Max Scherzer went the distance in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Marlins, yielding just one run on five hits and no walks with nine strikeouts over nine dominant innings. Mad Max kept the Marlins off the board until the top of the ninth, when Isan Diaz tagged him for a solo shot to lead off the inning. Scherzer quickly wrapped things up from there, though, finishing the game on 106 pitches (76 strikes) before rushing to the hospital to be with his wife in the delivery room. The complete game -- a rarity in today's game -- was the 12th of Scherzer's career, all of which have come since 2014. During that time, only Corey Kluber, Madison Bumgarner, and Clayton Kershaw have completed more starts. It serves as additional proof that Scherzer still ranks among the game's elite at age 36, which is readily apparent based on his 2.54 ERA and 47:6 K/BB ratio in 39 innings this year. He'll look to continue his strong start when he faces the Yankees at Yankee Stadium next weekend.
Kris Bryant went 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs, and three RBIs against the Reds on Sunday. After finishing April on fire, Bryant enjoyed another monster day at the plate with his second multi-homer game of the season, raising his homer total to nine and his RBI total to 22 through 26 games. His 10 doubles lead the National League, while his batting average is up to a season-high .329. After a disappointing 2020 in which he managed a paltry .644 OPS, Bryant is back to being one of the best hitters in baseball with a 1.144 OPS thus far in his age-29 season. Given that he's set to become a free agent this winter, Bryant appears poised for a monster season if he's able to stay healthy, which might end up netting him his second MVP award.
Carlos Martinez earned his second win of the season with a dominant performance against the Pirates on Sunday, limiting Pittsburgh to five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over eight shutout innings. Martinez surpassed seven innings for the second straight start, hurling a season-high 100 pitches (70 strikes) en route to his longest outing of the season, as he was able to take advantage of an appetizing matchup against the Pirates' punchless offense. After a brutal start to the season that saw him post a 7.80 ERA over his first three turns, Martinez has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts combined spanning 21 1/3 innings. While his strikeout numbers remain underwhelming this year (5.0 K/9) and limit his overall fantasy value, he currently sports the lowest walk rate of his career (2.2 BB/9) and has been successful at limiting mistakes and hard contact. While he may ultimately regress if the strikeouts don't improve, many of his peripherals are in line with his career averages, so don't rush to sell high on the two-time All-Star, especially with another easy matchup on tap against the Rockies at home.
A.J. Pollock exploded against the Brewers on Sunday, going 3-for-6 with a double, two home runs, and eight RBIs to lead Los Angeles to a 16-4 rout. After managing just two homers and seven RBIs through his first 24 games, Pollock essentially doubled his season's production in one game. All four of his long balls and 11 of those RBIs have come during his last nine games, however, as he's started to rebound from his frigid April. Based on his 16 homers and 34 RBIs in 55 games last year, Pollock is certainly capable of putting up big numbers in a short amount of time, and he seems to have found his groove at the plate over the past couple of weeks. Fantasy owners should continue to keep him in their lineups going forward.
Julio Urias improved to 4-0 with a 2.87 ERA after limiting the Brewers to one run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts over seven innings on Sunday. Urias had a five-run lead before he threw his first pitch and a nine -run lead by the time he came back out in the second inning, so he was on cruise control pretty much right from the start. He was able to attack the zone without concern, throwing 66 of his 90 pitches for strikes. The 24-year-old has now completed seven innings in three of his six starts this year without reaching 100 pitches in any of his outings. He's also notched double-digit strikeouts in two of his last three starts, giving him 42 Ks in 37 2/3 innings thus far. Over the past several years, Urias has emerged as one of the better young pitchers in baseball, and he seems to be putting it all together in what would be his first full season. He'll look to keep rolling next weekend against the Angels.
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