MLB In Full Bloom - Jake Arrieta Almost Untouchable - 7/1/2014

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After silencing the Boston Red Sox and their fans for 7 2/3 innings Monday night, Jake Arrieta received the ultimate compliment at sold-out Fenway Park after falling short in his bid for a no-hitter - a standing ovation. Arrieta came within four outs in his latest no-hit bid before Steven Drew hit Arrieta's career-high 120th and final pitch for a clean single to right field. Since coming off the disabled list on May 3rd, Arrieta is 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA in 11 starts. More impressive, he posted a 4-0 record and 0.92 ERA in six starts in June and has struck out 39 in his last 28 2/3 innings. Monday's performance was Arrieta's first since he threw six perfect innings before allowing two runs on three hits in the seventh in a 7-3 win over the Reds on June 24. Injuries have been and will continue to be a concern until he can consistently prove he's healthy, but while he's pitching like this Arrieta needs to be owned in any mixed leagues where he's still available.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Dan Haren threw seven shutout innings and allowed just one hit and one walk in a 1-0 win Monday against the Indians. Haren struck out five and came out after 103 dominant pitches. He entered Monday's game with a 2-0 record in his last four starts despite posting a 4.98 ERA in those outings. This time, he didn't need much offensive help. Haren began the season by working at least six innings in 11 of 12 outings, but he failed to do so in three of his last four coming into tonight. Haren will take the mound in Colorado on Saturday for a date with the Rockies.
  • Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 with one RBI with a run scored and one walk Monday against the Rockies. Harper was able to put together a productive night in his first game back from the disabled list and fantasy owners who have patiently been waiting for his return should make sure he is back in their lineups.
  • Taijuan Walker earned the victory in his 2014 debut after allowing three runs in six innings against the Astros. George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez took him deep early in the game, but Walker avoided any other damage and received plenty of help from the Mariners offense. He threw 94 pitches, 58 of them for strikes. Next up for him is a start against the White Sox in Chicago.
  • Jose Bautista (hamstring) is back in the Blue Jays' lineup as the designated hitter for Tuesday's game against the Brewers. Bautista appeared as a pinch-hitter on Sunday, but this will be his first start since June 22 due to a mild left hamstring strain.
  • Oscar Taveras will be recalled from Triple-A Memphis and join the Cardinals on Tuesday. Taveras homered in his first big league game during a previous stint with the Cardinals this season, but went on to hit just .189 over 37 at-bats. Over his last 10 games in the minors, Taveras has hit .333 with three doubles and six RBI, which brings his season average for Triple-A Memphis up to .318 over 62 games. The Cardinals are hoping he will provide a much needed spark to a struggling Cardinals offense. Fantasy owners can expect to see Taveras playing everyday. Allen Craig has had every opportunity to turn things around this year and has been unable to do so to this point. Matt Adams will play first base and Taveras will be in right field.
  • For the second time this season - and in June, the San Diego Padres won a game with just one hit in the contest. The Padres became the first team to win two games with one hit in a single season since 1965, when the Dodgers did so. As Padres manager, Bud Black, said after the game, "There's a lot of ways to win a ballgame and that is one of them."June was a horrendous month for the Padres, who finished it with a 10-17 record. They team also compiled the lowest single-month batting average (.171) in any month since the 192os.
  • Jose Altuve stole two bags on Sunday in a Astros victory over the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park. The two stolen bases raised his American League-leading total to 36 just over halfway through the season. With multiple steals in four straight games, Altuve has the franchise record and leads the league with nine such games this season. He is only the third player in modern Major League history with multiple steals in four straight games, the last being Cleveland's Ray Chapman in 1917. On Monday night, Altuve stole just one base ending the streak of multiple stolen bases in consecutive games.

MLB In Full Bloom - Harper Set To Return Monday - 6/30/2014

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Bryce Harper is set to return to the Washington Nationals today after missing the last 57 games due to surgery on his left thumb. The outfielder has been on a rehab assignment since June 23 and is ready to go after he blasted three home runs in his game with Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. The homers gave Harper a .643 batting average with four home runs and 22 total bases in five minor league rehab games. Harper will be back with the team on Monday, at which time some lineup shuffling will be in order. When Harper was placed on the disabled list, Ryan Zimmerman was also on the disabled list. Since returning, Zimmerman has made a home in Harper's spot in left field. Nationals manager Matt Williams said he will use Harper in all three outfield spots and he also said he'll use Zimmerman at third base and first base to supplement his playing time when not in left field. The players hurt most in that scenario are likely to be Denard Span, who may see Harper cut into his time in center field, and Danny Espinosa, who will sit when Zimmerman returns to the hot corner. Adam LaRoche could end up seeing some added days off as well.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw delivered another impressive performance in Sunday's victory over the Cardinals as he racked up 13 strikeouts over seven shutout innings and extended to 24. He allowed just five hits and a pair of walks on the afternoon. Kershaw finishes June with a 6-0 and a 0.82 ERA. He owns a spectacular 2.04 ERA over 79 1/3 innings on the season and remains the best pitcher in the game today. He'll look to continue his dominance when he takes on the Rockies at Coors Field on Friday.
  • Matt Joyce went 5-for-6 with a double, two home runs, and four RBI in Sunday's win over the Orioles. It was certainly a career day for Joyce, who collected five hits in a game for the first time in his career. He also hit two home runs in a game for only the third time in his career. Joyce, who has faced right-handed pitching almost exclusively, is batting .274 with five home runs and 33 RBI on the season.
  • Felix Hernandez was in complete control in Sunday's victory over the Indians as he surrendered just one hit and three walks over eight shutout innings.¬†King Felix struck out nine and Lonnie Chisenhall's single in the fifth inning was the only blemish on what could've been a memorable afternoon. Hernandez improves to 10-2 on the season and owns an impressive 2.10 ERA.
  • Homer Bailey was dominant on Sunday,¬† as he gave up just three hits and a walk over nine innings as he shut as the Reds finished off the four-game series sweep of the San Francisco Giants. Bailey struck out seven in this gem and his fourth career shutout. He has been highly inconsistent this season, registering a 4.39 ERA in just over 104 innings. He'll look to keep it going when he faces the Brewers at home on Saturday.
  • The San Francisco Giants are experiencing a collapse right now and can't wait for the calendar to turn to July. Since June 8th, the Giants are 5-15 and have watched a 9 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers evaporate. The Dodgers and Giants are tied for first place, well to be 100% accurate, the Giants lead by 1 percentage point. The Giants are 3-7 in their last ten games and run production has been so low. In their past 7 games, the Giants have scored a grand total of 12 runs. Along with struggling to score any runs, the Giants have not been good defensively which has contributed to this losing streak. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are 7-3 in their past ten games and 15-6 since June 8th.
  • The Chicago Cubs had their first Sunday off in 82-years yesterday. The Cubs took the day off to in consideration of the City of Chicago's concern over neighborhood traffic with Sunday's annual Pride Parade in Wrigleyville. The last time the Cubs did not have a scheduled game on a Sunday was June 19, 1932. That year, the Cubs and Giants played a doubleheader on Saturday, June 18, and then had Sunday off before playing in Philadelphia on Monday. This time around, the Cubs and Nationals played a day/night doubleheader on Saturday and the Nationals were on their way out of town after winning both games.
  • David Ortiz belted his 450th career home run on Sunday as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the Bronx.

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