Shohei Ohtani- DH- LAA- Caution- Ohtani hit his 44th homer of the season to continue his assault on major league pitchers. As a pitcher himself, though, his results were not as impressive. The Astros tagged him for 6 runs on 9 hits while he struck out 1. Although Ohtani threw 52 of his 77 pitches for strikes and didn't issue a walk he only lasted for 3.1 IP. What is especially concerning about this is that it comes on the heels of a career-high 117-pitch outing. Ohtani lasted 7 IP despite the high number of pitches, of which 85 were strikes. What these last two outings indicate is that batters are fouling off a high percentage of pitches. That, and Joe Maddon was willing the last time out to push a talented pitcher to a very high number of pitches in a season where he has already tossed more than twice as many IP in his major league career before this year. Ohtani also hasn't had a great track record of health to this point. Earlier this season, Ohtani's previous hjgh in pitches was 105, on July 23rd. His next time out he was charged with 7 runs in 0.2 IP. This is not a good usage pattern for a pitcher who needs careful attention. Watch his next pitching start closely to see if the effects of the extended outing carry beyond last night's start.
Cedric Mullins- OF- BAL- Hot- Mullins put himself in the 28/28 club last night by slugging his 28th homer of the season and swiping 2 bases to also give him a total of 28. The 28/28 club may not have the cachet of 30/30, but at this point Mullins will be there by the end of the season. He has emerged as a multi-category fantasy producer. His Statcast numbers of 89.7 Exit Velocity, 8.5% Barrel%, and 39.6% HardHIt% along with a FB% of 41.5% are solid underpinnings for a .302/.369/.539 slash line.
Sam Hentges- P- CLE- Rookie- Hentges is a player who likely suffers from the change in rules that requires a reliever to face at least 3 batters or pitch to the end of an inning. The southpaw came into yesterday's game with a .268/.339/.357 slash line against LH hitters and .344/.413/.531 against RH hitters. Hentges entered the 5th inning with bases loaded and 1 out to face the lefthanded Rowdy Tellez and induced a pop out. Were he allowed to be a LOOGY, he may have been lifted. Instead, Hentges had to pitch to the righthanded Lorenzo Cain and allowed a grand slam. He then got the lefthanded Kolten Wong to line out to end the inning. With the Brewers up 9-2, Hentges got to pitch another inning. He served up another homer to the switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar to lead off the inning before allowing one more hit and getting 3 outs. Hentges has now allowed 9 homers to RH hitters in 45 IP against them. His rookie season has been difficult because of his extreme platoon splits. One indicator that he may be able to bounce back in 2021 is that the BABIP of RH batters against him was .415 before last night. He has a strong mid-90s fastball that has had him projected as at least a mid-rotation starter. There is still potential there but Hentges needs to be more effective against RH hitters. All other things being equal he should be, but some confidence issues may be brewing.
Jordan Montgomery- P- NYY- Cold- Montgomery finally had an unqualified poor outing last night. He was charged with 7 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks in 3.1 IP. In a bright spot Montgomery did strike out 6. He only threw 48 of 79 pitches for strikes. This broke a string of 12 starts where Montgomery allowed 3 runs or fewer. It was also his shortest outing since May 16th. For now, count it as an aberration. Montgomery has been putting up decent but not lengthy starts. For the season he has a 3.71 ERA and 3.63 FIP so hasn't been pitching above his fundamentals.
Tanner Houck- P- BOS- Drop Value- Houck has times like last night when he has trouble locating the plate. It often costs him. Houck threw 39 of his 71 pitches for strikes and walked 4 in 3.2 IP. He also allowed 4 hits and was charged with 4 runs (3 earned.) It was a similar outing to August 29, when Houck threw 52 of 90 pitches for strikes, walked 4, and gave up 3runs in 5.1 IP. Or August 24, when he gave up 3 runs in 4.2 IP after throwing 54 of 90 pitches for strikes. That's 3 of Houck's last 4 games when he had struggles with control and gave up an inordinate number of runs. He has a decent 3.54 ERA and 2.95 FIP for the season. His 10.63 K/9 and 2.53 BB/9 are also solid but driven by his earlier season performances. Houck has only pitched more than 5 IP once and that is a big part of his winless 0-4 record. At this point, the trends are not positive.
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