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We usually reserve Winners and Losers from the previous day's games for the end of this piece, but in this instance, it makes sense to lead with the losers. Because it was a rough day for aces out there.
Oh sure, Jacob deGrom put some of the concerns to rest with a great performance (against the Reds, sure), and Max Scherzer was … fine, limiting the Cardinals to three runs in seven innings, leaving him with a 4.08 ERA for the season. That's not what you wanted, but it isn't so far off as to be concerning. And Aaron Nola allowed only one run over 5.2 innings, which is, again, fine.
However, it was ugly for a lot of others. Unfortunately, beginning with Corey Kluber. He took a line drive off his forearm, and X-rays revealed he has a fracture, an injury that will likely leave him on the shelf for a not-insignificant amount of time. The Indians needed everything to go perfectly this season, and with Kluber and Mike Clevinger on the IL now, it's safe to say they haven't. Making matters worse: Pitching prospect Triston McKenzie, a consensus top-50 prospect, has yet to pitch this season due to a back injury. The cavalry's not coming yet.
Blake Snell was tagged for seven earned in three innings against the Royals and has now given up nine runs in just 6.1 innings in to starts since coming back from his fractured toe. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable starting him right now.
And Jameson Taillon's disappointing start continued, as the Rangers tagged him for two homers and four runs (three earned) over 6.1 innings. His ERA stands at 4.10, and he's striking out a career-low 7.2 batters per nine. Maybe last year's breakout was a mirage?
I would expect better days coming for Taillon and Snell, but this was not how we wanted things to go.
Four pitchers to add on waivers*
*Who won't help you make up for Snell, Kluber, and Taillon, unfortunately
- Martin Perez — Perez has been around since 2012, and for most of the intervening years, he's been mediocre at best. However, he has gone at least six innings in four straight starts, with 21 strikeouts in 24 innings, with a 2.08 ERA, and it may not be a fluke. Perez hasn't just integrated a cutter into his arsenal this season; he's turned it into his No. 1 pitch, throwing it 33.4% of the time. He might have found something here, and it helps that his average fastball velocity is up 2 mph, too.
- Anthony Desclafani — He's flashed before, but we're seeing some interesting stuff from DeSclafani this time around. He's taken his typically pedestrian strikeout rates and boosted them to 27.2 percent, a very good number. He's done that with a newfound confidence in his curveball, and a cutter he's only used sparingly in the past. The upside isn't super high here, but like Perez, he can be a useful option if he keeps this up.
- Jalen Beeks — Beeks hasn't been given the opportunity to start yet, but he's dazzled when he's gotten something like a starter's workload. He has thrown 11.1 innings over his past two appearances, with 13 strikeouts, four walks, and just three hits allowed. Beeks has had some solid minor-league numbers and could be the next beneficiary of the Rays' opener experiment.
- Shawn Kelley — After hinting that Jose LeClerc might be pulls out of the role, Rangers manager Chris Woodward confirmed it Wednesday. That puts Shawn Kelley into a great spot, as he's been by far the team's best reliever this season. He has a better track record over the past five seasons than LeClerc, and it shouldn't shock if he ends up holding on to the role for a while.
- Adalberto Mondesi We're starting to get past the point where a good game can significantly impact your season-long numbers, but Mondesi just boosted his season OPS by 40 points yesterday. OK, it was in a double-header, but it was a doubleheader that featured three hits, two runs, one homer, and two steals. He won't hit .295 forever, but he's backed up most of last year's breakout, as well as most of the preseason hype.
- Alex Verdugo — It feels a little weird to call someone a winner because of an injury to someone else, but Verdugo's path to regular playing time has opened for the foreseeable future after the Dodgers announced A.J. Pollock will require surgery on his elbow. Verdugo is a hitting machine who could contribute in four categories if he plays every day.
- Jose Martinez — There aren't many worse baserunners or defenders in the bigs than Martinez, but boy can he hit. He's racked up multiple hits in four straight and is hitting .440/.482/.580 over the past 14 games. Most importantly, he has started each game for the Cardinals in that span.