Kodai Senga (SP-NYM) struggled against the Reds on Thursday afternoon, taking the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over five frames. Senga did not look sharp early on and got rocked for four runs in the bottom of the first. He mostly settled down after that, but did end his day on a sour note by yielding a solo homer during his final inning of work. It didn't matter anyways, as the Mets were shut out, but it was still a disappointing performance by Senga in a highly winnable matchup for New York. The outing dropped his record to 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA, as he's now lost two of his last three outings and has a 5.26 ERA over his last five turns. Walks have been a major issue for him so far (5.6 BB/9), as Thursday marked his first start with fewer than three. Some struggles were expected during his transition to the majors, but he must do a better job commanding his pitches if he wants to have sustained success in the big leagues. He'll try to bounce back against the red-hot Rays at home in his next outing.
Nathan Eovaldi (SP-TEX) continued his recent run of dominance on the mound, narrowly missing a complete-game shutout on Thursday. Eovaldi fired 8 2/3 scoreless frames against the A's while racking up a season-high 12 strikeouts, falling one out shy of going the distance. Eovaldi had already matched his season-high with 113 pitches and with a 4-0 lead, there was no need to push him any further. Plus, Eovaldi already blanked the Yankees on April 29, so he already proved he can still finish what he started. Eovaldi has been lights-out lately, not allowing a single earned run over his last three outings (25 2/3 innings) while ringing up 25 batters during that time. He now owns an exceptional 56:8 K/BB ratio on the season and has permitted only one home run in 53 1/3 innings. Eovaldi is pitching some of the best baseball of his career at age 33 and is absolutely thriving in Texas, making the Red Sox regret letting him walk in free agency. He'll look to keep rolling in a much tougher home matchup against the Braves in his next start.
Yu Darvish (SP-SDP) settled for a no-decision on Thursday despite turning in a quality start against the Twins, yielding just two runs on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over six innings. Darvish was pretty sharp in a tough road matchup against Minnesota, throwing 52 of his 80 pitches for strikes and leaving the game with a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, San Diego's bullpen immediately coughed up three runs and the game as soon as he exited. The strong outing lowered Darvish's ERA to 3.16, as he's still going strong in his age-36 season. The veteran righty has given up two earned runs or fewer in five of his seven starts, proving to be reliable and matchup-proof. His command has also been better after some hiccups in April, as he's issued just two walks over his last three starts combined and has only had two games where he was taken deep. While not quite a fantasy ace anymore, Darvish is still a very strong option. He'll look to keep rolling in a mouth-watering matchup at home against the lowly Royals.
Bailey Ober (SP-MIN) ended up with a no-decision on Thursday despite pitching a quality start against the Padres. He gave up three runs on six hits and no walks with six strikeouts over six innings. Unfortunately for Ober, two of those hits left the park, but luckily both were solo shots. He settled down after surrendering a leadoff blast to Fernando Tatis Jr., keeping his team in the game long enough for them to eventually rally and win, 5-3. Ober is off to a wonderful start after replacing the injured Kenta Maeda in Minnesota's rotation, going 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA and 22 strikeouts through his first four outings. Ober pitched well last season, too, with a 3.21 ERA over 11 starts, so he's building up a solid resume. He's making a strong case to remain in the Twins' rotation after Maeda returns, which could be soon. In the meantime, Ober is a viable fantasy option in all formats but may want to be avoided with his next start coming up against the Dodgers in LA next week.
Brady Singer (SP-KCR) took a no-decision on Thursday after holding the White Sox to one run on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six innings. Singer was efficient against the struggling White Sox, throwing 51 of his 80 pitches for strikes. It was a much-needed bounce-back effort for Singer, who'd been torched for at least five earned runs in five of his previous six starts. Singer has mixed three strong starts in as well, but so far he's been more bad than good. He's suffered from a higher walk rate (3.2 BB/9) and a lower strikeout rate (8.4 K/9) compared to last year, not to mention the worst home run rate of his career (1.6 HR/9). He's also gotten unlucky on balls in play with a .350 BABIP coming into Thursday. Look for him to get things straightened out as the season progresses, so don't give up on him just yet. He has a tough road matchup against a loaded Padres lineup on deck.
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