When there’s a day that Shohei Ohtani toes the rubber, something magical is going to happen. While we shouldn’t take any player for granted, it’s getting to the point where we should honestly come to expect it with the two-way superstar. He’s strengthening his case by the day for the MVP award, and has been nothing short of dominant. In non-Ohtani baseball news, Luis Severino left his start early for the Yankees yesterday with shoulder tightness, and Mike Trout’s back seems to be healing slowly but surely. Detroit’s Tarik Skubal went from fantasy ace to struggling southpaw over the last month or so, and Jon Gray is pitching like the ace Texas expected him to be when signing him to a big free agent deal this offseason. In the tightly contested American League East, the Blue Jays made a switch, dismissing skipper Charlie Montoyo. Baltimore and Seattle are both on impressive winning streaks – yes, you read that right – and the Home Run Derby, MLB All-Star Game, and All-Star Break is right around the corner. As we wrap up the fantasy baseball news and notes from Wednesday, I’ll give you my favorite player prop and best bet for Thursday’s Major League Baseball action.



MLB News and Notes from Wednesday

Ohtani Dominates, but Allows an Earned Run


Well, Mr. Shohei Ohtani, you can kiss that MVP award goodbye! How dare you let up an earned run! It was the first earned run that Ohtani has allowed since June 9th against the Boston Red Sox. Regardless, he’s now won his last six starts, posting a 0.45 ERA and 58:11 K/BB ratio across 39.2 innings of work. Also, during this stretch, his ground ball rate is up to 46.9 percent, and in his first nine starts of the year, he had only a 35.8 percent ground ball rate. Ground balls and strikeouts are music to my ears! Ohtani also tripled in this game at the dish, but his work on the mound, tonight and of late, has been prolific. He has four straight starts with double-digit strikeouts, and he has an 18.1 percent swinging strike rate and 60 percent contact rate during this four-start stretch.


Severino Exits with Shoulder Tightness


Luis Severino lasted just 43 pitches in yesterday’s contest, and three of the four hits that he allowed sailed over the outfield fence in Yankee Stadium. He allowed four earned runs on four hits (3 HR) with two walks and one strikeout. He left early with what was called shoulder tightness, and the team will send him for an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury. The radar gun pointed to a potential issue as well. See for yourself below:


Do you see the blue in the “+/-” column? Yeah, not good.


Jesse Winker Homers Twice in Twinbill


Jesse Winker may have only had two hits across both contests yesterday, but he made them both count, as each sailed over the fence for a solo home run. Winker hit .412 over his last 10 games in June, but he’s been out of the lineup for a bit after serving his six-game suspension from the brawl a few weeks back. Winker’s two home runs helped push Seattle’s win streak to 10 games, and while Winker has hurt fantasy baseball managers who need more batting average, his 14.5 percent walk rate has kept his OBP respectable at .339 for the year.


Tarik Skubal’s Struggles Continue


Tarik Skubal is on quite the slide of late. In his first 11 starts of the year, he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.33 ERA, 2.07 FIP, and a 9.59 K/9 mark. However, over his last seven starts, he’s 1-6 with a 7.46 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 8.23 K/9, and 3.86 BB/9. Of late, too, home runs have been an issue, as he has a 1.54 HR/9 mark, whereas that mark sat at 0.41 HR/9 in his first 11 starts. The trend lines of his strikeouts and walks is not ideal to say the least.



As for the home runs, his fly ball rate has actually been trending downwards, yet the home runs have been up, likely aided by a rising HR/FB ratio. Where it is sitting in July (17.6%) rivals where it had been in 2020 and 2021.


Blue Jays Dismiss Skipper Charlie Montoyo


From extended to dismissed. After leading the Blue Jays to 91 wins last year, the collective sentiment is that this team is underperforming as a whole, and with the Blue Jays in the thick of things in the AL East, despite being 15.5 games behind the Yankees, the Blue Jays decided to make a change. Toronto is currently tied for third with Boston in the AL East, and John Schneider will serve as the interim manager, and his record stands at 1-0 after last night’s win.


Jon Gray Continues to Deal


Jon Gray’s nine strikeouts over seven shutout innings while allowing just one hit is one of his top two or three starts of the season. After posting a 5.56 ERA from the start of the through season through May, Gray has really turned it around. Was the writing on the wall for a turnaround? Perhaps, as his FIP and xFIP were sub-4.00, which wasn’t in line with his ERA. Since the calendar flipped to June, Gray has a 2.59 ERA, 2.93 FIP, and 2.81 xFIP, with a 30.6 percent strikeout rate and a 1.01 WHIP. He now has eight or more strikeouts in four straight starts, and for the first time in his career, it seems like he likes pitching at home, as he’s 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts at Globe Life Park this season. In his first year away from Coors Field, Gray is poised for his best year as a professional, and fantasy baseball managers should be excited for the second half with Texas’ ace.


Other Notable Performances

  • Shane McClanahan’s performance last night gives him 13 straight starts with two or fewer earned runs, and his ERA now sits 1.71 on the year. His six strikeouts were his lowest since only notching five punch outs back on May 5th!
  • José Iglesias notched three hits and six RBI in last night’s contest. The slick-fielding shortstop is now hitting .387 with two home runs, 10 RBI, and a .455 wOBA over his last eight contests.
  • Austin Hays’ four hits helped Baltimore extend its win streak to 10 in a row! Prior to last night’s performance, Hays was hitting .071 with a .101 wOBA in the 11 games leading up to last night’s breakthrough performance.
  • Juan Soto went 2-for-9 in yesterday’s doubleheader with two home runs and four RBI. Things are turning around for Soto, as he’s hitting .433 with five home runs, 11 runs scored, nine RBI, and a .967 slugging percentage thus far in July.


Thursday’s Best Bets

Atlanta Braves -1.5 Run Line First 5 Innings (+105 Bet MGM)


I wanted to take the run line, and still like it even at 2.5 runs, but I expect Atlanta to jump on Aníbal Sánchez early, and while Wright may allow a couple more hits than we would like, he should be able to limit the damage. The Atlanta offense is going to take care of business here. Kyle Wright has a 2.75 ERA on the road this season, and the Nationals have the third-lowest batting average in baseball over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the Braves have the seventh-highest batting average during that same stretch, and the last time we saw Aníbal Sánchez, the year was 2020 and he posted a 6.62 ERA and 1.87 HR/9 across 11 starts. In the minors this year, he has a 4.02 ERA and 1.34 WHIP.

OVER 7.5 Strikeouts (-146 FanDuel Sportsbook)


Milwaukee has the seventh-highest strikeout rate against southpaws this season and Rodon has been pitching quite well of late. He has double-digit strikeout upside every time he toes the rubber, and he has at least eight strikeouts in four of his last six outings. This game is at home, and Rodon has shined at Oracle this year, posting a 12.92 K/9 and 35.4 percent strikeout rate at home this year.




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