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Jesse Winker Homers Thrice – Again

Jesse Winker made Reds franchise history in Sunday’s victory over the Cardinals, becoming the first player to blast three home runs in a game — TWICE — in the same season. Take a bow sir.

These weren’t cheap home runs in a blowout victory either. These long balls mattered. Winker opened the scoring in the contest just two batters into the game, crushing a 433 foot blast off of John Gant to give the Reds an early 2-0 lead.

He extended his lead his next time up, launching the third pitch that he saw from Gant 429 feet over the wall in right-center to make it a 5-0 ballgame in the second inning. The game was far from over though. The Cardinals would rally from a seven-run deficit to tie the game at 7-7 in the sixth inning.

Both sides would then trade zeroes for a few frames before Winker strode to the plate in the ninth inning. There, he victimized Cardinals closer Alex Reyes with a 393 foot blast to right to give the Reds an 8-7 lead — and ultimately a sweep of their four-game series in St. Louis.

If you’re thinking to yourself, wow, I thought Jesse Winker just had a three homer game not that long ago. You’re correct, he accomplished the same feat just 13 games ago against the Brewers on May 21. Since that day, he’s hitting .379 (22-for-58) with nine homers and 14 RBI over that 14-game stretch. That’ll certainly play.

For the season, the 27-year-old slugger is slashing a monstrous .350/.412/.665 with 17 homers and 37 RBI. What he and teammate Nick Castellanos have been doing atop the Reds lineup this season has been pretty spectacular — even with Castellanos going 0-for-5 and having his 21-game hitting streak come to an end on Sunday.

Winker may wind up being a league-winner for many fantasy managers this season. Even in the sharpest of rooms — NFBC Main Event drafts — Winker went off the board with an average draft position of 203 back in March. His draft stock is going to be significantly higher next year — as evidenced by his ADP of 44 in Memorial Day Second Chance drafts.

Only one player in MLB history has had three three-homer games in the same season — Sammy Sosa for the Cubs in 2001. If Winker’s recent power binge is any indication, that record may not be safe for very long.

Starting Pitchers with an EDGE

Corbin Burnes – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 13 K

48% CSW, 23 swinging strikes

That’s not a typo. Burnes posted a 48 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) in perhaps the most dominant start of his MLB career. The right-hander struck out a career-high 13 batters in the contest, generating 12 of his 23 whiffs on his cutter. He has now allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts on the season and sports an incredible 1.97 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 94/7 K/BB ratio through 59 1/3 innings on the season. He also has a delicious matchup against the Pirates on tap for his next start.

Dylan Cease – 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 10 K

35% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

The White Sox right-hander turned things around after three rough outings, striking out 10 or more batters for the third time this season in a dominant victory over the Tigers. He has posted two stellar starts against them this season, and will get to try for a third his next time out on Saturday (where he should carry high ownership in DFS). Cease now sports a 3.36 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 78/28 K/BB ratio over 61 2/3 innings on the year.

Sandy Alcantara – 8 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K

21% CSW, 11 swinging strikes

The 25-year-old right-hander wasn’t particularly dominant in this outing — at least in terms of swinging strikes or CSW — but he still delivered another gem in a victory over the Pirates. Alcantara leads the National League in double plays induced on the season — and he induced two more on Sunday to help him out of trouble. For the season, he boasts a 3.30 ERA and 1.06 WHIP across 79 innings.

Luis Garcia – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K

38% CSW, 16 swinging strikes

Garcia continues to pitch like a player who wants to hold onto his spot in the Astros rotation — and he has certainly earned that right. He racked up a career-high eight strikeouts over six brilliant innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday, posting a massive 38% CSW. He has surrendered three runs or fewer in each of his 10 starts this season and owns a brilliant 2.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 68/19 K/BB ratio across 59 frames on the season.

Hitters with an EDGE

Cedric Mullins – 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB

Mullins followed up Saturday’s five-hit, two-homer game with another monster effort as the Orioles slaughtered the Indians. Mullins had hits in each of his first three at-bats in this one, tying a franchise record with hits in nine straight at-bats. For the season, he’s hitting a sizzling .322/.390/.533 with nine homers, 18 RBI and nine stolen bases.

Patrick Wisdom – 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Wisdom continued his unexpected onslaught on National League pitching on Sunday, with a pair of home runs in a victory over the Giants. Both homers were off of Johnny Cueto and both were absolutely crushed — at 105.6 and 108.3 mph respectively. The 29-year-old has smacked seven homers while slashing .412/.444/1.088 with 10 RBI in only 36 plate appearances — despite a 36.1 percent strikeout rate.

Yuli Gurriel – 3-for-3, RBI, R, 2 BB, SB

The 36-year-old continued his torrid start to the 2021 season by reaching base safely in each of his five plate appearances in a victory over the Blue Jays. He also showed off his blazing speed with his first stolen base of the season — and first since 2019. He’s slashing a robust .325/.397/.528 with eight homers and 41 RBI on the year.

Nolan Arenado – 4-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Arenado followed up his three-hit effort on Saturday with another monster effort in Sunday’s loss to the Reds, reaching base safely in all five of his plate appearances. His production hasn’t dropped off at all despite leaving Coors Field this season, as he’s slashing .287/.333/.522 with 11 long balls and 40 RBI.

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EDGE Priority Pickup

Jonathan Schoop, 1B/2B, Detroit Tigers — Available in 58% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

For those that may not pay close attention to Detroit Tigers baseball, you may not be aware of the ridiculous heater that Schoop is on at the moment. The notoriously-streaky hitter is hitting .343 (34-for-99) with seven homers and 18 RBI over his last 25 games. Over his last 10, he has ramped it up to .405 (15-for-37) with six homers, three doubles and 11 RBI. He also has middle and corner eligibility. Ride the wave while he’s hot.

Closing Time

Lucas Sims escaped a rocky ninth inning against the Cardinals with a one-run lead intact to pick up his sixth save of the season. He made things interesting by allowing a single to Paul Goldschmidt and a double to Nolan Arenado to begin the inning, then retired the next three hitters to strand both runners in scoring position. He looks to be the leader of the Reds late-inning committee for the time being.

Yimi Garcia picked up his 10th save of the season, working a perfect ninth inning to protect a two-run lead against the Pirates. It was a nice rebound for him after blown saves in each of his last two outings.

Ryan Pressly worked a scoreless ninth inning against the Blue Jays to earn his ninth save of the season. Save chances have been harder to come by for Pressly than for other elite closers, but he has still been terrific this season with a 2.16 ERA and 1.04 WHIP overall.

Will Smith allowed a solo homer, but still managed to convert his 11th save of the season — and second over the last two days. Shane Greene may eventually work his way into the late-inning mix here, but Smith is still the preferred option at the back-end of the Braves bullpen despite his disappointing 4.30 ERA and 1.17 WHIP on the season.

Taylor Rogers worked a scoreless ninth inning to protect a one-run lead against the Royals on Sunday — a day after Hansel Robles closed out Saturday’s victory. It looks like the pair will continue to split save chances based on matchups.

Liam Hendriks slammed the door on the Tigers in the ninth inning to earn his 15th save of the season. He hasn’t allowed a single earned run over his last 17 appearances dating back to April 29 and now sports a 1.85 ERA and 0.74 WHIP on the season.

With Josh Hader unavailable after working two of the previous three games, Brad Boxberger was called upon to protect a two-run lead against the Diamondbacks in the ninth inning on Sunday. The 33-year-old allowed a leadoff single but escaped the inning unscathed to earn his second save of the season. He has a 3.04 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 24/5 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings on the season and looks to be the next in line should anything happen to Hader.

Daniel Bard worked the final two innings against the Athletics to earn his seventh save of the season. He has really settled down after a rough start to the season, registering a minuscule 0.60 ERA over 15 innings since May 5. During that stretch he has picked up five saves and a pair of victories.

Craig Kimbrel continued his resurgence with a pair of strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning to protect a one-run lead against the Giants. He owns a scintillating 0.75 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 41/8 K/BB ratio across 24 innings to go along with 14 saves. He’s elite once again.

Matt Barnes suffered his second blown save of the season on Sunday, allowing one run on a hit and a pair of walks in the ninth inning against the Yankees. He closed out the Red Sox victories in each of the first two games of the series and owns a terrific 2.73 ERA and 0.72 WHIP on the season, so there’s no need to worry about his hold on the closer’s job here.

Monday’s Matchup of the Day

Dylan Bundy (LAA) vs. Jackson Kowar (KC)

There are only three MLB games on the docket for Monday, which is extremely depressing, but at least there’s intrigue in those matchups. My sights will be set on Jackson Kowar’s big league debut in Los Angeles. The 24-year-old hurler has been nothing short of dominant through six starts at Triple-A Omaha this season, registering a 0.85 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 41/10 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings.

I can’t imagine that the Royals are calling him up just to make a spot start, so he’s also likely to draw a second start for the week on Saturday against the Athletics. The talent is certainly there, which makes him an intriguing addition in deeper mixed leagues where he’s available.

On the other side of the diamond, what in the world has gone wrong with Dylan Bundy this season? Coming off of a masterful 2020 campaign where he finished ninth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award, Bundy has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of baseball with a dreadful 6.49 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 53/15 K/BB ratio through 51 1/3 innings in his 10 starts.

Bundy has struggled to keep the ball in the yard, serving up 12 home runs already this season after allowing only five long balls over 65 2/3 innings during the 2020 season. He has allowed four earned runs or more in each of his last four starts, and has served up multiple home runs in three straight.

American League Quick Hits: Adalberto Mondesi went back on the 10-day injured list, this time with a left hamstring injury. Royals skipper Mike Matheny said Sunday that there’s no timetable for the dynamic shortstop’s return… The Tigers placed Michael Fulmer on the injured list with a right shoulder strain. There’s no current timetable for his return. Gregory Soto and Jose Cisnero are the most likely candidates to work in the ninth inning for the Tigers while Fulmer is sidelined… Orioles ace John Means landed on the injured list with a left shoulder strain. The O’s have yet to announce the results of his MRI or how long the star southpaw will be on the shelf… Byron Buxton (hip) will begin a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A St. Paul this week… J.D. Martinez sat out his second straight game with a sore wrist. He’s considered day-to-day for the time being… The Tigers designated JaCoby Jones for assignment… Billy Hamilton landed on the injured list with a right oblique strain… Aledmys Diaz suffered a fractured left hand and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks… The Royals recalled Edward Olivares from Triple-A Omaha again… Josh Staumont returned from the injured list and should be back in the ninth-inning mix for the Royals… Danny Jansen left Sunday’s game with a mild right hamstring strain. He’ll be re-evaluated on Monday… Khris Davis was scratched from the Rangers lineup on Sunday due to illness… Nelson Cruz sat out Sunday’s game due to a stiff knee… Bobby Bradley went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in a lopsided loss against the Orioles… Dane Dunning struck out six over five shutout innings in a no-decision against the Rays… Yandy Diaz homered and drove in three as the Rays topped the Rangers… Logan Gilbert earned his first career MLB victory, piling up seven strikeouts over five innings of one-run baseball against the Angels… Justin Upton swatted his 13th home run in a losing effort for the Angels… Xander Bogaerts delivered a two-run single with two outs in the 10th inning, leading the Red Sox to victory over the Yankees and a sweep of their three-game weekend set in New York.

National League Quick Hits: The Braves recalled right-hander Shane Greene from Triple-A Gwinnett… The Pirates offense got another boost on Sunday with Colin Moran returning from the injured list… The Giants acquired catcher Bruce Maxwell from the Mets… J.D. Davis (hand) has yet to resume swinging a bat… Brandon Nimmo (finger) has not swung a bat with any intensity yet and is still several weeks away from a potential return… Austin Voth suffered a broken nose after he was struck in the face by a pitch thrown by Vince Velasquez on Sunday… Evan Longoria landed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left shoulder. He’s expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks… Tyler Naquin was pulled from Sunday’s game against the Cardinals with a minor hamstring injury. He’s considered day-to-day… Javier Baez was lifted from Sunday’s game with a right thumb injury. He’ll be re-evaluated on Monday… Max Fried hurled six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Dodgers… Albert Pujols blasted his 671st career home run in a loss to the Braves… Caleb Smith struck out a season-high eight batters over five innings of one-run ball in a loss to the Brewers… Wade Miley fanned eight over five scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Cardinals… J.T. Realmuto blasted a three-run homer and reached base four times as the Phillies pantsed the Nationals… German Marquez struck out six over six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Athletics at Coors Field… Marcus Stroman fanned seven while allowing no earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in a victory over the Padres… Tommy Pham doubled, walked twice and swiped two bases in a losing effort against the Mets.