It was a busy Monday night of action around the league, and we have you covered with some of the performances of note. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1) Just as We Suspected
The Indians certainly have some interesting decisions to make ahead of next week’s trading deadline, but at least Cleveland knows they can count on Mike Clevinger at the top of their rotation. Clevinger took care of business last night in Toronto as he picked up his fourth victory of the season, again just eight starts, with seven innings of three run ball. The right-hander did allow two home runs, but with just three other hits and two walks, Toronto wasn’t able to generate much else against Clevinger who struck out seven. With a 3.61 ERA, the right-hander has, with the exception of one start in Baltimore, kept things under control so far this season, and his 2.82 FIP (2.45 xFIP) suggests that success will continue. It’s also hard to argue with a pitcher who is currently striking out close 14 batters per nine innings of work. At this point, it’s hard to find any cause of concern as it relates to Clevinger’s performance.
2) A Solid Effort from Benintendi
The Red Sox are trying to jump start things, Rafael Devers is raking, and Andrew Benintendi really has yet to do much so far this season. So with that being said, it made sense to see the outfielder batting sixth for Boston on Monday, and he did come through with solid production. Not exactly known for his power, Benintendi hit his eight home run of the season yesterday as part of a three hit effort. Missing the cycle by just a triple, Benintendi is also up to 25 doubles, so it is clear that he is driving the ball into the gaps. The only problem, is that with just 43 RBI, it hasn’t led to run production, and his .266 batting average is just that; average. The hit tool is there, but in his last 15 games entering Monday, Benintendi was hitting just .197, but at least we know that the only place for that really to go, is up. A few games like last night, and that will be the case.
3) Abreu Goes Deep
While he often doesn’t receive much in the way of attention, and there is longer any upside here, there also isn’t too much downside when it comes to Jose Abreu and his production. Last night, Abreu 2 for 3 with a walk, but more importantly, he hit his 22nd home run of the season. Abreu also doubled for the 22nd time this season as he brought his batting average up to a solid .274 on the season. There is nothing about Abreu that is really all that prolific, but he just keeps on hitting. And with 72 RBI on the season, he is also one of the better sources of run production in the league.
4) History in Houston
There is a lot we can talk about from the Astros’ victory on Monday, but Gerrit Cole made history. It is getting to the point where Yuli Gurriel’s home run binge is just crazy, and seeing Yordan Alvarez drive in another run is equally as ho-hum. In fact, Alvarez broke records himself on Monday for most RBI ever in player’s first 30 games, but instead Cole carried the evening. Allowing just one run on two hits and a walk, the right-hander didn’t need much in the way of run support, but the Astros gave it to him anyway. Cole became the second fastest player ever, 133.1 innings, to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, and he didn’t show any signs of slowing down. The right-hander cruised to his 11th victory of the season by ultimately striking out 11 batters in seven innings of work. Cole’s ERA now sits at 3.03 as the ace has clearly established himself as someone who can carry a good portion of strikeouts.
5) The One Hit was a Big One
It has been a less than ideal first season in St. Louis for Paul Goldschmidt, but the first baseman came through with a key hit on Monday. He is still hitting just .248 for the season, .216 in his last 30 games entering play last night, and the power is still not where it should be. It was Goldschmidt’s 19th home run of the season to along with 48 RBI, and while it’s possible for him to finish with 30 home runs and 80 RBI by the end of the season, there is still some potential for more. While Goldschmidt’s batted ball metrics are down from prior years, they are still not a lost cause, and I wouldn’t give up hope just yet.
6) An Unlikely Lead-off Hitter
We don’t see many catchers batting lead-off, but for Minnesota and Mitch Garver, it is working. With a 3 for 4 performance last night, Garver brought his batting average up to .304 on the season as he continues his successful campaign. Garver currently sports an OPS of 1.059, and that is largely a result of his home run prowess. After going deep twice last night, Garver is up to 19 home runs on the season, in just 181 at bats, with 41 RBI. While he doesn’t play everyday, Garver gets more than enough playing time, he also has spent some time on the Injured List, and his production makes him one of the top options at the position.
7) Aguilar Picks Up Two Hits
With Eric Thames manning right field on Monday, Jesus Aguilar got a start at first base against a right-hander, and he came through. After last year’s breakout, 2019 has been far from ideal for Aguilar, but as of late, he has shown some signs of perhaps getting back on track. After going 2 for 4 with a double last night, he is still hitting just .230 on the season, but in his last 30 games, Aguilar is hitting .322. That gives you an idea of how bad things were previously for him, and the two hits last night were also a good sign, since his performance has taken a step back and he’s hitting .167 in his last seven games. On the surface not much has changed with Aguilar from 2018 to 2019, but his performance certainly has taken a large step backwards along with his ISO; .264 to .155. At this point, Aguilar doesn’t require much of an investment, and if you have the roster space, there really is no risk, but don’t do it at the expense of someone who is actually producing.
8) Ray Turns in a Solid Outing
If Robbie Ray can you give you six innings of three run ball every time out like he did on Monday, I think there would be a lot of happy fantasy owners. Granted that means his ERA would be 4.50, but consistent performances like that aren’t going to sink you. In fact, Ray’s ERA after last night is 3.94, so it’s hard to find much fault. What really matters for Ray though is the strikeouts, and last night, there were 10 of them. That brought his total for the season up to 162 in 123 innings pitched. Seeing Ray strike out 10 is really just par for the course for the left-hander, but what excited me, was seeing him walk just one batter. Yes, Ray did scatter eight hits and allow a home run, but walking just one was a nice development.
9) Another Victory for Gott
If you are asking yourself who Trevor Gott is this morning, you are not alone. Other than seeing a pitcher with his name pick up the victory on Monday for the Giants, he likely isn’t on the radar of many fantasy owners. However, it is important to mention the right-hander, because last night’s victory was his seventh on the season. Regardless of who the pitcher, anytime you see someone with a 7-0 record, it has to catch your attention. The Giants are surging, and as a scrappy team that is going to play a lot of close games, there will be a lot of high leverage situations for their relievers with games being decided in the late innings. And if you are searching for victories, someone like Gott might not be a bad option in leagues that allow for daily moves. In fact, with his seven victories, he is three ahead of Chris Sale, and right on par with other starting pitchers. The fact that Gott has a 3.86 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 42 innings also helps.
10) Gonzales Picks up Another Victory
Some pitchers, for better or worse, are just more adept at being involved in the decision when they take the mound. That is certainly true with Marco Gonzales, as after last night’s victory, he is now 11-8 on the season. The southpaw was victorious last night thanks to seven innings of two run ball in which he scattered seven hits and didn’t walk a batter while striking out four. With a 4.37 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, Gonzales is the perfect definition of a solid back end of the rotation option who is worthy of starting in most situations.