Back in mid-to-late April, it looked like James Paxton was ramping up toward a monster summer. After back-to-back 12-strikeout outings on April 16 and April 21 (allowing five hits in 14 innings, with two walks and the aforementioned 24 Ks), the 30-year-old had a 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 43/8 K/BB ratio through his first 29 innings for the Yankees.
Soon after that, his promising season quickly went off-course. Paxton missed most of May with knee trouble, then put up a 6.38 ERA in June and July combined. As for those glorious K numbers, he actually went 10 weeks between double-digit strikeout efforts, from April 21 to July 7, when he struck out 11. And from late-April to late-August, that was his only game of 10-plus strikeouts across 17 starts.
As you can guess from the setup here (and from probably having seen last night’s box score), things are once again looking up for the lefty. Two starts ago, Paxton struck out 11 Dodgers. Then, on Tuesday night, he threw down this mighty stat line against the Rangers: seven innings, one hit, no runs, one walk, 12 strikeouts. Along the way, he generated 17 swinging strikes, tying his season-high with those 12 Ks, and going seven innings for the first time since April. And since the start of August, Paxton has a 2.98 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 51 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings, finally putting things back together again for fantasy players who were smart enough (or stubborn enough) to wait it out.
Flaherty Throwing Fire
You know who’s even more dialed in than James Paxton? That would be Jack Flaherty, who held the Giants to one hit and one walk across eight shutout innings in a 1-0 victory on Tuesday. Those eight innings mark a career-high for the 23-year-old right-hander, who’s now walking around town with a 0.90 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 85/17 K/BB ratio in 70 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts dating back to early July.
Springer’s Scary Crash
George Springer made a spectacular catch in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s game, but fell backwards into the center field fence head-first after making the play. Springer, who was “clearly in a daze” (per the Houston Chronicle) had to be carted off when “it was clear he could not walk off the field.” A.J. Hinch confirmed that the star outfielder is indeed “being evaluated for a head injury”. Outfield prospect Kyle Tucker took his place in the lineup.
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AL Quick Hits: Dylan Cease struck out a career-high 11 against the Indians (while allowing four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings). … Dellin Betances (lat) threw live BP on Tuesday. … The Yankees activated Edwin Encarnacion, who drilled his 31st homer. … Gary Sanchez hit his 33rd and 34th. … Carlos Correa (back) hit off a tee on Tuesday. … Anthony Santander hit his 17th home run. … The Royals purchased the contract of 1B Ryan McBroom from Triple-A, where he had a .315 average with 26 homers this season. … Tyler Glasnow made another rehab appearance on Tuesday. … Blake Snell (elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Wednesday. … The Rays also recalled Brendan McKay, who’s reportedly going to be used only as a pitcher the rest of the month. … Seth Brown went 2-for-3 with two triples and two RBI, and is now hitting .448 with nine RBI in his first 29 at-bats (he’s 4 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues). … Mike Trout hit his 44th home run to tie Cody Bellinger and Pete Alonso (more on him in a second) for the major-league lead. … Joey Gallo (wrist) said on Monday that he’s likely a couple weeks away from rejoining the Rangers. … Michael Chavis (side) is on course to return this weekend. … Eric Sogard was removed from Tuesday night’s game after getting hit in the helmet by a pitch, but tweeted that he came away with “only a bruised nose.” … Mitch Haniger (out since June 6) is getting a second opinion on his lower back discomfort. … Ramon Laureano (shin) says he’s been running full speed and is “just waiting for the OK from doctors” before he returns. … Eloy Jimenez went deep twice — his 23rd and 24th of the season. … Jorge Soler belted No. 39, and has now driven in 100. … White Sox GM Rick Hahn confirmed that prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal will not get called up in September.
NL Quick Hits: Johnny Cueto experienced back tightness during a bullpen session and is now unlikely to pitch this weekend against the Dodgers. … Carlos Martinez saved Jack Flaherty’s gem while pitching for the fourth day in a row. … Jose Urena pitched a scoreless 10th inning to earn his first save of the season, and looks to be positioned for more opportunities going forward. … Adam Eaton has been diagnosed with a “bad bone bruise” on the side of his right knee. … Ben Zobrist (personal) hit leadoff in his return after missing nearly four months, and went 1-for-3 with two runs scored. … Willson Contreras (hamstring) also returned for Chicago, and promptly hit his 20th home run. … Nicholas Castellanos homered and drove in four, and has now gone yard 12 times in 31 games in a Cubs uniform. … Eugenio Suarez (hand) took swings in the cage on Tuesday. … The Mets activated Robinson Cano (hamstring), though he was not in the lineup and it’s unclear how much he’s going to play this month. … Pete Alonso belted home run No. 44, but the Mets lost on a walk-off three-run homer by Kurt Suzuki off Edwin Diaz to cap a seven-run ninth inning for Washington. … The Giants placed Pablo Sandoval (elbow) on the 60-day IL. … Jordan Lyles gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings, and now has a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in seven starts for Milwaukee. … Mike Foltynewicz threw five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, and has a 3.31 ERA in six starts since returning from the minors. … Javier Baez (thumb) was out of the lineup on Tuesday. … Merrill Kelly struck out nine in seven scoreless innings against the Padres. … Jed Lowrie (knee, calf) went 2-for-3 with Triple-A Syracuse on Monday. … Yu Darvish (forearm) played catch on Tuesday and is on track to start Saturday. … Gavin Lux went 1-for-4 as the Dodgers leadoff hitter. … The Rockies activated Raimel Tapia (hand). … Kris Bryant was scratched due to right knee soreness. … Mike Moustakas was out of the lineup due to lingering hand discomfort, while Lorenzo Cain (knee) was out of the lineup again as well. … The Brewers released 2018 All-Star Jeremy Jeffress. … Jean Segura (personal) returned and went 1-for-4 with a run scored. … Luke Weaver (elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and a simulated game on Friday. … Mitch Keller left early (and has been diagnosed with a right wrist contusion) after getting hit by a line drive in the second inning. … Chris Taylor was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his left foot on Monday. … Joc Pederson (abdomen) was expected to be available off the bench, though he didn’t make an appearance. … Dustin May (neck) is set to face live hitters on Wednesday, and Max Muncy (wrist) is scheduled to field grounders. … The Nationals reportedly have no imminent plans to call up Carter Kieboom.