While playoff contenders vie for positions in the standings and spending resources to win a championship, savvy teams will continue to rebuild for the future. Another piece of the Padres vaunted farm system arrived on Thursday night: 

Francisco Mejia came to the Indians in the Brad Hand trade. Prior to his promotion, Mejia ranked 21st overall and third in San Diego’s system by MLB Pipeline. He made quite a first impression in his first start with the team going yard twice with four RBI. Mejia raked in the Pacific Coast League with seven home runs, 23 RBI and a .328/.364/.582 in a hitter friendly environment. But, if he can carry over power to the majors and hit for average, he could be a worthy pick in drafts at a weak position. His next three weeks could determine how the Padres proceed in trying to deal veterans such as Wil Myers , Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe .

That Just Happened

Speaking of Renfroe, he launched his 20th home run of the year in Cincinnati, has 13 home runs in the second half and hit five over his last 10 contests.

Just when it feels like trusting Luis Castillo makes sense, he yields three home runs for the first time in a start for his career. His line will not look as bad since he only allowed two earned runs of the five scored against him, but Castillo’s third in the National League in home runs (27). During his second half breakout last year, Castillo only gave up four home runs over his last eight starts in 49.1 innings. If he can generate swings and misses without letting baseballs leave the yard, he could be primed for a bounce back next year.

Kyle Hendricks did not figure in the decision last night, but like Castillo above, allowed only one earned run of the four scored against him. Lasting only five innings, this snapped a streak of six starts during which he pitched at least six innings. In the second half, Hendricks is 5-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 10 starts and will look to finish the season strong leading up to the playoffs.

With Brandon Morrow trying to throw this weekend, his timetable for a potential return or shutdown will become clearer. Pedro Strop pitched the bottom of the ninth in a tied game and garnered his fifth win when Chicago rallied in the 10th inning. Strop’s been scoreless in 11 of his last 12 outings and converted 10 of his last 12 save chances since July 19th. Jesse Chávez notched his fourth save of the year, and third with the Cubs, giving up a hit and a walk in his inning. Through 27 innings with Chicago, Chavez has a 1.67 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, two wins and three saves.

Trea Turner went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. He’s hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games with a .313 average in 67 at-bats, 11 runs, two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, eight walks and three stolen bases. Justin Miller suffered his first blown save allowing two hits and an earned run in two-thirds of an inning in the top of the eighth. This could mean Greg Holland , who worked a scoreless inning was being held out for the save chance. Holland’s pitched in 15 games with the Nationals yielding only one earned run in 13 innings (0.69 ERA), a 0.77 WHIP and 14 strikeouts. He should receive save chances until Sean Doolittle returns.

Not only did Francisco Lindor record the eighth multi-homer game of his career, but he matched his total from last year at 33 in the process. Lindor’s homered four times the last four games, already set career highs in runs (117) and stolen bases (22) while raising his on-base plus slugging percentage 55 points compared to last year. He will turn 25 in November. Shane Bieber won his ninth game and has only walked 16 batters in 16 starts this year.

Rookie Rowdy Tellez not only owns a great name, but a touching story as well. Tellez lost his mother to brain cancer last month and has hit his way into the record books:

It appears Nick Markakis could be emerging from his slump. He tallied four hits, including his 50th double of the season with two RBI last night. It’s the fifth time in his career Markakis has recorded 50 doubles in a season. Johan Camargo added his 16th home run and leads the Braves in RBI (51) since the start of June.

As for the Atlanta bullpen, A.J. Minter threw a career high 36 pitches on Wednesday and was unavailable in the first game in Arizona. Jessie Biddle received the save chance but allowed three hits and two earned runs resulting in his third blown save. Also, the first earned runs he’s given up since August 19th. Brad Brach converted his first save as a Brave walking one and striking out one. He’s only yielded one earned run in 19 appearances with his new team spanning 16.2 innings. If Minter continues to struggle, Brach could work his way into a timeshare.

With Zack Greinke on the mound, it felt like momentum would be on Arizona’s side. He entered this start with a 2.14 ERA his previous 92.1 innings and a 4-0 record his last seven starts versus the Braves. But, things do not always go as planned. One thing the Diamondbacks can count on, Paul Goldschmidt . He went 3-for-5 with three runs, a double, his 32nd home run and his 81st RBI. Over the last 26 games, Goldschmidt’s hitting .396 with nine doubles, eight home runs, 21 RBI and 10 walks.

Keep tabs on how Arizona deploys the bullpen the rest of the series. Brad Boxberger incurred his sixth loss after loading the bases with two outs and being replaced by Yoshihisa Hirano , who uncorked a wild pitch to score the go ahead run, charged to Boxberger. But, Boxberger’s been protected from facing left-handed hitters in the ninth innings with two of his last three saves being two-thirds of an inning appearances.

What To Watch For

A potential playoff preview with Houston heading to Boston. Gerrit Cole will match-up with David Price in an intriguing mound battle.

Blake Snell will try for his 18th win of the year facing the Orioles at home. It feels like Snell’s season flies below the radar, but he’s been terrific.

Aaron Nola will try to gain traction in the National League Cy Young race taking the mound in New York against the Mets.

But, in the most anticipated series, the Dodgers will head to Colorado and the thin air without their closer playing for the lead in the National League West. Tonight, Clayton Kershaw will oppose Jonathan Gray.

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm all weekend to stay ahead of your competition in baseball and football. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.


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