James Paxton impressed again Friday night pitching six innings of one-run baseball, allowing seven base runners (five hits, two walks) and striking out five for his first win since August 2020! If you understand that headline you probably smoke way too much weed, stoner! More importantly, after dealing to the Cards last week (5.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, BB, 9 K), Pax did it again mostly silencing the Padres at home. Never mind that it had been almost two years since his last start, Paxton’s marching out there like he’s been doing this all season, providing stability to a Boston rotation that badly needs some of that. His command wasn’t as sharp as last week, but his only real blemish was a shot to Tatis, and c’mon, there’s really no stopping that guy. James had four strikeouts through the first three innings and while the 98 mph gas is obviously impressive its the fact that he’s mixing it up that makes me think he could be a serviceable starter going forward. We saw some first pitch curves, he kept hitters off balance mixing the fastball with the cutter, knuckle curve, change and got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth. I held my breathe when he came out for the sixth but he ended the night retiring the last seven in order. Again, unlike last week, Paxton did not have his best stuff Friday night, he struggled with command and still managed to battle through six innings and that’s what really gives me hope. He threw 107 pitches (66 for strikes) the most he’s thrown in a game since 2019 as a Yankee (versus the Red Sox no less!). You’d think Manager Cora would be a bit more conservative with the pitch counts for his oft-injured starter but nay, they need James to be this guy and he was Friday night. He was Him. And as much as I hate that smug look on Chaim Bloom’s face, James now sports a pretty 2.46 ERA with a 14/3 K/BB in two starts since his return from Tommy John. Rafael Devers said of James through a translator, “He’s awesome.” Well said Raffy, and no rush on learning English any time soon–it’s only been seven years, you take your sweet time and focus on hitting dongs. As for the Big Maple James Paxton, with this line up behind him, he’s looking like he could be a useful fantasy starter in the right match ups, and hopefully these massive Pax rips are more than just smoke cause this new (old) game James Pax a real punch!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Rafael Devers – 2-for-4, 2 HR (13). Raffyyyyyyy! His first ding dong since May 4th! No wonder I’ve been so depressed! Even with the homer drought he’s slashing 323/.354/.548 with 17 RBI this month. I thought Raffy might have 15 bombs by the break but now I think I was underselling. Let’s see it again. Mhmm, the sweetest of sassy molassys. Xander got a kick out of that one, too. BTW, seeing Xander Bogaerts for the first time since he was traded was bittersweet. It was hard tbh, I miss him real bad, I’ll always care for him and he’ll always have a place in my heart but the Sawx definitely re-signed the right guy.

Fernando Tatis Jr. – 2-for-4, HR (6). 108 mph off the bat traveled 415 feet. Real pretty oppo-fieldo-shot-o for Nand-o. That’sa lott-o O’s! If he could have done that three more times the Pads might have been in this thing.

Blake Snell – 4.0 IP, 5 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Snell ya later! Snell ya later forever! Blake held incredibly dominant stats against the Red Sox in the past (1 homer 2.59 ERA in 12 starts) which is really surprising actually. More surprised that this was his first start allowing more than four runs. His quality start streak was snapped today but the Sawx are a tough assignment for anyone and Blake gets a nice opportunity to rebound in Washington next week.

Martin Perez – 7.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, 7 K, 5th win. The 4.01 ERA is ew, but the five wins are pew pew pew! He’s not the ratio King he was last year but he could be useful for wins and gets what may or may not be a cushy match up in Pittsburgh next week. I don’t know what to make of the Pirates anymore.

Adolis Garcia – 1-for-3, 2 runs, HR (14), 2 RBI. But wait! He’s batting just .220 in games where he doesn’t hit a home run or drive in a run! The warning signs are there, folks!

Ezequiel Duran – 3-for-3, SB (3). That was fully sarcasm please don’t trade or drop Adolis! As for Ezequiel, was a BUY! Not this week, but past weeks and my dude Duran looks hungry like some kind of lupine? Is that a jackal? I think its a jackal! It looks like a jackal!

Brandon Bielak – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 1st win. The law offices of Bielak and Bloom advise you to be weary of Brandon’s 2.89 ERA, cause a peek under the hood shows the other stats ain’t great (1.77 WHIP and 19/8 K/BB). Not to mention the murderer’s row he’s faced of SF, Seattle, ChiSox and now Oakland. It’s probably gonna get harder before it gets easier, BB.

Jose Altuve – 0-for-4, BB. Kevin from ESPN’s get them in your line up department forgot to tell you Altuve was being activated. I mean, he could barely notice him all the way down there!

Esteury Ruiz – 2-for-4, run, SB (21). I’m sorry, that joke above was for all my short kings who probably really hate being called short kings.

Kyle Tucker – 2-for-3, HR (7), 3 RBI. The Head-2-Head machine hadn’t homered since early May. He missed his home run last week so he was surely due. Atta boy, Kyle, you’re good until Monday now.

Bryce Miller – 6.1 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, BB, 4 K versus Bryce Elder – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, BB, 6 K. In the Battle of the Bryce’s, the Elder came out on victorious but it was closer than you’d think considering Bryce Elder didn’t have to face Ronald Acuña five times. Elder’s 2.06 ERA through nine starts has been more than you can ask for, but maybe since he’s not striking out 10 a game like Strider was last year he’s not hyped as much? Miller’s also pitched strongly in this one but 80% of his pitches Friday night were the fastball, which is concerning but the 1.80 FIP is great and he’s not giving up home runs so I guess just roll with it?

Matt Olson – 2-for-4, HR (12) slashing .210/.372/.435. Allahson! If you think I care he’s hitting .210 you’re wrong. I’ve been starting Jose Abreu for almost two months who’s hitting around the same average but with 12 less home runs.

Tony Gonsolin – 5.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2nd win ERA at 1.13. Hard to believe it’s just his second win. These are the type of outings we’ve come to expect from Dodgers starters. No more. No less.

Mookie Betts – 1-for-4, 2 runs, HR (10), 3 RBI. Mookie Best! You will watch it cause it’s Mooookie!

Josh Naylor – 3-for-5, HR (7), 5 RBI. BUY! Yes Naylor, and yes, I know you just met but give them a chance! You guys might really hit it off. His fourth bomb in five games, with a few generous days off in between. I want to be all in Josh but as soon as I add him he’s going to get hurt again–and then he’s no use to anyone. So you go ahead and add first.

Francisco Alvarez – 2-for-4, HR (5). Another BUY as we go back to back! And I’m kind of surprised he’s so available. If I’m going to own a useless catcher, it might as well be one of the “sexy” ones like Francisco. Not only is he a catcher, but he’s a rookie, kid! Two of ya’lls (yawls?) favorite things! What’s not to love!

Brett Baty – 2-for-5, 2 runs, HR (4). Mark Vientos was a BUY also had a key RBI in the 10th and overall it was a really nice day for the Mets youngsters (five hits, two homers). They need more days like this but in order for that to happen they have to play first!

Pete Alonso – 1-for-5, Grand Slam HR (17). Grand Albombso! He’s ding dong’d in four straight now and the Mess are 3-1 in those games. I think we’re onto something here! Keep doing what you’re doing, Pete!

Emmanuel Clase – 0.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, K, BS (5). The five blown saves is good for the league lead, just ahead of Reynaldo Lopez, but a Renaldo Lopez Emmanuel Clase is not. For starters, the velocity for Clase was back at around 99 mph last night which is encouraging. I don’t see him getting a break from the ninth inning yet, but if this happens again then you have my permission to panic.

Kyle Gibson – 7.0 IP, 5 hits, ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 5th win. His first win since late April and versus the gauntlet that is the Blue Jays line up this was mostly impressive. Gibs looks like an auto-start at Camden Miles.

Yennier Cano – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, ER, K, 9th hold. Well, it was fun while it lasted as he surrendered his first run of the year. Still his 25/0 K/BB gets me more hype than a new Kendrick verse. Oh hey, there’s a new Kendrick verse! Kung Fu Cano! Another WOOOOOORRRRLLLDD PREMIIIIEERRRRRE!

Yusei Kikuchi – 4.2 IP, 3 hits, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, L. You say, this is the Yusei we’re used to, Lisa Loeb. StreamONator liked this start and I almost took the bait but I was quickly affirmed in my decision to hold. Had he pitched well I’d probably be obsessing over not grabbing him for this start for the next three weeks though.

Ryan Mountcastle – 1-for-3, HR (10), 3 RBI. Now that I see he can have games where he just hits one homer I’m thinking, hey, go back to hitting two homers a game. I liked that better! Do that again!

Anthony Santander – 1-for-2, HR (8). I went to my local Santander bank Friday afternoon to withdraw lots of cash for definitely not drugs and I thought to myself while I was standing in line for the teller, “Self, Anthony Santander is going to homer tonight and I’m going to have a blurb about him.” And that is a 100% true story! I live an exciting life, people!

Riley Greene – 2-for-4, HR (4). Dude’s slashing .296/.349/.432 with four homers and five steals and hitting .529 in the past week! That day off must have really done wonders for him. Your team has to be Bunny levels of Bad to have that slash with only 22 runs and 16 RBI to show for it but such is life as a Tiger.

Akil Baddoo – 2-for-4, HR (1), 4 RBI, SV (4). Spring 2022 called, they want their sleeper back! Remember when I thought the Tigers would be competitive last year? Me niether! The slam and legs in Washington is served at the finest of Crab Slaughterhouses, where the screams and cries of little baby crabs are heard throughout the night and the King Crab is sacrificed to the Crab Gods to harvest the plumpest of meat for the fattest of cakes.

Lane Thomas – 1-for-3, HR (6), 2 RBI. Hitting .321 with two homers and a steal in the past week. He’s also got a five game hitting streak. What does Lane Thomas have to do for me to consider rostering him. I’m not sure anything can be done at this point. It’s not you, Lane, it’s me.

Nico Hoerner – 3-for-6, 4 RBI. Does he make you Hoerner, baby! That was my best Austin Powers voice, sorry it sounded more like Shrek. Nico picked up right where he left off and the Cubs had 10 runs to show for it.

Christopher Morel – 1-for-4, 3 runs, HR (6), 2 RBI. BUY! The power of Chris compels me! With Nico back, Morel was dropped to eighth in the line up but he ain’t letting that stop him from continuing his mash fest. He’s slashing .359/.390/.872 with 6 bombs in just 31 ABs (9 games), hitting safely in every game since his call up. Yup, that’ll do. All teams could use some Morel support, and adding Christopher could be a Morel victory.

Miles Mastrobuoni – 0-for-2, run, SB (3). Honestly, I just really wanted to type out this guy’s name.

Marcus Stroman – 6.0 IP, 3 hits, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3rd win. Speaking of MaStro, his first win since April 7th but he’s got eight quality starts to show for it so Cubs just aren’t showing up for Stro? Well, take your 10 runs of support and let us never speak of this again.

Ranger Suarez – 2.0 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Ranger Danger! Maybe he wasn’t quite ready to come back yet?

Clarke Schmidt – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2nd win. Was flagged for the sticky stuff but the umpires gave Clarke a chance to go wash his hands and resume the game. Gotta love beisbol. What other sport can you be flagged for cheating (days after being flagged for doing the same Schmidt) then just get a slap on the wrist like this? Oh you’re cheating, oh, well, stop doing that, wash up get back out there. Oh, okay. Reds Manager Bell was clearly upset by this and I don’t blame him, this was Clarke’s best start all year.

Jake Fraley – 1-for-3, SB (6). BUY! Rake Fraley is lovin’ no mow May! He’s got that power and speed combo that people like me covet! He also hit a double, but you don’t care about that!

Aaron Judge – 1-for-4, HR (13). Anyone else hear the “My name is Judge” soundbite from arrested development ever time he homers? Or is it just me?

Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-4, HR (10), 2 RBI. Do the homer…but with Rizz, for the kids! The way my first base situation looks this year I would love to have me some HR-to the Rizzo! Speaking of Jay-Z, I heard he bought the most expensive house ever built or something. Good for him, I guess! Where’s my invite to the housewarming?

Matt McLain – 2-for-4, run. Yippee ki-yay! He was a BUY Hard, Hans Gruber!

Shane McClanahan – 7.0 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, BB, 7 K. I know Grey loves when we cover highlights for “Great Starter Pitches Great” like it’s news. Perhaps its just me who feels this way because I do blog posting things for Razzball at times (humble brag) and you maybe do not, but whenever Grey calls out his pet peeves I feel like I do all those things. Am I being singled out, or am I just really self conscious? Anyway, Shane-O-Mac had a 37 CSW and managed 15 swinging strikes with just 83 pitches. In other words, Ace pitches like Ace, color me shocked!

Pete Fairbanks – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, K, SV (4). Was Petering for a bit after he returned from the IL but it looks like he’s Pete again!

Jason Adam – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K, W. You can drop him now that Fairbanks is the guy again if you want…or you could hold on to one of the best relievers on one of the best teams in the league. Up to you!

Adrian Houser – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, BB, 4 K. For Adrian to show up on the Rays doorstep and shut them down like that. Savage! Well done, Sir, but this is not your house, Houser. This is the Trop! There is no home for you here!

Johan Oviedo – 6.0 IP, 2 hits, ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 3rd win. Oviedo the moon with Johan! He hit quite a rough patch after his dominant April but if that ain’t the story of the Pirates season so far I don’t know what is. He gets the Rangers next week and you’re probably gonna want to avoid that one.

Zac Gallen – 3.2 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. Looked a lot more like Goofus than Gallen in this one! Regression fairies were hovering Zac for a few weeks–They were indifferent to Brittany’s Griner’s triumphant return to the WNBA and they will destroy your ratios.

Bryan Reynolds – 1-for-4, HR (6), 4 RBI. Finally. Where you been B-Rey. The team has needed you and I feel like you went to lunch after you got paid. I wrote about your fifth home run on April 7th and I guess I just fully jinxed you. My bad.

Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3-for-5, run, 3 RBI. Bucs had 17 hits, with three hit games from Ke’Bryan, Andrew McCutchen, Ji Hwan Bae and Josh Palacios. Arrgh! Now that’s the scurvy dogs we remember from back it April, me mateys. Ahoy!

Anthony DeSclafani – 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6K. People were asking me if they should drop DeScals like a piano bench on a toe? Dude’s got a sub-1 WHIP the answer is no. Is this because he dropped the thing on his thing? Because Trevor Bauer did WAY stupider things throughout his career and that never stopped anyone from owning him.

Sandy Alcantara – 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. The dreaded Cy Young slump. I mean, ya, you definitely drafted him way too high that goes without saying, but he’s still pitching deep into games and methinks he’ll be fine. I might even buy low? I’d wait till after his start at Coors next week though.

Joe Ryan – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, BB, 9 K. He’s got eight quality starts in nine outings. Who even does that anymore!? I want to s/o Razzball for a sec as the reason I even know who Joe Ryan is and the reason I have some of the best ratios and most Ks in my fantasy leagues. I own him everywhere. Thank you, Razzball!

Reid Detmers – 5.2 IP, 2 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 12 K. He was perfect through five but we knew that wasn’t happening. I’ve continued to hold Detmers despite the fact that his has a 4.87 ERA and can barely make it through five innings all because of his gorgeous 53/17 K/BB, 11.7 K/9. Mhmm. *swoons* The walks aren’t good either, but the homers aren’t that bad and I keep coming back to that 29.8 K%. If he can manage to get his ish together he could be special, but yeah, no real signs of that happening any time soon so I’ll just take my Ks and continue to keep my eyes closed when he’s out there.

Mickey Moniak – 3-for-4, RBI. He’s a Moniak–Moniaaaaak that’s for suuuure, and he’s leading stealing lots of ABs from Tayloor Waaaard! Yes, Mickey, you’re so fine and your .474 average with 2 homers and 2 steals in the past week is blowing my mind. He was a big BUY and if he’s hitting in front of Trout and Ohtani you’re probably gonna want to grab some of that.

Bryan De La Cruz – 2-for-4, HR (5) slashing .293/.331/.463. Bryan of the Cross has three homers hitting .500 in the past week. This is not a drill, this is a seven game hitting streak and this is really happening. A Marlins outfielder is breaking out! Praise Jesus Sanchez!

Luis Arraez – 3-for-4, run slashing .388/.440/.487. He does one thing really, really well, but unfortunately hitting all the beisbols in the world does not a great fantasy player make.

Tyler Rogers – 1.1 IP, 2 K, SV (2) as Taylor Rogers set him up in the eighth. I’m so glad Doval is the clear cut closer and there’s no committee cause things with these two Rogers would get super confusing real quick.

Kendall Graveman – 1.0 IP, SV (3). BUY. If you’re looking to the ChiSox for saves your situation must be Grave, man. Kendall has looked good as the interim closer, but you also don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you’re rooting against Liam Hendriks. That’s just bad juju!

Michael Kopech – 8.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 BB, 10 K, 2nd win. More like Michael K-Pech! Streamonator loooved this start, like the robot was so smitten with this start omg get a ChatGPT virtual girlfriend already. I thought hard about streaming him, contemplated, mulled it over, considered it even, but could not get past the 41/28 K/BB. Well, after dominating the worst team in the league in what was likely the best start of his career Friday night, to the tune of a 39% CSW and generating 20 swings and misses on his pitches, that ratio is now a 51/28 K/BB (50.1 IP) and hey, that looks a lot easier to swallow! MK retired the first 16 batters before Michael Massey (a BUY!) touched him up for a blooper. It was highly encouraging for a guy who’s been mostly discouraging this year, and while I’m not all in, I’ll be watching him closer than these final episodes Succession. Here me out for a sec, Roy family, wouldn’t it be nice if you just gave all their inheritance to charity? Make it happen, HBO!

Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below. Join us next Saturday for another Friday recap as fantasy baseball continues next week, all week long!