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With a ridiculous 20-4 record since June 21, the Rays are definitely the hottest team in baseball. And that’s owed at least partly to the fact that they have one of baseball’s hottest young starting pitchers.
Chris Archer tossed seven strong innings on Sunday afternoon at Toronto’s Rogers Centre to help the Rays finish off a sweep of the Blue Jays and now boasts a 2.76 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 58 2/3 total frames this season. He has allowed just one earned run over his last 22 innings and Tampa Bay has been victorious in each of his last six starts.
Archer, a 24-year-old former Cubs prospect, boasts a 9.6 career K/9 at the Triple-A level and should start fanning batters at a greater rate in the majors. So that’s something else to look forward to. His K/9 so far this year with the Rays is just 6.3.
Archer lines up to face the battered Yankees and the fledgling Giants in his next two turns through Tampa Bay’s starting rotation. He’s a must-have in standard leagues.
Peralta Picking It Up
Archer isn’t the only post-hype pitcher making waves in recent weeks. Wily Peralta, 24, struck out seven batters over eight innings Sunday in the Brewers’ eventual 1-0 victory over the Marlins and can now claim a 0.31 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 26/10 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings since the beginning of July. Milwaukee is 4-0 in his last four starts.
Peralta showed real promise in 2012, posting a 2.48 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 23/11 K/BB ratio across 29 innings, but his rough start this year scared many people away. Redeem that now before somebody else does. Peralta will face off against the Rockies next time out and the Cubs after that.
Stop, Strop And Roll
Fantasy owners looking to vulture some saves for the stretch run would be wise to make a waiver claim right now for Cubs setup man Pedro Strop. The hard-throwing right-hander has faced 23 batters and surrendered just two hits since joining Chicago in the Scott Feldman trade with the Orioles on July 2. He has fanned eight.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum acknowledged Sunday to the Chicago Sun-Times that Strop is likely to take over at closer if (or when) Kevin Gregg is traded to a new team: “He’s obviously one of the higher candidates just because he’s pitched in high-profile games already in the big leagues,” said the Cubs skipper. “He’s got the stuff, he’s got the velocity. He’s got a strike slider, he’s got a wipeout slider … He’s not scared of anything. Those are the kind of guys you want out there.”
National League Quick Hits: The Dodgers have been heavily scouting Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez … Matt Harvey struck out 10 batters over seven shutout innings Sunday as the Mets defeated the Phillies … Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has gone at least eight innings eight different times this year ... Hanley Ramirez stayed hot on Sunday and is now batting .393/.445/.721 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in 42 games this season … Brad Ziegler earned his fourth save of the year on Sunday against the Giants and is the guy to own right now in the Arizona bullpen … Jason Heyward (hamstring) is expected to return to the Braves’ starting lineup Monday … Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4 and hit his 14th home run of the season on Sunday against the Rockies … Matt Kemp is day-to-day with an ankle injury …Homer Bailey struck out a career-high 12 batters on Sunday but the Reds lost late to the Pirates … Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt will be out 4-6 weeks with a groin strain … Madison Bumgarner allowed just one run and struck out seven but the Giants fell to the Diamondbacks on Sunday … Diamondbacks youngster Randall Delgado has five quality starts in his last seven outings … Jordan Zimmermann was hammered for seven runs over just two innings as the Nationals fell to the Dodgers on Sunday … Pirates closer Jason Grilli earned his league-leading 30th save on Sunday against the Reds … Cliff Lee surrendered five runs over six innings Sunday in a loss to the Mets … Ryan Ludwick (shoulder) has been cleared to start a minor league rehab assignment … Brian Wilson, still a free agent, is not expected to be ready to pitch in the major leagues for another six weeks.
American League Quick Hits: Indians right-hander Justin Masterson yielded one run on one hit over seven innings Sunday in a victory over the Twins … Clay Buchholz will have his shoulder examined this week by Dr. James Andrews … Alex Rios is 5-for-9 with six RBI since being benched for failing to run out a double play groundout on Friday … A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) is expected to take live batting practice on Monday but is still considered day-to-day … Alex Rodriguez will be on the disabled list at least another 10 days due to a Grade 1 left quad strain … Felix Hernandez threw six scoreless innings and struck out seven to lead the Mariners past the Astros on Sunday … Rangers left-hander Martin Perez coughed up four runs in 6 1/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the Orioles … CC Sabathia was shelled for seven runs over five innings on Sunday night by the Red Sox … Shane Victorino (hamstring) went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and two RBI on Sunday against the Yankees … A’s right-hander Bartolo Colon hurled his third shutout of the 2013 season on Sunday afternoon against the Angels … Nick Franklin hit a grand slam Sunday in the Mariners’ rout of the Astros … Joaquin Benoit earned his ninth save of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Royals … Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis is on pace for 25 homers, 35 stolen bases and 102 RBI … Andrew Bailey will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday … Tommy Hanson (forearm) will return to the Angels’ starting rotation on Tuesday against the Twins … Rays youngster Wil Myers is day-to-day with a sore left wrist.