Well, the home runs keep on coming in baseball. Minnesota set a team record and surpassed the record set by the Yankees for home runs in the first half last night:

Within the record setting evening, Nelson Cruz left the game early with right heel discomfort. It’s precautionary but one his fantasy owner’s do not like seeing. Over his last 23 games, he’s hitting .330 with seven home runs driving in 23 and a 1.078 on-base plus slugging percentage. 

As the home runs accumulate in baseball, Justin Verlander absorbed his fourth loss this season giving up three more home runs. He’s already served up 26 through 126.2 innings nearing his career high of 30 giving up in 2016. Verlander’s sporting an 18.7 home run per fly ball percentage and a 40.2 hard hit rate against heading into the break. 

For the third straight day, an earthquake shook California with the Dodgers feeling the effects during their game: 

Remember when Edwin Díaz and Blake Treinen were the consensus top two closers taken in drafts? Diaz incurred his sixth loss last night giving up three hits, a walk and four earned runs in one-third of an inning. On April 29th, he owned a 0.84 ERA with eight straight saves converted. Since then, Diaz owns a 7.89 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP with 10 saves in 14 chances with all six of his losses. During his last 22.2 innings, Diaz has a 3.35 xFIP but a .330/.392/.560 slash against with a 47.4 hard hit rate allowed. Quotes and responses out of New York do not look pretty:

As for Treinen, he will work as a setup reliever for now after a slow start and battling injury issues:

Liam Hendriks racked up his fourth save on Friday night working a clean ninth striking out two. He’s in the midst of a 15.2 scoreless inning streak and not allowed a run in 27 of his last 29 outings (0.78 ERA in 34.2 innings). Plus, dating back to last September, Hendriks owns a 1.29 ERA in 53 appearances. It’s his job to lose going forward. 

Here’s the rest of high leverage moments from Friday: 

  • Ian Kennedy suffered his third blown save allowing three hits, two earned runs and a walk in the ninth in Washington. This snapped his streak of nine straight saves. Brian Flynn garners the win in relief in spite of giving up a hit and two walks. Wily Peralta notched his first save since April 13th and second this year. 

  • Another frustrating evening for Josh Hader owners. He gets his fourth hold throwing 1.1 scoreless innings walking one and striking out one. However, when Milwaukee padded its lead to four, he did not return for the ninth. Deolis Guerra took over and coughed up four earned runs on four hits taking a win away from Hader. Junior Guerra gets his third win, and fifth blown save, allowing three hits and an earned run in 1.1 innings. 

  • Felipe Vázquez suffers his first loss of the year serving up three straight singles in the 10th inning with one out. He then recovered to strikeout Christian Yelich and Ben Gamel to end the rally but too late for the Pirates. 

  • With a three-run lead, Baltimore turned to Paul Fry for the save, not Mychal Givens . Fry responded by recording his second save with a clean ninth striking out one. 

  • David Hale gets his second win working 2.1 scoreless innings despite yielding three hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Aroldis Chapman locked down his 24th save walking one and striking out one in the 11th inning. 

  • Once again, the Rays bullpen blinked versus the Yankees. Emilio Pagán coughed up a game tying home run to Aaron Hicks in the eighth inning. Colin Poche worked a scoreless 10th giving up a hit and striking out one. Ryne Stanek imploded in the 11th allowing four hits, two home runs and four earned runs en route to his second loss. 

  • Luke Jackson recorded his fourth win with a scoreless ninth working around a hit with two strikeouts after the Braves walked off a win over Miami. 

  • Still well below the radar, Hansel Robles notched his 12th save with a clean ninth and a strikeout. 

  • San Diego asked Kirby Yates to get the last five outs to snap a three-game losing streak and to quell a five game streak of rallies by the Dodgers in home contests. Yates responded for his first 1.2 inning save and his 28th of the first half with a clean outing striking out two. 

Starting Pitcher Spotlight: Greinke wins his 10th

As the weather heats up, so does Zack Greinke . He fired seven shutout innings versus the Rockies last night for his 10th win giving up four hits and striking out nine. Over his last 18 starts in the month of July, Greinke’s 14-0 with a 1.34 ERA spanning 127.2 innings with a robust 132:17 K:BB rate. He’s also won four of his last five decisions this year with a 2.01 ERA his last six starts. Last night, Greinke recorded 13 swinging strikes and 18 called of his 104 pitches for a 29.8 CSW (Called plus swinging strikes) percentage lowering his season ERA to 2.73 in the process. 

Here’s other notable starting pitcher performances from last night: 

  • Jacob deGrom , New York Mets: 102 pitches, 19 swinging strikes, 10 called, 28.4 CSW%. deGrom deserved better, but once again his bullpen let him down. He gave up three hits, two earned runs and three walks with 10 strikeouts in a no-decision versus the Phillies at home. 

  • Jordan Yamamoto , Miami: 94 pitches, 12 swinging strikes, 18 called, 31.9 CSW%. Perhaps pitching for his spot in the rotation, Yamamoto logged six shutout innings in Atlanta yielding only two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. 

  • Brett Anderson , Oakland: 82 pitches, seven swinging strikes, 16 called, 28 CSW%. Anderson won his ninth game, yes, that Brett Anderson . He worked 6.1 innings allowing five hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts in Seattle. 

  • Clayton Kershaw , Los Angeles Dodgers: 96 pitches, 14 swinging strikes, 15 called, 30.2 CSW%. Kershaw fired seven strong innings giving up five hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk with nine strikeouts. 

Hitter Highlights: Devers and Bogaerts continue to surge

Although Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez garner most of the fantasy attention for the Red Sox, this year two different hitters continue to pace the offense. Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both homered in Boston’s win over the Tigers. First, for Devers, an oppo-taco:

Devers extended his personal hit streak to nine games with his 16th home run. During his streak, he’s hitting .514 (19-for-37) with seven doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI while striking out only four times. Over his last 60 games, Devers owns a .353 average with 16 home runs and 56 RBI. 

Xander Bogaerts celebrated being named to the All-Star team as Hunter Pence ’s replacement with a big fly of his own:

It’s Bogaerts 17th home run this season and his last 49 games yields a .326/.420/.584 slash with 10 home runs driving in 40 runs. 

Adalberto Mondesi paced the Royals win over the Nationals going 3-for-6 with two runs, a double, triple, his 28th stolen base and two RBI. 

Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell launched his 27th home run and moved his National League record of extra-base hits prior to the All-Star break to 60. Bell’s three RBI away from tying a Pirates team record of 87 in the first half set by Willie Stargell in 1971. 

Danny Jansen only recorded one hit last night, but it was a triple moving his extra-base streak to four games. Jansen’s hitting .405 his last 10 contests with three doubles, a triple, six home runs and 12 RBI. 

A double dong night for Aaron Judge hitting them 10 innings apart from each other. He could be in for a huge second half if he remains healthy. 

It’s tough to imagine Mike Trout improving, but he crushed his 26th home run in Houston. Teammate Shohei Ohtani added his 13th home run and:

In a loss, Michael Brantley turned in a perfect night at the dish going 4-for-4 with three runs, two doubles and his 12th home run. Yuli Gurriel added his 12th home run as well with three RBI. Gurriel’s in a nine game hit streak with seven homers in it plus batting .341 his last 20 games with 14 extra-base hits driving in 17. 

Dropped in many leagues, Christian Walker racked up three hits, his first multi-homer game and drove in a career best five last night. His 17 first half home runs ties a Diamondbacks team record set by Travis Lee in 1998. 

Signs of life from the Cardinals offense. Paul Goldschmidt extended his modest hit streak to five games and hit his 15th home run. Dexter Fowler tallied three hits and his 10th home run driving in two. Fowler’s last 18 games yields five home runs and 16 RBI. 

What To Watch For

For the nostalgic crowd, it will be pleasing to see Max Scherzer take the mound wearing the Expos throwbacks on Saturday. He should also rack up a bunch of strikeouts against the free swinging Royals. 

Blake Snell and Lucas Giolito will try to bounce back from rough outings in rematches versus the Yankees and Cubs respectively. 

Madison Bumgarner will try to boost his trade stock in a start at home against St. Louis as well. 

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Statistical Credits:



MLB.com - Game notes