With many teams reaching the midpoint of their season, and the All-Star break looming, trade talks will heat up soon with many contenders looking to strengthen its bullpen. Plus, with so many fluid situations in the fantasy landscape forcing owners to seek saves wherever they can get them, more change could be on the horizon. On Wednesday, there were four blown saves causing the win probability in games plus a complete meltdown by a sometimes closer leading to a loss. 

In the preseason, Boston’s Alex Cora tabbed Matt Barnes as his best reliever but explained he would not work exclusively in the ninth inning. This did not dissuade fantasy owners trying to roster the reliever working in the highest leverage moments. Early on, it worked out but since May 25th, Barnes seems fatigued. He took the loss and his sixth blown save yesterday afternoon coughing up a go ahead two run home run to José Abreu . Over his last 14.1 innings, Barnes owns a 7.55 ERA, 1.84 WHIP and 25:13 K:BB rate. He’s won one game, lost two, saved one, blown two saves and recorded five holds in this time frame. 

On the other hand, fantasy does not seem to embrace closers on bad teams. However, Roenis Elías notched his 10th save, and fifth in a row in six outings since June 12th with two clean innings in Milwaukee last night striking out two. How relievers get utilized and rested will decide some of the pennant races along with who gets moved prior to the deadline. Another example, Craig Stammen entered for the Padres with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth stranding all three runners. He then returned for the ninth retiring the side in order for his fourth save this year matching Barnes total. Stammen’s incurred some dustups, but now owns the same number of saves as Barnes with three since May 24th. Chasing saves, it’s a rush. 

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

  • Alex Colomé suffered his first blown save of the year but bounced back with a scoreless ninth for his third win. He’s 16-for-17 in save chances this season with a 2.32 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. But, he could be on the trading block and in June owns a 4.32 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP. His window to sell high should be accessed by savvy owners. 

  • It’s apparent the Yankees will try to avoid using Aroldis Chapman in three straight games. Zack Britton received the save opportunity and faltered allowing two hits resulting in an earned run. He benefits with his third win after his third blown save with a walk-off single by Gleyber Torres

  • Wade Davis worked around a hit for his 11th save as he tries to get back on track since his oblique injury. 

  • An Edwin Díaz appearance, in a tied game on the road. He fired a clean inning with two strikeouts in only his second outing since June 15th. New York’s bullpen continues to struggle reaching Diaz and now own the highest team ERA (7.44) in June for relievers. 

  • Save number 17 for Sean Doolittle getting one out in Miami. However, he did serve up a three-run triple to Curtis Granderson in the process with the runs being charged to Javy Guerra

  • Taking over for an injured Blake Treinen , Liam Hendriks secured his second save giving up a hit with a strikeout. Hendriks has been scoreless in 21 of his last 22 relief appearances and owns a 0.92 ERA over his last 29.1 innings with 38 strikeouts. 

  • A night off for Luke Jackson leads to A.J. Minter ’s fourth save. It’s Minter’s first since April 24th. He’s pitching better of late with a 2.45 ERA in June, but he needs to cut down on the free passes (six walks) in 7.1 innings this month. 

  • Taylor Rogers notched his 10th save with 1.1 clean innings against the Rays. 

  • Another rough outing for Raisel Igleisas who absorbs his seventh loss allowing three hits, four earned runs and a walk after entering a tied game in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

Pedro Strop owners can look for a replacement with this news: 

Also, with a blown save by Emilio Pagán , those still holding on to José Álvarado, news finally surfaced on Wednesday: 

Starting Pitcher Spotlight: Minor tosses a gem

With Texas in the playoff hunt, it will be interesting to see if the buy, sell or hold at the trade deadline. One of their best assets, Mike Minor won his eighth game firing a complete game in Detroit. Minor allowed five hits, one earned run and two walks with seven strikeouts. He’s reached eight innings in three of his last four starts and five times this season. Five teams do not have a pitcher on the roster to reach eight innings in any start this year. Minor also recorded 14 swinging strikes and 14 called of his 107 pitches for a 26.2 CSW (Called plus swinging strikes) percentage. This outing moved Minor into the American League lead in ERA (2.40) for qualified starters as well. 

On a day when Chris Sale , James Paxton and others struggled to produce quality starts, Minor’s stands out even more. 

Here’s the other notable starting pitcher performances from Wednesday:

  • Trevor Bauer , Cleveland: 127 pitches, 18 swinging strikes, 22 called, 31.5 CSW%. Bauer gets his sixth win and provided much needed rest for his bullpen. He also racked up 12 strikeouts over 6.2 innings giving up only three hits and one earned run. 

  • Jason Vargas , New York Mets: 77 pitches, 16 swinging strikes, 16 called, 41.6 CSW%. Getting 12 swinging strikes with his changeup alone, Vargas did not factor in the decision, but worked 6.1 innings allowing three hits, two earned runs and two walks with 10 strikeouts. 

  • Patrick Corbin , Washington: 100 pitches, 17 swinging strikes, 16 called, 33 CSW%. Corbin nets his seventh win yielding three hits, one earned run and a walk with nine strikeouts in Miami. 

  • Wade LeBlanc , Seattle: 83 pitches, 13 swinging strikes, 15 called, 33.7 CSW%. LeBlanc won his fifth decision working as the bulk reliever after the opener in Milwaukee. He lasted five innings giving up five hits, two earned runs and one walk with six strikeouts. Over his last four appearances, LeBlanc’s won three games allowing two runs or fewer in three of them. 

Hitter Highlights: LeMahieu continues to rake

Looking like one of the best discounts in fantasy drafts this season, D.J. LeMahieu extended his personal hit streak to 12 games, leads the American League in hitting (.336) and launched his 12th home run of the season on Wednesday. Through 102 at-bats in June, he’s slashing a robust .373/.418/.637 with 22 runs, five doubles, two triples, six home runs and 22 RBI fueling the Yankees offense. Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge chipped in three hits apiece with Torres adding the walk-off game winning single. 

Within this loss for the Blue Jays, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. surges on since his recall on May 24th with three hits, two home runs and four RBI. In the 30 games since his promotion, Gurriel’s hitting .336/.378/.672 with 23 runs, 10 home runs, 19 RBI, a .336 isolated power, .428 weighted on-base average and 47.1 hard hit rate. 

Perhaps emerging from a mini-slump, José Abreu racked up three hits including his go ahead two run home run. It’s Abreu’s 19th dinger this year and he finished with four RBI. James McCann added his eighth home run, matching last year’s total and reached safely in his last 14 games with a .314 average, four home runs driving in 10 in it. 

San Diego launched five home runs against the Orioles pitching with Greg Garcia (3), Franmil Reyes a double dong effort (21,22), Eric Hosmer (12) and Hunter Renfroe (24) all leaving the yard. 

Jarrod Dyson tallied three hits and stole two bases raising his season total to 19 in a Diamondbacks win. Eduardo Escobar added a smash and dash day hitting his 18th home run along with swiping his third base of the season. 

David Dahl launched his 10th home run, a grand slam in San Francisco. Dahl’s homered in three of his last four games, all on the road and hitting .320/.369/.541 on the year. 

Stay hot Willie Calhoun . He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, his fourth home run and an RBI in Detroit. He’s on a seven game hit streak and hitting .313 over 32 at-bats since his return from the injured list. 

Eddie Rosario left last night’s game with an ankle injury, stay tuned for news about his status. Nelson Cruz turned the tide in the game with a bases clearing double. His last 75 at-bats yield four doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI. 

Pittsburgh scored 14 runs in Houston. Kevin Newman went 4-for-6 with his third home run and three RBI. Josh Bell crushed his 21st home run and Corey Dickerson finished with four hits, three doubles, three runs and three RBI adding to his trade stock. 

Mallex Smith and J.P. Crawford wreaked havoc atop the Mariners lineup last night in Milwaukee. Smith moved his hit streak to seven games with two hits. Since May 27th, Smith’s hitting .307 with 24 runs, 15 extra-base hits and 17 RBI. Crawford’s nine for his last 14 in a three-game span and reached safely in 17 of his last 18 contests. During the last 18 games, Crawford’s 25-for-68 (.368) with 10 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 19 RBI, 12 walks and owns an on-base plus slugging over one thousand. 

What To Watch For

In an early matchup of starters trying to salvage their fantasy seasons, Zack Wheeler will face Aaron Nola in Philadelphia. 

Bryce Wilson returns from Triple-A to face the Cubs on the road and Stephen Strasburg will look to stay hot in a start in Miami. Suddenly the Nationals only sit two and a half games out of the Wild Card. 

This evening, Walker Buehler will try to tame Coors fresh off a 15 strikeout outing. 


Statistical Credits: 



MLB.com - Game Notes