by Will Overton
The pennant races are coming down to the wire, and so are fantasy championship races. Last night we saw some solid pitching that may have done you some good had you been playing the likes of Bud Norris and Jeremy Hefner. We also had a fair amount of baseballs leaving the yard off the bats of hitters such as Manny Machado and Chris Davis.
Here’s the full run down of last night’s slate of games and best of luck as the season winds down and the fantasy intensity cranks up:
- After giving up five runs in back to back games, Bud Norris went out last night and threw 7.1 shutout innings, doesn’t walk anyone and strikes out seven. Maybe we should’ve expected that though. His home/road splits are staggering. At home Norris now has a 1.71 ERA and on the road it’s 7.41. I don’t know that I have ever seen splits so drastic before. If Norris doesn’t learn to pitch on the road he’ll never take the next step, but he’ll always have a place on fantasy rosters with his K ability, even if you only use him half the time.
- I don’t know if the version of Chris Davis we have seen this year is everything fantasy players hoped for a few years back when he was flying off draft boards, but it certainly is a far cry better than anything we’ve ever seen. Davis went deep twice last night and now has 28 HR’s on the season to go with a respectable .267 average.
- Also leaving the yard twice last night was Davis’ teammate, Manny Machado. It was HR number five and six for Machado who continues to be a key contributor for the Orioles. Machado has cooled off since his call-up, but he still has some value for the rest of the season.
- The last time Jeremy Hefner started a game he couldn’t record a single out before being taken out. Last night he went seven innings without allowing a single run. Hefner has shown glimpses of potential this year, but none as strong as last night. Hefer should be in the mix for a spot at the back end of the Mets rotation next year.
- It seems like the buzz around Bryce Harper died down awfully fast.. After going deep and stealing a base last night Harper is inching closer to the 20/20 mark. He now has 20 HR’s and 17 SB’s for the season. Expectations may have been set a bit high for Harper as he is having a nice season considering his age and experience, he’s actually closing in on 100 runs scored. The lack of buzz lately may make his draft stock wind up at a much more manageable spot next season.
- This innings cap the Rockies have on their starts is going to drive me crazy. Drew Pomeranz was looking good through five scoreless innings last night and I would’ve liked to see if he could keep it going. Pomeranz has had his moments this season, but the control continues to be an issue that’s going to need corrected if he’ll have value next season.
- There has been a lot of talk about CC Sabathia losing his touch a bit. It hasn’t looked that way the last two games. Sabathia went 8 IP last night allowing two runs and striking out 10. In the last two games he has combined for 16 IP, 2 R and 21 K’s. He’ll still factor in to the top 10 or 15 pitchers mix next season.
- For a little over the last month now all that Norichika Aoki has done is hit the ball. Last night he went 3 – 4 with 2 R, 1 HR and 2 RBI. Now for the month of September Aoki has 19 R, 4 HR and 16 RBI, that’s impressive. I think Aoki might be more than just a flash in the pan, he should go into next season on people’s radars.
- Last night Jarrod Parker recorded his fifth straight quality start and he seems to have regained his earlier season form. Parker allowed three runs in six innings last night with 8 K’s. He now has a 2.31 ERA in five September starts with 27 K’s in 35 IP. I think we’re seeing just the beginning of what will be a very nice pitching career.