Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, STL
Goldschmidt went 2 for 4 with a pair of solo homers on Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers. He later walked, stole a base, and scored the game-winning run for the Cardinals in the bottom of the 10th inning. Goldschmidt accounted for two of the team's five hits and scored all three of their runs on the afternoon. As expected, the veteran first baseman has gradually improved as the season has gone on. Goldschmidt's average has improved in each month of the season, culminating in a hefty .345 mark so far in August. Additionally, Goldy has four homers, 18 RBI, and four stolen bases so far this month.
Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI
Wheeler racked up 10 Ks but surrendered seven runs (five earned) in 8+ innings of work against the Rays. Wheeler pitched a fantastic game for 8.0 innings but was given the ball in the 9th and promptly gave up three hits, including a three-run homer. After a very impressive first half of the season that earned Wheeler his first all-star nod, the 31-year-old's productivity has dipped. He has given up 4+ runs in five of his eight outings since the all-star break, and his ERA has risen to 2.90 (from 2.26) in that span. Besides seeing a bit of a rise in his Z-Contact% (81.4% to 84.6%), Wheeler's plate discipline metrics from his successful first half to his troublesome second half have been basically the same. His K-rate has dipped a bit (10.91 K/9 to 9.32 K/9), but the most telling difference is his HR/9 has dramatically increased from a tidy .53 to 1.11 during the 2nd half. Of course, home runs are hard for a pitcher to control and considering his 3.07 xFIP since the break isn't so different from his 2.71 mark before, I wouldn't read too much into Wheeler's recent struggles.
Nick Castellanos, OF, CIN
Castellanos went 2 for 4 with a homer and extended his hitting streak to six games on Wednesday night in Milwaukee. The accomplished hitting outfielder labored mainly due to injury for much of July and early August but recently has found his stroke. During his current hitting streak, Castellanos is 10 for 23 (.435) with two homers and seven RBI. Injuries to his wrist and foot may have taken Castellanos off his MVP-caliber pace, but he has still put together a fine 2021 campaign regardless. He is slashing .320/.377/.571 with 23 homers and 72 RBI. His .320 average currently ranks first across baseball (amongst qualified batters).
Blake Snell, SP, SD
On Wednesday evening, Snell gave up one run across 7.2 innings in the Padres' clash with the Dodgers. He didn't give in against the tough Dodger offense, throwing 122 pitches while surrendering just three hits, walking none, and fanning 10 in the outing. Snell's inaugural season in San Diego has not gone as planned, though he has shown signs of improvement recently. Over his last five starts, Snell has allowed seven runs (2.12 ERA) and owns an impressive 13.35 K/9. With a career-low 27.9% O-Swing%, the 28-year-old has been unable to get batters to chase this season, leading to his problematic 5.13 BB/9. Snell has maintained a high K-rate, but having to come into the zone more often has allowed hitters to hit him harder (career-high 11.2% Barrel%) and more effectively (25.2% LD%) than in previous seasons.
Tyler Gilbert, SP, ARI
Gilbert gave up two runs across 5.0 innings of work on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The youngster struck out four and walked three in the contest. Gilbert has come back to earth since his exciting no-hit first career start earlier this month. His ERA is still a tidy 2.38 for the season (22.2 IP), but the underlying stats are not so pretty. Gilbert is a soft throwing lefty that doesn't strike out stuff (22.0 O-Swing%, 6.6 SwStr%, 6.35 K/9), and he has to propensity to walk batters (3.57 BB/9). So it should come as no surprise that his 5.03 xFIP is a far cry from his current ERA.
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