Angels Honor Tyler Skaggs with Combined No-Hitter
Friday was the Angels' first home game since the untimely passing of starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs on July 1st. The team held an on-field ceremony before the game in his honor. Skaggs' mother Debbie threw out the ceremonial first pitch, rifling a perfect strike from the mound. All of the Angels' players wore Skaggs' number 45 jerseys for the game. Following the ceremony two Angels' pitchers combined to no-hit the Mariners to wrap up the ultimate tribute to their fallen friend. The Angels won the game 13-0.
Taylor Cole served as the opener and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings. Felix Pena took over and rattled off seven more scoreless, hitless frames to lock down the no-no. The only thing keeping this from being a perfect game was a walk by Omar Narvaez in the fifth inning. Rookie third baseman Matt Thaiss made the top defensive play of the night, diving to his left to snare a sharp grounder. That was the only sterling play the Angels needed to preserve the no-hitter on a dominant night from two of their normally not-so-dominant hurlers. Pena improved to 7-2 with a 4.32 ERA on the season. Pena had not been pitching well previously, he had a 6.98 ERA over his last seven games but it all came together for him on Tyler Skaggs day. The last time a combined no-hitter was thrown in the state of California was on July 13th, 1991 -- the day Tyler Skaggs was born.
Mike Trout was the offensive star, going 3-for-4 with a home run and six RBI. He got the scoring started with a two-run missile in the first inning. The Angels went on to score a total of seven runs in the first inning to put the game out of doubt in the early going. Trout added a two-run double, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and another RBI-double. Justin Upton clanged a two-run longball in the seventh to cap off a monster ballgame for the Angels on both sides of the ball as they paid their respects to Skaggs. This was a game that will go down in the history books and will be remembered for many years to come.
Josh Donaldson homered twice to propel the Braves to a 5-3 win over the Padres. The veteran third baseman began the game in style, slugging a three-run jack off Dinelson Lamet in the first inning. He added an insurance run with a solo shot off Matt Strahm in the eighth inning. Donaldson started slowly in his first season with the Braves but has come on strong in recent weeks. He has five home runs in his last six games. He has 13 home runs since June 1st -- only Mike Trout (16) has cranked more during that time. Donaldson is capable of carrying fantasy teams for long stretches. He won the 2015 AL MVP Award and has finished in the top five of MVP voting three times. For the season he is slashing .253/.362/.513 with 20 home runs, 49 RBI and 51 runs scored and those numbers have been climbing fast.
Yordan Alvarez went 3-for-3 with two home runs in a loss to the Rangers. Both longballs were of the solo variety. The rookie masher has been absolutely sensational through his first 21 big-league games. It's not often that we see a raw rookie batting cleanup for one of the best teams in baseball, and it is a testament to the trust the Astros have placed in him and it's not like they don't have any other good options. He just turned 22 years old two weeks ago. He can do more than swat dingers -- he has a .363 batting average too. His 218 wRC+ is the highest in the major leagues (minimum 30 ABs). Overall for the season Alvarez has a .363/.433/.788 slash line with nine home runs and 27 RBI. If you add in his minor league stats from this year he has 32 home runs and 98 RBI in just 77 games. He is guaranteed to cool off a little bit but this dude is poised for a long, stellar career.
Aaron Boone told reporters before Friday's game with the Blue Jays that Giancarlo Stanton (knee) "isn't close" to returning to baseball activities. Due to a variety of injuries he has played in only nine games this year and has provided his bedraggled fantasy owners with just one home run. His latest injury is a PCL sprain in his right knee. He is likely to miss at least another month and it is fair to wonder if Stanton will be back at all this season. The monster slugger was an early-round pick in every fantasy league this spring. He hit 38 home runs last year in his first campaign with the Yankees, and hit 59 bombs with 132 RBI the year before with the Marlins.
Corey Kluber's fractured right ulna has healed enough to allow him to begin throwing. He is currently able to play long-toss and could begin throwing off a mound this coming week. He will likely throw bullpen sessions for a couple of weeks before starting a rehab assignment with a minor league club. Fantasy owners can start looking forward to putting him back in their lineups around the middle of August. He suffered the injury when he was hit on the pitching arm by a line drive on May 1st.
National League Quick Hits: Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven innings in a win over the Padres. The 31-year-old lefty owns a 3.09 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 17/10 K/BB ratio across five starts since joining the Braves’ rotation last month following a long contract holdout... Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with a solo home run in the Padres' loss to the Braves... Josh Hader coughed up a pair of solo homers over two innings in a blown save against the Giants... Keston Hiura went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the Brewers' loss to the Giants... Buster Posey swatted a grand slam in the 10th inning to propel the Giants to a 10-7 win over the Brewers... Sonny Gray struck out nine batters and gave up just one run over seven innings in a no-decision against the Rockies in Coors Field... Jon Gray yielded two runs on four hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the Reds... Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead solo homer and a pair of RBI to lead the Rockies to a 3-2 comeback win over the Reds... Daniel Ponce de Leon yielded one run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks... Robbie Ray struck out eight while firing 6 1/3 innings of one-run baseball in a win over the Cardinals... Garrett Cooper went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer in a win over the Mets and is slashing .311/.377/.495 on the season... Jason Vargas allowed six runs over five innings in a loss to the Marlins... Stephen Strasburg fired six scoreless inning to help the Nationals to a 4-0 victory over the Phillies. He is 11-4 with a 3.46 ERA and 144 strikeouts on the season.
American League Quick Hits: Mike Fiers fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a win over the White Sox. With the victory, he improves to 9-3 with a 3.61 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 74/31 K/BB ratio.... Ramon Laureano went 2-for-4 with a solo homer to power the Athletics to a 5-1 win over the White Sox... Mike Leake was torched for seven runs (four earned) while recording just two outs in the first inning against the Angels as he fell victim to the magic of Tyler Skaggs Day in Anaheim... Danny Santana went 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk-off single to give the Rangers a 9-8 win over the Astros... Jesse Chavez was smoked for seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings against the Astros... Gerrit Cole struck out 13 batters but gave up four runs over six innings against the Rangers... Rafael Devers went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored against the Dodgers... Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer in the Red Sox win over the Dodgers... Eduardo Rodriguez allowed just one run over seven innings with 10 strikeouts in an 8-1 win over the Dodgers... Kevin Kiermaier went 3-for-6 with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored in a blowout win over the Orioles... Nate Lowe went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer in the Rays' 16-4 thrashing of the Orioles... Yonny Chirinos struck out eight and allowed just two runs over seven innings in a victory over the Orioles... Dylan Bundy pitched just one inning and allowed seven runs in a loss to the Rays... Domingo German allowed no runs over six innings to help the Yankees to a 4-0 victory over the Blue Jays.