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Instead of making the one-hour flight with the rest of his teammates, Manny Machado drove nearly seven hours from Arizona to Los Angeles to keep the swelling in his left ankle down and give himself the best chance possible to get back into the Padres’ lineup for Thursday's pivotal series opener against the Dodgers. The early front-runner for the National League MVP Award managed to return to San Diego’s lineup following a nine-game absence, but wound up being overshadowed by Justin Turner, who clobbered a pair of homers – including a tie-breaking two-run shot in the seventh inning – to power Los Angeles to a 3-1 victory.
Machado showed zero signs of rust in the early stages of the contest, slicing a double to left field in his first at-bats since spraining his left ankle nearly two weeks ago, and wound up scampering home on an RBI single from Nomar Mazara later in the opening frame. It was Turner who took over from that point on, delivering a game-tying solo shot against Padres’ starter Joe Musgrove in the second inning and also walloping a go-ahead two-run blast off Musgrove in the seventh inning. With the victory, the Dodgers increased their narrow NL West division lead to two and a half games over the Padres. The two teams will square off again on Friday evening with left-hander Blake Snell taking the ball for San Diego and righty Tony Gonsolin taking the mound for Los Angeles.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Rays
6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
29% CSW, 13 swinging strikes
Kikuchi may have saved his spot in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation on Thursday evening with his strongest outing of his Toronto debut, allowing just one run on four hits over six innings. The 31-year-old southpaw recorded a season-high eight strikeouts and only handed out one free pass. A fourth-inning solo homer by Rays’ rookie sensation Isaac Paredes represented the lone tally against him in this one. He’ll look to keep the momentum going his next time out on Tuesday when he faces the rebuilding Athletics in Oakland.
Joe Musgrove vs. Dodgers
7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
34% CSW, 15 swinging strikes
Musgrove authored a dominant start in Los Angeles, striking out a season-high 10 batters and only issuing one walk, after being lit up for six runs over six innings his last time out against the Phillies following a brief stint on the COVID-19 injured list. He gave up only five hits, but two of them left them cleared the fences as Justin Turner took him deep in the second and seventh innings, accounting for all of the damage against him. The 29-year-old right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 14 starts to open the 2022 campaign. He'll carry a 2.25 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 92/19 K/BB ratio across 92 innings (14 starts) into a home outing next Thursday versus the Giants.
Luis Garcia vs. Yankees
5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
30% CSW, 14 swinging strikes
It wasn’t his most dominant outing of the regular season, but Garcia put together a strong performance against a formidable Yankees’ lineup on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. The 25-year-old righty recorded six strikeouts and limited New York to just one run on three hits, including a sixth-inning solo homer by Anthony Rizzo, and a pair of walks over 5 1/3 frames before a quartet of Astros’ relievers came on to slam the door over the final 3 2/3 innings. He’s in line for a favorable home matchup on Tuesday against the Royals.
Hitters with an EDGE
Michael Perez vs. Brewers
4-for-4, 3 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI
Sometimes, it's just your night. Perez, who had just 12 round-trippers in 183 career contests dating back to 2018, launched three homers and tallied five RBI on Thursday evening, powering the Pirates to a narrow victory over the Brewers. The 29-year-old backstop delivered one of the most unlikely multi-homer performances of the entire 2022 campaign, taking lefty Brent Suter deep in the fourth inning to get things started. He went yard against righty Jason Alexander two innings later before taking flame-thrower Jandel Gustave out in the eighth inning to cap off the three-homer effort. It was certainly a night that he won’t ever forget.
Darick Hall vs. Braves
2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR (1, 2), 3 RBI
Speaking of unlikely multi-homer performances, Hall crushed a pair of homers in just his second major league contest on Thursday night during the Phillies’ blowout victory over the Braves. The 26-year-old slugger, who has taken over as Philadelphia’s designated hitter in the wake of Bryce Harper’s thumb injury, clubbed a no-doubter to right-center field off reliever Jesús Cruz in the fourth inning and also took position player Mike Ford deep in the eighth inning to cap off the multi-homer explosion. Sure, the second round-tripper was off a literal backup infielder, but it still counts just the same for fantasy purposes. The 26-year-old rookie, who belted 20 homers in 72 games this season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, seems like he’s at least worthy of a speculative roster spot in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats.
Patrick Wisdom vs. Reds
3-for-6, 2 R, 2 HR (15, 16), 6 RBI, SB (3)
Wisdom spearheaded the Cubs' early offensive explosion by supplying a second-inning grand slam to left-center field against Reds' starter Graham Ashcraft. He also took reliever Dauri Moreta deep for a solo shot in the sixth inning to record his first multi-homer performance of the 2022 campaign. It was the fifth time he's accomplished the feat in the last two seasons. The 30-year-old third baseman is a prototypical one-dimensional masher capable of contributing the occasional homer for fantasy managers. He's up to 16 round-trippers in 72 games this season.
Christopher Morel vs. Reds
5-for-5, 3 R, HR (7), 2 RBI
Morel has done nothing but hit since being called up from Double-A Tennessee back in mid-May. The versatile 23-year-old outfielder responded to a demotion to the ninth spot in the Cubs' lineup by tallying a career-high five hits, capping off the sublime effort with a solo homer to left-center field -- his seventh round-tripper of the season -- against position player Max Schrock in the eighth inning. He's hitting .283/.342/.494 with seven homers and seven steals in 185 plate appearances. Simply put, Morel should be rostered in all fantasy formats until further notice.
Yerry De Los Santos vs. Brewers
0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (2nd save)
De Los Santos was called upon to put out a massive ninth-inning fire for the Pirates after primary closer David Bednar, who was unavailable earlier this week due to a lingering back issue, surrendered three runs and only recorded a pair of outs before departing. The 24-year-old rookie, who entered the contest with the potential tying and go-ahead runs on-base, coaxed a game-ending fly out from Luis Urías to preserve a narrow one-run lead. It doesn't sound like Bednar is in any real danger of losing his job, especially with the trade deadline looming in the distance, but De Los Santos has done a really nice job recently. He’s certainly earned some future save chances in Pittsburgh.
Adam Cimber vs. Rays
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (4th save)
Cimber fired a perfect ninth inning on Thursday night, guarding a three-run lead against the Rays to record his fourth save of the season. He induced a pair of ground outs from Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes, respectively, before whiffing Vidal Bruján to slam the door in the final frame. The 31-year-old righty has converted four of his seven save chances this season.
Ryan Pressly vs. Yankees
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (17th save)
Pressly was summoned to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday evening and responded by needing just 13 pitches to extinguish any hope of another late-inning comeback from the Yankees. He got Gleyber Torres to line out to first base before striking out Jose Trevino and pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter to end the contest. The 33-year-old stopper has converted 17 of his 20 save opportunities this season.
Craig Kimbrel vs. Padres
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 K (14th save)
Kimbrel fired a perfect ninth inning on Thursday, protecting a two-run lead against the Padres to collect his 14th save of the season. He struck out Trent Grisham and got Ha-Seong Kim to pop out in foul territory before whiffing C.J. Abrams to end the contest. The 34-year-old veteran closer has converted 14 of his 16 save opportunities this season to go along with a 3.96 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and 39/12 K/BB ratio across 25 innings (26 appearances).
Paul Sewald vs. Athletics
1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (8th save)
Sewald allowed one run in the ninth inning on Thursday, but managed to guard a three-run lead against the Athletics to net his eighth save of the season. He fanned Tony Kemp before serving up a solo homer to Ramón Laureano that cut the Mariners' lead to just a pair of runs. The 32-year-old stopper settled down afterwards, striking out Seth Brown and Stephen Piscotty to extinguish any further hope of an Athletics' comeback. He's converted eight of his 10 save opportunities this season.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Dean Kremer, SP, Orioles
It’s time to start taking Kremer seriously in shallow mixed leagues. The 26-year-old right-hander has put together an extremely strong five-start stretch since making his season debut earlier this month, compiling a microscopic 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 19/7 K/BB ratio across 28 innings since June 5. He's certainly benefited from some favorable matchup during that stretch, but it's becoming clear that he's a viable streaming option for fantasy managers moving forward, especially on Monday when he faces the Rangers at home.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
It’s always a must-watch series whenever the Padres and Dodgers lock horns and Snell against Gonsolin is one of the better pitching matchups on Friday’s slate.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Sale (ribs) recorded seven strikeouts over four innings on Thursday in a minor league rehab start for Double-A Portland. … Jake Odorizzi (ankle) told reporters on Thursday that he feels ready to rejoin the Astros' starting rotation next week. … Rays placed LHP Brooks Raley and RHP Ryan Thompson on the restricted list and also placed LHP Jeffrey Springs on the family medical emergency list prior to Thursday's series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto. … Yordan Álvarez (concussion) and Jeremy Peña (concussion) were held out of the Astros' starting lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Yankees. … Julio Rodriguez clobbered a solo homer, going deep for the second consecutive contest, leading the Mariners to a win over the Athletics. … Andrés Giménez slugged a two-run homer to lift the Guardians to a comeback victory over the Twins. … Alex Bregman drilled a two-run double, leading the Astros to a narrow victory over the Yankees. … Teoscar Hernández went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and Santiago Espinal went 2-for-4 with a two-run shot in the Blue Jays’ win over the Rays. … Ramón Laureano crushed two home runs and finished with four RBI in the Athletics' loss to the Mariners. … Anthony Rizzo swatted a solo homer – his 21st round-tripper of the season – in the Yankees’ loss to the Astros. … Isaac Paredes clobbered his 11th long ball of the season in the Rays’ loss to the Blue Jays. … José Miranda scalded a three-run double in the Twins’ loss to the Guardians. … Logan Gilbert surrendered four runs over six innings on Thursday in a win over the Athletics. … Shane Bieber yielded three runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Twins. … Chris Archer walked six batters over four innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Guardians. … Luis Severino allowed two runs over six innings in a loss to the Astros. … Matt Wisler tossed a scoreless inning as the Rays’ opener against the Blue Jays. … Ryan Yarbrough gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings and was saddled with a loss in relief against the Blue Jays. … Adrián Martínez was torched for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Mariners.
National League Quick Hits: According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets are "discussing the possibility" that Jacob deGrom (shoulder) could make a rehab start on Sunday with Single-A St. Lucie. … Mookie Betts (rib) took batting practice on Thursday and is expected to return prior to the All-Star break. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Betts could play second base upon returning in order to minimize throwing. … Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session on Friday. … Zach Eflin (knee) recently received a cortisone injection to alleviate right knee discomfort ... Justin Dunn (shoulder) will make a minor league rehab start on Friday for Triple-A Louisville. … Ronald Acuña Jr. (foot) remained out of the Braves' starting lineup on Thursday for the fourth consecutive game. … Adrian Houser was removed from Thursday’s start against the Pirates with right elbow tightness. … David Bote exited Thursday’s game against the Reds with left shoulder soreness. … Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins homered in the Phillies’ blowout victory over the Braves. … Oneil Cruz and Jack Suwinski walloped back-to-back solo homers in the Pirates’ win over the Brewers. … P.J. Higgins went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer in the Cubs’ lopsided victory over the Reds. … Michael Harris II clubbed a two-run homer in the Braves’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Phillies. … Joey Votto went 3-for-5 with a solo homer in the Phillies’ blowout loss to the Cubs. … Christian Yelich went 2-for-5 with an RBI triple in the Brewers’ loss to the Pirates. … Nomar Mazara hit an RBI single in the Padres' loss to the Dodgers. … Aaron Nola struck out eight batters and allowed four runs over seven innings in a win over the Braves. … Kyle Hendricks allowed two runs over six innings on Thursday in a win over the Reds. … JT Brubaker allowed four runs over six innings in a win over the Brewers. … Mitch White allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Padres. … Graham Ashcraft was shelled for seven runs over 2 1/3 innings on Thursday in a loss to the Cubs. … Ian Anderson was obliterated for seven runs over two innings in a loss to the Phillies. … Pirates activated INF Tucupita Marcano from the COVID-19 injured list. … Cubs placed OF Jason Heyward on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation. … Braves acquired RHP Silvino Bracho from the Red Sox for cash.