Bryce Harper (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R) and JT Realmuto (2-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R) led the way for Philadelphia’s blowout victory. Asdrubal Cabrera had the biggest day for the Nationals, going 4-4 with 2 HR (as well as 2 doubles), 5 RBI and 3 R. Mike Trout had the biggest day in what was a wild game, going 4-5 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 4 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Sean Newcomb pitches his way out of Atlanta…
It was an ugly game for the Braves, and it got started with Sean Newcomb who ultimately pitched his way out of the rotation (he was sent to Atlanta’s alternate training site after the game). The Phillies slugged 5 HR on the game, and Newcomb gave up two of them as he allowed 8 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, while getting just 4 outs. He’s failed to go past 4.2 IP in any of his four starts and now owns an 11.20 ERA and 1.90 WHIP on the season. While we’ll likely see him again at some point in 2020, it’ll be impossible to trust him in any way.
2) Should we be buying into JaCoby Jones…
It was another big day for Jones, who went 1-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .333 with 5 HR and 12 RBI on the season. While it’s easy to get excited, here’s a few numbers that you have to keep in mind entering the day:
- BABIP – .391
- HR/FB – 36.4%
- Strikeout Rate – 27.9%
- SwStr% – 13.4%
So it’s nearly impossible for him to maintain this type of power pace, his luck is going to regress and strikeouts are going to be an issue. In other words, ride him while he’s hot but be ready to move on.
3) More home run issues for Steven Matz…
It’s become a far too common occurrence for Matz, as he was burned by 3 HR. Ultimately he allowed 8 ER on 8 H and 0 BB, striking out 5, over 4.1 IP. He’s made four starts this season and he’s already allowed 8 HR, including 5+ R in each of his past two starts. His groundball rate has been down this season (35.6% entering the day), and that’s highly concerning considering he had a HR/9 of 1.46 or greater each of the previous three seasons. None of the other numbers are going to matter if he can’t figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark, and at this point he’s not a must use option (especially if the matchup is a scary one).
4) Another subpar start from Ryan Yarbrough…
Taking on the Red Sox Yarbrough was tagged for 4 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over 4.1 IP. The biggest hit came courtesy of JD Martinez, who slugged his first home run of the season (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R). Yarbrough has now allowed 9 ER over 9.1 IP over his past two starts, including 3 HR, and overall he’s allowed 19 H and 7 BB, striking out 13, over 21.0 IP. He’s obviously lacked strikeouts, though his 13.9% SwStr% and 44.0% O-Swing% shows a lot more upside (his 7.49 K/9 over his career does tell a slightly different story). He was also generating groundballs yesterday (8 groundballs vs. 4 flyballs), though that hasn’t been common and his .246 BABIP tells us that despite the struggles there’s more disappointing performances on the horizon. In other words he’s not one to buy.
5) Has Randy Dobnak emerged as a must start…
He was great again yesterday, this time against the Brewers, allowing 1 ER on 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 3, over 5.0 IP as he improved to 3-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 20.0 IP. Obviously he’s not going to maintain those marks, as he owns an 88.9% strand rate and .217 BABIP, but his 66.7% groundballs rate and strong control (2.25 BB/9 this season) should allow him to continue to be successful. Sure we’d love to get a few more strikeouts, but that’s not enough of a reason to avoid him. He’s a solid back-of-the-rotation option in all formats, just be aware of a potential bump in the road coming.
6) Yet another debacle from Robbie Ray means maybe it’s time to cut bait…
The impulse is going to be to give Ray the benefit of the doubt, with last night’s start coming in Coors Field, but it’s just his latest subpar performance in 2020:
- 07/25 (at SD) – 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K
- 07/30 (vs. LAD) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 6 BB, 4 K
- 08/05 (vs. HOU) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K
- 08/10 (at COL) – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 6 K
All told he’s thrown 17.0 IP, allowing 22 H and 14 BB leading to a 10.59 ERA and 2.12 WHIP. He allowed 1 HR yesterday, bringing his total up to 7. As we keep saying strikeouts are nice, but poor control and few groundballs (16.3% this season) leads to some ugly numbers. Maybe he figures it out, but he can’t leave your bench until he shows signs.
7) Austin Slater continues to put his name on the map…
Slater went 2-3 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R and 1 SB yesterday, suddenly putting him at .333 with 3 HR and 4 SB over 33 AB. That said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of his damage has come against left-handed pitching:
- vs. LHP – .400/.500/.800
- vs. RHP – .278/.409/.556
Obviously those numbers against right-handed pitchers aren’t poor, and the more “concerning” numbers are his .400 BABIP and 50.0% HR/FB. Obviously those numbers won’t continue. He is showing an improved approach, and that could lead to improved performance, and it’s possible he’s become more comfortable/efficient on the bases. While he’s going to slow down, he’s worth rolling the dice on.
8) Has Dylan Moore emerged as a must own option…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 3 R, putting him at .333 with 4 HR, 9 RBI, 11 R and 3 SB on the season. He’s now homered in back-to-back games, going 4-7 with 2 HR and 5 RBI, but there are some awfully concerning numbers once you start to dig in:
- HR/FB – 30.8%
- BABIP – .423
Those two numbers are going to regress, though his command of the strike zone is much better than what the numbers have shown (10.7% SwStr%, 24.4% O-Swing%). That means his 30.6% strikeout rate and 4.1% walk rate will improve, and that will help to offset the other regressions. Considering he has some speed, the value is going to be there. In other words, don’t wait to scoop him up.
9) Is it time to write off Sean Manaea…
Taking on the Angels Manaea was touched up for 4 ER on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 1, over 2.2 IP. In four starts this season he’s failed to even qualify for a W (he hasn’t gone past 4.2 IP). At least he’s shown control, right (4 BB over 15.0 IP)? While he has been hit hard for the second straight season (50.0% Hard%), we also all know that the luck metrics are going to get extremely better (.412 BABIP, 46.2% strand rate). For as bad as things have been, don’t quite push the panic button as things should get significantly better.
10) Despite the loss, Dustin May continues to impress…
Taking on the Dodgers May allowed 2 ER on 5 H and 2 BB, striking out 2, over 6.0 IP. That said he struggled to generate swings and misses (5 swinging strikes), while he also wasn’t generating many groundballs (6 groundballs vs. 9 flyballs). Groundballs haven’t been an issue this season (47.4% groundball rate), though the strikeouts were a concern even before he got his opportunity (8.0% SwStr% this season). While others can overcome limited strikeout stuff, and May should, we’d like to see a few more groundballs in order to do so. He’s going to have his highs and lows, but he is worth owning.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs