by Simon Jones
It was a rare night in the major leagues where speed and pitching dominate the headlines. There were wild nights on the bases for Cameron Maybin and Mallex Smith, plus a number of impressive pitching performances.
So let’s look at some of the bigger stories from Friday’s games.
1) Santana pitches third shutout of the season….
Ervin Santana had a big night against the Giants securing a 4-0 with another complete game shutout, whilst driving in three runs. Rumors of Santana’s demise have been exaggerated again, as he bounced back from seven earned runs in his last start. In fact, each time he has given up more than three earned runs, he has bounced back with a scoreless appearance. Santana continues to completely defy conventional thinking and out-pitch his peripherals. It’s still hard to see how he can continue with his stellar 2.20 ERA and 0.89 WHIP given his K and BB rates though.
2) Mallex Smith seizes is opportunity….
When Kevin Kiermaier fractured his hip on Thursday, Mallex Smith appeared on fantasy radars again with his recall from Triple-A. As if to prove a point, Smith had a crazy game against the A’s on his comeback, going 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk and also swiping three bases. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect that power to continue, but we know the speed is real, and he is definitely worth adding whilst he is getting regular plate appearances.
3) Hicks homers twice, confirmed as Yankees CF….
Aaron Hicks continued his breakout season hitting two more home runs and driving in three in the Yankees 8-2 rout of the Orioles. Hicks has actually been getting pretty regular at-bats since early May, but the Yankees have confirmed that Hicks will man centerfield even after Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the DL. Hicks has been an all-around threat in 2017, with 10 home runs, seven steals, an excellent K:BB rate and an OPS of 1.010.
4) Maeda notches first career save….
Bizarrely, one day after getting bumped to the Dodgers’ bullpen, Kenta Maeda came up with one for his more valuable appearances of the season. Coming in to replace Rich Hill in the sixth, Maeda recorded the final 12 outs conceding only one run on three hits whilst striking out six. Maeda’s value is severely diminished whilst he’s squeezed out of the Dodger’s crowded rotation, but given the injury history of many of those pitcher, it would be no surprise to see Maeda back before too long.
5) Holland walks the tightrope but continues perfect save record….
Greg Holland has proved to be pretty impregnable in 2017, but the cracks showed in a shaky appearance against the Cubs on Friday. All appeared as normal when he struck out Kyle Schwarber, but three walks in a row loaded the bases. The Rockies closer then managed to rein it in, with a Ben Zobrist pop-up before striking out Jason Heyward. Holland is now a perfect 23-for-23 on save opportunities and has been scoreless in 23 of his 25 appearances.
6) Maybin goes wild on the bases in return from DL….
The Angels couldn’t have asked for more from Cameron Maybin upon his return from the DL on Friday. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and four stolen bases in the 9-4 win over the Astros. He also scored four times. Maybin’s return to fantasy relevance has gone somewhat under the radar, and appeared derailed when he hit the DL, but he returned in spectacular fashion. He now has 17 SBs on the year and it’s worth noting that he has increased his walk rate significantly this year. If he is getting on base with regularity, then he’ll continue to bat lead-off with the Angels and could threaten his career high of 40 swipes from 2011.
7) Skoglund ineffective against the Padres….
After a mixed bag in his first two starts, it was make-or-break for Eric Skoglund in what appeared to be an enticing match-up against the light hitting Padres. Skoglund ended up having a nightmare, allowing nine baserunners whilst recording just four outs. It was a marvel that only two runs were conceded as the Padres racked up seven hits and two walks. In fact the outs included a double play and a pick-off. It would appear that Skoglund’s days in the Royals’ rotation are numbered.
8) Triggs torched for eight runs by Rays….
Andrew Triggs didn’t make it out of the fourth inning for the second consecutive start, as he was pounded for eight runs against the Rays on Friday. Only three weeks ago, Triggs was sitting at 5-2 from eight starts with an impressive 2.12 ERA, but this represented his fourth less than impressive start, during which he has conceded 20 earned runs (and six unearned runs). His ERA has now more than doubled and home runs seem to be a particular issue with five in the last two games. At this point, he represents an unenticing proposition going forward.
9) Turner returns from DL, hits home run….
Justin Turner was activated from the DL on Friday and wasted no time in making his presence felt, going 1-for-3 with a home run and a HBP. Remarkably, for a player slugging over .500, this was only Turner’s second home run, as he rides stellar average and OBP numbers. Turner’s HR/FB% has dropped to his Mets days, after three years in excess of 10%, but do not be surprised to see that power bounce back. Turner’s return will mean Logan Forsythe moving back to second base on a regular basis.
10) Montgomery pitches seven strong innings for the Yankees….
Jordan Montgomery picked up his second consecutive quality start, conceding two runs over seven innings against the Orioles on Friday. Montgomery might raise concerns as a fly ball pitcher in Yankee Stadium but he has managed to limit the home runs and now sports a 3.55 ERA on the season. He now has 61 Ks in 63 1/3 IP, and his slider is starting to look like a major league weapon, so don’t discount him going forward.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|