The last two World Series winners were the subject of some significant injury news on Monday. The reigning champion Red Sox found out that Chris Sale will avoid Tommy John surgery but will not pitch again this season. Given that Boston is six games back of a Wild Card spot, that seems like good news. The 2017 champion Astros saw Carlos Correa exit after one inning and one at-bat with lower back soreness. The pessimistic take is that Correa missed time due to back issues last season and was not the same after he returned. The optimistic view is that the Astros are being overly cautious with Correa’s back given their eight-game division lead with an eye toward avoiding a repeat of last year.

Pitching Performance of the Day

Despite taking the loss, Trevor Bauer is the easy choice here. It’s not his fault that his offense generated the same amount of runs as earned runs allowed by Bauer, two. Bauer went seven innings and allowed only six baserunners while striking out 11. Bauer has been all or nothing in four starts since being traded to Cincinnati. In two of those starts he has struck out 11 batters over seven innings. In the other two he has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in either start and allowed a combined 12 earned runs with eight strikeouts and five walks. Bauer generated a whopping 25 called strikes on Monday, so he had San Diego hitters fooled a lot. As you can see here, four of his 11 third strikes were called.



Hitting Performance of the Day

Every game wasn’t quite complete as of this writing, but it’s highly unlikely that any hitter ends up with a better day than Tom Murphy had on Monday. Murphy homered twice and singled and walked in his other two plate appearances. He scored three times and drove in four runs. 

This is Murphy’s first season in which he has topped 100 plate appearances, and he has earned it with a wRC+ of 144 in 189 PA. He’s not good against same-handed pitching, but with the platoon advantage he had a 184 wRC+ entering Monday’s action. He has basically as many PA with the platoon advantage as he does without it, and he has 10 home runs against lefties and five against righties. He hit one against a pitcher of each handedness on Monday. Unfortunately, his playing time has remained stagnant, which limits his value to deeper fantasy leagues, but take note when he’s facing a left-handed starter in DFS.

This is kind of a silly Tom Murphy tweet but a fun one:



What to Watch for Today

We started by discussing two established players dealing with injuries, so let’s come full circle and talk about a couple of prospects getting the call. First, the A’s are calling up A.J. Puk , who Fangraphs has ranked as the best prospect in their system and the 21st best prospect in baseball. Puk has been used only as a reliever in Triple-A and is expected to work in the bullpen initially. Puk has 38 strikeouts and 10 walks in 25.1 innings across three minor league levels this year. Also getting the call is Seattle outfielder Jake Fraley. Fraley has power and speed with 19 home runs and 22 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He projects as a future regular in the majors.