Max Scherzer takes home spotlight honors for the second straight start with another dazzling performance. While sporting the sweet Expos throwback uniform, he fired seven shutout innings in a win over the Royals. He gave up just four hits while striking out 11. He led all players in DFS scoring on both DraftKngs (38.8) and FanDuel (64.0). His record improves to 9-5 with the win and his ERA is down to sparkling 2.30 mark. He has pitched at least six innings and given up two or fewer runs in nine straight starts. He leads the MLB in strikeouts (181), innings (129.1), HR/9 (0.63), WAR (5.5), is second in FIP (2.01), and third in ERA. It’s just another great season by the best pitcher in the game. Oh, and he even singled and stole a base. The guy can do it all!

Strong Outings

  • Gerrit Cole could have easily taken home the spotlight spot on a lot of other days as he pitched a gem in a win over the Angels; he hurled seven shutout innings. He gave up just three hits while striking out nine. It was his eighth straight start with at least six innings and two or fewer runs. He is second in baseball with 170 strikeouts and will carry a sharp 3.09 ERA and 9-5 record into his next start.
  • Shane Bieber fired eight innings of two-run ball in a win over the Reds. He gave up four hits while striking out eight. It was hit fifth straight start with more than five innings, two or fewer earned runs, and at least six punch-outs. He now has 141 strikeouts through 112.1 innings and will carry an 8-3 record and 3.45 ERA into his next start.
  • Michael Pineda was strong in a win over the Rangers, hurling six innings of one-run ball. He gave up five hits and struck out a season high nine batters. Pineda hasn’t been great with strikeouts this year (84 across 92.2 innings), but he now has 17 across his last 12 innings pitched. He will carry a 4.56 ERA and 6-4 record into his next start.
  • Marco Gonzales gave the Mariners eight strong innings of two-run ball in a win over Oakland. He gave five hits while striking out six. He has pitched at least five innings and given up three or fewer runs in six straight starts and the win improves his record on the year to 10-7. He will carry a 4.24 ERA into his next outing.
  • Robbie Ray was dominant in a win over the Rockies, tossing six innings of one-run ball. He gave up just two hits while striking out eight. It was his eleventh start of the year in which he has racked up at least seven strikeouts. He will carry a 6-6 record and 3.96 ERA into the all-star break.
  • Caleb Smith tossed a quality start in his return off IL. He pitched six innings of three-run ball and picked up the win. He gave up five hits while striking out six. The lefty now has 88 strikeouts across 72.0 innings pitched and will carry a 3.50 ERA into his next outing. His 1.01 WHIP would be the seventh best mark in the MLB if he had enough innings to qualify.

Hitter Highlights

Jeimer Candelario had a double-dong game in the Tigers 10-6 loss to the Red Sox. In 10 games since returning to the Tigers lineup, he is hitting .378 (14-37) with four home runs and seven RBI. That being said, his fantasy relevance would still only be four 15-teamers or AL only leagues.

Yasiel Puig stayed hot yesterday, going 3-4 with a solo home run and a double. The home run was his 20th of the year and he should have no problem shattering his current career high of 28 home runs (2017). After hitting .287 with seven home runs and six steals in June, he is off to an 8-16 start in July with three home runs. For the year, he is hitting .253 with the 20 dingers and 13 steals.

Francisco Lindor bashed out a pair of solo home runs in the Indians win. The two home runs give him 14 for the year to go along with a .295 batting average and 13 steals. Despite missing time at the start of the year, Lindor still appears on track for his second straight 25/25 season. He has been much improved on steal attempts too, after being cause 10 times on 35 tries last year he has only been caught once on 14 tries this year. Easily one of the best players in both reality and fantasy.

Andrew Benintendi put together a four-hit game in Boston’s win. He stuffed the stat sheet with a triple, double, RBI, two runs, and a stolen base. Despite the strong game, it hasn’t been a great year for him as he is hitting .274 with just seven home runs, 37 RBI, and nine stolen bases. He has just one home run since the start of June, a span of 108 at-bats.

Mookie Betts also stuffed the stat sheet as he went 3-5 with a triple, a double, a walk, two RBI, and two runs scored. The three hits have his average up to .273 for the year and the two runs scored bring his total up to a league-leading 76. It has been a bit of a disappointing season thus far for Betts, but fantasy owners should remain confident in a strong second half.

Jeff McNeil , as seen in the picture below, made major league history prior to last night’s game and then went out and had himself a four-hit game in a win over the Phillies. He also drove in one run and scored once. All four hits were singles and three of them came off of Arrieta, who he is now 13-20 (.650!) against in his career.

Colin Moran went 4-5 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored in the Pirates 12-2 win over the Brew Crew. Over his last 33 games, he is hitting .324 with five home runs and 23 RBI, bringing his season totals up to a .290 batting average with 10 home runs and 49 RBI. He is two home runs away from setting a new career high.

Nate Lowe hit a two-run dinger in the Rays 4-3 win over the Yankees. It was his second straight day with a home run and he needs to be scooped up in fantasy leagues if he is hanging around on your wire. He is hitting a solid .261 through his first 46 career at-bats.

What to Watch for Today

Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.42 ERA) and Aaron Nola (7-2, 3.89 ERA) will match-up in a better pitching duel than what their stats show. Wheeler has pitched at least six innings and given up two or fewer runs in three straight starts while Nola has only given up one earned in his last 23.0 innings.

The Red Sox will face Gregory Soto (0-2, 8.06 ERA) and have a good shot at scoring a bunch of runs against a pretty terrible pitcher. The Sox are the heaviest favorites of the day at -263 and for good reason as it would be very surprising to see them not score a bunch of runs and take home the victory.

James Paxton (5-3, 4.09 ERA) and Charlie Morton (9-2, 2.36 ERA) will go to battle in what should make for a nice pitching duel. Paxton hasn’t been great this year, but this match-up is a solid one. Morton leads the AL in ERA and is probably the early front-runner for AL Cy Young.