by Will Overton
We have finally entered the last day of the regular season in baseball. There are still division titles hanging in the balance, and something tells me there are a few fantasy titles that will be won and lost today as well.
Last night we witnessed a handful of players wanting to end this season on a high note. That included a three hit performance from Aaron Hill, 15 K’s from James Shields and a continued HR streak for Chris Davis. I have all of that and more covered in this trip around the majors:
- The Phillies called up outfielder Darin Ruf on September 10th. He didn’t make his first start until the 25th. He has started all eight games since that day and has gotten at least one hit in all eight games. Last night Ruf was 2 – 4 with 2 HR’s. Ruf is now 11 – 29 with 4 R, 3 HR and 8 RBI in these games. It’s been a pretty nice audition for Ruf who should get a good look next spring.
- In start number three of his injury comeback Chris Carpenter seemed to have a little more life on his pitches striking out seven batters in six innings. Carpenter looks to be almost all the way back, but it’ll be interesting to see what fantasy owners do with a guy who is coming off this kind of injury at his age next season.
- This season has done a lot to make fantasy players forget Aaron Hill’s last two seasons. Hill has been one of the best second baseman in all of baseball this season and he’s finishing strong. Last night Hill was 3 – 5 with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. He is 10 – 22 in his last five games with 7 R, 2 HR and 7 RBI. It’ll be interesting to see next year if Hill is drafted high based on this season or if owners are still hesitant because of the past.
- The Marlins and fantasy owners have to be encouraged by the last few starts Jacob Turner has made this season. Last night Turner went 7.2 IP allowing one run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Turner has a 3.38 ERA with the Marlins in seven starts and over his last five it’s just 2.27. It may take some time for him to build up more K’s, but he is looking good so far in Miami.
- Three more hits were collected last night by Alcides Escobar as this season continues to be somewhat of a coming out party for the young shortstop. Escobar’s three this last night raised his batting average to .292 for the season. He also stole his 34th base last night and hti his 5th HR of the season as well. Escobar has established himself as a contender to be a top ten shortstop going into next season.
- Back to back solid games turned in by Starling Marte who went 3 – 5 yesterday with 2 R and 2 SB. Marte also doubled in the game, giving him three extra-base hits in the last two games, which is an encouraging sign. There is still a lot of growth that needs to happen with Marte, but I think the future is bright.
- For as good as James Shields has been down the stretch this season it was only fitting he go out the way he did. Shields threw a complete game allowing just one run on two hits and striking out a career best 15 batters. Now for the second year in a row Shields has reached 220 or more strikeouts.
- You want to talk about a guy ending the season with a bang, look no further than Chris Davis, the guy who scored the only run off of the red hot James Shields last night. Davis is on an 11 game hitting streak after going 1 – 3 last night. More impressively, he’s on a six game HR streak after going deep last night. In six games Davis has 7 HR’s and 13 RBI bringing his season totals to 33 HR’s and 85 RBI with a .285 batting average.
- Another one of the many pleasant surprises for the Baltimore Orioles this season is Miguel Gonzalez. A midseason call-up, Gonzalez has been dazzling at time this second half. Last night he went 6.1 scoreless innings allowing two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Gonzalez lowered his ERA to 3.25 while picking up his ninth win, and third win in a row. The strikeout numbers are somewhat average, but he has shown signs of having big K potential at different times this season.
- Well how about this, Bud Norris pitched well on the road yesterday. Norris shut down the Cubs for six scoreless innings, striking out four along the way. Granted it was the Cubs who have been shut down by lots of pitchers this season. This was Norris third win on the road all season and it lowered his road ERA all the way down to 6.94.