Every year Nelson Cruz gets underrated in drafts due to his utility designation. This year in the second half, he’s reaching a new level of production. Last night, Cruz went 4-for-5 scoring two runs with two home runs and four RBI. It’s the third four-hit game of the season for Cruz and 16th of his career. He’s recorded six multi-home run games for Minnesota this season, tying a franchise record set by Harmon Killebrew (1964). Cruz also becomes the first player in team history with three four-hit games with two home runs in each. And did we mention his second half:

In the second half, Cruz owns a .357/.449/.964 slash line in 23 games with 22 runs and 30 RBI to accompany the 16 home runs. Mercy. 

In this same game, Ronald Acuña Jr. went three-for-five with four runs, hit his 28th home run, and stole his 26th base. Acuna’s in line to become only the second player in major league history to record a 30/30 season at Age-21 or younger (Mike Trout ). In fact, Acuna Jr. could reach this total by the end of the weekend. He’s average a home run every 15.8 at-bats and stolen 13 bases in 16 attempts in the second half. His paces also suggest Acuna Jr. may allow him to become the fifth player to reach a 40/40 season with health. 

Freddie Freeman added his 28th home run, racked up three hits and drove in four during Atlanta’s win in Minnesota. Freeman ranks second in the National League in RBI with 91 and currently on pace for 39 home runs with 128 RBI. 

Here’s the other notable hitter performances from Wednesday:

Bryan Reynolds hit his 11th home run in a loss, extending his hit streak to five games. He’s hitting .378 over his last 12 games and owns the second best average in the National League since his debut on April 20th (.335). 

Continuing his hot streak, Mike Tauchman homered for the second straight contest. Since the All-Star break, Tauchman’s slashing a robust .433/.477/.867 with 19 runs, six home runs and 19 RBI in 18 games.

Hidden beneath Kansas City’s season, Jorge Soler continues his breakout campaign with two home runs and four RBI at Fenway Park. It’s Soler’s third multi-home run game of his career and he’s the first right-handed Royal to reach 30 home runs since Jermaine Dye (2000). 

Fantasy owners will want to keep tabs on Aristedes Aquino of the Reds. He went 3-for-4 last night with his second home run and in the midst of a four-game hit streak. Aquino led the International League with a .636 slugging percentage before his promotion. Over 78 games, Aquino launched 28 home runs with 53 RBI in Louisville. And he’s already hitting fourth in the lineup. Eugenio Suárez blasted his 30th home run, his 10th in the second half and he’s slashing .287/.385/.667 since the break. Tucker Barnhart notched his first multi-home run game driving in two in the win. 

Happy Birthday to Mike Trout . He turns 28 today and homered for the second straight contest last night. Trout leads the American League in home runs (38), RBI (89), walks (87), slugging percentage (.672) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.112). He’s also one of five players with at least 250 home runs and a career .400 on-base average or higher by his Age-27 season. Trout needs three more stolen bases to be the first player in history with at least 275 home runs and 200 steals prior to this Age-28 season. Dear lord. 

While on the trail of history being made, how about another bit of it made by a rookie with Toronto: 

Amidst the Mets surge, Pete Alonso homered for the second straight game moving within three of the National League record for home runs by a rookie in a season set by Cody Bellinger in 2017 (39). 

Have a night Yuli Gurriel . He went 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI along with stealing his fourth base. Yordan Alvarez added his 14th home run driving in two. He’s hitting .338 with a 1.119 on-base plus slugging percentage. Carlos Correa went 2-for-4 with his 15th home run and three RBI. 

Staying hot, Eduardo Escobar tallied two hits including his 25th home run driving in three. He’s already set career highs in home runs and RBI, leading the National League with 92 this year. 

Starting Pitcher Spotlight

Overlooked in drafts due to injury worries, Clayton Kershaw won his 11th game on Wednesday turning seven strong innings giving up four hits, one earned run and a walk with nine strikeouts. Kershaw’s pitched at least six innings in each of his 20 starts this season with a quality start in 17 of them. Last night, he recorded 18 swinging strikes with 17 called for a 34.7 called plus swinging strike (CSW) percentage and lowered his ERA to 2.77 in the process. 

Here’s other notable outings from Wednesday: 

  • Zack Wheeler , New York Mets: 101 pitches, 10 swinging strikes, 20 called, 29.7 CSW%. Wheeler won his third straight game in the second half firing eight shutout innings allowing eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts. In his 20.1 innings in the second half, Wheeler owns a 1.33 ERA and 0.83 WHIP with 19 strikeouts against zero walks. 

  • Dinelson Lamet , San Diego: 104 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 26 called, 39.4 CSW%. Lamet carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished his first win yielding two hits and four walks with 12 strikeouts over seven innings. 

  • Aníbal Sánchez , Washington: 87 pitches, 10 swinging strikes, 11 called, 24.1 CSW%. Sanchez became the first pitcher since 1920 to record a win streak (7) more than a preceding losing streak (6) in the same season. Patience sometimes pays in fantasy. During this start, Sanchez pitched six innings giving up four hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk with three strikeouts. 

Bullpen Notes: Bradley extends his streak

Although the Diamondbacks will not name him the closer, Archie Bradley sure seems like he’s taken over the role. He’s notched the last two saves for the team and pitched the ninth last night protecting a four-run lead. Plus:

Bradley’s 12-game scoreless streak spans 15.1 innings with 21 strikeouts in them. 

Here’s the rest of the high leverage events from Wednesday: 

  • Alex Colomé secured his 22nd save but allowed a run for the second straight outing giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout. He’s yielded runs in three of his last four appearances. 

  • Save number two for Matt Albers . He held on with a runner reaching third with one out after ceding two hits and an earned run in the ninth inning. 

  • Adam Ottavino notched his first save working two scoreless innings in Baltimore. He’s yet to allow a run to an American League East opponent over 28 games (24 innings) and in the midst of a 15 games scoreless streak. Ottavino owns a 0.86 ERA dating back to June 16th with 23 of his last 24 outings being scoreless. 

  • Netting a win on a walk-off wild pitch, Diego Castillo worked a clean top of the 10th with a strikeout during Tampa Bay’s victory. 

  • Sean Doolittle converted his sixth straight save in the second half. Since the break, Doolittle’s surged with a 1.69 ERA, 13:0 K:BB and 0.65 WHIP in 10.2 innings. 

  • Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen recorded his 26th save giving up a hit and striking out one. 

What To Watch For

More injury news for the Yankees. Gleyber Torres left last night’s game with a core injury and could land on the injury list. 

Texas and Cleveland will play a doubleheader making up for a rainout last night. 

Gerrit Cole headlines the afternoon slate facing the Rockies at home while Dustin May tries to improve upon his debut matching up with Jack Flaherty

James Paxton will try to build on his last outing and faces the Orioles this evening. Zac Gallen will make his Arizona debut as well. 

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm across all formats to remain ahead of the competition. 


Statistical Credits:


MLB.com - Game Notes