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The Philadelphia Phillies are playing as good of baseball as they have in recent memory. In fact, with Sunday afternoon’s victory over the Mets they extended their winning streak to eight straight games — the longest streak they have had since midway through the 2011 season.
It was all pitching in this one, as ace Zack Wheeler made his former club look foolish in this one, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out 11 in a complete game shutout. Wheeler needed just 108 pitches (80 strikes) to get his 27 outs in the dominant performance.
Wheeler piled up 22 swinging strikes in the contest — 11 on his fastball, six on his slider, four on his sinker and one on his curveball — while posting a stellar CSW of 35 percent.
He now sits at 10-6 on the season with an outstanding 2.42 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and a 181/34 K/BB ratio across 156 innings in 23 starts this season. With Jacob deGrom sidelined, he’s going to start getting mentioned in the conversation for the National League Cy Young Award if he keeps this up.
As far as the offense was concerned, Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto each smacked solo homers off of Taijuan Walker in the opening inning — providing more than ample support for Wheeler in this one. The Phillies tacked on a third run in the sixth inning on a solo blast off the bat of Bryce Harper — his 20th big fly of the season.
With the weekend sweep of the Mets, the Phillies will head into the new week in sole possession of first place in the National League East — with a two game lead over the Braves and a two-and-a-half game lead over the now third place Mets. They have a difficult task in front of them though, as they’ll begin a three-game set against the Dodgers at home on Tuesday.
Luis Gil – 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 34% CSW, 17 swinging strikes
The 23-year-old right-hander was pressed into emergency two-start action this week with Gerrit Cole landing on the COVID-19 injured list, and boy did he deliver. After hurling six shutout innings with six strikeouts in his debut, he was even better against the Mariners on Sunday — piling up eight strikeouts over five shutout innings. He generated 17 swinging strikes — 10 on his fastball and six on his slider — while registering a CSW of 34 percent. It’s unclear what the Yankees plan to do with him once their horses return, but he is worth a look as a streaming option any time he takes the ball.
Blake Snell – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 13 K, 43% CSW, 25 swinging strikes
Snell delivered his finest performance in a Padres uniform on Sunday, racking up a season-high 13 strikeouts over seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. He generated a ridiculous 25 swinging strikes in the contest while posting an elite CSW of 43 percent. While he has shown glimpses this season, on the whole Snell carries a disappointing 4.86 ERA and 1.56 WHIP on the year.
Tyler Mahle – 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 32% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
Mahle coaxed 16 swinging strikes en route to his second double-digit strikeout performance of the 2021 campaign. He’s clearly sustained last season’s strikeout gains, but has also experienced some pullback in the control and home run departments. The 26-year-old righty will carry a robust 3.78 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 148/45 K/BB ratio across 123 2/3 innings (23 starts) into a challenging road tilt against the Phillies on Friday evening.
Eloy Jimenez – 3-for-4, 2 HR (3), 5 RBI, 2 R, 2B
Eloy Jimenez had a monster night at the plate in Sunday’s victory over the Cubs, smashing a pair of home runs and driving in five to lead the White Sox offensive attack in a lopsided win. So far, so good through his first nine games on the season as he’s slashing .273/.294/.667 with three homers and nine RBI.
C.J. Cron – 2-for-4, 2 HR (18), 7 RBI, 2 R
Cron had a monster day in Sunday afternoon’s victory over the Marlins, crushing a three-run homer in the opening inning off of David Hess. He then really broke the game open with a grand slam off of Sean Guenther in the fourth inning to increase the Rockies lead to 11-1. On the season, he’s now slashing .257/.366/.493 with 18 long balls and 59 RBI.
Jorge Polanco – 2-for-4, 2 HR (20), 4 RBI, 2 R, BB
Jorge Polanco belted a solo shot off of Lance McCullers leading off the fifth inning, extending the Twins lead to 4-2. He then clobbered a three-run shot off of Phil Maton the following inning, extending that advantage to 7-3. Polanco has been swinging an extremely hot bat lately and has socked an American League-leading 10 home runs since July 10.
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Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants — Available in 78% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
For those who didn’t watch any Giants games over the weekend, Brandon Belt has returned and is mashing the baseball. Belt homered in Friday’s game, left the yard twice on Saturday and then got a day off to rest on Sunday against left-hander Brett Anderson. Not to worry though, Belt came on as a pinch hitter and blasted a go-ahead two-run homer in that one as well — finishing with four home runs on the weekend. He’s on a 13-game hitting streak and hitting .262/.370/.568 with 15 homers and 35 RBI in 59 games on the season.
Mychal Givens vs. Pirates – 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)
Givens has added some stability to the back of the Reds bullpen since coming over from the Rockies. He has yet to allow an earned run through his first six innings with the Reds and has now locked down two consecutive save chances. Lucas Sims has returned to muddy the waters a bit, but with Heath Hembree struggling it looks like Givens may have a chance to run with the closer’s gig for a while.
Alex Colome vs. Astros – 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (5th save)
If any doubt remained over who the Twins closer would be with Taylor Rogers sidelined (and Hansel Robles shipped out of town) Alex Colome set those to rest on Sunday by recording his third save of the week with a scoreless frame against the Astros. He struggled early in the season, but Colome has been rolling as of late and he has plenty of experience in the ninth inning in his career. He should be scooped up in all mixed leagues at this point.
Drew Steckenrider vs. Yankees – 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (4th save)
It looks as though Mariners skipper Scott Servais is going to continue to mix and match his late inning options depending on the opposing batting order. On Sunday, it was Paul Sewald coming on in the sixth inning and ultimately getting five outs to earn a win, with Steckenrider cleaning up the eighth and ninth innings without issue. He’ll draw the occasional save chance, but be advised that this will continue to be a committee approach here.
Carlos Hernandez (KC) vs. Jameson Taillon (NYY)
With only five games on the docket for Monday, the pickings are a bit slim here. The most intriguing matchup of the evening may just be these two right-handers battling in Kansas City.
Taillon has been pretty sharp in his return from Tommy John surgery, registering a 4.04 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 108/32 K/BB ratio across 107 innings in his 21 starts. He has been especially good as of late, posting a 1.45 ERA over 37 1/3 innings in six starts since the beginning of July.
On the other side of the diamond, Carlos Hernandez is a hard-throwing right-hander that turned some heads with his last two starts, allowing just one run with a 10/3 K/BB ratio across 11 innings. It looks like he’ll be given every chance to hold down a spot in the Royals rotation for the remainder of the season and he brings intriguing strikeout upside to the table.
American League Quick Hits: White Sox manager Tony La Russa confirmed that Luis Robert (hip) will rejoin the team on Monday. … Gleyber Torres is set to undergo an MRI exam on his injured thumb, with manager Aaron Boone indicating that there’s a bit of concern there. … The Yankees placed Anthony Rizzo on the COVID-19 IL after a positive test. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days. To fill the void, Luke Voit was activated from the injured list. … Chris Sale is set to make his 2021 season debut on Saturday against the Orioles. … The Orioles promoted top prospect Adley Rutschman to Triple-A Norfolk. … Randy Arozarena (COVID-19) could rejoin the Rays as early as Tuesday. … Josh Donaldson missed his second straight game with a presumed hamstring issue. … J.P. Crawford missed Sunday’s game due to illness… Ryan Mountcastle was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. … The Red Sox placed Alex Verdugo on the paternity leave list. … The Red Sox activated J.D. Martinez and Jarren Duran from the COVID-19 injured list. … Hirokazu Sawamura left Sunday’s game due to right elbow tightness. … Kyle Schwarber (hamstring) suffered a minor setback in his recovery and is now dealing with groin tightness. … Bo Bichette (shin) is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. … Cedric Mullins clubbed his 20th home run in a loss to the Rays. … Brett Phillips homered twice, including a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning — as the Rays rallied to beat the Orioles. … Jose Ramirez went 2-for-4 and swiped a pair of bases in a victory over the Tigers. … Hyun-Jin Ryu was tagged for seven runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. … Vladimir Guerrero smacked his 35th home run and stole a base as the Blue Jays rallied to beat the Red Sox. … George Springer crushed a go-ahead three-run homer off of Matt Barnes to complete the comeback effort there. … J.D. Martinez went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs in his return from the COVID-19 injured list. … James Kaprielian struck out four over six innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Rangers in his return from the injured list. … Starling Marte went 4-for-5 and stole a base as the A’s beat the Rangers. … Richard Lovelady notched his first career saves with a scoreless ninth inning against the Cardinals.
National League Quick Hits: Juan Soto (knee) remained out of the Nationals lineup for a third straight game on Sunday. He appeared as a pinch hitter on Saturday, but apparently isn’t feeling good enough to play the field yet. … Javier Baez is considered day-to-day after exiting Sunday’s game with a hip injury. … Freddie Freeman sat out Sunday’s game against the Nationals due to an upper respiratory infection that also caused him to leave Saturday’s contest. … The Reds activated right-hander Lucas Sims from the injured list. … Brad Brach landed on the 10-day IL with a right shoulder impingement. … Rhys Hoskins sat out his third straight game due to left groin tightness. … Justin Steele will start for the Cubs on Tuesday against the Brewers as they shift to a six-man rotation. … Raimel Tapia was pulled from Sunday’s game against the Marlins after aggravating his sprained big toe. … Gavin Lux (hamstring) began a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. … Justin Turner was removed from Sunday’s game with left groin discomfort. He’s considered day-to-day, though is expected to miss a couple of games. … Connor Joe homered twice and drove in three runs in a victory over the Marlins. … Jesus Aguilar crushed his 20th homer and drove in three in a losing effort there. … Jake Cronenworth homered and drove in both Padres runs in Sunday’s win over the Diamondbacks. … Walker Buehler fanned eight over six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Angels. … Dylan Carlson homered and drove in two runs as the Cardinals fell to the Royals.