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Zach Britton struck out two batters during a scoreless ninth inning during Sunday's win over Houston.


Britton allowed a pair of runs in a non-save situation in his previous appearance, so it was encouraging to see him bounce back with a sound outing Sunday. The lefty had struggled since returning from the disabled list following a forearm injury, and his name has also been mentioned in trade rumors, so there are some fleeting unknowns lingering. Still, he's an elite talent and could quickly reestablish himself as a high-end relief option.

Lance McCullers allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out just three batters over 4.2 innings during Sunday's loss to Baltimore. He didn't factor into the decision.


McCullers has now allowed 20 runs – 18 earned – through 18.2 innings in his past four starts, so it's not out of the question to begin worrying about the youngster. His 2.85 FIP and 10.2 K/9 remain high-end marks, but the 23-year-old righty has never pitched more than 125.2 innings in the majors, and Houston has little incentive to push him down the stretch with a playoff spot essentially wrapped up already. An innings limit looms, and there's also a chance that he's not 100 percent healthy. A potentially difficult road matchup against the Tigers at Comerica Park is up next for McCullers.

Mark Trumbo (O, Bal)

Mark Trumbo went 2-for-5 with a solo home run, a double and two runs scored during Sunday's win over Houston.


With 17 bombs, 50 RBI and 62 runs, Trumbo is providing solid counting statistics, but his .249/.311/.425 slash line is definitely underwhelming. The veteran slugger has shown more pop of late with seven homers through his past 20 games, so a second-half surge isn't out of the question.

Nori Aoki (O, Hou)

Norichika Aoki went 3-for-4 with a three-run home run and two runs scored during Sunday's loss to Baltimore.


Aoki isn't receiving consistent playing time, so his fantasy value is limited to deep settings. Additionally, this was just his second homer of the campaign, and his .280/.329/.376 slash line isn't providing much impact when he's in the lineup. Still, being attached to a high-end offense has appeal and will help Aoki modestly tilt the scales in the RBI and runs columns.

Hector Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Giants.


Sanchez's slugging percentage has ballooned all the way up to .597 in 71 plate appearances thanks to an 11-for-28 stretch with six extra-base hits since July 15. If the catcher keeps hitting like this, it will be hard to take him out of the lineup even when Austin Hedges (concussion) returns from the DL.

Jose Altuve (B2, Hou)

Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 with a three-run home run and a stolen base during Sunday's loss to Baltimore.


Altuve continues to live up to his lofty preseason billing with a .358/.424/.564 slash line, 15 homers, 56 RBI, 21 stolen bases and 68 runs. It's extremely rare to find that level of cross-category production, and it's even more valuable coming from a middle infielder.

Drew VerHagen was called up to the Tigers on Sunday, MLive.com reports.


The right-hander will provide support to the Tigers' bullpen, which was used heavily across a seven-game road trip. VerHagen, who battled thoracic outlet syndrome in his throwing arm for a good chunk of 2016, reportedly asked the team to work as a starter rather than a reliever heading into this season, and as such, he's made 19 starts with Triple-A Toledo. During that span, he's gone 7-7 with a pedestrian 4.90 ERA and 69:43 K:BB in just under 100 (97.1) innings. He has yet to appear in a game this year for the Tigers, however.

Jabari Blash (O, SD)

Jabari Blash went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI and a run scored Sunday in San Francisco.


Blash was just 1-for-10 going into the finale of this four-game series, but delivered a crucial hit against starter Ty Blach. The outfielder's two-run double put San Diego ahead for good in the fourth inning, and he also came around to score later in the frame. His .242/.377/.452 line should be more than enough to earn regular playing time for the offensively-challenged Padres.

Wil Myers (B1, SD)

Wil Myers went 1-for-4 with a solo home run, a walk and two runs scored in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Giants.


Myers became the first Padres hitter to reach 20 homers this season with a first-inning bomb off Ty Blach. The first baseman is slashing .252/.333/.476, so he's not the man to blame for San Diego's 30th-ranked offense.

Brad Hand struck out one in a perfect ninth inning for his third save Sunday.


Hand's 16 holds show that he's usually used before the ninth inning, but his ability to put this game away with ease makes the lefty even more intriguing for the myriad teams looking for bullpen help as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. He has put a 16.1-inning scoreless stretch together over his past 16 appearances amid swirling trade rumors.

Dinelson Lamet (4-4) beat the Giants with 6.2 innings of two-run ball Sunday. He allowed eight hits while walking one and striking out six.


Lamet struggled in his last outing at the league's most hitter-friendly venue, but took advantage of AT&T Park's 29th-ranked .80 park factor with his fourth quality start in 10 tries. The 25-year-old rookie sports an ugly 3.48 BB/9 to go with a sparkling 11.85 K/9 in 51.2 innings, so it was encouraging to see him issue only one free pass in this one after walking four in consecutive starts coming in. He'll look to build on this effort in Friday's home date with the Pirates.

Ty Blach (6-6) allowed five runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings in Sunday's loss to the Padres.


Expectations were high with Blach facing the league's worst offense coming off three consecutive quality starts, but the 26-year-old lefty failed to deliver. While he did set a new career-high in strikeouts, Blach allowed at least five earned runs in a game for the fourth time this season. To his credit, Blach at least gave his team a fighter's chance by holding San Diego off the board for three frames after a four-run fourth inning. He'll have his work cut out for him in his next start Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Enny Romero was removed from Sunday's game against the Diamondbacks due to back spasms, Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports.


Zuckerman added that the back spasms "don't appear to be a concern", which suggests the reliever shouldn't miss much, if any time. The Nationals are off Monday before opening up a series with the Brewers in D.C. on Tuesday evening, so those interested in making use of Romero for fantasy purposes should check back in prior to first pitch regarding his availability.

Pat Valaika mashed a pinch-hit, two-run homer in Sunday's 13-3 win over the Pirates.


Valaika was one of three Colorado hitters to hit one into the seats during the sixth inning, along with Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds. The 24-year-old infielder has seven home runs in just 66 plate appearances at Coors Field, and owns a terrific .538 slugging percentage overall.

Per manager Dusty Baker, Stephen Strasburg's (forearm stiffness) removal from Sunday's game in Arizona was precautionary after he had trouble getting loose in the second inning, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports.


The Nationals are headed home and have an off-day Monday, at which time the hard-throwing righty will see the team doctor for further evaluation. Baker didn't provide specifics other than the aforementioned forearm stiffness, but also added that he doesn't think the condition is "anything serious", so it doesn't sound like owners should be too worried. Strasburg should be considered day-to-day until further information surfaces, which will likely come Monday or Tuesday.

Trevor Story (S, Col)

Trevor Story went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, a walk and another run scored Sunday against the Pirates.


Story's home run was one of five mashed by the home team in this 13-3 blowout. The 24-year-old shortstop has hit 23 of his 40 career homers at Coors Field, which is actually a pretty even split compared to most of his teammates in Colorado.

Mark Reynolds (B1, Col)

Mark Reynolds went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI in Sunday's 13-3 win over the Pirates.


Reynolds capped a seven-run sixth inning with a two-run homer, then added a solo shot in the eighth. The 33-year-old slugger and Coors Field were a match made in heaven, so it's no surprise that 16 of his 22 home runs have come at home. Reynolds also has his average over .280 for the second consecutive season since signing with Colorado, improving significantly on a career .237 mark.

Brandon McCarthy (finger) will be placed on the 10-day disabled list according to manager Dave Roberts, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.


The Dodgers' rotation suffered a significant blow Sunday, as news broke that both McCarthy and ace Clayton Kershaw (back) are headed for DL stints. McCarthy reaggravated a blister on his right index finger in his last outing Thursday but was originally believed to be able to make his next start Tuesday against the Twins, though that won't happen now given his impending DL placement that will hold him out until at least July 30. Kenta Maeda will start Tuesday in his place.

Nolan Arenado (B3, Col)

Nolan Arenado went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run in Sunday's 13-3 win over the Pirates.


Arenado drove his RBI total up to a league-leading 86 thanks to timely hitting. He plated two runs on a single in the third inning, then drove in one more before coming around to score himself in a seven-run sixth. Fifty-four of Arenado's RBI have come at hitter-friendly Coors Field, even though he has played three more games on the road.

Kyle Freeland (10-7) held the Pirates to two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts over six innings in Sunday's win.


A quality start is usually more than enough to get a victory at Coors Field, as was the case in this 13-3 blowout. Freeland's 57.0 percent groundball rate has lessened the impact of Colorado's thin air, allowing him to pitch to a 3.21 ERA in 61.2 home innings. The rookie left-hander will bring a 4.12 road ERA into Saturday's start in Washington.