Jack Flaherty takes home spotlight honors with his gem of a performance in a win over the Cubbies. He gave up just one hit over seven shutout-innings while striking out nine. He led all pitchers in scoring on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Flaherty has really turned his season around; he has given up a total of four runs over his 31.1 innings pitched (five starts) for a 1.15 ERA in that span. He also has at least six strikeouts in six straight starts and he has now done that in 15 of 22 starts this year. This is the guy we all thought we were drafting for fantasy this season. He will carry a 5-6 record and 3.93 ERA into his next outing.

Strong Outings

  • Zack Wheeler was dominant in a win over the White Sox, tossing seven shutout innings. He gave up just four hits while striking out seven. I fully expected Wheeler to come out and make a statement after not being traded, and he did just that. It was his fifth straight start with at least seven strikeouts and his 12th such start of the year. He will carry an 8-6 record and 4.45 ERA into his next outing.
  • Gerrit Cole didn’t have his strikeout stuff going, as he only racked up four punch-outs, but he still held the Indians to one run on four hits across seven innings in a win. It was his fourth straight start with seven innings and only one run against. He has a 1.91 ERA over his last 13 starts with 116 strikeouts across 85.0 innings. He will carry a very impressive 13-5 record and 2.87 ERA into his next outing.
  • Max Fried held the Reds to one run over six innings of work in a win. He gave up four hits while striking out four. He gets credited with a complete game, with rain cutting this game short. He has a very nice 12-4 record, but his 4.07 ERA and sub-9.00 K/9 leave a bit to be desired for fantasy purposes.
  • Chase Anderson pitched very in a no-decision against Oakland, giving up two hits and one run over six innings of work while striking out five. Anderson hasn’t been dominant, but he does have an eight start streak of two or fewer runs against. He will carry a 5-2 record and 3.73 ERA into his next outing.
  • Clayton Kershaw picked up a win and a quality start against the Padres, firing six innings of two-run ball. He gave up six hits and five walks while striking out five. That’s a lot of base runners, but if anyone is going to work around it, it’s a savvy veteran like Kershaw. It was his fifth straight start with at least six innings pitched and two or fewer runs against. Kershaw now holds the Dodgers record for strikeouts (2,397) by a lefty. He will carry a 10-2 record and 2.85 ERA into his next outing.
  • Dylan Cease had the best outing of his career in a loss, hurling seven innings of three-run ball. He gave up seven hits while striking out six. Unfortunately for Cease, with Wheeler racking up zero’s every inning, any number of runs would have been too many to give up. He only walked two and this was the deepest he has gone in any of his five starts. He will carry a 1-4 record and 6.11 ERA into his next outing.
  • Trent Thornton had one of his worst strikeout totals of the year with only two punch-outs, but he did fire six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Orioles. He gave up five hits in the outing. It was his seventh start with at least five innings and one or fewer runs against. Thronton has shown a lot of good flashes this year, but usually follows them up with an awful outing. He will carry a 4-7 record and 5.23 ERA into his next outing.

Hitter Highlights

Xander Bogaerts went a perfect 4-4 with a pair of dingers, a double, and three RBI. He extended his hitting streak to seven games. If the season ended today, he would probably finish second in the AL MVP voting (behind Trout), as he is now hitting .317 with 25 home runs and 84 RBI.

Vlad Guerrero Jr. seems to be in here daily right now and he had another big game last night, going 3-5 with two home runs, a double, and four RBI. Vladdy is hitting .417 with five home runs and 21 RBI over his last 12 games. He also became the youngest player in MLB history with  16+ RBI in a five-game stretch. He has found his groove and is now comfortable at the big league level. He should be a strong fantasy asset ROS.

Alex Bregman finished a perfect 3-3 with a home run, a double, two walks, and two RBI. The three hits bring his total for the year up to 100 and his batting average is now .265. He has 27 home runs, 78 runs, 65 RBI, and four stolen bases to go along with that average. Fantasy owners would like to see him run a bit more but, overall, he has been a great asset.

Mike Zunino had a nice night at the dish, going 2-3 with a solo home run, two walks, and two runs scored. Zunino was in a 0-14 slump entering this game and it’s been a very rough year for him overall, but this was a nice game for him. He only has six home runs and a .172 average though.

Mark Canha had a big night at the dish and on the bases, finishing 3-3 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and a pair of stolen bases. Very interesting game, considering he had ZERO steals through 76 games, prior to swiping two in this one game. He now has 17 home runs and 31 RBI to go along with a .256 average.

Will Smith continues to be a big addition to the already loaded Dodgers lineup, last night he went 2-4 with a home run, a double, and four RBI. It was his second straight game with a home run and third in his past five games. He is hitting .349 with six home runs and 19 RBI through 14 games played (43 at-bats).

George Springer went 1-2 with a leadoff dinger, three walks, and three runs scored. He is now hitting .289 with 25 home runs, 62 RBI, and five stolen bases. The .289 average would be a new career-high if he can sustain it (.283 in 2017 is his current best mark) and he still has an outside shot at topping his career-high in home runs (34 – 2017) and RBI (85 – 2017).

What to Watch for Today

Dustin May will make his MLB debut tonight against the Padres. He is the 35th-ranked prospect in baseball. He pitched to a 3.74 ERA across 79.1 innings at AA, which earned him a call-up to AAA, where he pitched to a 2.30 ERA across 27.1 innings.

Steven Matz (6-6, 4.32 ERA) fired the first shutout of his career in his last outing and today he takes on the same team (Pirates). Matz had a great July overall, pitching to a 1.80 ERA across 20.0 innings. The Pirates rank dead last in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties this year.

Jason Vargas (6-5, 4.01 ERA) will make his Phillies debut today in a start against the White Sox. Interestingly enough about this start, the White Sox just wrapped up a series with Vargas’ old team (Mets). Vargas has a 3.27 ERA across his last 16 starts.