That Happened?

Fernando Rodney was traded to the Oakland A’s for Dakota Chalmers on Thursday. Rodney has been great this season as the Twins closer, saving 25 games with a 3.09 ERa and 10.31 K/9. However, he is unlikely to unseat current closer Blake Treinen in Oakland, so his value diminishes drastically in most formats. Trevor Hildenberger seemed likely to get the first shot once Rodney was traded not that long ago, but he has struggled a bit as of late, so Taylor Rogers , may get the first crack or we could see a committee until someone grabs the role full time.

According to manager Craig Counsell, Corey Knebel will be used in an “easier spot” in his next appearance. Knebel recently took the loss in an extra innings game versus the Rockies after serving up the go-ahead homer in the 11th inning and has been atrocious in the second half so far. With the Brewers competing for a playoff spot, they may decide to make a change. The recently acquired Joakim Soria may be an option for Milwaukee as he has the coveted “closer experience,” but he left yesterday’s game with a groin injury. Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress are likely options as well for the Brew Crew, if Soria is out long.

Ross Stripling returned to the rotation after missing time with a toe injury. Stripling threw six innings, striking out two. He allowed one run in the inning on four hits and two walks. It wasn’t a particularly impressive outing as he lack his typical command, but Stripling may need to just shake a bit of the rust off. Stripling has been fantastic this season, throwing 110 innings of sub-3 ERA ball with well over a strikeout an innings. He has done on the back of an elite curve ball and plus slider that he mixes in 20+% of the time each. The slider hasn’t hasn’t looked great the last two outing and the curve hasn’t had the usual bite on it, but some of that may be due to injury, however, there are legitimate concerns about how much he has pitched this season. He has already passed the most amount of innings he has ever thrown in a season. This may not be a bad selling point for Stripling if you are concerned.

Max Muncy crushed a pinch-hit home run versus the Rockies on  Thursday. Muncy has been ice cold to start the second half and after the recent additions of Manny Machado , Brian Dozier , and the return of players like Justin Turner , Muncy has found himself on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time. Muncy was a fun story to start the season, but with how loaded the Dodgers lineup is, he will be lucky to even see the field half the time as a short-side platoon player.

TeOscar Hernandez went 1-for-4 with a home run. He is now hitting .246/.301/.497 with 18 home runs in 366 plate appearances. Hernandez was one of my picks at the All-Star Break to go off in the second half. He is amongst the best in baseball in some of the StatCast metrics. He is fifth in the league in Barrels/PA%, 17th in the Majors in hard hit percentage, and 22nd in the league in average exit velocity. He is also in the top 7% in the league in xSLG and the top 1% in the league in xBACON (which I am told is not a breakfast option.) Hernandez shows all the right tools to breakout, so it may just be a matter of time before the 25-year-old is a household name. 

What We’ll Be Watching Today

What is happening with Kenley Jansen ? Jansen was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat on Thursday. This is an ailment that he has suffered from before and eventually returned from, so it doesn’t necessarily appear to be extremely serious, however, it would not be surprising if he was shut down for a little or even possibly the majority of the rest of the season. Scott Alexander and Josh Fields would likely be the next men up, but it would not be surprising if the Dodgers attempted to add another bullpen piece or move a Walker Buehler into the pen to strengthen the later innings.

Freddy Peralta versus Kevin Gausman . Peralta has vacillated between great and awful in his first crack at the Majors, but the Brewers need him to pitch well down the stretch if they expect to compete. Reportedly, the Braves noticed a mechanical flaws in Gausman and they hope that by fixing this issue, he will turn into the stud many of us having been waiting to see.

Kenta Maeda versus Jon Gray . Maeda has quietly been fantastic this season and if MLb gave awards for second half turn around, Gray would be the easy choice. Can both keep it up?

Clay Buchholz versus the Reds. Buchholz has been great this season, throwing 57 innings with a 2.68 ERA and an almost 22% strikeout rate. While he has struggled with the home run ball since returning from the DL, his strikeouts have increased as well. This will be another indication whether either is a trend.

Baseball. Lots of baseball.