by Will Overton
With September looming the drama in baseball is only heating up with playoff chases all over the place. There was plenty of drama last night, right down to the final out of the final game of the night where a no-hitter was broken up. We’re going to talk about that near no-hitter and a lot more as we break down the top 10 stories of the night:
1) Pitching In Texas Clearly Isn’t An Issue For Cole Hamels
I was one of the people in the preseason who voiced some trepidation with Cole Hamels because of his pitching half his games in Texas. And while the splits are clearly much better on the road, Hamels has held his own at home and his overall numbers are much better than I would have guessed they’d be in the preseason. Last night Hamels took on the Indians at home and completely shut them down. Hamels allowed two hits in eight innings, walking none and striking out eight. This outings runs Hamels record to 14 – 4 for the season and drops his ERA to 2.67. Hamels has had a little luck on his side and his 1.23 WHIP is higher than you’d guess for his ERA, but his strikeouts help make up for it and overall it’s hard to find anything to complain about.
2) The Debut Of Carlos Gomez In Texas Comes With A Home Run
The Texas Rangers called Carlos Gomez up Thursday Morning and he made his first start ever as Ranger last night, doing so in style with a three-run homerun. Gomez was a consistent source of disappointment to fantasy owners in Houston, coming to Texas with a .211 average and just 5 HR’s in 295 AB’s. Texas is giving him a fresh start though, reportedly ready to turn the every day left field job over to him at this point. We all know about the impressive numbers Gomez has put up in the past, and I can’t imagine that talent isn’t still there somewhere. Maybe this starting over in Texas will be what it takes to bring that back out. A speculative add to see what he can do for you down the stretch may not be such a bad idea.
3) There Is Sneaky Power In The Bat Of James McCann
Offensively, this hasn’t been the breakout season some had predicted from James McCann in Detroit, but his defense has kept him a regular in the Tigers lineup. At the same time, we keep seeing bits of his potential as an offensive player as well. McCann went 4 – 5 last night with 2 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI and the HR was his 11th of the season. These 11 HR’s are done in 255 AB’s, which gives him a ratio of a HR every 23.2 AB’s which is a really solid number. Over the course of a 500 AB season that’d be 22 HR’s which would be pretty great from the catcher spot. It’s going to be hard to trust him in fantasy until the K’s go down and the average goes up, but there is some upside here for sure.
4) The AL East Hasn’t Yet Gotten The Best Of Drew Pomeranz
There were definitely skeptics out there about what would happen to Drew Pomeranz going from the ultra-friendly confines of Petco Park to the AL East, not an easy transition. Pomeranz struggled a little in his first couple starts for Boston, but he has turned it around as of late. Last night he actually ended up taking a loss, but pitched fantastic with a line of 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB and 11 K. This is now five starts in a row allowing two runs or fewer for Pomeranz and I think slowly, but surely he is taking away people’s concerns.
5) Melvin Upton Jr. Trying To Earn Continued Playing Time
The start of Upton’s run in Toronto wasn’t great, but it’s gotten a lot better these last 10 games. Last night Upton went 3 – 5 with 2 R and 1 SB, hitting a couple of doubles. Upton is 11 for his last 36 and has 8 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI and 1 SB in these last 10 games now. The problem for Upton lies in the fact that the Jays are getting healthy again. Kevin Pillar has returned from the DL and Jose Bautista won’t be far behind now. John Gibbons is saying that they are going to find a way to keep Upton in the lineup regularly, but that will be easier said than done. If he keeps hitting like he recently has been though it may make things more difficult.
6) A Bounce Back Start From Max Scherzer Reminding Us He’s One Of The Best
While a rough patch for Max Scherzer is a little different than a rough patch for other pitchers, his last two starts have not been Max-esque. Scherzer put that behind him last night at the unfortunate expense of the Orioles. Scherzer threw eight innings and allowed two hits and walked none, but struck out 10. Scherzer now has 227 strikeouts in 182 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.92 and a WHIP of 0.93. Scherzer leads the NL in WHIP and Strikeouts, is third in Wins and eighth in ERA. Scherzer struck out 276 last season which was a career high, and he’s likely to top that number again this season which is just amazing.
7) Bombs Away: Brandon Moss Is Crushing The Ball
The ball has been jumping off the bat of Brandon Moss lately and last night was no exception. Moss went 2 – 5 with a pair of HR’s and three runs batted in. Now in his last 10 games Moss has 6 HR’s, 10 R and 12 RBI while going 13 for 39. We know that Moss has serious power, but he is really piecing it all together now. With this recent power surge he’s now at 25 HR’s for the season and has hit one every 12.1 AB’s which is a phenomenal rate. It’s wild that Moss is owned in only half of leagues, but if you can get him off the wire, be grateful and grab him quickly.
8) Alejandro De Aza Pops Up Out Of Nowhere With A Big Game
The Mets were outgunned by the Cardinals last night, but that’s no fault of Alejandro De Aza. The Mets backup outfielder had a big game going 2 – 4 with 2 R, 1 HR and 5 RBI. De Aza has been struggling in the opportunities he has had this month up until this point. We’re going to get some games like this from De Aza, but he can’t seem to put it together for a streak of them and his playing time is so inconsistent it doesn’t really make it easy for him. This was a great game, and De Aza may at times be a DFS contributor when he starts, but in season long fantasy he isn’t going to do much for you.
9) Is It Possible For Andrew McCutchen To Salvage Some Of This Season?
This has not been the season that fantasy owners expected or hoped for from Andrew McCutchen. Currently sitting with a .250 batting average, McCutchen just hasn’t been able to put it together this season. We saw a little of the old McCutchen last night though when he went 3 – 5 with 1 R, 1 HR and 3 RBI. McCutchen is riding a little bit of a hot streak right now though going 13 – 37 with 5 R, 2 HR and 8 RBI in nine starts. These aren’t world beater numbers or anything, but it’s an improvement and hopefully a positive sign for how he might finish the season.
10) Matt Moore Has A Near No-Hitter
Matt Moore was just one out away from joining the record books and pitching a no-hitter. Corey Seager had other plans though and broke it up with a single before the Giants called on Santiago Casilla to come finish the game. Moore didn’t get the no-no, but that one hit doesn’t change the fact that he pitched a heck of a game. Moore walked three in the game and struck out eight over the 8.2 innings of work. Moore has now made five starts for the Giants since being traded there and has allowed three runs or fewer in four of those appearances. If we go back further into his days on the Rays too, Moore now has 11 quality starts in his last 14 games. After throwing 133 pitches in this start, I may be a little hesitant to use him next time out, but Moore is getting close to the realm of must start for me.