Rick Porcello had a simple answer to why he can't think about his current success. Porcello became the majors' first 18-game winner and the first Red Sox pitcher in 70 years to open a season 13-0 in Fenway Park, going seven solid innings in Boston's 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Mookie Betts hit his 30th homer, a solo shot, and drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who hold the AL's first wild-card spot but had lost four of five.
A half-game separated the basement-dwelling Angels and Cincinnati Reds as they began a potentially pivotal series Monday night in Angel Stadium, where the Angels got home runs from five players in a 9-2 demolition of the Reds. Five other teams — Oakland, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Arizona — are within 1 1/2 games of the Angels, who are tied for last place in the American League West, and the Reds, who are last in the National League Central. As August turns to September and pennant races heat up, the seven aforementioned clubs are jockeying for a prize that has nothing to do with division titles, wild-card berths or home-field advantage in October: The third pick in next year’s draft.
September can be the easiest month to manage a fantasy baseball team. It also can be the most difficult. Above all, it's the most important. Because to win your league, you have to finish strong in September. A number of factors converge in the season’s final month: • Major league teams can expand their rosters to as many as 40 players. Predicting playing time gets even more difficult with so many more options. • Teams that have been eliminated from the playoff races focus attention on younger players, leaving the veteran players fantasy owners have on their rosters out of the lineup more frequently. • And the limits many fantasy leagues have on transactions or the dwindling budgets available