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Corey Dickerson has homered in four straight games

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Though not quite in Matt Carpenter territory yet, Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson homered in his fourth consecutive game on Sunday, helping his team take down the Reds 9-2 in a road series finale. The Pirates have now won nine games in a row and are two games above .500 for the first time since early June.

Dickerson’s two-run homer game in the second inning off of Matt Harvey, increasing the Pirates’ lead to 5-0 at the time. It came just ahead of a Starling Marte solo shot.

Dickerson also hit a two-run homer on July 15 against the Brewers just ahead of the All-Star break. In the first game out of the break, Dickerson hit a solo shot off of Tyler Mahle and clubbed two solo dingers off of Anthony DeSclafani in Saturday’s win over the Reds. The power surge is a welcome sight as Dickerson went the entire month of June without homering. In fact, he had a 43-game homerless streak between May 5 and June 29.

Dickerson, 29, is now batting .315/.347/.509 with 11 home runs, 42 RBI, and 47 runs scored in 360 plate appearances this season. He’s been a tremendous pickup for the Pirates, who acquired him from the Rays in February.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.