Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs vs. the Mariners on Monday. Altuve socked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first against reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, evening the score at 1-1 and kicking off a three-hit performance. Altuve followed up with an RBI single in the second and roped another single later in the game as well, marking his first three-hit performance since May 19. The former MVP has been in a bit of a slump over the past couple of weeks, but he seems to be pulling out of it with five hits in his last 10 at-bats. Monday's big fly was his 11th of the season, while the trio of hits pushed his batting average up to .280. His 26 runs and 19 RBIs are a bit underwhelming given that we're now 1/3 of the way through the season, but the counting numbers should come as long as he stays healthy and continues to lead off for Houston's explosive lineup. With an .889 OPS, Altuve remains a remarkably dangerous hitter at age 32 and is still one of the top fantasy options at the keystone.
Hunter Greene was dominant on Monday, holding the Diamondbacks to one hit (a single) over seven shutout innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. Greene was in the midst of perhaps the best start of his young career before the weather intervened, cutting the game short after seven frames and 87 pitches from him. The 22-year-old rookie had little trouble outdueling Madison Bumgarner (who's 10 years his senior) and carving up Arizona's lineup, marking the second time in his last five starts where he's gone at least seven innings while allowing just one hit. More importantly, he didn't walk anybody for the second consecutive start and third time in 11 outings this year. While Greene has showcased exceptional talent on several occasions now, his 3-7 record and 5.40 ERA reflect the control issues that have dogged him this season, namely the 15 homers and 24 walks allowed in 55 innings. His 11.8 K/9 makes him a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option until he polishes his stuff, especially since the Reds can't be counted on to provide reliable run support or bullpen help for him. The hard-throwing phenom will look to build off this gem in St. Louis against the Cardinals this weekend.
Brandon Drury helped power the Reds to a 7-0 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday, going 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. Drury wasted no time in giving Cincinnati an early lead, taking Madison Bumgarner deep in the bottom of the first for his 10th home run of the year. Drury later singled and came around to score, continuing his torrid start to June. Drury has now hit safely in all six games this month with five multi-hit efforts during that span, lifting his average 30 points from .233 to .263. He's now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and 13 of his last 15 games as well, so his latest heater isn't merely a flash in the pan. With 10 doubles, 10 homers, 34 runs, and 28 RBIs, Drury is providing solid all-around production from the two-hole in Cincinnati's lineup, where he has a good chance to provide strong counting numbers the rest of the way. The 29-year-old's .821 OPS is a career-high, so the Reds will likely look to deal him as the trade deadline approaches. Fantasy managers may want to do the same if their not convinced his productive first half is for real, but based on some of the success he's had in the past he doesn't seem to be a total fluke. Keep ridiing him while he's hot.
Michael Wacha fired a complete-game shutout against the Angels on Monday, limiting Los Angeles to three hits and one walk while striking out six. Wacha turned back the clock with his first complete game since 2017 and just the second of his 10-year career, throwing 71 of his 105 pitches for strikes. In addition to handing the Halos their 12th straight loss, Wacha improved to 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA. Not only has he been Boston's best starting pitcher this year, but he's also proven to be one of the savviest offseason additions by any team. The 30-year-old veteran has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of his nine starts this year, as he's carried over a strong finish to 2021. His batted-ball data and peripherals suggest he's getting quite lucky, however, and his 33:15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings is rather mediocre. Regression and/or injuries are going to catch up with him eventually, but he's worth riding in a friendly road matchup against the Mariners this weekend.
Robbie Ray earned the win against the Astros on Monday, but it wasn't pretty as he allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts in five innings. The reigning AL Cy Young winner didn't pitch particularly well and allowed three homers, but luckily for him Houston's Cristian Javier was even worse and failed to escape the fourth. That set Ray up to earn his fifth win of the season, although his ERA (4.97) continued to creep closer to five. His 39 earned runs are the most in the American League, and he's now surrendered at least one long ball in seven consecutive starts (10 overall during that stretch). While he still has more strikeouts (77) than innings (70 2/3), it's hard to feel optimistic about Ray's statistical profile these days and the potential for a turnaround. He's now given up at least three earned runs in seven of his last eight starts, so it's probably best to bench him for his upcoming start against a sizzling Red Sox offense at home this weekend.
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