Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Dodgers roll despite missing Mookie

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The Dodgers’ odyssey to repeat as World Series champions has taken plenty of unexpected twists and turns, perhaps none more bizarre than the ongoing saga surrounding the health of franchise cornerstone Mookie Betts, who was scratched from the team’s starting lineup prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Phillies. According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, the lingering discomfort in Betts’ right hip is so significant that it will likely require a trip to the injured list. The 28-year-old superstar outfielder has been plagued by nagging hip issues throughout the 2021 campaign, including a trip to the 10-day injured list back in late July due to hip inflammation. 

The hip issue doesn’t appear to be going away either. “We’ve given it days (off), and it almost seems like when he comes off the off-day, it’s worse,” Roberts elaborated on Tuesday afternoon. “I think everything’s on the table right now. We’re having conversations, tests, and I think we’ll know more later.” It’s possible that Betts could receive another cortisone injection, but that didn’t resolve the issue last month, and a surgical procedure doesn’t sound like a realistic option until the offseason.

The injury-related absence of Betts, and middle-of-the-order catalyst Justin Turner, who remains sidelined due to a minor groin issue didn’t disrupt the Dodgers on Tuesday evening as they rolled to a decisive 5-0 victory over the Phillies. Newly-acquired ace Max Scherzer was off to a phenomenal start, striking out six batters and scattering three hits over 3 1/3 scoreless frames, before a nearly two-hour rain delay forced Roberts to turn to his bullpen for the remainder of the contest. Corey Seager went 3-for-5 with a solo homer and Max Muncy also went deep, supply some key insurance runs, and a combination of six relievers — Alex Vesia, Corey Knebel, Justin Bruihl, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen and Conner Greene — scattered six baserunners over the final 5 2/3 frames to complete the shutout. With the victory, Los Angeles remains three games clear of the Padres in the Wild Card seeding and seven and a half games ahead of the Reds, who find themselves four games behind San Diego for the final senior circuit playoff spot.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Griffin Jax vs. White Sox

6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

35% CSW, 14 swinging strikes

Jax recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts, flummoxing a robust White Sox’ lineup on Tuesday evening. The 26-year-old rookie right-hander had his hard-biting slider working to perfection, generating nine swinging strikes and an eye-popping 46 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs), over six stellar frames. A two-run homer by Adam Engel and a solo shot from Jose Abreu in the third inning accounted for all of the damage against him in an otherwise flawless outing. He’s certainly worthy of consideration for a roster spot in deeper mixed leagues, especially since he’s compiled a microscopic 2.66 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio across 20 1/3 innings (four starts) since the All-Star break.

Hitters with an EDGE

Salvador Perez vs. Yankees

3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (29), 3 RBI

Perez tallied three hits and homered twice off crafty southpaw Nestor Cortes on Tuesday evening, leading the Royals to an unexpected victory over the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. The 31-year-old backstop is up to a career-high 29 round-tripper’s on the season after his fourth multi-homer performance of the year. With 50 games left on the schedule, it’s not inconceivable that he reaches the 40-homer plateau, a feat no catcher has accomplished since Javy Lopez and Mike Piazza back in the early-2000’s. Unreal.

Buster Posey vs. Diamondbacks

2-for-2, 3 R, HR (14), RBI, 3 BB

Buster Posey reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances, and also clobbered a solo homer on Tuesday evening, leading the Giants to an eventual 8-7 walk-off victory against the Diamondbacks. He increased the Giants’ early lead to five runs when he walloped a solo homer to center field — his 14th long ball of the season — off righty Zac Gallen in the fifth inning. He also drew three walks in the back-and-forth slugfest. The 34-year-old backstop has put together a remarkable renaissance campaign, slashing .333/.428/.549 with 50 runs scored, 14 home runs and 38 RBI across 297 plate appearances.

Anthony Santander vs. Tigers

2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (9), 2 RBI

On a night in which teammate Cedric Mullins extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 17 games, Santander clobbered a pair of solo homers off rookie right-hander Casey Mize to record his first multi-homer effort since August 18, 2020. He’s been sizzling-hot at the dish recently, putting together a seven-game hitting streak in which he’s gone deep three times. The 26-year-old slugger looked like a potential building block for the Orioles during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, launching 11 homers in just 165 plate appearances before a season-ending oblique injury. Injuries derailed the outset of his follow-up campaign, but he’s looked fully healthy lately, returning to form as a middle-of-the-order masher recently, hitting .327 (16-for-49) with three homers across 13 games since the All-Star break.

Closing Time

Mark Melancon vs. Marlins

1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (34th save)

Melancon recorded the final four outs on Tuesday evening against the Marlins to collect his major league-leading 34th save of the season. He was summoned to record the final out of the eighth inning, striking out Jorge Alfaro to end the frame, before coming back out to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Sandy León, but managed to retire the next three batters he faced to slam the door. The 36-year-old veteran righty has converted 34 of 39 save opportunities this season.

Devin Williams vs. Cubs 

1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (2nd save)

With Josh Hader still on the COVID-19 injured list, Williams stepped in to record his first second of the season on Tuesday afternoon in the front-end of a doubleheader against the Cubs. The dynamic 26-year-old righty is one of the preeminent setup specialists in the game, and a strong fantasy contributor, thanks to his lofty strikeout totals. He coughed up three singles to load the bases with only one out, but managed to whiff Patrick Wisdom and Greg Deichmann to preserve the victory.

Raisel Iglesias vs. Blue Jays 

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (25th save)

Iglesias was called upon to guard a three-run lead in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Blue Jays and struck out a pair of batters in a perfect frame to collect his 25th save of the season. The 31-year-old righty has converted 25 of 30 save opportunities this season.

Alex Reyes vs. Pirates

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (26th save)

Reyes needed only seven pitches (five strikes) to slam the door on the Pirates on Tuesday night, collecting his 26th save of the season in the process. The 26-year-old fireballer has been the definition of effectively wild, managing to survive with plenty of traffic on the basepaths this season. He’s converted 26 of his 27 save chances and remains an upper-echelon fantasy stopper moving forward.

Will Smith vs. Reds

1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (23rd save)

Smith rebounded from an ugly blown save over the weekend against the Nationals to quiet the Reds on Tuesday night at Truist Park. He allowed a pair of baserunners, but was able to spin a scoreless frame, preserving a one-run lead. The 32-year-old veteran southpaw has converted 23 of his 26 save chances this season.

Alex Colome vs. White Sox

1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (6th save)

With Taylor Rogers sidelined due to a finger injury, and Hansel Robles traded away at the end of July, Colome has re-emerged as the Twins closer by default. He needed only 10 pitches (six strikes) to dispatch the White Sox, his former organization, on Tuesday night. The 32-year-old veteran righty has converted all four of his save chances since August 4.

Jake McGee vs. Diamondbacks

0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (3rd blown save)

McGee surrendered two runs and recorded only two outs in the ninth inning on Tuesday and was charged with a blown save against the Diamondbacks. He was fortunate to escape with merely a blown save as he gave up two hits and also handed out a pair of free passes, including a bases-loaded walk to Josh VanMeter. It was the first time he’s allowed an earned run since May 30. The 35-year-old southpaw has converted 24 of his 27 save opportunities this season.

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EDGE Priority Pickup

Josh Rojas, INF/OF, Diamondbacks

Rojas launched three homers and also stole a base during his three-game minor-league rehab assignment last week with Triple-A Reno. Granted, it was the high-octane offensive environment of the Pacific Coast League, but the versatile 27-year-old infielder/outfielder has shown flashes of immense fantasy upside as a potential power/speed combo mixed-league contributor, especially when he tore the cover off the ball in the Cactus League this spring. He’ll have an opportunity to play everyday for a rebuilding Diamondbacks squad over the final seven weeks of the regular season. With stolen base sources extremely scarce, and fantasy managers in dire need of speed, Rojas fits the bill as a sneaky pickup in deeper mixed leagues.

Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day

Frankie Montas (Athletics) vs. Cal Quantrill (Cleveland) – 7:10 PM ET

The healthy version of Montas is pretty special to watch. The hard-throwing 28-year-old righty has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last few weeks, recording a stellar 2.76 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 53/12 K/BB ratio across 42 1/3 innings (seven starts) since June 26. Meanwhile, Quantrill has quietly blossomed into a viable mixed-league fantasy contributor, allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts since July 4. He’s compiled a sparkling 1.96 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 32/13 K/BB ratio across 41 1/3 innings during that span. It’s a fascinating pitching matchup and one that fantasy managers should be monitoring closely on Wednesday evening.