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Atlanta Braves’ rookie flamethrower-slash-hotshot-slash-heartthrob, Spencer Strider turned in his best outing of the year Friday night, pitching five and 2/3 innings, allowing just five baserunners and punching out eight Pirates en route to his second win. Spencer finally hitting his Stride-er! He lowered his ratios to a real nice 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with the start and his 57/19 K/BB in just 38.1 innings was the exact same number I had on the vision board I made for my positive affirmations class. You just can’t find that kind of strikeout potential on the waiver wire, over-the-internet friends. He’s got a 36.8 K% and a 13.38 K/9. Mhmm. Oh my, is it hot in here? I need to calm myself down, I’m getting excited. *bites knuckles, does ice bucket challenge, thinks about baseball players* Wait! No to that last one! Spence, can I call you, Spence? No? OK, Spencer’s biggest knock is that he’s currently being stretched out after serving in somewhat of a long relief role, so he may not pitch deep enough into games initially to get you those sweet dubs, but Braves manager Snitker seems to be ramping him up quick. He threw 72 pitches in his first start, followed by 87 last week and 92 Friday night. That’s progress, y’all! The five and 2/3 innings was the longest outing of his young career, and even though it was the lowly Bucs, he produced a swinging strike rate of 34%. That’s 18 swings and misses, 11 of those on his stinky, stinky cheese, which topped out at 100+ mph multiple times. Yup, guy’s got gas to spare during a nationwide shortage. Basically, Braves have been ramping him up and he’s taking it in Stride-er. Sure, he’s had some cushy matchups so far with Arizona, Colorado and Pittsburgh, but he gets another juicy one next week versus the Nats. If you are looking to buy unfunny gag gifts, fart pills, embarrassing sex toys or lava lamps, I’d check out Spencer’s Gifts, but if you need starting pitching help with massive strikeout upside on a team that can’t seem to lose right now, I’d buy Spencer Strider. Maybe buy the fart pills, too, those sound fun. Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Drew Rasmussen – 4.1 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. The Regression Fairies hated season four of Stranger Things and refuse to pick a Vecna song. They prefer Nancy with Jonathan, think Steve’s hair is “just okay” and will destroy your ratios! Drew’s been having a rough couple of weeks save his start vs the White Sox last Saturday and things aren’t going to get any easier in NYC City next Thursday versus the Yankees. But why!? He was the only thing keeping my ratios in check! Take me, Vecna, the Upside Down looks actually kind of nice compared to my position in the standings.

Byron Buxton – 2-for-5, 3 runs, 2 HR (17). Carlos Correa was also 3-for-5, with his 5th homer. When I mentioned Lord Byron last week I talked about how his slash put the Meh in Mehnnesota and we’re just lucky he’s still healthy. Since then he’s gone 7-for-20 with five home runs, 7 RBI, and I don’t care about his slash anymore. That’s five jacks in 3 days. Sweet sassy molassy! BB is now in the MVP convo now, brb, if he gon’ do things like this.

Randy Arozarena – 1-for-4, HR (7). The ITPHR! That’s an acronym I don’t see often. Or ever. Randy’s making me randy with his .318 batting average and 2 steals in the past week. Finally living up to that postseason level of play we know he’s capable of!

Vidal Brujan – 1-for-4, HR (1). Was looking for a bat to stream last night and saw that Vidal was high-ish on the HitterTron and I scoffed. I should have trusted the robot, but I’ve seen Terminator too many times for that to ever happen.

Devin Smeltzer – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 3 HR, 3rd win, ERA at 1.93. Smelt is a type of fish, which somehow only makes him MORE Jewish sounding. When you say you like the Twins pitchers cause they’re efficient, Devin and his 16/9 K/BB is really going to force you to put your money where your mouth is. About as yawnstipating as it gets but he does get a nice matchup with Seattle next week.

Andre Pallante – 5.1 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2nd win. My Dinner with Andre went just about as well as this start. After going just four innings in his first start, he was stretched out to throw almost 80 pitches this time around and my guess is this trend will continue. The 1.04 ERA is real pretty to look at and he gets the Pirates next week. I’m pretty sure I could throw on a Cards hat and get a few Pirates out and I am not a professional baseball thrower. Either way, I would never do that to Cubs fans.

Luis Castillo– 6.0 IP, 6 hits, ER, BB, 3 K. Luis Luis! Ohhh, me gotta go! He’s sporting a sexy 1.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his past three starts with 19 Ks. Is it my rose-colored contacts (my friends say they make me look “creepy”) or is this Reds team really not bad? I understand they lost Stephenson who we’re about to find out was their catalyst but I like this team, you guys! I like their players! OK, I have to take the contacts out my retinas are burning.

Tommy Edman – 1-for-3, SB (15). Holy schnikes, Tommy Boy is batting .275/.356/.405 with five bombs, 23 RBI, 46 runs and 15 steals! He is juuusst inside the top 10 most valuable players on the year, and the most valuable outielder not named Mookie Betts or Aaron Judge. I’d say that’s pretty valuable!

Ryan Helsley – 1.0 IP, 2 K, SV (4). His ratios, 0.39 ERA, 0.51 WHIP, are ridiculous. Meanwhile Giovanny Gallegos (1.0 IP, 3 BB, HD) over here struggling to set up Helsley. Both need to be owned I guess, but I’d rather be the Helsley owner.

Adolis Garcia – 2-for-4, HR (11). AdoGar! The .230/.268/.447 slash has surprisingly not been such a killer, and his 11 bombs and 8 steals has kept him in the top 30! He’s one of my most valuable players! Yes, my team is doing terribly and I’d prefer not to talk about it. Why do you ask?

Nathaniel Lowe – 2-for-4, HR (7). Corey Seager also homered. Nate is having himself a June, slashing .353/.353/.735 with 4 homers in 34 ABs. That’s somehow equated to just 5 RBI because Tejas Rangers be bad yo. Still, five multi-hit outings in nine games is not nothing. Like a NatBo, bad but does the job, NatLowe could be worth a look.

Salvador Perez – 2-for-4, HR (9), 3 RBI. Three bombs in the past week hitting .370!  Meanwhile his heir apparent MJ Melendez was 2-for-4 with his 6th HR and 3 RBI. For the first time in many, many fantasy baseball years, MJ has made me want to own two catchers. And that is usually a big no-no in my book.

Jonathan Heasley – 7.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1st win. The best thing I can say about Heasley is he seems to pitch pretty deep into games. That’s all I got! He gets SF next week, pick him up if you hate yourself.

Anthony Santander – 2-for-4, HR (10). Took this dinger all the way to the bank! Santander Bank!

Dansby Swanson – 3-for-4, HR (7), 2 RBI. Dude was literally dropped in one of my leagues his April was so putrid (.216 AVG, 1 HR). Now I look at that .286/.354/.446 slash and swoon, wishing it were me who’d claimed him off waivers and glad it wasn’t me who dropped him. I don’t think I could handle that kind of failure in my life right now.

Michael Harris II – 2-for-3, 2 runs, SB (1). MH2! Probably the rookie’s best game to date, which says a lot about what expectations you should have for him. The .298/.327/.447 slash is respectable enough, but he’s going to need to move up in the order or at least steal more than once every two weeks to provide any real fantasy value. Lucky for us, speed is kind of his thing. More please!

Roansy Contreras – 4.2 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, BB, 7 K. Not sure what you were expecting starting him against the “We Don’t Lose Anymore” Braves but this seems like a best case scenario. His 28.3 CSW% is still elite, and I could even see starting him next week versus St. Louis–as long as you’re not expecting a win.

Michael Chavis – 2-for-4, RBI. BUY. My favorite of Grey’s buys are the passive aggressive ones. Here’s what Grey said about Chavis, “That the Pirates bat Chavis cleanup is a top five reason the Pirates suck beyond the standings.” And that’s me quoting Grey out of context for the purposes of this blurb!

Elvin Rodriguez – 4.1 IP, 8 hits, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR, ERA at 11.51, demoted to AAA. There it is for you, folks. Make a note, if you really want off this Tigers team, all it takes is surrendering 18 runs in two starts.

Jose Berrios – 8.0 IP, 5 hits, ER, BB, 5 K, 5th win. Yay! Things were looking pretty hairy a moment there for us weren’t they JB? The 7.01 ERA and .305 OBA in May was not what we want to see. But the thing about June is, it’s not May! It’s never gonna be May either, Justin Timberlake! Jose’s already undefeated in June with a 1.80 ERA and 18/3 K/BB. He gets the Orioles next week. Oh please let it be June forever!

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – 2-for-5, HR (3), 2 RBI. Lourdes have mercy! He’s hitting .429 in the past week with a bomb and your BUY low window is closer faster than A-Train from the Seven. Which is to say, it could be faster.

George Springer – 3-for-3, 3 runs, HR (12), RBI. Bo Bichette also homered (10).  It’s going yard. I’m yelling Springeeeeer! You better move, you better dance. He might strike out, you won’t remembeeeer! It’s those home runs, you won’t forget! Wooo! Remember that song, you guys? Pitbull and Keisha? Yeah, I’m sorry I reminded you.

Paul Blackburn – 8.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, BB, 3 K, ERA at 2.31. Blackburn’d by bullpen! Honestly, gotta blame the manager for this one too, why even pull Paul when he’s so untouchable. This is why you’ve lost 10 in a row. He was slightly over 100 pitches but still, it’s the A’s–this might be their only shot at a shutout all year.

Dany Jimenez – 0.1 IP, 2 hits, 3 ER. If he hadn’t lost the closer gig yet this outing should do the trick. Dany Boy walked two and gave up a JoRam bomb in the ninth and I couldn’t even wager a guess who’s next up for save chances but the Bullpen chart says A.J. Puk, which makes me want to.

Triston McKenzie – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Broke his streak of four 7+ inning starts last night and we need better from Triston with cake matchups like the O’s and A’s and other letter teams. He gets the Rox at Coors next week and considering he’s allowed 10 homers in the past 20 days you’re probably gonna want to avoid that one.

Jose Ramirez – 3-for-4, HR (16). If it feels like I mention him every week that’s because I do. He’s hitting .280 with 3 tanks, 2 steals and 4 RBI in the past week and he’s doing it surrounded by guys who can’t hit anything right now. Only Aaron Judge is higher on the player rater, and that dude has like 50 home runs.

Aaron Ashby – 4.2 IP, 13 hits, 6 ER, BB, 2 K. Did someone call my for-hire dominatrix because this start was a WHIP slayer. It’s hard to believe a pitcher with stuff so filthy can even surrender that many hits, against the Nats too, who maybe have 1.5 professional batters. This concerns me for his start next week in Queens but here’s hoping it was just a bad night for Ashby and our days in the Red Room are over.

Nelson Cruz – 4-for-5, HR (6), 3 RBI. Josh Bell (6) and Maikel Franco (5) also homered. If he played first base he’s probably be on the Dodgers already.

Keibert Ruiz – 3-for-5, HR (2). A homer and a steal in the past week! That Scherzer trade sure has paid dividends so far!

Lane Thomas – 3-for-5, 3 runs. BUY. Life in the fast Lane! His second three hit game of the year, the first being last Friday when he hit three bombs. Don’t look now but homey’s batting over .400 since then! And he’s leading off for some reason! Don’t think, just go with it!

Andrew McCutchen – 3-for-4, 2 runs, RBI, 2 SB (5). Cutch still got it! He’s hitting .409 over the past week, and the Brews have exactly zero wins during that stretch? Hmm? maybe stop then, Cutch?

Christian Yelich  2-fo-5, run, SB (9). It’s a little weird seeing Yelich lead off, but at least it makes more sense to me than Kolten Wong, and if he’s gonna steal bases heck yeah, I’m in!

Jace Peterson – 1-for-3, HR (6), 3 RBI. BUY. Based on his ownership percentages I realize you’re never going to pick him up but that won’t stop us from trying. This is me trying!

Luis Severino – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, ER, BB, 10 K. The Yanks are now 9-2 when Luis starts, but that’s gotta look similar with every starter on this staff considering they have 42 wins. Severino has a 28/4 K/BB in his past three starts. That’s Ace stuff, folks. Hopefully he slows down a bit so I can draft him on every one of my fantasy teams in 2023.

Jason Heyward – 2-for-4, HR (1). 2012 Future Stars–I’m kind of surprised you’re not on the Padres? Funny they DFA’d Clint Frazier before he could get his Yankee reunion, but I guess they knew something I didn’t.

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 4th win, ERA at 4.41. In case you were wondering if the Phillies won again. They did! Giaradi’s gone remember, they may never lose again.

Zac Gallen  – 1.2 IP, 7 hits, 4 ER, BB, 2 K. Given up 14 runs in his past two starts and he’s looking more like Goofus than Gallen lately.

Daulton Varsho – 3-for-4, 2 runs, HR (9), 3 RBI, SB (4). He’s an all-star outfielder who plays catcher! Have you been reading my dream journal? What a concept!

Rhys Hoskins – 3-for-4, 2 HR (11). Kyle Schwarber also homered (16). Rhys has a four game hitting streak with 3 jacks in that stretch. His .230 average isn’t great, but he’s playing me in head-to-head this week so that could be up to .250 by the end of the weekend!

Corey Knebel – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, K, SV (11). Was Girardi sleeping with Knebel’s mom or something? Corey was one outing away from losing the closing job but like everything on this Phillies team has been instantly fixed with the manager ousting. He’s got a 2.25 ERA in June so far, which is fine, but he’s also got three saves and a win! Struggling teams should hire Joe Girardi for a few days just so they can fire him to experience the surge.

Jazz Chisholm – 2-for-5, 2 HR (8), 3 RBI. Come on babe why don’t we paint the town! Skidoo! Hotcha! And all that Jazz!

Pablo Lopez – 4.1 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Left the game with a right wrist contusion, but wanted to stay in the game cause he’s a baller like that so I’m assuming he should make his next start. And you know what they say about assuming. Don’t.

Jesus Aguilar – 2-for-4, 2 HR (8), 3 RBI. Must have been that team meeting! I mention him every week! Dude just homers on Fridays. Sometimes twice! Shomer Shabbos! This Jesus does roll on shabbos. Notice as much as I mention him I’ve never mentioned you should actually pick him up.

Kyle Tucker – 1-for-4, HR (11), 2 RBI, SB (11). It’s 11-11! Make a wish! *Closes eye real tight* Nope. Darn. Still don’t own Kyle Tucker. Sigh.

Tanner Scott – 1.0 IP, K, SV (4). BUY. He was a buy and might be the surest thing for saves left on the waiver wire right now. I know we all want Anthony Bass to be the closer because of the fish thing, but fish things can also be kind of weird. Great Scott’s got 3 saves and two wins in June and hasn’t given up a run with nine strikeouts. He’s also pitched three days in a row. Yeah, you should probably add him before someone else does.

Tanner Houck – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K, SV (1). Speaking of Tanner’s who might be closer’s I got another one for you! Matt Strahm was the BUY but he was used in the 8th Friday night and the Sawx are desperate for some way to utilize Tanner Houck and the ninth might be just the spot. He does have a kind of Papebon-ish vibe to him. Houck surrendered a hit and hit a batter but was overall fine, which is something you can’t say about the Boston bullpen this year. If Tanner can add some stability to the pen then what the Houck! Do it!

Jesse Winker – 1-for-5, HR (4), 2 RBI. Winker always keeping one eye on the ball!

Rob Refsnyder – 1-for-3, run as he led off. If you’re thinking I did not expect him to be fully Asian based on that surname, you’d be right. But what I really didn’t expect was him to be called up as outfield depth while Kiké Hernandez is on the shelf, let alone leading off. Where is Jarren Duran? Is he too heart-throbby for Cora? Is it the chest tats? The game-changing speed? Sawx make Duran fly cross country to fill in for Jackie Bradley two games but when there is an actual need for a fourth outfielder they go with Refsnyder? Someone please explain.

J.D. Martinez – 1-for-4, HR (6). Jumbo Dong! Hard to believe it’s only his sixth shot, and to have just 24 RBI with that .349/.415/.552 slash is also puzzling. Trevor Story has almost double that and he bat under .200 through April!

Bobby Dalbec – 2-for-4, HR (4). Bobby Bombs! Sawx are hotter than a TikTok thirst trap and I blame Nick Pivetta. Everyone on this team is hitting! If you told me Boston would win seven of eight on their 10-game west coast road trip I would give you a big old smooch and wave my Pride flag. And if you identify as female, I would respectfully compliment your hot take and definitely not ask you to come over at 10 pm to watch the Sawx with me in my basement. But you’re totally invited!

Joe Musgrove – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 7-0. Joe’s in his Musgrooove! Uhh! You out of pocketttt! His 1.50 ERA, 0.93 WHIP are good for best in the league, friends. He’s given up just one run in his past four starts, 27.0 IP! Meanwhile, I can’t go an entire week without an 8 ER shellacking. How do you do it, Joe!? Is he gonna win the Cy Young. IDK! Probably!

Manny Machado – 2-for-4, HR (10), slashing .332/.405/.556. I went from never mentioning Macho Manny to mentioning him ever week now! He’s become a recurring characters in my posts–like Wanda Maximoff! Hi, Wanda! I miss you! I love you. I really hope you’re in Thor.

Nomar Mazara – 3-for-5, run. Nomah! Was honestly shocked to see he was still in the league. I remember him most and only, mostly only for hitting one of the longest home runs ever, which I’m honestly too bored by to even google the distance. Still, he’s hit safely in five of the six games he’s played with multiple hits in his past two. As long as he’s in the Padres line up he’s worth monitoring.

Tylor Megill – 3.1 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, BB, 4 K, 64 pitches as he was activated from the IL. One in Megillion!

Brandon Nimmo – 2-for-4, HR (4), 3 RBI. He’s struggled since returning from the IL but leading off for the Mess is still a prime gig and methinks he finds his groove again when they get back to Queens. It’s the pizza!

Brandon Marsh – 3-for-4, 2 HR (6), 3 RBI. Nice one, Darsh! Marsh looks like if someone asked the Happy Gilmore caddy if he could try playing outfield for an inning. I really like Marsh, like IRL, so it’s hard not to be bias, but he should at least play every day while Ward is injured and Maddon is gone.

Jo Adell – 2-for-4. Remember Maddon throwing shade at JoJo, saying he would not be here if Ward was healthy. Well yeah, but also harsh, but also Maddon’s gone now. You gotta feel like Maddon’s firing was for more than just a two week losing streak, right? I choose to believe the GM wanted Maddon to play the young’uns like Adell, and Maddon’s all like, but why would I, we we got a perfectly good Matt Duffy? And yeah, now Joe’s gone and only Jo remains.

Joc Pederson – 2-for-4, run, 2 RBI, SB (2). Welp, I better watch out, Tommy Pham’s going to be upset I mentioned Joc and not him. Quick, hide your memes!

Jakob Junis – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, BB, 5 K, 4th win. Pretty impressive against the Dodgers, too, but I feel like SF always beats the Dodgers. After having four or five of them last year, JJ was this year’s lone Giants’ breakout pitcher so far so of course he had to leave this one early with a hamstring strain. He’s lined up for a sweet start with KC next weekend but whenever I hear hamstring without the words “honeybaked” in front of it that usually does not mean good things are happening.

Darin Ruf – 3-for-4, 2 HR (5), 3 RBI. I asked my dog who his favorite player was and can you guess who he picked? That’s right–he said “Ruf!”

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!