Closing Time: Luis Severino's breakout continues

Luis Severino highlights Tuesday’s look around the league (Getty Images)

After disappointing badly last season in which he entered as a sleeper, Luis Severino has been one of the most pleasant surprises in 2017. He had his consecutive innings scoreless streak up to 17.2 before back-to-back weakly hit infield singles ended that with two outs in the sixth Tuesday. Still, he allowed just the lone run and finished with an 8:1 K:BB ratio, lowering his ERA to 2.93 and his WHIP to 1.08 in the process. Severino flashes one of the best sliders in baseball and a fastball that’s averaged an MLB-high 97.2 mph this season (the next highest is 96.2).

He’s combined an impressive 27.6 K% with a strong GB% (51.4), making him one of only two starters who rank in the top-13 in both categories (Lance McCullers is the other). Severino pitches in a tough division and in an even tougher home park, but Tuesday marked his fourth straight start without allowing a homer, and he should continue to get strong run support (and the benefit of a terrific bullpen). Severino was an afterthought in most drafts, but it sure looks like he’s going to finish the season as a borderline top-10 fantasy pitcher (more wins are bound to come with his setup).

Before the Orioles had recorded their 10th out of the game, Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday had hit a combined four homers off them.

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Trevor Bauer had 14 strikeouts over seven innings (10 outs in a row at one point were via K). Those 14 punch outs were the second most in a game this season (Stephen Strasburg had 15). Bauer remains an enigma, as he somehow sports a 6.00 ERA with a 73:19 K:BB ratio over 57.0 innings…Bradley Zimmer homered with four RBI. The exciting rookie has a lot of upside and looks here to stay. He’s owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo leagues…Andrew Miller’s ERA is now down to 0.34, but he’s still yet to record a save…After reaching base during all four plate appearances (and stealing a bag), Yonder Alonso’s season line is up to .290/.388/.664. He’s still available in more than half of leagues.

Vince Velasquez’s already disappointing season got even worse, as he left Tuesday’s game with a right elbow flexor strain. His velocity dropped noticeably in the second inning, and he owns a long injury history, so it’s safe to expect him to be sidelined for a while…Nelson Cruz was facing a left-hander in Coors Field, so he looked like one of the more enticing DFS options. Instead, he left early with calf tightness (at least he walked and scored a run before exiting). The injury doesn’t appear serious…Kyle Seager entered slugging .262 with zero homers against southpaws, but he promptly took Tyler Anderson deep and finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI…Carlos Gonzalez is batting .237/.315/.355 at Coors Field this season.

The Reds/Blue Jays combined for 10 runs, yet there were somehow a combined seven homers in this game…It’s unclear if this Josh Donaldson blast has landed yetBilly Hamilton is on pace to steal 89 bases with a .308 OBP…Zack Cozart is batting .350/.432/.607 and is still available in more than 25 percent of leagues. His 1.040 OPS leads all shortstops by a significant margin…Robbie Ray tossed a shutout with a 10:0 K:BB ratio, allowing just four hits in a dominant performance. Over his last three starts (all on the road), he has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP with 25 strikeouts over 23.2 innings. He’s quickly emerging as a top-25 fantasy starter (the key with him is the zero walks over his last two outings).

Jose Berrios’ string of strong starts ended, as he allowed nine base runners and four runs over five innings to the Astros, but don’t forget it came against the team with the best record in baseball with the highest OPS in the American League…Cody Bellinger struck out four times and left nine men on base, but we’ll give the Rookie of the Year favorite a pass…Tommy Pham hit second and his ownership remains way too low…I did not expect Corey Dickerson to be hitting 85 points higher than Miguel Cabrera one day away from June. Dickerson doubled Tuesday on a pitch that bounced in front of home plate.

This brutal dropped popup by Asdrubal Cabrera allowed the Brewers to score two runs and tie the game and likely cost the many of you who started Tyler Pill a win (the Mets were later victorious on a walk off hit by Jay Bruce in the 12th). Cabrera already has as many errors this season (seven) as he did all of last year…Eric Thames entered in an 0-for-19 slump but reached base during each of his first four plate appearances…I recently wrote about Lucas Duda, and he went yard yet again Tuesday…Facing his old team (he received a standing ovation), Chris Sale was given seven early runs of support, but he lasted just five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) and 12 base runners. He struck out nine and got the win, but this was easily his worst start of the season.

It appears age has finally caught up to Bartolo Colon, who’s now surrendered 16 runs over his last two starts (albeit seven were unearned Tuesday), and his time in Atlanta’s rotation is surely coming to an end…The counting stats really limit his fantasy upside, but Tyler Flowers has quietly hit .356/.464/.471 during a year in which catchers have been almost universally dreadful…Albert Pujols is somehow on pace to finish with 24 homers and 112 RBI with a .717 OPS. He tied Babe Ruth on the all-time hit list Tuesday…Dinelson Lamet has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with a 16:3 K:BB ratio over his first two career starts (10.0 innings). He’s an intriguing prospect worth adding in all formats and is still available in most…It’s pretty crazy the Cubs won’t enter June with a winning record.

Jeff Samardzija struck out five and walked none but was forced early from the game after throwing 100 pitches over just four innings. He continued his season theme of posting a much worse ERA than his strong K:BB should suggest…Bryce Harper was handed a four-game suspension Tuesday (he appealed and was in the lineup), so fantasy owners should soon plan to be without their star for a few games. Speaking of the brawl, Mike Morse was put on the concussion DL because of this.

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