Leverage in trade talks can prevent a team from overpaying in negotiations. However, the Yankees ill fated collapse in starting pitching with the trade deadline looming on the horizon could work against them. James Paxton allowed seven earned runs over four innings including four home runs. This outing also exacerbated the team need to restock the rotation:


Although this sample could be viewed as a blip for a team leading its division eight and a half games, check out how the starters fared since the inception of the second half:


In almost a perfect storm of struggles prior to the deadline, the organization will need to make difficult decisions about how aggressive to be in adding help for a deep run in the playoffs. Toronto should, and will, ask for the moon in Marcus Stroman trade talks. It’s rumored they asked about Gleyber Torres and Deivi Cruz. Taking a strong stance in negotiations makes sense for the Blue Jays with an eye on the future. Doubt Torres would ever be included in this or any deal, but with the Yankees staff reeling, they will be forced to make difficult decisions about which players to move in order to improve their chances to win a World Series. 

Also, the Cubs and Brewers played a one-run game but with differing results and needs heading towards the deadline:


Gio González left the game with shoulder soreness and Pedro Strop incurred his sixth blown save. Both teams could use help, but do they have enough in the minors to get the necessary reinforcements? 

Noting the implosion by Paxton last night, here’s the notable performances by starting pitchers from around the league: 

  • German Márquez , Colorado: 94 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 15 called, 31.9 CSW%. Marquez won his 10th game lasting seven innings giving up five hits and two earned runs with seven strikeouts in Cincinnati. 

  • Zack Greinke , Arizona: 102 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 16 called, 30.4 CSW%. Deserving better than a no-decision, Greinke did not record the win due to Greg Holland ’s meltdown in the ninth inning. However, Greinke did log six innings allowing four hits, one earned run and walked one with five strikeouts. 

  • Jack Flaherty , St. Louis: 108 pitches, 10 swinging strikes, 20 called, 27.8 CSW%. Flaherty pitched well at home striking out nine Astros scattering three hits and two earned runs while walking one in a no-decision. 

  • Jose Urquidy, Houston: 88 pitches, 10 swinging strikes, 18 called, 31.8 CSW%. Let down by his bullpen, Urquidy left in line for the win firing six innings limiting the Cardinals to four hits, one earned run and walking two with six strikeouts. 

  • Lance Lynn , Texas: 111 pitches, 22 swinging strikes, 15 called, 33.3 CSW%. Rolling to his 13th victory, Lynn yielded four hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with eight strikeouts versus the Angels. 

  • Asher Wojchiechowski, Baltimore: 100 pitches, 14 swinging strikes, 18 called, 32 CSW%. Recording his second straight win, Wojchiechowski tossed seven innings on the road allowing three hits two earned runs and a walk with six strikeouts. It appears the Orioles found a diamond in the rough. 


Hitter Highlights: Cruz and Goldschmidt extend home run streaks to five games each

Minnesota’s savvy free agent signing of Nelson Cruz continues to pay dividends. He homered for the fifth straight game on Friday night going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a walk:


Cruz has launched seven home runs in this five game streak along with hitting nine over his last 10 contests. Also, Max Kepler ’s home run made history for the franchise:


Just when it seemed safe to sell low on Paul Goldshmidt, he’s turned on the power in July. Goldschmidt also owns a home run streak:


He’s already set career highs for home runs (9) and RBI (25) in July with a .297/.361/.703 slash line. Goldschmidt leads the National League in RBI for the month. 

Normally, a three home run game would lead this part of the column, but Mookie Betts racked up four hits including a double and three home runs driving in five in a win over New York:


It’s also important to note, Betts returned to pulling the ball for more power recently as noted by one of his beat writers:


Fueling a Rockies rout in Cincinnati, Daniel Murphy went 2-for-5 with a double, his 11th home run and drove in a career high six runs:


Since June 23rd, Murphy’s hitting .340 in 27 games. He owns a .352/.386/.685 slash in July with six doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI in 54 at-bats. 

Strong second halves seem to follow Justin Turner and he’s heating up again. Last night, Turner hit his 15th home run driving in three giving the Dodgers the lead in the eighth inning. 

In Friday’s feel good story department, Jeff McNeil hit his 10th home run and finished with three RBI. He still leads the majors with a .340 batting average but hopes to make an addition to his family:


McNeil and his wife will visit the puppy again on Saturday, here’s hoping she relents to adopting “Homer”.


Bullpen Notes: Winds of Change

Knowing the trade deadline will pass on Wednesday, teams will be jockeying for position along with deciding if it’s time to buy, sell or hold. One team, Pittsburgh holds a major chip in trade talks if they decide to cash in on their closer: 


Since this article preceded the Dodgers hanging on for a win over the Phillies with Kenley Jansen giving up a run on a hit and two walks with one strikeout. He’s converted 25 of 29 save chances this season but his 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over seven innings this month hint an upgrade could be necessary to win a championship. 

Here’s the rest of the high leverage events from Friday night: 

  • Even Kreskin would struggle to predict who will get the next save chance in the Tampa Bay bullpen. On Friday, Diego Castillo worked as the opener firing a clean inning with a strikeout. Colin Poche notched his first career save with a clean ninth inning after giving up at least a run in four of his previous six appearances. 

  • Blown save number five for Greg Holland results in his second loss. He allowed two hits, two earned runs and a walk in one-third of an inning. Yoan López will be a popular speculative add this weekend. 

  • Seth Lugo notched his first save of the season recording a clean ninth inning with a strikeout. Edwin Díaz received a day off to alleviate the swelling his foot but should return to action on Saturday. 

  • Brewers turned to Josh Hader for his 23rd save last night. Hader worked around a hit with two strikeouts in a scoreless outing. Adrian Houser benefits with his fourth win working 1.2 clean innings with a strikeout. 

  • Save number 10 for Carlos Martínez giving up a hit with a strikeout after Ryan Pressly coughed up a go ahead three-run home run to Goldschmidt in the eighth inning.

  • Well, tried to warn owners about Texas. Chris Martin recorded his fourth save despite allowing his first walk since April 30th. José Leclerc notched his seventh hold with a clean eighth inning striking out one. 

  • Roenis Elías garnered his third win with a clean top of the ninth and a strikeout before the Mariners snapped a tied game with a walk-off hit by Mallex Smith in the bottom of the inning. 

  • Free baseball in San Diego ended with Will Smith ’s 25th save. He allowed a hit during a scoreless inning of work. Mark Melancon tossed a clean 10th inning striking out two for his fourth win. 


What To Watch For

More rumors to evolve but many speculate deals will not start until Monday with an avalanche near the deadline on Wednesday. 

It does not appear to be serious, but for the prospect speculators:


Atlanta’s Nick Markakis also could be injured and if he heads to the injured list, Adam Duvall could join the team. He’s hit 29 home runs in 94 Triple-A games this season with a .931 on-base plus slugging percentage. 

Looking to snap a losing streak, the Yankees will turn to veteran C.C. Sabathia to oppose Eduardo Rodríguez in Boston. Clayton Kershaw will face Joe Ross in Washington as well in the day slate of games. 

Gerrit Cole and Mike Clevinger headline the night games with both making starts on the road. 

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm to remain ahead of the competition as the trade deadline nears and across all fantasy fronts. 


Statistical Credits: