Shohei Ohtani made history last night, hitting for the cycle in the Angels 5-3 win over the Rays. He became the first Japanese-born player in MLB history to his for the cycle and the first Angels player to do it since Trout in 2013. Not only did he hit for the cycle, but he was a perfect 4-4 in doing so and his home run was a three-run blast. He is scorching hot at the plate right now, as he is hitting .345 (19-55) with six home runs, 17 RBI, and 13 runs scored over his last 14 games. That is since May 28, the day I wrote about him in the Stock Watch piece (Okay, enough of me tooting my own horn). Ohtani has been great with the bat since coming over to the States, hitting .284 with 30 home runs, 87 RBI, and 11 steals through his first 447 at bats (135 games). He is a one-of-a-kind player (once he can return to the mound) and is still just 24-years old.

Strong Outings

  • Julio Teheran continued his great run, hurling six innings of two-run (one earned) ball in a win over the Pirates. He gave up just three hits while striking out two. He has not given up more than one earned since April 30, a span of eight starts. In that span his ERA for the year has dropped from 5.35 to his current 2.92 mark.
  • Michael Pineda took advantage of a struggling Mariners team, firing 5.2 innings of one-run ball in a no decision. He gave up just two hits while striking out four. The one earned run outing snaps a string of six straight starts of allowing exactly three earned runs for Pineda. He is still far from a useful fantasy asset as he will carry a 5.04 ERA into his next start.
  • Yusei Kikuchi snapped his rough skid with a strong outing against the potent Twins offense; he hurled give innings of one-run ball but was stuck with a no-decision. He gave up six hits while striking out four. Kikuchi has been far too consistent this season to be a reliable fantasy option, but he has shown some flashes of brilliance. 
  • Jacob deGrom tossed seven innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against St. Louis. He gave up six hits while striking out eight. He left with the lead, but unfortunately the bullpen was unable to hold it (A classic in deGrom starts). It was his fifth straight start of allowing two or fewer earned runs. He will carry a 3.38 and 11.2 K/9 into his next outing.
  • Homer Bailey hurled six shutout innings in a win over the Tigers. He gave up just two hits while striking out six. Bailey led all pitchers in scoring on both DraftKings and FanDuel.  Despite the strong outing, he will carry a 5.37 ERA into his next start.
  • Zack Greinke tossed 7.1 innings of shutout baseball in a win over the Nationals. He gave up just two hits while striking out three and walking zero. It was his fifth start this year in which he has pitched at least six innings and allowed zero runs. He will carry an 8-2 record and 2.65 ERA into his next start.
  • Marcus Stroman pitched well in a win over the Orioles, giving up just one run over six innings of work. He gave up seven hits while striking out five. With the win Stroman improves to 4-8 on the season, despite a sharp 3.18 ERA through 15 starts. A perfect example of why a lot of fantasy leagues use quality starts.

Hitter Highlights

Cavan Biggio had the best game of his young career, going 2-4 with a pair of home runs, a walk, and three runs scored. He did more in this game than he had done in his first 14 games prior. He now has three home runs, five RBI, and six runs scored. Fantasy owners will be hoping that this is the game that gets him going.  

Nelson Cruz had a good night at the dish, going 3-4 with a home run, a walk, three RBI, and two runs scored. The veteran slugger has been on fire since returning off IL, hitting .344 (11-32) with five home runs and nine RBI across eight games played. His average for the season has jumped from .270 to .285 in that span.

Harrison Bader will have a chance to add to his line later today when the Mets/Cardinals finish their suspended game, but he was 3-4 with a pair of doubles, a RBI, a run scored, and two stolen bases prior to the rain hitting. His RBI double in the ninth inning tied the game with two outs. It was an impressive night, especially when you consider that two of the hits came off of deGrom and the third came off Diaz.

Manny Machado broke out of his slump in a big way, going 3-5 with two home runs and three RBI. A trip to Coors can help any hitter find a groove and Machado needed it, as he was hitting .148 (4-27) in the seven games since his last home run (prior to last night). He is still hitting a poor .247 on the year, but he does have 12 home runs and 36 RBI.

Charlie Blackmon had a double-dong game of his own, finishing 4-5 with two dingers, a triple, and four RBI. Despite Ohtani making history, it was actually Blackmon who led all players in scoring on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He is having another great year, hitting .316 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 42 runs scored.

Cody Bellinger also swatted a pair of home runs, while adding in a single and three RBI. Bellinger’s ridiculous season continues, as the lefty slugger now has 22 home runs, 57 RBI, 53 runs scored, and seven steals to go along with his league-leading .358 batting average.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hand a big hand in the Red Sox comeback last night, going 2-4 with a three-run home run and a double. The two hit effort pushed his batting average over the .200 mark for the first time since April 1. While that is still terrible, it is key to look at what he is doing lately and take advantage of it. Over his last 22 games, he is hitting .296 (21-71) with five home runs, seven doubles, two steals, 11 RBI, and 13 runs scored. In that span his average has jumped from .144 to his current .205 mark.

What to Watch for Today

Lucas Giolito will probably shutout the Yankees tonight. Kidding, but really, this guy has been incredible lately; over his last seven starts (51.1 innings) he has a 0.88 ERA, a 7-0 record, a .145 batting average against, and 59 strikeouts. He is must-see TV right now.

Daniel Ponce de Leon will take on the Mets, making his second start of the year in the process. He impressed in a spot start against the Brewers earlier this year, tossing give innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts.

Gerrit Cole will take on the Blue Jays in his first start since striking out a season-high 14. Cole has seven starts this year in which he has racked up double-digit strikeouts, but has a lackluster 3.72 ERA on the season despite the high strikeout totals.