Roto Riteup: July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day! Yeah, I know the bulk of you are probably focused on your holiday on Monday to celebrate your own independence, but north of the border, we’re celebrating ours today. In honor of Canada Day, here’s a very handsome picture of Russell Martin, just one of many attractive Canadians playing your fine sport.


On the agenda:
1. Kershaw to the DL
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitcher Options

Kershaw to the DL
The best pitcher in baseball is headed to the disabled list due to pain in his lower back. Clayton Kershaw received an epidural injection on Thursday, and while the team didn’t initially believe the issue was serious, they’re now down their ace for at least a pair of starts (the timing of the All-Star Break may prove fortuitous). At the very least, the “mild” disc herniation Kershaw’s dealing with isn’t expected to require surgery, though I can speak from experience that it is tough to hip-toss a dude with.

The Dodgers are now out Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Alex Wood, so they required reinforcements. Said reinforcements are coming in the form of Bud Norris, whom the team acquired for a pair of prospects. The 31-year-old Norris has really picked things up after a terrible start to the season, posting a 2.43 ERA without a home run allowed in 16 appearances since the start of May, though only four of those were starts. As far as emergency fill-ins for the fifth injury in your real-life rotation go, there are probably worse options.

Various News and Notes
Norris wasn’t the only big acquisition on Thursday. The Marlins landed Fernando Rodney to fortify the bullpen (Alan Harrison has you covered), Omar Infante signed a minor-league deal with the Braves and immediately became their second-best power hitter, and the rumor mill in general continued to heat up.

Chief among those rumors? The Rangers’ interest in Matt Moore. Moore’s had an up-and-down season, but I remain a tepidly optimistic fan (I can’t give him up). If he went from Tampa to Arlington with a 41.5-percent fly-ball rate? Less so. The swinging strikes and strikeout rate are back up some, but he’s posted a 4.67 ERA in a pitcher-friendly park, and a switch to deadlier confines could hurt.

Madison Bumgarner doubled as a DH yesterday. More importantly, he had fun. CC Sabathia, meanwhile, had a start pushed back to avoid having him hit.

Danny Espinosa had two home runs and seven RBI. More importantly, he’s still blocking Trea Turner. (I kid, as Espinosa is having one of the best offseasons of his career and is eligible at four positions in fantasy. But still…can we have Turner back somewhere in that lineup, please?)

On the injury front, Andrew Heaney is finally giving in and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He opted for stem cell injections initially but they didn’t have the intended effect, and he’ll now go under the knife. It seems unlikely we’ll see Heaney in 2017, or at least for enough of it for him to register as draft-relevant.

Billy Hamilton was able to return to the Reds lineup a day after taking a ball to the face in the outfield. Considering he just came back from a concussion and had entered the league’s concussion protocol again, this was a bit of a surprise. Maybe not long for the Reds’ lineup? Jay Bruce, who would apparently waive his no-trade clause to join a contender.

Streaming Pitcher Options
If you enjoy streaming pitchers or play DFS, tune into the Roto Riteup for recommendations each and every day.

A pitcher for today: Nathan Eovaldi @ SD (Colin Rea)
The Yankees’ offense sputtering has drawn all the headlines, but their starting rotation has also somewhat quietly been sub-par to start the year. Among those guilty is Nathan Eovaldi, who owns a 5.19 ERA backed by a 4.87 FIP and a 3.86 xFIP. Even though Eovaldi’s consistently under-performed relative to defense-independent stats, he’s also never had the home run issues he’s currently having. Petco should help, and his 20-percent strikeout rate should play up against a Padres offense that ranks in the bottom six overall and in the top five for strikeout rate.

A pitcher for tomorrow: Danny Duffy @ Phi (Aaron Nola)
My personal baggage surrounding Danny Duffy nearly eliminated him from consideration. His 50-percent ownership tag probably should have, too, as it’s usually beyond the cut-off I’ll use (especially on a full-slate day). But on this occasion, with most lower-ownership names either drawing tough starts (Blake Snell, Dan Straily) or lacking upside (Chad Kuhl), Duffy gets the nod to put the microscope on his recent performance. Over nine starts, his strikeout rate has actually bumped upward, while his WHIP has decreased and his FIP/wOBA have only edged slightly higher. The profile is pretty encouraging of late.

Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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