Fantasy owners wishing injuries would stay in April will need a reprieve. Corey Kluber held firm, since he’s a notorious slow starter, and surely a start in Miami could kick start his season. Not only did Kluber yield three earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts over his 4.2 innings, but he left early taking baseball off his forearm. And this will not give his owners, or Cleveland fans, a warm fuzzy:

Only trailing the Twins by two and a half games would be much easier to palate if Kluber or Mike Clevinger would not be on the injured list moving forward. May will definitely test the mettle of Kluber owners and Indians fans alike.

Opposing Kluber last night, Caleb Smith won his third decision striking out eight over seven innings giving up four hits, one earned run and two walks. Smith recorded 21 swinging strikes of his 92 pitches, accruing eight with his slider alone, and 14 called for a strong 38 CSW percentage (called plus swinging strikes divided by total pitches). He currently ranks sixth in the majors in ERA (2.00), 12th in strikeouts (45) and second in WHIP (0.83). Pretty, pretty, good return for a trade with the Yankees.

Here’s the other noteworthy performances by starters on Wednesday:

  • Jon Lester , Chicago Cubs: 97 pitches, eight swinging strikes, 24 called, 33 CSW%. Lester fired seven shutout innings in Seattle giving up one hit and a walk with eight strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 1.73 on the season.

  • Jacob deGrom , New York Mets: 101 pitches, 20 swinging strikes, 10 called, 29.7 CSW%. Using only fastballs in the first inning, perhaps deGrom made a statement. He also threw seven shutout innings allowing three hits and two walks with six strikeouts in a no-decision.

  • Anthony DeSclafani , Cincinnati: 85 pitches, 13 swinging strikes, 16 called, 34.1 CSW%. Tony Disco fared well, even with some numbness in his pitching hand, lasting 5.2 innings and striking out eight. If healthy, DeSclafani could be an intriguing stream option moving forward.

  • Max Fried , Atlanta: 85 pitches, 12 swinging strikes, 11 called, 27.1 CSW%. Fried won his fourth game scattering four hits, one earned run and striking out seven Padres. He’s been a revelation in the Braves rotation and should remain going forward.

  • Martín Pérez , Minnesota: 100 pitches, seven swinging strikes, 25 called, 32 CSW%. Perez stymied the Astros for eight shutout innings. He yielded four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Adding a cutter to his arsenal seems to be fueling his breakout, five of his swinging strikes occurred as a result and he’s using the pitch nearly 40 percent of the time this year.

  • Hyun-Jin Ryu , Los Angeles Dodgers: 107 pitches, nine swinging strikes, 22 called, 29 CSW%. Ryu deserved a better fate, but incurred a no-decision allowing four hits and one earned run with six strikeouts in San Francisco. His last 21 starts yields a 2.14 ERA and a 24.3 strikeouts minus walks percentage spanning 117.2 innings.

  • Madison Bumgarner , San Francisco: 114 pitches, 18 swinging strikes, 16 called, 29.8 CSW%. Bumgarner matched Ryu for six innings giving up four hits, an earned run and two walks with eight strikeouts. Noticing a mechanical flaw versus the Yankees, Bumgarner rebounded nicely against the Dodgers.

Bullpen Notes:

There’s no doubt Edwin Díaz deserves to be a top tier closer. However, his struggles entering tied games needs to recognized:

For the second straight game, Diaz allowed a home run, this time leading to a Mets loss at home. Diaz only yielded five home runs over 73.1 innings last year but he’s already given up three through 12.2 innings this year. Again, do not panic, Diaz owns a 42.9 strikeout percentage and a 2.18 xFIP.

With the Royals bullpen struggling to convert saves, Ian Kennedy pitched two innings allowing two hits with two strikeouts for his second save in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Felipe Vázquez worked around a hit and a walk with two strikeouts for his eighth save in Texas. Reborn in the desert, Greg Holland recorded his seventh save walking one in a scoreless ninth. He’s yet to allow an earned run this year.

Mychal Givens fired 1.1 clean innings with three strikeouts en route to his second save, but Sergio Romo allowed a home run to Carlos Santana while notching his fifth. Giving Raisel Iglesias a much needed night off, Michael Lorenzen benefited from the Diaz transgression to record his second save in a clean ninth with a strikeout.

Do not read too much into Ty Buttrey ’s save, but, he’s still valuable in leagues. Buttrey gets his first save of 2019 allowing two hits with two strikeouts over two innings against the Blue Jays. If Hansel Robles pitches, both Buttrey and Robles would be unavailable on Thursday. This explains the usage, but, for those looking long view, Buttrey should be the long term solution at closer for the Angels. However, right now, Robles remains in line as the top ninth inning option with Buttrey in a setup role.

Apparently, Nolan Arenado missed the memo he cannot hit on the road:

Arenado racked up two home runs of his three hits driving in four in a win over the Brewers. This represents his 16th career multi-homer game and first of the season. Over his last 15 games, Arenado’s hit eight home runs with 17 runs, five doubles, 19 RBI and a robust 1.149 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Here’s some other noteworthy performances by hitters on Wednesday:

  • Mike Moustakas launched his eighth home run, an opposite field shot. He’s hit safely in 14 of his last 17 games with a .312 average, 13 runs, six home runs and 13 RBI.

  • In a doubleheader, Adalberto Mondesi went 3-for-7 with two runs, his fourth home run, three RBI, stole two bases (10) and walked. Kid can fill a stat sheet.

  • Under the radar, Bryan Reynolds has hit safely in his first nine games with the Pirates and drove in three with a double in Texas. He’s hitting .414 with a 1.157 on-base plus slugging rate.

  • Joey Gallo crushed his 11th home run, off the foul pole on a line to right field. Danny Santana also went yard, his third of the season. Santana’s hitting .404 with a .712 slugging percentage versus right-handed pitching.

  • José Abreu extended his hit streak to 10 games going four-for-nine in a twinbill. Abreu doubled, homered and drove in six in the two games. Over his last 10, he’s raised his average from .174 to its present .292 with 21 hits in 44 at-bats, six doubles, three home runs and 20 RBI.

  • Javy Baez will be a problem if he’s going to hit for more power to the opposite field. Baez recorded two doubles and his 10th home run in a romp over the Mariners. Of his 10 home runs this year, Baez has hit six to right-center or right field. Last year, he only hit nine all year to those spots.

  • Dansby Swanson hit his sixth home run, currently owns a .263/.316/.545 slash and could be breaking out? Someone check on Justin Mason.

Almost an evergreen tweet, but, in case one wonders, Mike Trout remains awesome:

What To Watch For

In a short slate of games, can Mike Foltynewicz rebound versus the Padres? He’s opposed by Matt Strahm . If a save chance occurs for the Braves, it could be Luke Jackson ’s.

Will the real Noah Syndergaard please stand up? Perhaps the good version will flash his upside against the Reds this afternoon.

On the heels of a strong outing by teammate Martín Pérez , can José Berríos stifle the Astros at home?

Last, David Price will battle Lucas Giolito in Chicago this evening. Will Giolito pitch well against the percolating Red Sox?

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm to remain ahead of the competition and enjoy the day baseball.


Statistical Credits: - Game Notes