Happy Friday, everyone! It was an especially happy Thursday night for New York Mets fans as they embarked on arguably the most pivotal series remaining for them this season -- against the Braves. And if you're a Mets fan, you have to love the decision to turn to Edwin Diaz for a SIX-out save. Two innings of sparkling work from one of baseball's best closers got the job done.

The Angels got something special done on Thursday night when they set an MLB record by scoring all seven of their runs on solo home runs -- Shohei Ohtani blasted a pair of them. Oh, and AL Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander spun another gem on Thursday, and this one put some extra change in his pocket in the form of a guarantee. Verlander's outing on Thursday cashed in a $25 million player option for the 2023 season -- not like the Astros weren't going to pick it up anyway if given the chance.

Below, we'll break down some other key takeaways from Thursday's action.  

Is Springs back for the stretch run?

Jeffrey Springs delivered his first quality start since June 24 with six strong innings. Springs allowed just four hits, didn't walk a batter, struck out six and also only allowed two unearned runs. After this start, Springs dropped his ERA to 2.50 on the season with 83 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. He also has thrown just 16 walks in 14 starts this season with a 13.3% swinging strike rate.

The biggest question for Springs right now might just be his innings -- he threw just 44 2/3 last year and he's already up to nearly 80 this year. His career high came back in 2017 when he threw 112 1/3 innings.

Who's hot

Alec Bohm continues to cook as of late and Thursday was no different. He hit a three-run homer -- his eighth of the season. That brings the total over his past 40 games to four homers, nine doubles, 23 runs, 24 RBI and a .363 batting average. He's been the eighth-best Roto third baseman over his last 28 games and 16th-best in H2H points leagues. Despite all this, Bohm remains rostered in just 67% of CBS leagues, and he has six games on the slate for next week.

Who's not

Joe Musgrove looked like a Cy Young candidate for the majority of the first half of the season, but he looked nothing like that pitcher on Thursday night. Musgrove got hit hard again on Thursday when he allowed six earned runs through 4 2/3 innings against the Rockies. He also allowed eight hits, one walk and struck out six batters. Musgrove has now allowed a 7.29 ERA over hisplast four starts.

Hernandez looks pretty good in that role

Jonathan Hernandez has been looking strong in his new audition to be the Rangers closer, and that continued on Thursday night. Hernandez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth innings for his second save and looked absolutely dominant doing it. He threw all three of his sinker, slider and changeup -- and he averaged 98.8 mph on the sinker. He's just 12% rostered but that figures to skyrocket.

Fantasy news, injuries and notes

For a complete recap of every injury, update and more make sure you're locked into the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast where Frank, Scott and Chris dive deep into every player note. For the CliffsNotes version, we'll recap the biggest news and notes you need to know right here:

  • Bryce Harper is targeting a September return from his fractured left thumb injury.
  • Mike Trout started rotational work Wednesday with the goal of building him back up to the point that he's able to swing a bat. That doesn't sound too great. 
  • Clayton Kershaw exited his start Thursday after his lower back locked up on him. He'll undergo medical testing Friday.
  • Julio Rodriguez is on track to return from the IL when first eligible next Wednesday. Teammate Mitch Haniger has a similar timeline. 
  • In case you needed more confirmation, there was a report that Spencer Strider does not have an innings cap this season and that the Braves have no immediate plans to shift him back to the bullpen, even with the addition of Jake Odorizzi
  • Whit Merrifield has been vaccinated and will be able to play games in Toronto. He was batting eighth and playing center field in his Blue Jays debut Thursday. He went 2-5 with a run and RBI.
  • Ozzie Albies played catch Wednesday and should be able to return by late August. 
  • Jean Segura was reinstated from the IL on Thursday, batting seventh in the Phillies lineup. 
  • Dustin May will require at least two more rehab starts, which puts him in line to return maybe two weeks from now. He built up to 62 pitches in his third rehab outing Wednesday. 
  • Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said that Jack Flaherty will throw a bullpen session this weekend and could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment as soon as next week. 
  • Edward Cabrera was activated and is likely to start Friday against the Cubs. He's 48% rostered, how aggressive are you looking to add him?
  • Chris Taylor could return at some point this weekend. That could make playing time even more difficult for Miguel Vargas
  • Lance McCullers will make his fourth rehab start Sunday at Triple-A. He built up to 76 pitches in his most recent outing.
  • Rangers third base prospect Josh Jung will progress to playing third base for the next 6-10 days in the Arizona Complex League before joining a minor-league affiliate. Think we see him with the Rangers this season? He's 16% rostered.
  • Jordan Montgomery will make his Cardinals debut Saturday against… the Yankees!
  • Luke Voit was batting third in his Nationals debut. 
  • Didi Gregorius was released by the Phillies with Bryson Stott taking over as the primary shortstop. 
  • Eric Hosmer was batting sixth in his Red Sox debut. He went 0-3 with a walk.
  • Brayan Bello was placed on the IL with a groin strain. 
  • Aaron Civale will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Friday.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez will make a rehab start at Single-A Saturday. He hasn't made a start since May. 
  • Mike Soroka is expected to pitch in simulated games soon and could be back in September. 
  • Kole Calhoun was placed on the IL with right heel irritation, retroactive to August 3.