Lucas Giolito pitched the best game of his career, and it was against the top offense in baseball (Astros). He tossed a complete game shutout, allowed just four hits, and struck out nine. The nine strikeouts were a new high this year for him and his most since September, 2017. He needed 107 pitches to get through the nine frames and he picked up 82 strikes in the process – the most in a White Sox shutout since May, 2015. What has gotten into this guy?! Last season he pitched to the worst ERA in baseball (among qualified starters) with a 6.13 mark. After tossing the shutout last night, his ERA for the year stands at 2.77 through 52.0 innings. Over his last four starts, he has given up just two total runs across 28.1 innings of work while striking out 29. If you haven’t been taking him seriously, it’s time to start doing so. Keep in mind, he was a first round pick and was ranked a top-10 prospect in both 2015 and 2016.

Strong Outings

Giolito shined the brightest, but he wasn’t the only one to pitch well:

  • Steven Matz tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Nationals, but was stuck with a no-decision after the bullpen blew the lead. He did give up 10 hits, but was able to work around them with seven strikeouts and two double plays. Matz has been really good this year, outside of his April 16 start against the Phillies in which he gave up six earned runs without recording an out. Overall on the year his ERA is now at a rock solid 3.63 and he has 45 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work.
  • Ryan Weber hurled six innings of one-run ball in his first start of the year. He surrendered just three hits while striking out four. He has a 1.29 ERA through 14.0 innings pitched this year; however, he is still not a fantasy relevant option.
  • Matt Boyd tossed six shutout innings against the Marlins. He allowed five hits while striking out seven. Unfortunately, his bullpen and defense were unable to hold the lead that he left the game with and he was stuck with a no-decision. He has been a strikeout machine this year, recording at least six of them in nine out of eleven starts.
  • Ryan Yarbrough made his first start of the year and was locked in against the Indians; he pitched 7.1 innings of two-run ball and only allowed four hits while striking out four. He is far from an option in the fantasy world, but this will likely lead to another start in the upcoming future.
  • Masahiro Tanaka hurled six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Orioles. He allowed five hits while striking out five. He is on a strong roll right now, firing six-plus innings in four straight starts while allowing a total of four runs over that span. He will carry a 2.94 ERA into his next outing.

Home Run Party

The Twins had an absolute field day with Matt Harvey and the Angels bullpen in their 16-7 win. They bashed out eight home runs and set two MLB records in the process. Seven of their home runs travelled more than 400-ft, the most since the start of the Statcast era. It was also their sixth game this year with at least five home runs, becoming the fastest team in the history of Major League Baseball to achieve that feat. The top four scoring DFS players yesterday were all Twins – Max Kepler , C.J. Cron , Miguel Sanó , Jonathan Schoop – and they had six players in the top ten of DFS scoring yesterday – Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario join the other four. Kepler finished 3-5 with a home run, a double, a walk, two RBI, four runs, and a stolen base. Cron went 5-6 with a home run, a pair of doubles, a RBI, and scored three times. Sano bopped a pair of home runs and also walked, drove in three runs, and scored three times. Scoop also had a double-dong day while driving in four runs. Polanco finished 2-3 with a home run, a double, a walk, and three RBI. Lastly Rosario finished 3-6 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored. The home run barrage led to their 33rd win of the year and they are now 33-16 and have a eight game lead in the AL Central.

Hitter Highlights

The Twins stole the offensive show yesterday, but a few other guys had big games too:

Anthony Rizzo finished 4-5 with a home run, three RBI, and three runs scored. He now has 13 home runs and 37 RBI on the season to go along with a .274 batting average. Rizzo started the year slow and was hitting .198 on April 27, since then he has hit .354 (29-82) with nine home runs and 23 RBI.

Starling Marte stuffed the stat sheet in Pirate win, finishing 2-4 with a home run, a double, two RBI, three runs, and a stolen base. It was his third bash-and-dash game of the year and he now has five home runs and eight stolen bases, but still batting a measly .244.

Carlos Gómez had a bash-and-dash game of his own in the Mets win. He finished 2-3 with a home run, a walk, three RBI, two runs, and a stolen base. It was big game for the veteran, who will be seeing regular playing time in the short-term due to a long list of injuries for the Mets. He can be avoided in fantasy, but might not be a bad cheap DFS option in the coming days.

Tommy La Stella is a power hitter and all-star level player now; we just have to accept it. He finished yesterday’s game 2-5 with a grand slam. He is hitting .302 on the season with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in what is already the best season of his career.

Josh Bell continued his breakout season, going 3-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, two RBI, and three runs scored. He now has 16 home runs, a MLB leading 47 RBI, and is hitting .339 on the year. He is having a ridiculous month of May, hitting .405 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI… and it’s only May 24.

Willy Adames had a big night in the Rays 7-2 win; he finished 3-4 with a home run, a double, a RBI, and two runs scored. He’s been a pretty big disappointment this year, but the three-hit effort brings his average up to .245 and he is now hitting .316 with three home runs in the month of May. 

What to Watch for Today

Shane Bieber will make his first start since tossing a complete game shutout with 15 strikeouts. That was against the Orioles and today will be a bit of a tougher test when he takes on the Rays.

Chris Sale will make his second straight start against the Astros. He gave up three runs across 5.1 innings of work last time around, but did have 10 strikeouts. He has racked up double-digit strikeouts in four straight starts and 51 punch outs across 26.1 May innings.

Robbie Ray, much like Sale, will also take on the same opponent (Giants) that he did in his previous start. He only last four innings against them in the last go around and that was his shortest outing of the season thus far. He should fare better this time.