Former MVP Doing MVP Things
Kris Bryant crushed three home runs in a 14-6 win over the Nationals. He went 4-for-6 and drove in five runs in the contest. He dismantled the Nationals' bullpen by going yard in the seventh, eighth and ninth frames as the Cubs blew open a tight game in the late innings. Bryant got off to a slow start this season, but he’s put those troubles in the rear-view mirror and is humming along on all cylinders right now. Thanks to the recent surge, Bryant is batting .277/.405/.581 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, and 36 runs scored over 41 games. If the hot streak continues he could get himself back into the MVP conversation soon, although Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich might stifle that talk. Bryant is actually on pace to beat his stat line from his 2016 MVP season -- he went .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs, 121 runs scored and 102 RBI that year.
You Can't Predict Baseball
There is no such thing as a safe bet in baseball. Friday night featured a matchup between reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and the Miami Marlins. DeGrom's 2018 season was one of the most dominant in baseball history -- he had a 1.70 ERA in 32 starts and struck out 269 batters in 217 innings. He's been really good this year too, registering a 3.26 ERA with an even better strikeout rate than he had last year. He had allowed a total of three runs over his last three starts. The Marlins are having one of the worst offensive seasons in the history of baseball. The Marlins have scored the fewest runs in the majors by a very wide margin and as a team they have a woeful .587 OPS after 41 games. Only two teams in the last 100 years have had a lower OPS -- the 1972 Rangers (.581) and the 1963 Colt .45's (.584). The Marlins have hit just 24 home runs this year, only six more than Christian Yelich. They've been shut out 10 times this year already. The Marlins came into this game having scored a total of 23 runs in the month of May, which is already more than half over. They were in a slump even by their own low standards. The Marlins are on a pace to lose 122 games, which would break the 1962 Mets' record of 120 losses in a single season. So what happens when a great pitcher meets a terrible offense? The terrible offense torches the great pitcher for seven runs in five innings. DeGrom's ERA climbed from 3.26 to 3.98 after the debacle.
Pete Alonso went 2-for-5 with a pair of solo homers in Friday’s loss to the Marlins. He took starter Trevor Richards deep in the second inning and did the same to fire-balling reliever Nick Anderson in the eighth. The rookie first baseman is now up to 14 homers on the year along with a .266/.346/.595 batting line. He finished last year tied with the Reds' Ibandel Isabel for the minor league home run crown with 36 bombs.
Frankie Montas racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings of two-run baseball in Friday's victory over the Tigers. He allowed just four hits and didn't walk a batter. He ran out of gas in the ninth and had to be pulled just one out shy of his first career complete game. The 26-year-old hurler now sits at 5-2 on the season with a stellar 2.67 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 52/11 K/BB ratio over 54 innings. His newfound success is not a fluke -- he is striking out a lot more batters this year and has one of the best groundball rates in the league.
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** Nationals outfielder Victor Robles was hit on the left wrist by a pitch and had to leave Friday's game against the Cubs. X-Rays came back negative and Robles is considered day-to-day. He and his fantasy owners may have dodged a bullet. He has a .253 batting average with eight home runs, 17 RBI, 30 runs scored and eight stolen bases.
** Nationals shortstop Trea Turner (finger) returned from a six-week stint on the injured list and went 2-for-5 with two singles and a stolen base against the Cubs. He was a first-round draft pick in most fantasy leagues this spring and will provide a huge boost to his owners.
** Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Friday's game against the Reds after fouling a ball off his left shin. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated on Saturday.
** Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez had to leave the game against the White Sox due to a finger blister. Sanchez has repeatedly dealt with blister issues in the past. He is 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts.
** Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke's abdominal MRI came back clean. He will throw a bullpen on Saturday before deciding if an IL stint will be necessary.
** Pirates placed starter Trevor Williams on the 10-day injured list with a right side strain. He is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in nine starts. No word yet on how long he might miss but it is likely to be more than the minimum 10 days.
** Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (hamstring) is expected to resume baseball activities early next week. He may be able to come off the injured list soon after that.
** Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (thigh) will throw an "aggressive" bullpen session next week and is not expected to need a long stint on the injured list.
** Red Sox starter David Price (elbow) is on track to rejoin the Red Sox' rotation on Monday versus the Blue Jays.
** Giants activated C Buster Posey from the 7-day concussion injured list.
NL Quick Hits: Rich Hill struck out 10 batters and allowed only two base hits over six scoreless frames in Friday’s 6-0 win over the Reds. He's made just four starts this year due to a stint on the disabled list with a knee injury. He is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA... Cody Bellinger went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored in a victory against the Reds. He owns a .404 batting average and ranks second in the majors with 16 home runs... Harrison Bader went 3-for-4 with a homer against the Rangers. He hasn't been playing much lately but got a chance to start because the DH slot was available for this game... Cole Hamels moved to 4-0 on the year after yielding two runs over five innings against the Nationals... Max Scherzer took the loss after allowing three runs over six innings against the Cubs. He is now sporting an uncharacteristic 2-5 record and 3.72 ERA after 10 starts. His 87:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 65 1/3 innings indicates a lot more wins are on the horizon. Only Gerrit Cole has more strikeouts... Willson Contreras went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and a walk against the Nationals. After a disappointing 2018 season, Contreras has bounced back with a .320/.422/.633 batting line with 11 home runs and 29 RBI over 39 games... Miles Mikolas was lit up for seven runs in 1 1/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers. He hasn't been nearly as good this year as last and frankly there isn't much reason to believe he will return to that status any time soon. Even when he was going good he didn't offer many strikeouts to his fantasy owners... Max Fried allowed just two hits over six scoreless frames in a wild 12-8 win over the Brewers. He improves to 6-2 with a 2.86 ERA... Josh Donaldson went 2-for-5 with a solo homer against the Brewers... Luke Jackson notched a one-out save to finish off Friday’s win over the Brewers and appears to be grabbing the closer's job in Atlanta... Dansby Swanson snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a three-run homer against the Brewers... Ronald Acuna, Jr. went 3-for-4 with three RBI, a walk, and two runs scored against the Brewers... Jordan Lyles fanned a career-high 12 and allowed just one run over seven innings in defeating the Padres. He is 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA for the Pirates... Joey Lucchesi lost despite limiting the Pirates to two runs in seven innings... Merrill Kelly scattered six hits over 5 1/3 innings and combined with three relievers on a shutout of the Giants. He's now 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA.
AL Quick Hits: Rougned Odor hit a three-run homer against the Cardinals and now has three home runs in his last two games... Gio Urshela went 3-for-4 and laced a walk-off single to beat the Rays... Jose Alvarado gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to blow a save and take the loss against the Yankees... CC Sabathia fired six innings of one-run ball against the Rays while being handed a no-decision... Luke Voit went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and a double in a comeback win over the Rays... Christian Vazquez went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and drove in the Red Sox' lone run in Friday's loss to the Astros... Gerrit Cole racked up seven strikeouts over five shutout innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox. He leads the majors with 93 strikeouts... Dylan Bundy earned his second victory of the season, limiting the Indians to just one unearned run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings. He improves to 2-5 with a 4.66 ERA... Jonathan Villar blasted a go-ahead three-run homer to lead the Orioles to a 5-1 victory over the Indians... Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in a loss to the Athletics. The future Hall of Famer has just one home run so far this season... Daniel Norris was hit hard in a loss to the Athletics, giving up six runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings... Martin Perez yielded one run in 6 2/3 innings and struck out seven as the Twins beat the Mariners 7-1... Marco Gonzales gave up six runs -- five earned -- in five innings against the Twins... Ivan Nova exploded like a supernova, getting hammered for nine runs — eight earned — over three-plus innings in a loss to the Blue Jays. He carries a woeful 7.42 ERA through nine starts.