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Coming into Monday’s game in Anaheim, Royals DH/1B Billy Butler had been 2 for his last 16 with one homer and one run batted in. Butler came into the game with a sub-par .228/.350/.377 slash line, and had not been driving the ball. Dare I say the slump is now over? All Butler did against the Angels tonight was go a perfect 5-for-5 at the dish with two doubles and two runs scored while driving in five. The perennial .300 hitter could be on the verge of a very nice hot streak after seeing his slash line jump to .261/.373/.420 with tonight’s performance. Butler is a must-start who you should expect to drive in runs in the fashion to which you've grown accustomed.
Upton not rattled in ‘zona
In his first game back in Arizona since being shipped off to the Braves in the off season, Justin Upton showed the Diamondbacks what a mistake they made. Upton absolutely smashed a center-field homer and doubled, adding two more base hits and driving in two. After being given a mixed reception of boos and cheers, it seems Upton had the last laugh tonight. He now boasts a .990 OPS with 12 HR, 21 RBI and 19 XBH. At only 25 years old Upton, has a very bright future ahead of him.
Nationals ace Jordan Zimmermann turned in another stellar performance, this time against the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. It took until July 19th of 2012 for Zimmermann to record 7 wins, and last night he moved to 7-1 on the 2013 campaign. His ERA is now sitting at 1.69 with a 0.87 WHIP and a .197 BAA. Zimmermann has won his last 4 starts and has his name atop the Cy Young voting for the National League.
Other news from the Nats game: Bryce Harper smashed into the right field fence and was removed from the game. I have not seen a player run that hard into the wall in a long time and it was very tough to watch. Harper plays hard and seemed to be letting up just a tad too late. He received stitches and was examined for (but not diagnosed with) a concussion. Hopefully the 20-year-old will bounce back quickly, but don't be surprised if you see him on the bench for a day or so.
NL Hot Shots:
- B.J. Upton was removed after being plunked. He went 0-for-2 prior to leaving the game with a shoulder contusion. Jordan Schafer replaced him in CF; Upton might miss another game on Tuesday.
- Josh Rutledge homered for the lone run the Rockies would score in a rout by the Cubs.
- Jean Segura is still scorching and producing like a fantasy stud. He went 3-for-5 with an RBI and 3 SB.
- Norichika Aoki was the co-star for the Brewers tonight going 3-for-5 with 2 2B, 3 RBI and 2 SB.
- Brian McCann connected for his third homer since returning from the DL and should be a nice run producer in a potent Braves offense from here on out.
- Matt Holliday homered and drove in two runs in support of Lance Lynn (now 6-1), in a win over the Mets. He now has 6 long-balls on the year with 23 RBI.
- Alfonso Soriano went 2-4 with a 2B and a HR with 2 RBI
- Paul Goldschmidt continued to be a terror for opposing pitchers blasting his 10th homer on the year off of Mike Minor. It was his 5th homer in his past 24 at bats. Can you say "raking?"
AL Hot Shots:
- Aaron Hicks homered twice for the Twins, and robbed Adam Dunn of a would-be homer for good measure.
- Joe Blanton was destroyed by the Royals and booed off the field by the home crowd at the A in Anaheim.
- Mitch Moreland added his 7th homer in a loss to the A’s.
- Yoenis Cespedes homered going 1-for-2 before being removed due to illness. Brandon Moss hit a homer to go back-to-back with Yoenis.
- Alcides Escobar went 3-for-5 with 2 runs, a double, one RBI and a SB.
- Justin Morneau stayed hot for the Twins with a 3-for-5 showing with 2 2B, 4 RBI and a run scored.
- Anibal Sanchez handled the Astros with 7 IP, 6 hits allowed with 2 ER and 8 K.
- Justin Masterson was masterful in the early game of a twin-billing with the Yankees. He dazzled for a complete game shutout with 9 K and only 4 hits allowed in the Win.
- A.J. Griffin had his best outing of the year beating the Rangers, tossing seven innings of one-run ball with 8 K.
- Trevor Bauer was effective in his start but was outdone by Yankees spot starter Vidal Nuno in a loss to the Yankees in game 2 of the doubleheader on Monday.
- Andy Dirks swatted a grand slam for the Tigers out of the leadoff spot. He was 3-for-4 in the game.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter: @CasKnowsRoto