It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 30 which means it’s time to talk about intensity. Every athlete knows about intensity. At a bare minimum, an athlete has experienced a coach talking about the team need more of it. There isn’t any fire. Everyone looks like they don’t care. These lazy cliches try to pull something out from within a team that frankly might not be there. This same type of rhetoric gets spewed out in professional sports. This guy wanted it more than that guy. This guy cares, the other guys. It’s all pretty dumb. That brings me the 8th inning of the Phillies/Mets game tonight. Dom Smith was upset that Jose Alvarado was upset at the Mets being upset that Jose Alvarado was upset that Mets were upset at Jose Alvarado hitting two Mets in the last series. Yeah, it’s dumb. Here’s the thing though, it’s not.
Don’t look now but Michael Brantley is hitting. Potentially the least shocking sense you’ll read in this article, Brantley went 4 for 5 today with three runs scored and an RBI. This is the textbook definition of a top-flight Michael Brantley game because he’s been doing it for seemingly a decade. Over his past 10 games, he has 17 hits and 10 runs scored, while all of his other counting stats combine for one (!). Brantley is going to get on base, score runs, and hit for average. He does two of the five pillars of fantasy extremely well. If you need any of these stats on your fantasy team, try to acquire Michael as he’s going to continue to do this all season long.
Drew Smyly’s return from the injured list has not gone well. Tonight he gave up five earned runs across four innings taking the loss. His last, which was his first after being activated from the IL, he gave up five earned runs across four innings taking the loss. A sleeper candidate in many leagues due to his surprising rebound season in San Francisco last year and his ties to Atlanta’s offense, Smyly has struggled. He entered tonight’s start with an 8.05 ERA and 1.53 WHIP across 19.0 innings and everything is going up. This award can be given to Smyly’s entire season as well as his performance tonight, but either way, keep him away from your fantasy roster for the foreseeable future.
Gerrit Cole entered tonight’s start with a 1.43 ERA and 0.72 WHIP across 37.2 innings, and only the IP number will be going up. No runs, four baserunners, 12 K’s, and a W is just about the perfect fantasy outing. You could call Cole the antithesis of Drew Smyly. He’s now given up three earned runs while striking out 33 batters in his past three starts. Those truly are video game numbers. The best pitchers in baseball right now are all ungodly good, and Gerrit Cole is definitely one of them.
Francisco Lindor is not doing it in the Big Apple. Mr. Smile is now 4 for his past 30 with absolutely no counting stats. No runs scored, no homers, no RBIs, no steals. That’s a .133 average. On the season he’s hitting .189 with one HR and three RBIs. Mets fans love to overreact, but man, everything about Lindor’s “not” looks really, really bad. At this point, fantasy managers are stuck with the man formerly known as Frankie until he gets out of this funk, but I’m truly worried. Lindor is a happy-go-lucky fun-loving baseball player. Those things are bad when you’re in New York and getting paid the big bucks and you’re not performing. This is worrisome, to say the least.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. finally appeared tonight against the Braves. Entering tonight he had two homers on the season. Including tonight, he now has two homers in his past two games. The son of a Cuban legend, Lourdes has all the tools in the world to become another famous Jr. on the Blue Jays. His second base and outfield eligibility, along with those ties to the Toronto offense make him extremely appealing to fantasy players. His 3 for 5 performance with 2 runs scored and that dinger should perk up the ears of fantasy managers everywhere. Go make a trade offer while you still can for this guy. He’s got all the arrows pointing at him saying “buy”. See if his manager in your league doesn’t see those arrows and gets you an excellent rest of season buy today.
The James Shields Award
Lance McCullers Jr., John Means, Pablo Lopez, Robbie Ray, and Yu Darvish all picked up a Shields tonight. For McCullers, it was his first, and he once again looked dominant but this time he went some true distance. Outside of a perplexing start against the Tigers, Lance Jr. has looked everything like the strikeout dominant, low WHIP starter he should be. John Means carved up the Athletics for a second time in two straight starts and at this point is an every outing starter. Pablo Lopez only struck out two, but got seven scoreless against a Washington offense that just looks lost. Yu stomped all over the Giants netting 12 K’s while allowing only one earned run in a win over San Francisco. All four of these guys are long gone in most leagues, but still can be bought for the right price. Make an offer.
The Brad Lidge Award
Rafael Montero, we meet again. Another outing, another earned run. This time it was a mediocre performance with a four-run lead against the Angels. These aren’t the type of outings that kill a closer, but it’s death by a thousand papercuts. We know who the best reliever is in this bullpen, and it’s not Rafael Montero. There isn’t much to say other than beware Montero managers. The end is far more imminent than this bad but not horrific games suggest. This isn’t an Alex Colome situation, but we are trending towards the same end result. If you roster Rafael, start shopping because he may not be long for the closer role.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Intensity is great for baseball. It helps project the fans passion through the players. When players are intense, it appears they care as much as the fans do. Baseball needs to learn and promote this. When benches clear because both sides are fired up and don’t like that the other side is fired up, that’s great for the game. That’s a great product. That’s intensity. Fans want to see that. Intensity breeds passion which is the key to sports enterainment. There’s a reason All-Star games are only played once a year, they are not intense. MLB, I implore, keep the intensity going. Create incentive for players to stay intense. Benches clearing are good for the game. Know that. Promote that.