Erasmo Ramirez has been on the cusp of breaking out through his six-year career, showing us flashes of brilliance. We’re getting another thunderclap of lightning out the door in 2017, putting Ramirez squarely in the Circle of Trust for the final week.
The last Ramirez turn was the kicker, a brilliant eight-inning dance with the Indians (3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K). Overall, he’s been sharp in seven of his last eight starts, and here’s what the numbers hash out: a 3.14 ERA and a WHIP just over 1; 45 strikeouts against just 13 walks over 48.2 innings.
Ramirez carries both pitcher tags (SP/RP), and although he’s been more effective at home, a start at Oakland is nothing to fear. He’s still free to add in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• Team motivation is a key part of deciphering the September puzzle, and we saw two primary cases of that in Monday’s slate.
The Diamondbacks basically phoned in Monday’s home game with San Francisco, giving most of its primarily regulars the day off. This is standard operation procedure for most clubs the day after they clinch something — the Snakes secured the NL’s top wild-card spot with Sunday’s win. Not surprisingly, the game was a stroll in the park for Johnny Cueto and the Giants, a 9-2 walkover.
As more teams get their clinch in hand, let’s be careful with the follow-up game. Most clubs observe a similar set of rules.
I also feel I missed an opportunity in the second game of the Atlanta-New York doubleheader. Both teams sat a handful of primary players in the nightcap, which meant starting pitchers Max Fried and Seth Lugo had easier-than-usual assignments. I also wonder if the umpiring crews were eager to get off the field after a long day; only three walks were issued in the 3-2 game. Perhaps the batters were also in a see-ball, swing-at-ball mindset.
Often times we approach doubleheaders as an opportunity to make up on offense, pick up some cheap extra games. One result does not tell a definitive story, but I’m going to be more aggressive with pitching choices in these games going forward. Two non-contending clubs, a long day at the ballpark, motivation to get the game over with. Sounds like a stream-friendly context to me.
• Jon Jay is typically an outfielder I don’t think much about, given that he has limited power and modest speed. Category juice is nectar of the gods. But the Cubs have settled on him as a regular in the second half, and Jay is also the team’s primary leadoff man. Over the last month, Jay is sitting on a .326 average and 15 runs; heck, even three steals have value, given the power-driven world we live in. Jay is owned in a mere three percent of Yahoo leagues.
Be careful after the Cubs get their clinch secured, because Jay will probably be resting the following game. But if you’re chasing runs scored, Jay certainly makes sense — he’s crossed home plate 36 times over 51 leadoff games (49 starts). His average is unlikely to hurt you, and he might swipe a bag here and there.