Shane Bieber improved to 5-3 on Thursday after limiting the Tigers to one run on one hit and four walks with 12 strikeouts over seven innings. Bieber was in top form against the lowly Tigers, holding them scoreless through six before yielding a leadoff homer to Jonathan Schoop in the seventh. Bieber also racked up double-digit strikeouts for the sixth time in 11 starts this year, albeit the first time in May. The reigning AL Cy Young winner now has an MLB-high 110 punchouts in 72 innings this year and an MLB-best 232 strikeouts in 149 1/3 innings since the start of last year. Bieber is a bona fide strikeout machine, but he'll have a trickier matchup in his next outing when he faces the hard-hitting White Sox at home.
Austin Meadows powered Tampa Bay to a 7-2 victory over the Royals on Thursday, going 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run, four RBIs, and two runs scored. Meadows put the Rays on the board in the bottom of the first with his two-run triple, which was his first three-bagger of the season. That was merely an appetizer, however, as he belted a two-run shot his next time up to extend Tampa Bay's lead. The dinger was Meadows' 10th of the year, increasing his RBI total to 33. He's done the bulk of that damage in May, socking 14 extra-base hits (six homers) and driving in 24 runs across 23 games. His power comes with a .222 average for the season, however, as he's fanned in 30.1 percent of his official at-bats. While Meadows seems unlikely to replicate his .291 average from two years ago given how frequently he strikes out now, he's still worth starting in most fantasy formats due to his strong power and run production numbers.
Aaron Judge went 1-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs, and a walk in Thursday's doubleheader vs. the Blue Jays. After going 0-for-3 in the first game, Judge collected a walk, sacrifice fly, and two-run homer in the second game. The long ball was his 13th of the year and his first since May 16th, snapping a nine-game streak without an extra-base hit. Judge remained productive over that stretch though, batting .323. While it's still early in the season, his .307 average is a full 50 points higher than last year, partly because he's striking out at the lowest rate of his career (25.5 percent). His .374 BABIP may come down, but it's not considerably higher than his career .354 mark. If Judge can maintain his lofty average without sacrificing too much power, that's a tradeoff that fantasy managers would be willing to make.
Chris Bassitt fired a complete-game shutout against the Angels on Thursday, limiting Los Angeles to just two hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. Bassitt had everything working in this one, carrying a no-hitter deep into the game before ultimately yielding a single and a double. He was still able to finish what he started though, going the distance for the first time in his career. This was Bassitt's first scoreless outing of the year, lowering his ERA to 3.21 and improving his record to 5-2. He also has a sterling 74:16 K/BB ratio in 70 innings this year, proving that his success over the past few years (and last year in particular) is no fluke. He'll try to replicate Thursday's success when he faces the Mariners in Seattle for his next scheduled start.
Dylan Cease earned the win on Thursday after holding the Orioles to one run on four hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts over six innings. Cease's lone big mistake was a fourth-inning solo shot, but overall this was a great rebound performance from his first loss of the season last time out. The 10 strikeouts were his second-highest total of the season, giving him 66 Ks in 51 1/3 innings this year. The outing, which was his first quality start since May 4, also lowered his ERA to 2.98. While he's been a bit up and down this year with just three quality starts in 10 appearances, his overall numbers are excellent. He'll look to carry the momentum from this outing into June when he makes his next start.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3