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Alec Mills
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball Daily Dose

Alec Mills Throws No-Hitter

by D.J. Short
Updated On: September 14, 2020, 1:19 am ET

Chicago 2, Everyone Else 0...

That’s the latest no-hitter tally here at Rotoworld, as Cubs right-hander Alec Mills stymied the Brewers on Sunday to join White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito as the only pitchers in MLB to throw a no-no so far this season. This marks the first time that both Chicago franchises have accomplished a no-hitter in the same season.

Mills needed 114 pitches to go the distance, walking three and striking out five along the way. This was his first career complete game and shutout. Amazingly, Mills induced just five swinging strikes in his outing, which ties Dallas Braden (perfect game, 2010) for the fewest in a no-hitter since pitch tracking began in 1988. However, Mills was able to get 26 called strikes with some excellent execution of his pitches around the edges of the plate. He averaged a shade under 90 mph with his fastball and topped out at 91 mph, proving that no-hitters can come in all shapes and sizes.

Mills’ no-hitter was the 16th in franchise history for the Cubs and the first since Jake Arrieta on April 21, 2016. By the way, the catcher in that game? New Cubs manager David Ross.  

To say that Mills was a long shot to pull something like this off is a bit of an understatement. He was once a college walk-on at the University of Tennessee-Martin before being drafted in the 22nd round by the Royals in 2012. Coming into Sunday’s action, Mills had a 4.74 ERA and 32/14 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings this season. It’s safe to say he likely wasn’t started or even rostered in many mixed fantasy leagues, but that’s the beauty of baseball for you. Despite the no-hitter, Mills is best left inactive or on the waiver wire for his next start against the Twins this weekend, but his final start of the regular season is projected to come against the light-hitting Pirates.

Gray Ailing

Sonny Gray has largely been a bright spot in a disappointing season for the Reds, but his performance has slipped of late and it turns out there’s a pretty good reason for that. The team announced Sunday that Gray was headed to the injured list with a right mid-back strain.

Gray holds a 3.94 ERA through nine starts this season, but he was at 1.94 just two weeks ago. He gave up six runs while recording just one out on September 1 against the Cardinals before being tagged for five runs over 3 1/3 innings last Thursday against the Cubs. He walked six in just four innings between the two starts and his velocity has been down a tick from normal, so the back issue certainly explains the sudden ineffectiveness.

The hope is that Gray could still return before the regular season comes to a close, but best-case scenario is that he makes one more start. Depending on roster flexibility, a drop is understandable in competitive mixed fantasy leagues.

With Gray sidelined, the Reds are planning on using Michael Lorenzen as a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Pirates. Lorenzen made three starts for the Reds in 2018, but he’s been used exclusively as a reliever ever since. He threw a season-high 40 pitches over 1 1/3 innings against the Cubs last Thursday and is often asked to pitch multiple innings. Between the lack of success this year (5.23 ERA with 17 walks in 20 2/3 innings) and what figures to be a limited workload, Lorenzen is a risky fantasy streamer, even against Pittsburgh.

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The Phillies Had a Bad Day

In addition to being swept in Sunday’s doubleheader against the Marlins, the Phillies aren’t quite sure when they will have J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins back in the starting lineup.

Realmuto felt discomfort in his hip running out a ground ball in the eighth inning on Saturday and didn’t play in either game of Sunday’s doubleheader. He’s set to undergo an MRI on Monday, after which the Phillies should have a better indication about his status.

As for Hoskins, he came down with soreness in his left forearm after a collision with Marlins outfielder Corey Dickerson at first base in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. An X-ray came back negative on Sunday, but Hoskins said he was still “pretty sore.” He’ll also go for an MRI on Monday as the Phillies evaluate next steps.

Needless to say, losing either Realmuto and Hoskins for any length of time would be a tough blow. Realmuto, an impending free agent, is batting .267/.357/.527 with 11 homers, 30 RBI, four steals, and 33 runs scored through 41 games this season. Hoskins has had an uneven year, but it’s been mostly good lately, as he’s popped nine homers with a 1.011 OPS over his last 19 games.

The uncertainty also impacts the Phillies’ rotation, as rookie right-hander Spencer Howard was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday due to right shoulder soreness. The 24-year-old was forced out of Saturday’s start against Miami in the fourth inning. He’d be eligible to return for the final few days of the season if all goes well. Howard holds a 5.92 ERA and 23/10 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings through his first six starts in the majors.

After being swept on Sunday, the Phillies are now at 23-22 on the year, a half-game behind the Marlins for second place in the NL East. They would still have one of the Wild Card spots if the season ended today.

Notable players who landed on the injured list over the weekend:

Matt Chapman (hip strain, headed for season-ending surgery)

Elvis Andrus (back strain)

Brent Rooker (fractured right forearm)

Ji-Man Choi (left hamstring strain)

Chad Pinder (right hamstring strain)

Trevor Gott (right elbow inflammation)

Jose Trevino (left wrist impingement)

Sunday saves:

Alex Colome (11) - Only Liam Hendriks and Brad Hand (tied at 12) have more saves in MLB

Trevor Rosenthal (10) - Rosenthal has secured each of the last three saves for San Diego

Raisel Iglesias (7) - Iglesias notched a six-out save after Archie Bradley threw two scoreless frames and got the win

Matt Barnes (6) - Clean appearances for Barnes are few and far between, but he has converted each of his last two save opportunities since his blowup against the Phillies on Tuesday

Sergio Romo (4) - Romo got the call after Taylor Rogers pitched in each of the two previous games

Aroldis Chapman (2) - Chapman has pitched well of late, but this was his first save since Sept. 1; has his appeal hearing Monday after being suspended three games earlier this month for throwing at Mike Brosseau of the Rays

Matt Andriese (2) - Good luck trying to figure out this Angels’ bullpen

History Tracker:

Albert Pujols launched the 660th home run of his career — a two-run shot — in Sunday’s win over the Rockies, tying him with Willie Mays for fifth on the all-time home run list. Alex Rodriguez ranks fourth all-time with 696 career homers.  

American League Quick Hits: Nelson Cruz launched his 16th homer of the season as part of Sunday’s win over the Twins … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Aaron Judge (calf) could “potentially” report to the team’s alternate training site on Monday … Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) and Gio Urshela (elbow) got at-bats at the Yankees’ alternate training site on Sunday … Justin Verlander (arm) could face hitters during his next workout … Jose Altuve (knee) could return during the Astros’ upcoming homestand, which begins Tuesday … Hyun-Jin Ryu worked around some trouble to limit the Mets to just one run over six innings for the win on Sunday …  Lance McCullers (neck) is set to return from the injured list Wednesday against the Rangers … Andrew Heaney struck out eight batters while allowing three runs over seven innings Sunday against the Rockies … Eddie Rosario was diagnosed with a left elbow contusion after getting tangled up with Byron Buxton for a fly ball in the outfield on Sunday …  Eloy Jimenez smacked his 13th homer of the season, a solo shot, in Sunday’s win over the Tigers … Lourdes Gurriel popped a two-run homer in Sunday’s win over the Mets … Lance Lynn piled up 10 strikeouts over seven innings of one-run ball in Sunday’s win over the Athletics … Yuli Gurriel is day-to-day after hurting his hand on a stolen base attempt Saturday … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that Clint Frazier has “earned” regular at-bats even after Judge and Stanton return to action … The Twins activated Max Kepler from the 10-day injured list.

J.A. Happ allowed just one run over five innings as part of a no-decision against the Orioles on Sunday … The Twins activated OF Max Kepler from the 10-day injured list … Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Sunday that Austin Hays (rib) could be activated in the “next couple days” … Frankie Montas allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers on Sunday before being placed on the paternity leave list … Hunter Dozier went 3-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored in a blowout win over Pittsburgh on Sunday … Brad Keller fired a complete game shutout against the Pirates on Sunday … Christian Vazquez slugged his first homer since July 30 in Sunday’s victory over the Rays … Rougned Odor socked a go-ahead three-run homer in Sunday’s win over the Athletics …  With Matt Chapman (hip) done for the season, the Athletics are reportedly set to sign former Diamondbacks All-Star Jake Lamb … White Sox prospect right-hander Jonathan Stiever allowed one run over 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers in his MLB debut Sunday … The Red Sox will up call up prospect right-hander Tanner Houck to major his MLB debut Tuesday against the Marlins … Jared Walsh stayed hot on Sunday against the Rockies by going 2-for-5 with an RBI single … Trevor May is considered day-to-day after leaving Sunday’s game against the Indians with mild back cramping … Mariners rookie Donnie Walton knocked in three runs in a win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

National League Quick Hits: The Giants and Padres played a doubleheader Sunday after Alex Dickerson’s COVID-19 test was determined to be a false positive … Mookie Betts launched his 15th homer of the season Sunday against the Astros … Nolan Arenado was held out of Sunday’s lineup with a nagging AC joint issue with his left shoulder … Max Scherzer took the loss Sunday after allowing six runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Braves … Mike Clevinger went the distance in the first game os Sunday’s doubleheader against the Giants, allowing no runs on two hits over seven innings … Eugenio Suarez went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and an RBI double in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals … Sixto Sanchez threw all seven innings while allowing just one run as the Marlins took the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Phillies … Braxton Garrett shined in his major league debut Sunday against the Phillies, allowing just one run over five innings with six strikeouts in the second game of the doubleheader … Jeff McNeil left Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays with gastrointestinal discomfort, but is expected to be fine moving forward … Kevin Gausman was scratched from Sunday’s scheduled start against the Padres due to right elbow tightness … Carlos Martinez struck out eight batters while allowing three runs over four innings of work as part of a no-decision against the Reds on Sunday ... Dustin May (foot) is on track to make his next start Wednesday versus the Padres.

Garrett Richards allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings in his start in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Giants … Chris Taylor went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and two runs scored Sunday against the Astros … Raimel Tapia left Sunday’s game against the Angels due to illness … Wil Myers homered and drove in three runs during Sunday’s doubleheader against the Giants … Adam Eaton (back) went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in his return to action Sunday against the Braves … Kwang-Hyun Kim (kidney) will return from the injured list to first game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Brewers … Kyle Wright notched his first win over the season Sunday against the Nationals, allowing f our runs — three earned — over six innings … John Gant is considered day-to-day after leaving an appearance Sunday with discomfort in his right groin … The Dodgers are expected to roll with Mitchell White as their starter for Friday’s game against the Rockies … Aristides Aquino connected for his first homer of the season — a pinch-hit two-run shot — in Sunday’s win over the Cardinals … The Pirates will start Cody Ponce in the first game and Mitch Keller in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader with the Reds … The Mets activated Steven Matz (shoulder) from the 10-day injured list … Austin Dean left Sunday’s game against the Reds due to left elbow discomfort … Johan Oviedo (COVID-19) is inching closer to a return after throwing a flat-ground session Sunday at Busch Stadium.