On the heels of a rainout in the Subway Series opener on Monday, each New York franchise took their turn launching round objects into the stratosphere in Tuesday’s extraordinary twin-billing. The Yankees lineup terrorized Zach Wheeler in the front-end of the doubleheader, tagging the veteran righty for nine runs (five earned) over 4 2/3 innings, eventually pulling away for a 12-5 blowout victory. It was scrap-heap gem Gio Urshela who served as their main catalyst, going 3-for-4 with a game-tying two-run homer, four RBI and a pair of runs scored. The 27-year-old infielder has been an unbelievable stop-gap solution for the injury-plagued Yankees, hitting .312/.366/.468 with five homers in 195 plate appearances. He may find his playing time slashed with veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius back in the mix, but he’s done enough to earn a long-term spot on the roster. Gary Sanchez continued his impressive bounce-back campaign, launching his 20th long ball of the season, while Luke Voit continued to prove that last season’s breakout campaign wasn’t a mirage. The 28-year-old slugger clobbered a go-ahead three-run homer -- his 16th tater of the season -- in the fourth inning and collected a pair of hits and walks in the two-game set. New York’s offense grabbed all the headlines, but they also got a solid performance from Masahiro Tanaka, who struck out seven over 6 2/3 frames to cruise to a win. The Yankees’ victory, in tandem with losses by Tampa Bay and Boston, mean that they are now tied atop the American League East with the Rays at 41-25 overall and hold an eight-game lead over the Red Sox. It’s hard to imagine how terrifying they’ll look when they get fully healthy and add some reinforcements at the July 31 trade deadline.
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Meanwhile, the Mets responded with an offensive outburst of their own, salvaging a split of the doubleheader by posting a 10-4 victory in the nightcap. They blasted Yankees lefty James Paxton for six runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings. Burgeoning fantasy superstar Pete Alonso led the offensive charge by launching a mammoth three-run tater, his 22nd round-tripper of the season, in the opening frame. He also walked twice in the contest to boost his triple-slash to .254/.337/.596 across 273 plate appearances. The Mets, who got at least one hit from every hitter with the exception of Todd Frazier (who walked twice) in this one, also tacked on three runs courtesy of three hits and a pair of walks to chase Paxton in the third. Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan in New York, but they’re still only five games behind Philadelphia and Atlanta for the National League East division lead and squarely in the hunt for a Wild Card berth. If there’s a single takeaway from this brief series, it’s that the ushers should probably hand out protective helmets and shields to fans sitting in the outfield when these two teams meet next month.
Newcomb Lease on Life
It’s a tired cliché, but failure is an essential component of player development. Development is rarely linear and failure at the major-league level often sparks necessary adjustments and in extreme cases, total reinvention. In the case of Braves southpaw Sean Newcomb, who washed out as a starter earlier this year, he’s done a little of both on his way back to fantasy relevance. He used a brief stint at Triple-A Gwinnett and a month-long stay in the Braves’ bullpen to dramatically improve his control and re-establish himself as a viable major-league asset. The 25-year-old southpaw has always shown glimpses of immense potential and appears to finally be on the precipice of putting it all together. Over the last month, he’s posted a microscopic 1.42 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 21/2 K/BB ratio across 16 relief appearances. He’s tentatively scheduled to start for the Braves against the Phillies on Saturday and needs to be owned in all fantasy formats, especially deeper mixed leagues where any starter with a pulse tends to be gobbled up off the waiver wire almost immediately. There’s a chance that Newcomb struggles and gets shuffled back to the bullpen, but given his immense raw talent and strikeout upside, this is someone worth gambling on.
It wasn’t the top headline in fantasy circles on Tuesday night, but the news that Pirates top prospect Mitch Keller will be called up to start Wednesday night against the Braves, might have huge long-term implications, especially if he cements a permanent spot in their starting rotation. The 23-year-old righty struggled mightily in his first taste of the big leagues, getting shelled for six earned runs over four innings in his major-league debut against the Reds last month. However, he’s going to get another opportunity to make an impression against a blistering-hot Atlanta lineup. He may not be the most attractive streaming option on the slate, but there’s no reason to doubt his long-term potential. Rotoworld’s prospect guru Chris Crawford ranked him the third-best fantasy prospect in the minor leagues -- trailing only middle infielders Keston Huira and Luis Urias -- in his most recent update earlier this week. He offers immense strikeout upside, as evidenced by the 74 strikeouts he’s racked up across 58 innings of work at Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He may not blossom into an immediate fantasy stud, but there are going to be stretches where he racks up bushels of strikeouts and looks untouchable. He’s worthy of a speculative pickup in all formats where he is somehow available.
Yamamoto Slated for Marlins Debut
The injury-ravaged Marlins will reportedly hand the ball to Jordan Yamamoto for his major-league debut against the Cardinals on Wednesday. He’ll be filling in for veteran righty Jose Urena, who is expected to land on the 10-day injured list with lower back tightness. Miami is also expected to be without their proverbial ace, lefty Caleb Smith, who is currently sidelined with a left hip injury. There is no timetable for his return, so there is a chance that the 23-year-old right-hander, who owns a 3.58 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 64/25 K/BB ratio in 65 1/3 innings (12 starts) this season with Double-A Jacksonville, could be sticking around for awhile. From a fantasy perspective, he isn’t the most intriguing pitching prospect in the minors, but he offers a respectable strikeout rate and should benefit from the cavernous dimensions of Marlins Park.
AL Quick Hits: Jose Altuve (hamstring, knee) appears close to beginning a minor league rehab assignment. … George Springer (hamstring) is on track to begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend. … Joey Gallo (oblique) took swings off a tee on Tuesday … Hunter Dozier (chest) took infield, hit off a tee, and ran sprints on Tuesday. … Justin Upton (toe) is expected to join the Angels' active roster on Thursday. … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday that Dellin Betances (lat, shoulder) will be “shut down for a couple of weeks”. … Luis Severino (shoulder) again threw from a distance of 60 feet on Tuesday. … Joey Wendle (wrist) is likely to be activated off the injured list on Thursday. … Yoan Moncada (back) was held out of the White Sox starting lineup on Tuesday. … Mike Clevinger (back) worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his second minor league rehab start Tuesday at Double-A Akron. … Austin Meadows (foot) is likely to get the day off Wednesday … Niko Goodrum exited Tuesday’s game against the Royals after fouling a ball off his knee. He’s been diagnosed with a right knee contusion and is considered day-to-day. … Yordan Alvarez launched a two-run homer, his second in as many games, to power the Astros to a win over the Brewers. … Eloy Jimenez went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and two RBI to lead the White Sox past the Nationals. … Hunter Pence walked three times and drilled a two-run inside-the-park homer to propel the Rangers to a win over the Red Sox. … Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts left the yard in the loss. … Brad Hand struck out four batters over two scoreless innings to net his third win of the season in the Indians extra-inning victory over the Reds. … Adalberto Mondesi posted three hits and stole his 25th base of the year in the Royals’ win over the Tigers. … Matt Olson swatted a go-ahead two run-homer to power the Athletics to a comeback win over the Rays. … Khris Davis launched his 14th long ball of the season in that one. … Willy Adames reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances and stole home in the loss. … Edwin Encarnacion walloped a three-run homer in the Mariners’ loss to the Twins. … Giancarlo Stanton (calf) went 2-for-4 with a single and a home run Tuesday with High-A Tampa. … Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder) threw off flat ground Tuesday. … An MRI and bone scan taken Tuesday on Ryon Healy's lower back showed no structural damage. … Dwight Smith Jr. (concussion) felt good Tuesday after getting in a light workout on Monday. … Hunter Strickland (lat) is putting his throwing program on hold. … Felix Hernandez (lat) is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week. … Jeimer Candelario (shoulder) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Toledo. … Alex Cobb will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a hip impingement.
NL Quick Hits: Josh Donaldson received a one game suspension for his involvement in Monday's benches-clearing fracas with the Pirates. He’s appealing the suspension and remained in the Braves’ lineup on Tuesday. … Dallas Keuchel will make a second minor league start Saturday at Double-A Mississippi. … Craig Kimbrel should advance to live batting practice sessions by the end of this week. … Noah Syndergaard was sent home sick on Tuesday. He’s expected to make his regular start on Saturday. … Braves placed Kevin Gausman on the 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis and recalled A.J. Minter from Triple-A Gwinnett. … Buster Posey (hamstring) is hoping to be activated off the 10-day injured list on Wednesday. … Scott Kingery homered for the second consecutive game, launching a three-run homer, to power the Phillies to a win over the Diamondbacks. … Ketel Marte went 3-for-5 with his 17th long ball of the season in the loss. He’s gone deep in three consecutive games. … Anthony Rendon homered twice in the Nationals’ loss to the White Sox. … Dakota Hudson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in the Cardinals’ win over the Marlins. … Yasmani Grandal went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBI in the Brewers’ loss to the Astros. … Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer in the Rockies’ lopsided win over the Cubs. … Chris Paddack whiffed six batters over five innings in a no-decision against the Giants. … Brian McCann crushed a pair of homers to lift the Braves to a win over the Pirates. … Chris Archer surrendered seven runs on eight hits, including five homers, in the loss. … Max Muncy slugged a pair of solo homers in the Dodgers’ loss to the Angels. … Fernando Tatis Jr. went 2-for-5 with a leadoff homer in the Padres’ loss to the Giants. … Will Smith converted his 15th save of the season in that contest. … Yadier Molina went 2-for-5 with a run scored against the Marlins in his return from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday. … Robinson Cano (quad) went 3-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored in his rehab debut Tuesday at Triple-A Syracuse. … Trevor Williams (side) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Indianapolis. … Jhoulys Chacin (back) is expected to return to the Brewers' rotation early next week. … Phillies manager Gabe Kapler announced Tuesday that Jerad Eickhoff will be shifted to the bullpen.