Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm…”

The big news today will likely be the Dominican J2 doping scandal. According to Neftali Ruiz of Deportes SIN, 18 of the top 20 Dominican J2 players in the upcoming class have tested positive for banned substances. If true, this would obviously be a big deal, especially with a lot of potential bonus money on the line for these young players. With millions of dollars at stake, kids are being pressured by agents and coaches to use banned substances in order increase their profit potential, many of which are minors.

According to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, the Diamondbacks have made a minor league contract offer to free agent John Lackey. Lackey has not pitched since last year, but also expressed interest in returning for the second half of the season if the price and circumstances are right.

Chris Sale was ejected from the game in the seventh inning yesterday. This was largely ceremonial as Sale had already been pulled from the game by manager Alex Cora. Sale has been fantastic once again this season, throwing 95 innings with a 2.75 ERA and over 12 strikeouts per nine innings.


That Happened?!?

Juan Soto hit two bombs and drove in four of the five Nationals runs in their win over the Yankees yesterday. Soto has been impressive since being called up, hitting .344/.447/.641 with five home runs and a stolen base in 20 games. Even more impressive is the fact he is actually been better against lefties than right-handed pitchers. There is obviously regression coming, but he is showing that he can be a star in the Majors.

Evan Gattis hit two home runs in the victory over the A’s on Tuesday. Since starting off slow to begin the year, Gattis is hitting .301/.352/.731 with 12 home runs in the last five weeks. Gattis has been unstoppable as of late and is rewarding fantasy owners that were patient with him through his early season slump.

Garrett Richards and Zack Cozart were forced out of Wednesday’s game. Richards left with a hamstring injury in the third inning and Cozart exited with a strained shoulder. This is bad news for the Angels, who are already without ace Shohei Ohtani for the foreseeable future. Both will have MRIs to reveal the extent of the injuries. Consider them day-to-day right now.

Jose Martinez will miss the entire series versus the Cubs and will be placed on the paternity leave list today. Martinez will travel home to be at the birth of his child and will not return until early next week. Luke Voit will be brought back up to replace him on the roster. Martinez has been great this year, hitting .322/.391/.522 with 10 home runs in 62 games.

Mitch Haniger hit his 16th home run of the season to walk-off the Angels on Wednesday. It feels like Haniger and the Mariners don’t get the respect they deserve. Haniger has already matched his homer total for last season and is on pace for 38 homers. He is currently hitting .270/.352/.524 this year.


What We’ll Be Watching Today

German Marquez versus Vince Velásquez . Marquez has a 2.06 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP on the road this season and Velasquez has been awful at home. Will this trend continue?

Will Adam Ottavino be back? He is almost ready to return and was a top five reliever when he was healthy in spite of not being a closer.

Will Brandon Belt be back? Belt is supposed to return this weekend after spending time on the DL with an appendectomy. Belt has been fantastic this year after a swing change that has added power and closed a hole in his swing.

Justin Verlander versus Frankie Montás . Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the league this year. Montas is undefeated in spite of being more effectively wild than good through his three starts.

Blake Snell versus Domingo Germán . I recently put Snell in my top 10 starting pitchers for my rest of the season ranks (does not include injured pitchers.) German had a rough game last outing, but has showed real promise and will need to pitch well to stay in the rotation long term.


Baseball. Lots of baseball.