FanDuel: SB Nation One Day Fantasy Leagues
Corey Kluber flirts with #dominono
There were a lot of smart people telling you to buy low on Corey Kluber before Wednesday's start. The buy low window has officially closed. Kluber flirted with a no-hitter against the Cardinals, carrying a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before Jhonny Peralta spoiled the party with a no-cheapie single up the middle. The fun wasn't over, however, as Kluber stayed in for eight innings and struck out 18 Cardinals.
Terry Francona did the smart thing, taking out his ace after eight innings instead of letting him go for the all-time, single-game strikeout record (20, set by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood). Kluber was at 113 pitches and Francona turned the game over to closer Cody Allen, who worked an efficient ninth for an 11-pitch save, sealing Kluber's first win of the season. Kluber's 18 strikeouts tied the Indians record held by Hall of Famer Bob Feller and were the most strikeouts by an AL pitcher since Roger Clemens.
Kluber is now 1-5 with a 4.27 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 64/11 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings. Kluber started slow a year ago and could just be getting started for the Indians, who need a kick start in the competitive American League Central.
Jimmy Paredes extends hitting streak to 12
The little-known outfielder and designated hitter before the season is now on a 12-game hitting streak following Wednesday's 2-for-4 performance against the Blue Jays. The 26-year-old upped his batting average to .364, and has five home runs, 18 RBI and a .391 on-base-percentage. He also has seven doubles and a pair of triples.
Paredes hasn't done much in the big leagues before now, so it's worth wondering if this is a fluke. He's shown speed in the minors, with 37 steals in Triple-A with Houston in 2013, but that hasn't been his game with Baltimore (he has just one steal). He's cut down his strikeouts from 25 percent to 20.7 percent and showing way more power than ever before.
I normally would sell high on a guy like this, but Paredes also plays in one of the AL's top offenses. That should help his counting stats and I can see Paredes playing the role of Steve Pearce, who caught fire last year and connected for 21 home runs in just over 100 games. I guess what I'm saying is ride Paredes while he's hot, but don't be afraid to dangle him in a trade.
As expected, A.J. Ramos saw the Marlins first save chance since Steve Cishek was demoted. Miami's new stopper struck out a pair in a perfect ninth inning against the Dodgers, earning his first career save. With the Marlins no longer interested in Rafael Soriano, Ramos should continue to see the majority of save opportunities going forward. So far this year, Ramos owns a 1.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and a 23/6 K/BB ratio in 18 innings without a home run. He needs to be owned in all formats. He owns a career 27.1 percent strikeout rate.
Hunter Pence (forearm) could be activated any day, according to manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants outfielder has been playing in Triple-A and is expected to be there throughout the weekend. I wouldn't rule out an earlier activation from the disable list, however. Pence has hit 20 home runs in seven consecutive seasons and is coming off a 20/13 season with 106 runs and 74 RBI. He could hit 15 home runs the rest of the way.
Those hoping for a Puig return will need to wait a while longer. Manager Don Mattingly announced Wednesday that the electric outfielder will be out at least a couple of more weeks. Puig has been out since the middle of April with a hamstring injury and hasn't' been able to shake it. Puig was a consensus top-10 outfielder and hit .296/.382/.480 with 16 home runs, 92 runs, 69 RBI and 11 steals in 2014.
J.D. Martinez left Wednesday's game with lower back tightness and is day-to-day. The 27-year-old outfielder had a breakout season in 2014, slashing .315/.358/.553 with 23 home runs. This year, he's struggled with a .236/.304/.463 slash and a 31.1 percent strikeout rate, although the power has certainly been there when healthy (seven home runs in 33 games).
Congratulation is in order for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who became the team's all-time saves leader with 113. It wasn't easy, as he walked the leadoff guy and had an error to make things even more difficult. Jeff Francouer then nailed Jordy Mercer at the plate for the final out. Papelbon is 7 for 7 in save chances this year with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 14 1/3 innings. He's allowed just two earned runs and one home run, posting a 1.26 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Papelbon were closing for another team by season's end.
Addison Reed blew a save in spectacular fashion Wednesday, allowing a grand slam to Michael Taylor, who replaced Bryce Harper in the game after the phenom was ejected arguing balls and strikes. It's only a matter of time before Reed loses his job in Arizona, but the backup options aren't ideal, including Brad Ziegler. Evan Marshall, who many thought would get a chance at some point, was optioned to Triple-A on Monday. This could be a situation to avoid altogether.
Jason Hammel went toe-to-toe with Mets ace Matt Harvey, allowing just one run in eight innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He's now 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 41/6 K/BB ratio in 46 1/3 innings. And, somehow, he's still available in roughly 30 percent of ESPN leagues. Jose Quintana, meanwhile, struck out 10 Brewers and allowed one run on four hits to improve to 2-3 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 39/10 K/BB ratio in 41 innings. Unlike Hammel, there might be some time to still buy low on Quintana.
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