Pennant races don’t take a day off, and neither do we. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that caught our yesterday:
1) Reyes Keeps on Hitting
The fact that the Tigers are going nowhere this season, has enabled them to leave Victor Reyes on their roster as a Rule 5 selection all season. And as of late, Reyes has begun to fulfill their confidence in him and take steps towards securing a role for next season. Yesterday, Reyes went 2 for 4 from the top of the order as he picked up his 15th double and fourth triple of the season while scoring a run and driving in two (19 overall). In 228 at bats, Reyes is hitting .303 with 19 runs scored. Reyes has some speed, six stolen bases, and over his past 30 games (133 at bats) he really has come on strong hitting .338.
2) Davies Gave us What We Needed
We know that Zach Davies doesn’t strike many batters out, and the right-hander often out pitches his metrics, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. At this point in the season, all we care about is results, and if Davies can deliver them, then we want him in our lineups. Last night, Davies took advantage of facing the Padres in his first start of the week and picked up his 10th victory of the season. Davies allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out four, and that is a perfectly acceptable five inning outing as he brought his ERA down to 3.70.
3) Spangenberg Drives in Three
In all of the years of writing this article, I don’t think Cory Spangenberg ever warranted a mention or found himself in this space. But that is what September baseball has done to us. You have to take production and playing time from wherever you can get it, and right now, that is Spangenberg. Last night, the utility player (who has been getting regular playing time at second base as of late) went 2 for 3 with three RBI. In 70 at bats on the season, Spangenberg is batting .271 with nine RBI, with six of those RBI coming in his last seven games in which he is hitting .292. It doesn’t matter where the stats are coming from, just that you are getting them.
4) Berrios Has Another Solid Start
With a 4.83 ERA in his last seven starts, things have been slowing down for Jose Berrios as of late, but he did take a step in the right direction last night. Berrios picked up his 13th victory of the season on Monday with 7.1 innings of two run ball against the White Sox while scattering five hits and two walks. On the season, Berrios’ ERA sits at 3.58 with 181 strikeouts in 188.1 innings after fanning eight batters last night. With a 3.91 FIP and 4.34 xFIP, Berrios has yet to take next step into “ace” or “elite” territory, but he is a solid third fantasy starter; maybe a low-end second depending on how deep the league is.
5) Another Hudson Win
I feel like a broken record, but for some pitchers, at least for one season, we have to throw out what the spreadsheets are telling us, and just trust the results on the field. Dakota Hudson picked up his 16th victory of the season on Monday with seven innings of two run ball. Hudson scattered five hits and two walks while striking out just two batters and lowering his ERA to 3.35. If you want to talk about finishing the season strong, Hudson entered last night with a 5-1 record in his last seven starts with 1.70 ERA and a WHIP of just 0.94. But before we over value Hudson for next season, let’s bring it back to his 6.70 strikeouts and 4.16 walks per nine innings along with his 4.99 FIP.
6) Ozuna Goes Deep
Marcell Ozuna hasn’t made quite the impact expected of him with the Cardinals over the past two seasons, but he will at least finish this season with solid production. Last night, Ozuna went 2 for 4 with his 28th home run of the season while driving in all four of St. Louis’ runs. With 86 RBI, Ozuna’s power numbers are solid, but based on his previous draft status, you would expect a batting average better than .252. However, with a .266 BABIP (career mark of .316), perhaps we will see a bounce back next season. With an exit velocity of 92 miles per hour and a 50.6% hard hit rate, you have to like the quality of contact we are seeing from Ozuna as well.
7) Schwarber Makes the Hit Count
All the Cubs really needed on Monday was one big hit, and that is what Kyle Schwarber provided for them. The slugger’s three run homer was his 37th home run of the season, and it gave him 88 RBI. Yes, Schwarber is hitting just .235 on the season, but you know what you are getting from him, and it is hard to pass up that power. Entering last night, nine of Schwarber’s home runs have come in his last 30 games as he looks to finish the season strong.
8) Hampson Gets Some Time in the Outfield
We don’t get fantasy points for Garrett Hampson if he plays in the outfield, but it certainly is beneficial to us. Not only does he gain more eligibility, but it is simply more playing time for him and another way to get his bat into the lineup. Last night, Hampson showed why he needs to be playing everyday as he went 3 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored. On the season, he is batting .243 with 32 runs scored and 22 RBI in 243 at bats, but based on his minor league production, we know he is capable of more. He will likely enter next season with eligibility at both middle infield spots and the outfield, and with a .386 batting average in his last 15 games, he is poised to finish the season strong. While he didn’t steal a base last night, he has showed off his speed with nine stolen bases so far this season, with regular playing time, he easily could reach 20.
9) The Blister Certainly Was Better
Robbie Ray couldn’t get out of the first inning in his last start thanks to his blister, but that was not an issue on Monday against the Marlins. Instead, Ray got things started with five no hit innings, and he ultimately got through six innings of one run ball before leaving and ending up with a no decision. While the victory would have been nice, Ray allowed just one hit, although he did walk four batters, as he lowered his ERA to 4.20 on the season. But with seven strikeouts, the left-hander gave us exactly what we were looking for from him.
10) Kennedy Reaches 30
Normally, I don’t talk about closers here, but with Ian Kennedy reaching 30 saves on Monday, I thought it was necessary. Over the past few seasons, Kennedy has gotten progressively worse as a starting pitcher, and he was losing fantasy relevance each year. The fact that he was beginning the year in the bullpen was even worse for his fantasy value, and you had every right to be skeptical of him as he picked up his first few saves. They weren’t exactly coming in bunches, as neither were the Royals’ victories, but they were saves nonetheless. But now, this is your friendly reminder to look everywhere for saves, and to be aware that you may never know when they will be coming from or from whom, as Kennedy picked up his 30th save of the season last night. He did so by allowing one hit and striking out two in a scoreless inning of work while lowering his ERA to 3.28. While the 1.29 WHIP could be a little better, Kennedy does have 70 strikeouts in 60.1 innings, and it’s hard to argue with much here. Whether or not he repeats this performance next year though, is a very different story.