Fantasy Baseball Today: ‘Field of Dreams’ remake recap; Marco Gonzales delivers again; Yu Darvish leaves early

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While the Field of Dreams game was a major success for MLB, Thursday’s Fantasy Baseball action was defined by pitching: some good, some bad, some in between. The good, well actually great, was Marco Gonzales pitching a complete game against the Texas Rangers. Guess who he faces next week? The bad could be highlighted by Yu Darvish, who left his start with a back injury. The in between was Tanner Houck, who didn’t finish with the best line but did generate 18 swinging strikes.

There was one other I wanted to highlight. About a month ago, I recommended Kyle Hendricks as a sell-high trade candidate. He’s always outperformed his underlying numbers, but this year was a little different. We saw some of that downside on Thursday when Hendricks allowed nine runs over just four innings. Within those nine runs, Hendricks gave up two more homers. He doesn’t usually generate swinging strikes, but this year’s mark is all the way down at 8.9%, his lowest since 2017. You then couple that with an unusually low 42% ground ball rate, and that’s a recipe for disaster. I still think Hendricks can be serviceable at times, but he’s clearly lost a step this season and he’s not really a pitcher who can afford to do that. 

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‘Field of Dreams’ recap a major success

What a great night of baseball it was on Thursday! Despite being delayed, the Yankees and White Sox met up in Iowa on a crisp Thursday evening (the MLB’s first ever game in Iowa) for the ‘Field of Dreams’ game. Even Kevin Costner made it out to Dyersville, Iowa and led the players through the cornfields in what was an incredible pregame tribute to the 1989 film.

The actual game lived up to the hype too. The White Sox defeated the Yankees 9-8 after Zack Britton entered the game and allowed a walk-off, two run shot to Tim Anderson (who is now batting .300 with 13 homers and 16 steals on the season). In addition to Anderson’s walk off homer, there were eight total homers in the game — Andrew Heaney and Lance Lynn got rocked. Jose Abreu hit his 23rd homer and he’s now on a 10-game hitting streak with five homers in that span. 

Eloy Jimenez hit his fifth home run in his past five games and is looking more and more likely to be a league winner down the stretch. He’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball (not named our boy Joey Votto!). In addition to Eloy, Aaron Judge had a double dong (now has 25 homers on the year), including one bomb off Liam Hendriks. Giancarlo Stanton hit his 18th homer which gave the Yankees the lead until Britton blew the save. It was a wild game with a ton of Fantasy Baseball implications and truly a treat to watch.

Gonzales goes the whole way

Mariners SP Marco Gonzales has been on an absolute tear over his past five starts and that continued on Thursday. Gonzales delivered a complete game against the Rangers and allowed just one earned, two hits and one walk. He struck out nine batters with 17 swinging strikes on 108 pitches. The underlying stats backed up the box score stats and that’s when it’s time to take notice (despite Gonzales not being a pitcher who generally generates swinging strikes).

Gonzales is just 52% rostered and gets the Rangers next week. He’s a great streamer for his matchup against Texas. Gonzales has a 1.68 ERA over his last five starts, and that’s not a typo.

Yu leaves early

It has been a really rough month for Padres SP Yu Darvish, and things got worse on Thursday night. Darvish was removed from Thursday’s start against the Diamondbacks with lower back tightness. Before leaving with the injury, Darvish allowed a whopping six runs in 2 2/3. It wasn’t pretty.

Darvish’s past 13 starts (including tonight): 5.46 ERA with 15 homers allowed. His fly ball rate is at 46% this season — by far a career-high. That was only 31% last season when he only allowed five homers in 12 starts.

More news and notes

  • Brewers SP Brandon Woodruff left Thursday’s start after three innings but apparently it was not due to injury. 
  • Mets SP Jacob DeGrom will undergo another MRI in the coming days. He was shut down in late July due to forearm inflammation. 
  • Shane Bieber could throw a bullpen session this weekend. He’s already missed about two months with a shoulder strain. With Cleveland 11 games out of the division and nine games out of the wild card, I don’t think they’re in any rush to bring him back. 
  • Reds OF Nick Castellanos was out Thursday due to a swelling in his foot. 
  • Cubs C Willson Contreras was placed on the IL with a right knee sprain, though it’s not deemed a serious injury. 
  • Dodgers 3B Justin Turner will not be available Friday as the Dodgers previously hoped. 
  • Phillies 1B Rhys Hoskins is expected to be activated from the IL on Tuesday.
  • Rockies SS Brendan Rodgers has missed four straight games with that hand contusion he suffered last weekend
  • After heating up recently, Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson left Thursday’s game with right wrist soreness. He’s got an MRI on tap. 
  • Elieser Hernandez made the third start of his rehab assignment at Double-A on Tuesday, tossing five innings, allowing one run with 10 strikeouts. He’s 27% rostered. 
  • Yankees SP Corey Kluber went 1.1 IP in his first rehab start at Double-A. 
  • Padres SP Dinelson Lamet had a procedure to clean out a hip infection. 
  • Diamondbacks OF Kole Calhoun went on the IL with a left hamstring strain.
  • Blue Jays 2B Cavan Biggio started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Thursday.
  • Mariners RP Paul Sewald was placed on the paternity list.

Houck’s eye-popping 18 swinging strikes

Red Sox SP Tanner Houck caught Scott White’s attention on Thursday night when he induced a ridiculous 18 swinging strikes. The box score stats weren’t tremendously impressive — he allowed three earned in five innings — but he also struck out eight and walked no one to go along with his 18 swinging strikes. Houck recorded eight strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. The Red Sox pulled him after he allowed a two-run homer to Wander Franco, but the 25-year-old now has a 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 44 strikeouts with just seven walks across 30 2/3 innings this year in eight total appearances (with six starts).

He’ll make his next scheduled start against the Yankees. He may not last in the majors for long, but with 18 swinging strikes (three or more swinging strikes on four different pitches is the key here) on 89 pitches and the box score stats to back it up — he’s worth scooping up. He’s 43% rostered.