning. His slider was absolutely filthy and generated 15 of his 19 whiffs in the outing. The 26-year-old superstar sports a 2.51 ERA with 125 strikeouts across 86 innings this year. He faces off against AL Central rival Tigers on Thursday.

Priority Pickup

Cavan Biggio (Blue Jays) 1B, 2B, 3B, OF - Available in 91% of Yahoo leagues

It is not typical to pick up a useful player that hits in one of the best lineups in all of baseball but Cavan Biggio might be the answer to your injury-plagued roster. Biggio, the pre-2021 fantasy baseball season ‘sleeper’ might have just needed a one-plus season to wake up. The 27-year-old started the season on the roster but spent a month on the COVID-19 injured list. After returning, he has seen more consistent playing time all around the diamond for the Blue Jays. In his last 14 games, he is hitting .360/.515/.800 with two homers and six RBI. The Blue Jays head out west to face the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners so fantasy managers could even more category juice soon.

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Closing Time

Kendall Graveman vs. Giants

1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (5th save)

Yikes. Never watch your closers. Graveman came into the ninth with a comfortable three-run lead but made White Sox fans and fantasy managers nervous after allowing a single to Austin Slater and then an RBI single from Brandon Belt. He then got Mike Yastrzemski to ground out to the shortstop before racking up his fifth save of the season. Liam Hendricks is scheduled to return to the pen on Monday, Graveman’s time at closer is nearing the end times.

Tanner Scott vs. Nationals

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (9th save)

It was a pretty quick outing for the 27-year-old southpaw. He entered the ninth with a two-run lead and quickly dealt with the Nationals to pick up his ninth save of the year. The Marlins have been searching for a reliable closer all year and it looks like they might have found one in Scott.

David Bednar vs. Brewers

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (12th save)

After a rough couple of outings, the 27-year-old got the job done against the NL Central rival Brewers on Saturday. The right-hander walked Yelich in the top of the ninth inning before getting Adames-Tellez-McCutchen out to secure his 12th save of the year. There has been some trade buzz with Bednar but fantasy managers should just sit back a relax knowing they have a multi-inning closer on their roster.

Will Smith vs. Reds

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (4th save)

The Braves' closing situation has been in flux since Kenley Jansen landed on the injured list this past week. It was a bit unclear who the Braves manager, Brian Snitker would turn to. Both A.J. Minter and Will Smith have a save since then. Snitker might have shown his hand as he called on Minter in the bottom of the seventh to face off against Joey Votto, Matt Reynolds, and Mike Moustakas. Smith entered the ninth and looked a bit off, as he walked Tommy Pham and Joey Votto before getting Reynolds to ground out. He would then plunk DH Donovan Solano before enticing a big fly from Albert Almora to lock down his fourth save of the season.

Clay Holmes vs. Guardians

0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (15th save)

Yankees skipper, Aaron Boone, wasn’t planning on calling on Holmes in the second game of the doubleheader but after Wandy Peralta made even a five-run lead feel uncomfortable he just had to do it. Many fantasy managers were wondering who the Yankees would call on after Aroldis Chapman was activated from the injured list. Chapman followed Gerrit Cole in the first game, walking three batters while getting no strikeouts or outs. It looks like Holmes has locked down the closer spot for the Yankees for the foreseeable future.

David Robertson vs. Red Sox

1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (11th save)

David Ross called on Robertson for a four-out save against the formidable Red Sox offense and it was no sweat for the 37-year-old. The veteran’s only blemish on the day was a double to left field by the white-hot Jarren Duran. He then made quick work of Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez before walking Xander Bogaerts. Alex Verdugo would then smack a flyball deep to center field for an out.

Sunday's Matchup of the Day

Frankie Montas (A’s) vs. Robbie Ray (Mariners)

How long do we start #HugWatch with Montas? Honestly, you could probably say that ever since the Matt x 2 trade (Olsen and Chapman). The 29-year-old right-hander has been lights out during the month of June with a 3.19 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 28/9 K/BB ratio. While those back-of-the-baseball card stats might not blow you out of the water, the A’s defense and bullpen have done him zero favors. He went 1-3 during that period with only five runs of support, outside of a 10-5 win against the Guardians on June 11. On the other side of the bump is 2021 AL Cy Young award winner, Robbie Ray. It was rough seas for the lefty in his first couple of outings but has been smooth sailing recently. During the month of June, he was 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA with 37 punchouts in 37 innings of work. While you might expect to see more strikeouts, Ray incorporated a sinker at the beginning of June, which has diminished his strikeouts and helped him last longer in games.

American League Quick Hits:

Jonathan Villar reportedly signed with the Angels and should man the hot corner in Anaheim. … Óscar González (abdomen) was placed on the 10-day IL. … Gabriel Árias was recalled from Triple-A Columbus. … James Karinchak was activated by Guardians and optioned to Triple-A Columbus. … Spencer Torkelson (head) missed Saturday’s game after getting hit in the helmet Friday. … Kyle Bradish (shoulder) threw on Saturday. … Kevin Gausman left the game after getting hit on the ankle with a comebacker. … Mitch Haniger (ankle) has resumed running. … Matt Manning (shoulder) threw a bullpen on Saturday. … Jesse Winker’s suspension was reduced to six games and should begin next week. … Rich Hill (knee) landed on the 15-day IL. ... Martin Maldonado smacked two balls over the fence in a win against the Angels. ... Kole Calhoun went deep twice against the New York Mets. ... Yordan Álvarez went 0-5 with two strikeouts in his return to the Astros lineup.

National League Quick Hits:

Cardinals activated Jordan Hicks (flexor strain) from the 15-Day IL. … Brewers activated Aaron Ashby ahead of Saturday’s start and gave up four earned runs against the Pirates. … Braves designated Touki Toussaint for assignment. … Jacob deGrom (shoulder) is to make a rehab start on Sunday. … Reds reliever Alexis Díaz (biceps) is set to throw a bullpen session on Sunday. … Chris Taylor left Saturday’s game early with a bruised foot. … Francisco Álvarez is reportedly being promoted to Triple-A. … Dustin May(elbow) is closing in on a rehab assignment. … Seiya Suzuki should return to the Cubs lineup on Monday. … Jon Berti picked up yet another stolen base but finished the day 0-5. ... Christian Walker went 2-4 with two homers in a loss against the Rockies in Coors. ... Nolan Gorman returned to the lineup and went 1-2 with three walks against the Phillies.