In what might have been his last start as a member of the Phillies in what has been a hugely frustrating year for the franchise and its very vocal fans, ace left-hander Cole Hamels brought his very best.
A young but often lethal Cubs lineup managed only two walks and zero hits over nine innings as Hamels and the Phillies rolled to a 5-0 victory Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. It was the first no-hitter of Hamels’ career, the 13th no-hitter in Phillies history, and the first no-hitter thrown against the Cubs since 1965. Hamels struck out 13 batters over a season-high 129 pitches and Ryan Howard slugged his 17th home run of the season, a third-inning three-run blast off Cubs starter Jake Arrieta.
Hamels had one of the worst outings of his life on July 10 against the Giants and he struggled again on July 19 versus the Marlins, but he quelled any talk of an injury or diminished trade value when he shut down the in-contention Cubs in their own house. Kris Bryant, a strong contender for Rookie of the Year in the National League, made the final out when he skied a ball to deep center field that Odubel Herrera was able to haul in after an initial nervy misread.
“Nothing will top winning a World Series,” Hamels told CSN Philadelphia after his historical performance Saturday. “But I think this is probably on that top list.”
The 31-year-old southpaw could have a shot at his second World Series ring -- and a bit more fantasy value -- if he’s traded to right contender ahead of Friday’s non-waiver deadline. He heads into deadline week with a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings. Among the teams known to have interest: the Dodgers, Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Astros, and the Cubs team Hamels no-hit on Saturday.
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Cueto Rights The Ship At Coors
Another big-name starter who put an end to talk of falling trade stock on Saturday was Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Cueto entered the toughest pitching environment in baseball (Coors Field) off back-to-back poor outings and delivered eight shutout innings against the host Rockies. He gave up only four hits -- all singles -- and walked just one batter while striking out five. The 29-year-old impending free agent heads toward the July 31 trade deadline with a fantastic 2.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 120/29 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings. There might not be a better rental out there.
Cueto has been connected most frequently to the Royals, Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros. Kansas City, according to Rosenthal, was close to acquiring Cueto on Saturday night but a player going from the Royals to the Reds in that deal did not check out medically. He’ll be going somewhere eventually and it’s almost certain to be a boost to his fantasy value down the stretch.
A-Rod Continues To Shock And Awe
Alex Rodriguez homered three times and tallied four RBI as the Yankees scored a big comeback win over the Twins on Saturday night at Minnesota’s Target Field. It was the first three-homer game for A-Rod since 2010 and it lifted his home run total for 2015 up to 23. He is on pace for 39 home runs, which would be his highest total since 2007 when he slugged 57 en route to his last American League MVP. The 39-year-old is batting .277/.375/.539 in 90 games this season for the Yankees, who have opened a 5 1/2 game lead in the American League East.
Rodriguez is never going to win another MVP, but put him at the top of the list for Comeback Player of the Year.
National League Quick Hits: According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Mets made a push for Troy Tulowitzki but came away with the impression that the Rockies will not move him … Madison Bumgarner fired seven innings of one-run ball and homered Saturday in the Giants’ defeat of the A’s … Jonathan Papelbon has indicated that he won't approve any trade unless he will be the closer on the team he's dealt to … Lucas Duda slugged a pair of solo homers Saturday in the Mets’ rout of the Dodgers … Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia (groin) could return to the rotation Tuesday against the Reds … Dee Gordon (thumb) is on track to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday … Carlos Martinez hurled eight shutout innings Saturday in the Cardinals' win over the Braves … Brewers first baseman Adam Lind made an early exit Saturday with a lower back injury … Yasiel Puig has been reassured by the Dodgers that he will not be traded … Stephen Strasburg (oblique) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week … Nationals top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito to has been promoted from High-A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg … Dodgers right-hander Zach Lee allowed seven runs on 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings Saturday in his MLB debut against the Mets … Diamondbacks catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (neck) will be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday … Michael Taylor finished 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in the Nationals’ defeat of the Pirates on Saturday … Wily Peralta (oblique) will return to the Brewers' rotation on Tuesday against the Giants … Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez will have his shoulder examined by Dr. James Andrews … Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was lifted from Saturday's game against the Reds after taking a pitch off his hand … Rubby De La Rosa went eight scoreless innings Saturday in the Diamondbacks' blanking of Milwaukee … Marlins infielder Derek Dietrich is reportedly drawing interest from teams.
American League Quick Hits: Injured slugger Miguel Cabrera (calf) has been cleared for light baseball activity … Chris Sale picked up his ninth win of the season after holding the Indians to one run over seven innings on Saturday … Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right hamstring … Chris Davis launched a grand slam Saturday in the Orioles’ defeat of the Rays … Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was scratched from the lineup Saturday due to stiffness in his neck … Danny Duffy limited the Astros to one run on three hits over six innings Saturday in the Royals’ extra-innings victory … A’s outfielder Billy Burns remains day-to-day with a testicular contusion … Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in Saturday's loss to the Royals … Rays left-hander Drew Smyly (shoulder) will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Sunday … Alfredo Simon hurled six innings of one-run ball in the Tigers' defeat of the Red Sox on Saturday … Yovani Gallardo gave up five runs over four innings Saturday against the Angels in what could have been his final start with the Rangers.