Fantasy Baseball Roundup: Tim Anderson’s Hollywood ending

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There’s nothing quite like a walk-off win, especially reveling in the glamour of a big-screen spotlight. Tim Anderson made sure White Sox fans everywhere went home happy, with a thrilling bottom of the ninth home run in the much-anticipated inaugural Field of Dreams game on Thursday night, in Dyersville, Iowa. 

The game itself was filled with plenty of long balls launched into the hallowed cornfields from both sides: Jose Abreu, Aaron Judge, Seby Zavala, Eloy Jimenez, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, and finally, Tim Anderson all went deep for eight total home run balls into the corn fields in what seemed to be a choreographed back-and-forth battle between these two ballclubs. The White Sox ultimately reigned victorious in the 9-8 win over the Yankees, on this August evening, in front of a crowd of 7,832 faithful fans. 

The game was filled with milestones for Major League Baseball; Jose Abreu hit the first home run (by a Major Leaguer) in the state of Iowa, by taking Andrew Heaney deep in the bottom of the first inning. Carlos Rodon was originally scheduled to take the bump for the White Sox, but went on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday, with left shoulder fatigue. In Rodon’s stead, All-Star Lance Lynn started, but wasn’t at his best tonight; he tossed five innings, giving up four runs off four hits. He walked two, but also struck out seven, walking away with the no-decision. This was just the second time he’s allowed more than four earned runs in a start this season. 

Yankees starter Andrew Heaney was not sparkling, going five innings, giving up seven runs off five hits (three being home runs), walking three and striking out five. Aaron Judge did have a fantastic game, however; he and Giancarlo Stanton both belted two-run home runs in the 9th against Liam Hendriks, who was brought in to protect a 7-4 lead, but departed the ninth inning with his sixth blown save of the year. 

Even though it was Judge’s fourth multi-homer game of the season, it wasn’t enough to guarantee a Yankees win as in the bottom of the ninth, reliever Zack Britton issued a one-out walk to Seby Zavala (who battled back from 0-2 in an excellent at-bat). Next up, Tim Anderson found Britton on the first pitch, launching it into the Dyersville night sky, calling it an evening, and finally, calling it a game.  

The White Sox won the opener of this three-game set; with an off-day on Friday, the series will resume at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Saturday evening. Whatever else happens in this series, it will be hard to top this opener as it was more thrilling of a script than Hollywood could dream of writing.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Chris Bassitt vs. Cleveland

6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 28% CSW

In this 81 pitch performance, Bassitt excelled at limiting Cleveland to hard contact; there were only four hard-hit balls, half of them outs. The righthander is having a fantastic season, toting a 12-3 record, 3.06 ERA, and 1.03 WHIP in 150 innings pitched over 24 starts.

Marco Gonzales vs. Rangers

9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 30% CSW

This was Gonzales’ longest outing of the year; a refreshing bounce-back from a tumultuous start to the season, where he suffered from injury. This was the southpaw’s third complete game of his career, and the first complete game for any Mariners pitcher in 2021. He now has a 1.93 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.

Logan Webb vs. Rockies

6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, 36% CSW

In this 91 pitch performance, Webb dazzled with the sinker and slider working especially effectively. The sinker was his most thrown pitch, good for three swings-and-misses and 10 called strikes, resulting in a 42% CSW for that pitch alone. 

Hitters with an EDGE

Luis Urias vs. Cubs

5-for-6, 2 HR, 3 2B, 5 RBI

Urias was one of many Brewers hitters with a rather productive Thursday afternoon, in a 17-4 rout of the Cubs. Urias’ two home runs included a three-run shot in the seventh inning, and a solo homer in the ninth.

Kevin Kiermaier vs. Red Sox

3-for-3, 2 R, 0 RBI, 1 BB

Strangely enough, Kiermaier did not drive in any of the Rays’ eight runs in their win against the Red Sox, but still had a fantastic day at the plate. Kiermaier reached safely in each of his plate appearances, and scored two runs as a result. 

Aaron Judge vs. White Sox

2-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB

Judge’s two home run game was mighty impressive and should not go unnoticed, nor should his five total RBI on the evening, contributing to eight runs scored by the Yankees in the Field of Dreams game. Judge is now slashing .300/.333/.667 in his last seven games, including three home runs, nine RBI, and two walks drawn over 32 plate appearances. 

Josh Rojas vs. Padres

4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB

Rojas reached base safely five times out of his six plate appearances in Thursday’s 12-3 rout of the Padres. The Diamondbacks’ leadoff hitter garnered a season-high four hits, and is worthy of a roster spot due to his ability to hit for contact as well as his speed. 

Closing Time

Ian Kennedy vs. Dodgers

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (19th save)

Two walks and a two-out hit-by-pitch to Will Smith made this close-scoring game a bit tense for the Phillies, but Kennedy managed to lock in the save by getting Billy McKinney to fly out to end the game. He’s converted 19 out of 20 save opportunities this year.

Alex Reyes vs. Pirates

1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 K (27th save)

Reyes’ 27th save did not come without some drama; Bryan Reynolds homered after an error allowed Gregory Polanco to reach second, to make it a 7-6 game. Despite the nail-biter, Reyes retired the next two Pirates with strikeouts to lock in his 27th save.

Edwin Diaz vs. Nationals

1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0K (25th save)

The 27-year-old surrendered a double to Carter Kieboom, but otherwise tossed a solid ninth inning. He’s converted 25 out of 27 possible save opportunities. 

Michael Fulmer vs. Orioles

2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (7th save)

A six-out save for the 28-year-old. The two hits he surrendered were back to back singles to Ryan McKenna and Richie Martin in the ninth inning. He’s now converted seven out of nine save opportunities this year.

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Priority Pickup

J.P. Crawford (SS, Seattle Mariners) Available in 86% of Yahoo Leagues

Crawford homered on Thursday, supporting Marco Gonzales’ one-run complete game. The 26-year-old has been on fire at the plate as of late, slashing .348/.423/.565 over 25 plate appearances in his last seven games. This includes one homer, three walks drawn, and three RBI. 

Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Tyler Mahle (9-3, 3.78 ERA, 148K, 1.22 WHIP) vs. Zack Wheeler (10-6, 2.42 ERA, 181K, 0.99 WHIP)

Two pitchers who have been having strong overall seasons go head to head on Friday. Tyler Mahle‘s 10 strikeouts in his start on Sunday marked the second time he’s registered double-digit punchouts this season. Zack Wheeler has emerged as one of the more dominant pitchers in the National League, leading the streaking Phillies atop the NL East. He’s in preliminary talks as a potential Cy Young candidate, with a miniscule 2.42 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and also leading the Major Leagues with 181 strikeouts.

American League Quick Hits

X-rays came back negative on Max Stassi‘s injured left forearm on Wednesday evening…Indians placed RHP Nick Sandlin on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. … Tigers placed INF/OF Niko Goodrum on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain…Justus Sheffield (oblique) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday. … Josh Harrison left Thursday’s game against Cleveland with a quad strain. … Cavan Biggio will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday. … Grayson Greiner has exited Thursday’s game against the Orioles with an apparent injury.

National League Quick Hits

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said late Wednesday that J.T. Realmuto is being evaluated for a concussion. … Huascar Ynoa (hand) recorded seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday in a minor-league rehab start with Triple-A Gwinnett. … Javier Baez (back) remains absent from the Mets’ starting lineup for the first half of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Nationals. … Tyler O’Neill (illness) was not in the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Thursday afternoon. … J.T. Realmuto (head) was not in the Phillies’ starting lineup on Thursday. … Avisail Garcia (hand) was out of the Brewers’ starting lineup on Thursday…Rowdy Tellez (knee) did not start on Thursday against the Cubs. … Cubs placed C Willson Contreras on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain. … Wade LeBlanc exited his start Thursday afternoon against the Pirates due to left elbow pain. … Dylan Carlson is being evaluated for right wrist discomfort. … Nick Castellanos (foot) is out of the Reds’ starting lineup Thursday night against the Braves. … Justin Turner (groin) will not be available on Friday against the Mets. … The Diamondbacks will place Kole Calhoun on the injured list with his left hamstring strain.