Jon Gray (SP-TEX) was outstanding once again on Friday, beating the Mariners with seven scoreless innings. Gray outdueled Luis Castillo in a 2-0 pitcher's duel, yielding just two hits (both singles) and one walk while striking out five. Gray was efficient as well, throwing 57 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Friday marked Gray's fifth consecutive start with a win, which isn't surprising given that he's allowed just three earned runs in 34 innings during that span. He's now won his last six decisions overall and hasn't lost a start since his season debut on April 3. He's now 6-1 with a 2.51 ERA following one of the best stretches of his career, although his 7.1 K/9 rate (2.0 below his career rate) isn't particularly helpful for fantasy purposes. With a .242 BABIP coming into Friday and a FIP well over 4.00, the 31-year-old righty is an obvious sell-high candidate. He'll look to keep rolling against the St. Louis Cardinals at home in his next start.
Justin Verlander (SP-NYM) wound up with the loss on Friday despite turning in one of his better starts of the season so far. Verlander took the L against the Blue Jays despite holding them to one run on five hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over six innings. The reigning AL Cy Young winner quickly settled down after giving up a run in the first, throwing 77 of his 117 pitches for strikes and keeping the score at 1-0. New York was shut out, however, causing him to slip to 2-3. Nevertheless, it was an encouraging bounce-back performance for the 40-year-old after he got lit up in Coors Field during his last start. He's been up and down over his last few outings since coming off the IL, resulting in a mediocre 4.25 ERA. He's given up two earned runs or less in four of his six starts so far, however, so he's been more good than bad. He'll face the Braves in a rough road matchup next week.
As expected, the Red Sox placed Chris Sale (SP-BOS) on the 15-day IL on Friday with left shoulder inflammation. Sale suffered the injury during Thursday's start against the Reds and was pulled from the game early after 59 pitches over 3 2/3 innings. His velocity was down during the start, indicating that something was amiss. An MRI confirmed the shoulder inflammation, which will keep Sale on the shelf until mid-June at the earliest. The 34-year-old southpaw has been notoriously injury prone in recent years, so it was only a matter of time before he wound up on the IL. He hasn't pitched more than 100 innings since 2019 and hasn't pitched a full season since 2017. He's currently 5-2 with a 4.58 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 59 innings this year, so hopefully this isn't an injury that lingers or creates additional problems down the road. It remains to be seen who will replace Sale in Boston's rotation, although Nick Pivetta is a possible candidate.
The Cardinals recalled MLB's No. 1 prospect Jordan Walker (OF-STL) on Friday. Walker, 21, opened the season with the team but was sent down to Triple-A in late April. The move seemed bizarre at the time given that Walker was slashing a perfectly solid .274/.321/.397 with 11 RBIs in 20 games, although his 3:20 BB/K ratio was cause for concern. The Cardinals wanted Walker to work on improving his launch angle at Triple-A to unlock more of his power, which he did with four home runs and six doubles in 29 games. Time will tell if the work at Triple-A translates to the big leagues or potentially messes with his swing. Either way, fantasy managers should make sure to get the young outfielder back in their lineups this weekend, as his upside is worth the risk.
Edward Cabrera (SP-MIA) delivered his best start of the season on Friday, earning the win with six scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts against the A's. He gave up four hits and one walk while throwing 64 of his 95 pitches for strikes. The 10 punchouts were his second most in a start this season, which isn't surprising given the lackluster competition on Friday. Still, it was a step in the right direction for Cabrera after his poor May (1-2, 5.40 ERA). He's now 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA, which is still a run and a half higher than last year's 3.01 mark. The 25-year-old has been missing a ton of bats with his career-best 11.8 K/9, but he's also been walking far too many batters with a career-high 36 free passes already. If he can get the walks under control and maintain his current K rate, he has All-Star potential. He has another easy home matchup against the Royals up next, where he'll be a must-start in all formats.
This is just a small sample of our daily analysis, join our member area for tools that will help you win your fantasy championship. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3