Jacob deGrom takes home spotlight honors for his second-straight start after firing seven shutout innings in a win against the Padres. He gave up just four hits while striking out nine. He led all pitchers in DFS scoring and by a wide margin. He came into this game with the best day game ERA since the expansion era (since 1961) with his 1.90 ERA across 51 day-game outings and he improved on that today with this outing. He pitched at least five innings and gave up fewer than three runs for the 12th consecutive start. It was his 16th start with at least seven punch-outs and he has at least six strikeouts in 10 straight outings. He is currently working on a 17-consecutive shutout-innings streak. Needless to say, the reigning NL Cy Young is in peak form right now. He will carry a 6-7 record and 2.86 ERA into his next start.

Strong Outings

Yesterday had the least amount of good pitching performances that I have seen all season. Outside of deGrom we only had two other strong outings and one of them wasn’t even dominant:

  • José Berríos fired seven innings of three-run (two earned) ball in a win over the White Sox. He gave up six hits while striking out eight. Berrios has given up three or fewer earned runs in 11 straight outings and in 18 of his 21 starts this year. It was his fifth start of the year with at least eight strikeouts. He will carry a 9-5 record and 3.18 ERA into his next start.
  • Wade LeBlanc pitched well, hurling six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Tigers. He only gave up four hits but he also only struck out four. In his usual form, he was used as the primary pitcher after the opener tossed two innings. When pitching as a primary pitcher, LeBlanc has given up two or fewer runs in eight of those nine outings. He will carry a 6-3 record and 4.79 ERA into his next outing.
  • Stevie Wilerson (I said two right?) is not a pitcher and he only pitched one inning last night, but I had to bring him up! He became the first position player to ever record a save (since saves became an official stat in 1969). He also went 1-7 at the plate with three strikeouts, before coming in from centerfield to shut down the Angels in the bottom of the 16th inning. Just check out his nasty stuff:

Hitter Highlights

Nelson Cruz could have easily been the spotlight guy with his three dingers and five-RBI game. It was the first time in MLB history that there have been three consecutive days with a player hitting three home runs (Cano and DeJong the last two days) Cruz has been swinging a hot bat lately, hitting .333 with eight home runs and 11 RBI in his past nine games and five home runs in his last three games. I guess age 39 is not the age that he sees his decline either, as he is now hitting .278 with 25 home runs and 58 RBI in just 75 games played.

Paul Goldschmidt kept his hot streak alive, going 2-3 with a solo home run and a walk. It was his fourth straight game with a dinger and in that span he is 6-17 (.353) with nine RBI. He now has eight home runs in July, bringing his total for the year up to 22 to go along with 53 RBI and a .253 batting average. He hasn’t had a great year to this point, but it looks like he is ready to finish strong.

Xander Bogaerts continued his fantastic season, going 4-6 with a pair of long balls, four RBI, and four runs scored. He led the way in the Red Sox 19-3 trouncing of the Yankees. He is hitting .375 with seven home runs and 23 RBI in July and he is now hitting .315 with 23 home runs, 82 runs, and 80 RBI for the season. He would likely be in MVP talks, but Trout still leads the pack in the AL.

Danny Santana continued hit breakout season with another strong game. He went 3-5 with a home run, a double, six RBI, and two runs scored. His home run was of the grand slam variety. He is hitting a robust .397 with five home runs, three steals, and 17 RBI in July, bringing his totals for the year up to a .322 batting average with 14 dingers, 12 steals, and 42 RBI.

Jonathan Villar came into this game 0-15 across his past three games, but broke out in a big way; he went 2-8 with a dinger, three stolen bases, two RBI, and three runs scored in the Orioles 16 inning victory over the Angels. He is hitting a poor .248, but it comes with 12 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and 62 runs scored.

José Ramírez had another big game, going 3-6 with a home run, two doubles, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored. Just when we were all ready to accept that he was going to have a dumpster fire season, he catches fire in July. For the month, he is hitting .338 with six home runs, four steals, 18 RBI, and 18 runs scored. He is still only hitting .240 for the year, but he does have 11 home runs and 22 steals.

J.P. Crawford had been slumping to start July, but he did produce a nice night at the dish last night, going 2-4 with a triple, a walk, a stolen base, an RBI, and three runs scored; making it four straight games with a hit and he is 6-15 (.400) in that span. For the year, he is hitting .266 with four dingers, three steals, and 32 RBI across 188 at-bats.

What to Watch for Today

Zack Wheeler (6-6, 4.69 ERA) will make his return off IL in what could possibly be his last start as a member of the Mets (though that seems less likely recently). Wheeler has had an up-and-down season, but he still has lights-out stuff and will look to make a statement in this start against the Pirates.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.76 ERA) will attempt to keep his dominant season going in a road start against the Nationals. Ryu has given up more than two earned runs in only one start out of 19 this season and has been the epitome of consistency. Not only does he have a great ERA, but also a superb 0.93 WHIP.

Dylan Cease (1-2, 6.19 ERA) will look to somewhat fix his major control issues in a start against the Twins. As mentioned in this week’s Stock Watch, Cease has had trouble throwing strikes and it has really been a big problem. His stuff is far too nasty for him to pitch to these poor of numbers. He is eventually going to have a game when he is locked in and delivers a fantastic outing.

Zach Plesac (4-3, 3.50 ERA) will make his second straight start against the Royals. He fired six innings of two-run ball in a win over the Royals in his last start. His 3.50 ERA has been a pleasant surprise as he was not expected to pitch this well, and he also has a sharp 1.09 WHIP. His strikeouts aren’t great, but he’s been getting it done for deep leaguers.