Max Scherzer was nearly untouchable in the Nationals win over the Reds. He hurled eight innings of one-run ball and gave up just three hits while striking out 15! He led all players in scoring on both DFS sites and was the talk of Twitter when he refused to be yanked at 117 pitches and 14 strikeouts with two outs in eighth; he immediately followed up screaming “NO!” at his manager with a three-pitch strikeout to end his afternoon. Not too many pitchers can get away with doing that, but when you’re Mad Max, and dominating the way he was, the only person that was pulling him out of the game was himself. I can’t blame him either, considering how bad his bullpen is. He takes over the Major League lead with 117 strikeouts on the year and he will carry a 3.06 ERA into his next start. The 34-year old is showing no signs of slowing down.

Strong Outings

Scherzer was incredible, but so were a lot of other guys on a day full of fantastic outings. This is the longest list of strong outings I’ve had all season and that’s not even counting a few others who had solid starts:

  • Lucas Giolito kept the good times rolling, pitching 7.1 innings of shutout baseball in a win. He gave up five hits while striking out nine. Giolito hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his last eight starts and has three starts of at least 7.1 innings and zero runs in that span. With the win he improved to 8-1 on the season and lowered his ERA down to 2.54 in the process.
  • Adrian Sampson fired seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Royals. He surrendered eight hits with zero walks while striking out a career high 11. The 11 strikeouts come out of nowhere, considering the most strikeouts he had in a game this year was six and he had just 35 strikeouts across 51.2 innings pitched prior to this stellar start.
  • Jake Odorizzi was lights-out against the Rays, giving up zero runs and three hits while striking out nine in six innings of work. It’s the third straight start that he hasn’t allowed a run, a stretch of 16.1 innings. He will carry an 8-2 record and 1.96 ERA into his next outing. It is looking like this is going to be a breakout year for the 29-year old.
  • Adam Wainwright turned back the clock yesterday, hurling eight innings of shutout baseball in a win over the Cubs. He did have seven walks, but worked around them with just two hits against and striking out eight. Eight innings and seven walks?! His pitch count must have been astronomical! Well, if that’s what you were thinking, you would be right. The Cardinals let the veteran throw 126 pitches.
  • Rich Hill fired seven shutout innings in a win over the Phillies. He gave up three hits while striking out nine. Hill continues to shine when healthy and now has a 2.25 ERA through seven starts this year. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of his starts and has struck out 46 across 40.0 innings of work.
  • Nick Pivetta was stuck with a no-decision after matching zeros with Hill for six innings. What a return to the big leagues for the righty though, giving up just three hits while striking out nine. In hindsight, the Phillies probably regret not sending him back out for the seventh when he was only at 82 pitches, as the bullpen promptly gave up runs. He is worth an add in most formats.
  • Merrill Kelly hurled 7.2 innings of one-run ball in a win over the Mets. He gave up six hits while striking out a career high 10. Kelly continues to be fantastic when pitching at home, lowering his home ERA down to 2.35 through six starts, compared to his 7.14 ERA on the road. He will carry a 5-6 record and 4.41 ERA into his next start.
  • Jeff Samardzija took advantage of a strong match-up with the Orioles, tossing six innings of one-run ball and picking up the win. He gave up three hits and struck out six. It was a nice bounce back start for the Shark and with it he lowered his ERA on the year down to 3.61. He’s a very inconsistent pitcher, but he does occasionally flash outings like this one.
  • Zach Plesac looked good in a loss against the White Sox, firing seven innings of one-run ball. He gave up just four hits while striking out seven. The rookie right-hander has pitched very well through two starts, compiling a 1.46 ERA and nine strikeouts across 12.1 innings. Prior to his call up Plesac pitched 57.1 innings between AA and AAA and had a 1.41 ERA and 56 strikeouts. He is worth a look in fantasy.
  • Cole Hamels hurled seven innings of one-run (zero earned) against the Cardinals, but that unearned run was enough for him to take the loss. He only gave up two hits, but also only had four strikeouts. He will carry a 3.62 ERA into his next start.
  • Zach Davies nearly went the distance against the Pirates, pitching eight innings and only allowing two runs. He gave up eight hits while striking out three and improving to 6-0 with a win. He has given up two or fewer earned runs in 11 of 12 starts this year and will carry an impressive 2.20 ERA into his next start.
  • Trevor Richards only lasted five innings, but it was five shutout innings and he struck out eight. He only gave up one hit and lowered his ERA down to 3.53 while picking up his third win. Over his last three starts he has given up a total of two runs across 17.2 innings pitched, but keep in mind they came against the Tigers, Giants, and Padres – not exactly top-tier offenses.

Hitter Highlights

Surprise, Surprise, on a day filled with great outings from starting pitchers there were very little big time performances from hitters. That being said, we did see a handful:

Brandon Crawford went 2-5 with a pair of solo dingers in the Giants win. It’s been a rough year at the dish for the shortstop, as he is hitting just .214 with five home runs and 18 RBI. He is not fantasy relevant in any format, but he did help some people win some money in DFS Sunday.

Albert Pujols just keeps trucking along; yesterday he finished 2-5 with a home run, a double, and a day-leading five RBI. He is only hitting .233 on the year, but he does have 11 home runs and 33 RBI, making him rosterable in deep leagues.

Ketel Marte went 2-5 with a home run and three RBI. He now has 14 home runs and 43 RBI on the year to go along with a .280 average. The home run was the longest home run by a Diamondback in the Statcast era and tied for the longest home run of the 2019 season. He doesn’t seem like the type that would be launching 482 ft home runs, but with the juiced ball I guess anything is possible:

Myles Straw was running wild yesterday, going 3-4 with a walk, three runs scored, and three stolen bases. He accounted for a third of all stolen bases yesterday and finished with 32.0 points on DraftKings at a $3400 price tag. Straw had 16 steals on 18 attempts prior to being called up and he had 70 steals between AA and AAA in 2018. Deep leaguers in need of speed, look no further.

Miguel Sanó was a perfect 3-3 with a pair of doubles, a walk, a RBI, and two runs scored. He is hitting .260 with five home runs, 11 RBI, and 13 runs scored through 13 games (50 at bats). He isn’t quite playing every day yet, but when he’s playing, he’s producing solid numbers.

Hunter Renfroe had himself a double-dong game against the Marlins, finishing 2-3 with the two dingers, a walk, and three RBI. That’s 17 home runs now and he is hitting a solid .261. Despite the high number of home runs, Renfroe only has 25 runs scored and 33 RBI.

News and Notes

The Twins won their game and made franchise history:

Jay Bruce was trade to the Phillies for prospect Jake Scheiner. He probably won’t be drawing too many starts with his new club, and he doesn’t have any fantasy appeal, but he will provide the contending Phillies with a power bat off the bench.

Joey Gallo landed on IL with a strained left oblique. Gallo was in the midst of a breakout season (at least in the average department), hitting .272 with 16 home runs, 39 RBI, 40 runs scored, and three stolen bases. Delino DeShields was called up to take Gallo’s spot on the active roster and is expected to draw the majority of the starts in center field while Gallo is on the shelf. The Rangers are hopeful that Gallo will be able to return after two weeks.

Rougned Odor made a fashion statement:

Jimmy Nelson will make his long-awaited return on Wednesday. Nelson hasn’t pitched in the bigs since 2017 due to shoulder surgery that stemmed from an injury in September of 2017. In five rehab appearances prior to being called up, he pitched to a 3.75 ERA across 24.0 innings at AAA while striking out 29. Keep in mind, Nelson finished ninth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2017 with a 3.49 ERA, a 12-6 record, and 199 strikeouts across 175.1 innings pitched (29 starts). It’s difficult to guess what can be expected from him in the near future, but his upside alone makes him worth an immediate add in fantasy circles.

What to Watch for Today

We only have four games today and not a single one of them features a starting pitcher with a sub-3.50 ERA. The closest two, Robbie Ray (3.59) and Jon Lester (3.59), will both have their hands full facing the Dodgers and Angels, respectively.

Aaron Nola will take on the Padres in hopes of improving to 7-0, despite an ERA north of four (4.18). He did pitch a lot better in May though, posting a 2.73 ERA across 33.0 innings (six starts) while striking out 42. He should fare well in this match-up as well.

 Astros rookie right-hander Corbin Martin will attempt to last longer than 4.0 innings, something he hasn’t done in any of his previous three starts. He has really struggled to begin his career, pitching to a 5.51 ERA in his first four starts and giving up six home runs in just 16.1 innings of work.