10 Stories From 09/22/2014 Box Scores: Carrasco/Duffy Impress Again, Samardzija Sizzling & More

by Ray Kuhn/Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

If baseball was in competition with Monday Night Football on the last Monday of the regular season for your attention, then we have you covered. With every passing day, every strikeout takes on a greater importance for those still competing to finish in the money. Even if your 2014 team is out of contention, that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to baseball as what happens this year will ultimately have some impact on your preparation for next season. Let’s take a look at some storylines from Monday night.

 

1) Derek Holland continued his success after returning from knee surgery…
He also is a pitcher fantasy owners should certainly be aware of entering next season. Holland’s return is one of Texas’ few bright spots this season, and he actually saw his ERA rise to 1.31 after allowing three runs, two earned, in seven innings against the Astros for his second victory of the season. The good sign with Holland, is that there are no stamina issues as he threw 100 pitches, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out just two batters.

 

2) 2014 continues to be a coming out party for Carlos Carrasco…
Yes, the right hander was on the short end of a 2-0 loss to the Royals, but you can hardly blame Carrasco for it. He allowed only two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out nine batters in 7.2 innings. Monday’s outing lowered Carrasco’s ERA to 2.64 but perhaps even more remarkable is his WHIP of 0.99. For me the big factor in Carrasco’s success is his 25 walks, along with 121 strikeouts in 119 innings on the season. After spending time in the bullpen this season, Carrasco appears to have improved his control and he is another pitcher to watch entering next season.

 

3) Danny Duffy impressed once again…
Just about every game for the Royals is a must win at this point, and Danny Duffy showed that he is healthy and can be counted on. Duffy kept Cleveland off the scoreboard for six innings for his 9th victory of the season allowing just six hits and two walks to go with five strikeouts. I would feel comfortable using Duffy in his last start of the season in what figures to be an important game for the Royals.

 

4) Is Jon Jay a trustworthy fantasy option…
Jay has been slumping as of late, but the Cardinals don’t show signs of sending the outfielder to the bench. It was a good sign that Jay played against the lefty starting pitcher tonight, even though his splits are against the norm, and drove in three runs while going 2-4 to raise his average to .306. Another St. Louis outfielder who looks to be a factor down the stretch, at least against left-handers is rookie Randall Grichuk and he went 2-5 with a run scored. If you are in a pinch or in a daily format, Grichuk might be worth a look, especially since he batted second in the order.

 

5) Do we really know what Michael Pineda is…
You can’t blame the Yankees for wondering what would have been if Michael Pineda had been healthy all season. Pineda made sure the Yankees at least stay on the cusp of the playoff race for another day by shutting the Orioles out over 7.1 innings while allowing just one hit and one walk. The hard throwing right-hander’s ERA now sits at 1.93 on the season and his eight strikeouts against Baltimore give him just 49 in 70 innings. That is not something I would be overly concerned with as we know he is capable. In fact Pineda’s success without the strikeouts might be even more impressive.

 

6) Derek Jeter finishing strong…
After struggling through much of the season, Derek Jeter is determined in his last home stand to finish strong. In each of his last four games prior to Monday night Jeter had two hits, and he continued his success going 1-3 with a bases clearing double. Don’t let Jeter’s season long performance scare you off if you need some middle infield help.

 

7) The James Paxton implosion finally hit…
Paxton’s run of success had to end sometime, and at least for one start it did against Toronto Monday night. Paxton really never had a chance against the Blue Jays and he couldn’t get out of the third inning allowing nine runs, eight earned on seven hits. Perhaps the most troubling thing was Paxton’s lack of his control and he also had six walks giving him 26 in 68.1 innings. The walks could potentially be an issue for Paxton next season, but even after his struggles on Monday, Paxton’s ERA is still just 3.03.

 

8) Has Chris Bassitt emerged as a trustworthy option…
If you are looking for an under the radar starter to close out the season, Chris Bassitt might be it. Facing a stacked Detroit lineup that needs a win, Bassitt was not phased as he kept them off the scoreboard allowing just six hits and one walk in 7.2 innings. After beginning his major league career by allowing five runs in 6.1 innings against the Tigers, Bassitt bounced back on Monday night facing Detroit for the second time while lowering his ERA to 3.65. This is likely not enough for Bassitt to be drafted in many leagues next season, but should at least be on your radar.

9) Jeff Samardzija doing all he can to save the A’s season…
He went 7.0 innings against the Angels last night allowing 1 R (0 earned) on 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 3.  Samardzija has now gone three consecutive starts without allowing an earned run (22.0 IP), with 15 H, 2 BB and 19 K over that stretch.  Amazingly wins have continued to be difficult for him to come by, but since being sent to Oakland he is now 5-5 with a 2.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 90 K over 104.2 IP.  While he has benefited from a .258 BABIP (entering the day), there’s an awful lot to like from a pitcher who is inducing groundballs (48.2% in ’13, 49.8% in ’14) pitching in a big ballpark.  Pitching in Oakland he should be considered a Top 20-25 option for 2015, at worst.

 

10) Tyler Matzek finishes with a flourish…
In what may have been his final start of the season, Matzek took a tough luck loss in San Diego.  Going 6.0 innings he allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 8.  He has allowed 2 ER or fewer in each of his past six starts, allowing 7 ER over 40.2 IP.  Yes, the opponents may not have been the best (outside of the Dodgers), but starts came both home and on the road.  Since the All-Star Break he owns a 3.55 ERA with a 7.93 K/9 and 53.2% groundball rate.  The WHIP is still 1.37, but a .306 BABIP despite an 18.5% line drive rate seems out of line.  Obviously any pitcher in Coors Field is going to be concerning, but the strong finish is promising.  As long as he can continue throwing strikes (6.0 BB/9 in the minors), he has the potential to thrive.

 

Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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