Garrett Richards earned his 10th win of the season after giving up just one run on six hits and a walk with a season-high 11 strikeouts over 7.1 innings against the Astros on Sunday.
Richards has now thrown seven-straight quality starts and dropped his ERA to 2.71 with a 1.07 WHIP and a 119:41 K:BB over 116.1 innings this season. The walks tend to get the better of him at times, but overall, he is pitching as close to lights-out as anyone would have ever expected from him coming into the season. His final start before the All Star break is a tough one though as he heads into Arlington to face the Rangers. Granted, their lineup isn't what it was once perceived to be, but it's still loaded with talent and the ballpark remains extremely hitter-friendly. ANALYST: Howard Bender
Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 with one RBI and a run scored during Monday’s loss to the Angels.
Brantley has now hit safely in each of his last eight games, though this run has only produced one home run and two RBI. As expected, Brantley hasn’t been able to live up to his numbers from last season. Sure, he’s shown better plate discipline and the 11.2-percent walk rate is nice to see, but the power numbers and the speed are going to come up short. He remains a decent support outfielder, but he is not a team’s No. 1 which is, unfortunately, where you probably drafted him to be. Analysis: Howard Bender
Stephen Vogt went 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI during Monday’s 9-2 loss to the Orioles.
The two hits broke an 0-for-24 run that was brutalizing his fantasy owners, but the drop-off here in the second half -- .140 with just three RBI over 50 at-bats – should have been seen coming. He’s a 30-year old catcher who has never caught a full season in the majors, and with the way the A’s were working him, you had to figure he’d tire and his numbers would regress. We’re not saying to give up on him, but you also shouldn’t expect more than just a barely-average second half either. Analysis: Howard Bender