Daily Dose: Kinsler Hits DL; Feliz Up

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As Aaron Gleeman ventures his way back from another successful SABR Convention
in Washington, D.C., I’m happy to be your guide to Sunday’s goings-on
in the baseball world. No worries, you’ll be back to your regularly
scheduled Daily Dose soon enough.

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There was bad news and good news for Rangers fans on Sunday. While
they took a serious hit with second baseman Ian Kinsler being placed on
the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, the blow was
softened by news that top prospect Neftali Feliz is on his way from
Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Acquired from the Braves in the Mark Teixeira deal, the 21-year-old
Feliz has garnered tons of attention for his 100+ MPH fastball,
recently averaging 99.4 MPH on his heater during July’s Futures Game.
He was named the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America
over the winter. The Dominican flamethrower began the year as a starter
but recently moved to the RedHawks bullpen in anticipation of a
promotion to the big club, compiling a 2.16 ERA and 20/3 K/BB ratio
over 16 2/3 innings.

Make no mistake, the club still views him as a starting pitcher in
the long-term, but much like fellow blue-chipper Derek Holland, he’ll
cut his teeth in the pen, joining C.J. Wilson, the newly-activated
Frank Francisco and Darren O’Day in a relief corp that was already one
of the best in the American League. Get ready to pounce in keeper
leagues.

As for Kinsler, he was placed on the disabled list retroactive to
July 29, so it’s conceivable that he could return by the end of next
week. Perhaps a bit of a respite isn’t the worst thing in the world for
Kinsler and the Rangers anyway; since a ridiculous .322/.384/.656
showing in April, Kinsler has hit just .219/.293/.431, including a
lowly .157 batting average in July. Still, fantasy owners will have to
find a replacement for a player who leads all major league second
basemen with 22 stolen bases and is in the top five in homers, RBI and
runs scored. Not the easiest task, but there are plenty of quality
options available in most mixed-leagues (Maicer Izturis, for one).

* After suffering a setback in his recovery last week, Brandon Webb
will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday. It’s the
culmination of a roller coaster season for Webb, who hasn’t pitched
since Opening Day. Dealing with nagging stiffness and soreness in his
right shoulder, Webb opted for a more conservative approach to his
rehab, rejecting the notion of surgery as recently as last month.

Saying that Webb “exhausted every other course of treatment,”
executive vice president and general manager Josh Byrnes stated that
the team supports his decision for surgery, but it presents quite the
dilemma for the Diamondbacks. The team holds an $8.5 million dollar
option on Webb for 2010, one which they will almost surely decline,
unless the 30-year-old right-hander is given an abnormally optimistic
recovery time. It sounds crazy to say this, but his days in Arizona
might be numbered.

* Scott Downs found himself back on the disabled list on Sunday
after aggravating the same toe injury that cost him nearly three weeks
earlier this season. Downs was brilliant after supplanting B.J. Ryan as
the team’s closer, posting a 1.98 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 26 games before
injuring the big toe on his left foot while running the bases back on
June 16. He just hasn’t been the same pitcher since returning on July
8, putting up a 9.00 ERA over nine appearances and blowing two out of
three save opportunities. Manager Cito Gaston hinted that the
33-year-old southpaw may have returned a little too soon last time, so
expect the club to show a bit more caution before activating him.

In the meantime, look for Jason Frasor, who stepped in for the
fallen Downs to secure a 6-5 win over the Athletics on Saturday, to get
the majority of save chances. Frasor has a 2.09 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and
35/10 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings this season. He was Gaston’s
go-to-guy during Downs’ earlier stint on the disabled list, notching
two saves. Brandon League may figure in on some nights too, but Frasor
is the clear choice in mixed leagues.

* As I wrote on our Circling the Bases
blog, Victor Martinez entered Sunday’s action batting just .198 since
June 4, but true to form, he went out and tied a career-high with five
hits while driving in four runs as the Red Sox trounced the Orioles
18-10. Martinez was acquired from the Indians on Friday in exchange for
Justin Masterson and minor-league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan
Price. So far, Martinez has started at first base and catcher in his
first two games with Boston. Expect the shuffling to continue. Martinez
joined a crowded 1B/C/DH/3B scenario that includes Jason Varitek, Kevin
Youkilis, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz and the newly-acquired Casey
Kotchman.

On it’s face, this looks like a brilliant move by general manager
Theo Epstein. In one fell swoop, he managed to land additional
insurance on Mike Lowell, who is still nursing a hip injury, and Jason
Varitek, who doesn’t have to carry as big of a burden behind the plate
anymore. It may end up being a winning strategy for Boston, but the
biggest losers in this scenario just might be fantasy owners. Be sure
to watch those lineup cards closely, folks.

AL Quick Hits: Melky Cabrera
became the 15th player in Yankees history to hit for the cycle on
Sunday … Orioles 2008 first-round pick Brian Matusz is expected to
make his major league debut on Tuesday against the Tigers … Clay
Buchholz was rocked for seven runs over four-plus innings on Sunday,
continuing to show that he is not yet mixed-league worthy … Melvin
Mora expressed his displeasure with manager Dave Trembley after being
benched on Sunday — the third time in the last four games — saying it
might be time for him to “move on” … J.D. Drew slashed a three-run
double in the top of the first on Sunday, but left in the second inning
with a tight right groin … The Yankees will shuffle their starting
rotation so that Joba Chamberlain can start Thursday’s opener against
the Red Sox … Likewise, Jon Lester is being moved up for a start
against the Rays on Tuesday so that he can face the Yankees …

NL Quick Hits: Corey Hart had
his appendix removed on Sunday and is out indefinitely; Bill Hall will
be recalled from Triple-A Nashville … Freddy Sanchez was 2-for-4 with
an RBI double in his Giants’ debut on Sunday … Chad Billingsley
blanked the Braves over five innings on Sunday before leaving with a
hamstring cramp; he is expected to make his next start … … Jeff
Francoeur has four home runs and 19 RBI in 19 games since joining the
Mets, but just one walk … Scott Rolen left Sunday’s game with the
Rockies after getting plunked in the helmet by Jason Marquis, but
shouldn’t miss any time … In his major league debut on Sunday, Bud
Norris hurled seven shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals …
Hanley Ramirez was out of the starting lineup on Sunday after leaving
the night before with a bruised left knee, but appeared as a
pinch-hitter … The Mets activated Gary Sheffield from the disabled
list on Sunday, but relegated him to a bench role …

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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I’m taking the day off to go down to Kentucky to watch horses do horsey things (watch for me photobombing equestrian types on NBC Sports Network). Bill will be along later today and Ashley will be here this evening, but I can’t leave you without the recaps because that’s what I do.

Don’t do anything dumb while your mother and I are out. We’ve marked all the bottles. We’ll know if you’re lying to us.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 1: It was 1-1 until the 11th inning thanks to Julio Urias, making his 2017 big league debut, and the Dodgers’ bullpen and Matt Moore and the Giants’ bullpen takin’ care of business. The Dodgers got tired of it being close in the top of the 11th, however, beating up on Corey Gearrin, Steven Okert and Hunter Strickland for four runs. Andrew Toles knocked in the go-ahead run with a single. A sac fly, single and a bases-loaded walk finished the scoring. The Giants wouldn’t have even scored the one run if it wasn’t for the Dodgers throwing the ball around.

Nationals 16, Rockies 5: The Nats came into Colorado and scored 46 runs in four games. Which, damn. They put up 11 runs in the seventh inning here, with Bryce Harper hitting a three-run shot. Trea Turner hit for the cycle on Tuesday, finished a triple shy of another cycle Wednesday and hit a double and two singles and driving in two here. Harper is hitting .418/.535/.823 with eight homers and 25 RBI. That’s a 59 homer, 184 RBI pace. I know Harper has a habit of putting up big Aprils and that injuries have derailed him in the past, but this is shaping up to be a really special year for this guy.

Cardinals 8, Blue Jays 4; Cardinals 6, Blue Jays 4: The first game of the twin-bill ended in spectacular fashion with Matt Carpenter hitting a walkoff grand slam in the 11th inning. They wouldn’t have even gotten to extras, however, if it wasn’t for Randal Grichuk‘s two-run homer with two outs in the ninth which tied it up. So much drama in game 1 it’s a shame they had to suit up for fame 2 rather than just go out for drinks. But they did play game 2 and it went swell for St. Louis. Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia and Matt Adams each had three hits. Fowler hit a dinger. The Blue Jays are a total mess. But they’re not the only mess in the bigs right now because . . .

Braves 7, Mets 5: M-E-S-S Mess! Mess! Mess! Six losses in a row and 10 of 11. They’re not scoring. Everyone is getting hurt. Just a disaster. The last time the Mets were this screwed up was just after the All-Star break in 2015 and you know what happened then. Oh, wait, they won the pennant. Eh, let’s let the New York press and Mets fans freak out. Maybe it’s actually warranted this time. Who knows. All I know is that Kurt Suzuki hit a big three-run homer here and when the Braves make you look bad, you’re not living your best life.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Hisashi Iwakuma battled. Verlander battled a tad better — allowing only an unearned run in seven innings while striking out eight while Iwakuma allowed only one unearned run in five and two-thirds — but the Mariners got the win anyway. The go-ahead run came thanks to a Ben Gamel RBI single off of Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Can’t trust the Tigers bullpen in a close game. Ever.

Phillies 3, Marlins 2Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run over six innings as the Phillies win their sixth straight. Hellickson is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA on the year. Philly is doing OK right now, but if they aren’t in contention come July, he’s going to be a pretty attractive trade target.

Indians 4, Astros 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run bomb. And I mean bomb. The thing was estimated to be over 450 feet. Corey Kluber struck out ten over seven innings. In addition to being one of the best shortstops around, Lindor is hitting .301/.368/.614 on the year and he’s on a 40-homer pace. That $100 million deal he reportedly turned down is gonna look positively quaint.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 0: Masahiro Tanaka tosses a Maddux. You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Here it was a three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base. Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. They’ve only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored  only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 2: Taijuan Walker struck out 11 and Chris Ownings hit a pair of solo homers. Yasmany Tomas had a two-run homer.

Angels 2, Athletics 1: I had a dream last night that I owed the Oakland A’s $30,000 in medical bills. Something in the dream made it make sense — baseball teams ran hospitals or something — and for whatever reason, my family had used theirs and I was responsible for the bills. My family, by the way, included Ronald Reagan, who was treated at A’s hospital. Insurance wouldn’t cover a lot of his bills because a man had come out of the woodwork claiming to have been his lover, and the insurance company had a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. What I’m sayin’ is that a lot was going on in this dream and I’m a little upset with the A’s over it right now.

Oh, by the way, Ricky Nolasco allowed one runs in five and two-thirds and four relievers combined to shut the A’s out the rest of the way. The Angels scored both of their runs in the first.

I probably do need that day off, eh? See you Monday.

Masahiro Tanaka throws a Maddux

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You do know what a Maddux is, right? In case you forgot, it’s a complete game shutout in which the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches. Friend of HBT Jason Lukehart invented that little metric and, because Greg Maddux is my favorite player ever, it’s pretty much my favorite stat ever.

In the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight it was Masahiro Tanaka doing the honors, tossing 97-pitch three-hitter in which he only allowed one runner to reach second base to beat Boston 3-0. He only struck out three but he didn’t walk anyone. He retired the last 14 batters he faced.

Chris Sale was no slouch himself, striking out ten in eight innings. He’s pitched great this year but he’s not getting any help. The Sox have only scored four runs in his five starts. Boston has scored only 13 runs in their last seven games. They’ve been shut out three times in the past seven. They scored more runs than anyone last year, by the way.

The game only took two hours and twenty-one minutes. Or, like, half the time of a Yankees-Red Sox game in the early 2000s. Progress, people. We’re making progress.