DeGrom Chases Another Cy Young Award
Jacob deGrom shut out the Reds for seven innings in an 8-1 victory on Friday night. He punched out nine batters and yielded just four base hits -- all singles -- and did not issue a base-on-balls in the dominant outing. He out-dueled Reds ace Luis Castillo in what was a low-scoring game until the late innings. Neither team scored until the sixth inning when Jeff McNeil popped a solo dinger off Castillo. In a rare occurrence, the Mets' offense actually provided deGrom with plenty of run support for once and he cashed it in for a victory.
DeGrom has been one of the best pitchers in baseball again this year despite a slow start to the season. The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner might repeat the feat. He leads all major league pitchers with 6.7 WAR per Fangraphs, tied with Gerrit Cole of the Astros. Max Scherzer is second in the NL with 6.5 WAR and Stephen Strasburg has 5.3 WAR for third place. Hyun-Jin Ryu leads the NL with a 2.35 ERA but deGrom is right behind him with a 2.51 ERA. DeGrom leads the NL with 248 strikeouts but once again is not far in front of Strasburg (235) and Scherzer (233). The one thing that could hold him back is a lack of wins -- deGrom ranks 21st in the NL with 10 wins, well behind Strasburg's 17 wins. His paltry win total might not matter, after all he won the award last year with a 10-9 record, a 1.70 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 269 strikeouts in 32 starts. Unlike last year however he doesn't have an incredibly-low ERA in 2019 -- he is 10-8 with a 2.51 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 248 strikeouts in 31 starts. Ryu is 12-5 with a 2.35 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and only 148 strikeouts in 27 starts. Scherzer is 10-7 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 233 strikeouts in 26 starts. Strasburg is 17-6 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 235 strikeouts in 31 starts. Each candidate will have one more start to help make or break their case.
Reports of Folty's Demise Were Premature
Mike Foltynewicz allowed just three hits and struck out seven batters over eight shutout frames in a 6-0 win over the Giants on Friday as the Braves clinched the NL East division. Foltynewicz is rounding into form at just the right time and could be a force in the post-season. The big right-hander had a breakout season in 2018, registering a 13-10 record and 2.85 ERA with 202 strikeouts but has been unable to come anywhere close to matching that success in 2019. He came down with elbow soreness in spring training and began the regular season on the injured list. He missed the first month and when he came back he clearly wasn't at full strength. He struggled badly for two months and was then demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. A lot of people wrote him off at that point and chalked up his 2018 season as a fluke. Then Foltynewicz spent a month in the minors and seemed to turn the corner. He has been much better since returning to the majors in early August. In the first half of the season he went 2-5 with a 6.37 ERA in 11 starts. In the second half he is 6-0 with a 2.35 ERA in nine starts. Fantasy owners should be sure to use him for his final start.
Fiers and Kelly Come Up Big in the Fantasy Playoffs
Mike Fiers twirled eight innings of shutout baseball to beat the Rangers on Friday. He gave up just two base hits and zero walks while fanning five in the dominant outing. Both hits were singles and he erased one of those base-runners by picking Delino DeShields off first base. Fiers had been questionable to even take the mound for the game due to nerve irritation in his right arm but he was able to shrug that off with great success. The great game was quite a turnaround from his last start when he gave up nine runs in just one-plus inning of work against the Astros. Fiers is now 15-4 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 32 starts this year. He doesn't strike out a lot of batters -- just 122 in 179 2/3 innings -- but it is hard to argue with that win total.
Merrill Kelly fired seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in a 9-0 win over the Padres. He limited the Padres to two singles and three walks in his second straight elite outing. Kelly has pitched seven scoreless innings in three of his last four starts. The rookie is finishing the season strong after struggling for a good portion of the campaign. Kelly flamed out of the Rays' system in 2014 and spent the last few years pitching to great success in Korea. He translated that success into a two-year, $5.5 million contract with the Arizona last winter and that deal is now starting to pay dividends for the Diamondbacks. Overall he is 12-14 with a 4.31 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 177 1/3 innings. His strong late-season run will likely boost his draft stock in fantasy leagues next spring.
Alonso Pounds His Way into the Record Books
Pete Alonso hit his league-leading 50th home run, a two-run shot against reliever Sal Romano of the Reds. It was a monster drive between the "power stacks" in right-center field at Great American Ball Park. He has homered in each of his last three games. He is the first rookie in National League history to hit 50 home runs and just the second in either league. Aaron Judge holds the rookie record with 52. Alonso is vying to become the first rookie to lead the majors in home runs and the first Met to lead the National League in home runs -- he leads Eugenio Suarez by two dingers. Alonso reached 50 career homers in fewer games (152) than any other player -- breaking a record set by Rudy York of the Tigers in 1938. The previous Mets record for homers in a season was 41 by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran. Alonso is the 30th player in major league history to hit 50 home runs in a season.
Trea Turner went 2-for-4 with a pair of solo homers Friday against the Marlins. The Nationals' shortstop and leadoff batter is known mostly for his speed but adds enough pop to make himself a dynamic all-around fantasy monster. He steals bases at an elite level and is capable of leading the majors if he can stay on the field. The injury-prone 26-year-old is in his fifth season in the majors and he's played in more than 113 games just one time. He has a .294 batting average with 16 home runs, 50 RBI, 86 runs scored and 33 stolen bases with a week remaining. He was a first-round pick in fantasy drafts this spring and will be again next year.
Mitch Moreland hit two home runs and netted four RBI in a loss to the Rays. His late-inning exploits weren't quite enough to bring home a win for the Red Sox. He broke the seal on a scoreless game by cracking a two-run homer off Charlie Morton in the seventh inning. He slugged another two-run shot in the ninth inning to tie the game and send it to extras, where the Rays prevailed in the 11th. Moreland has been a part-time player for the Sox this year and because of that doesn't have much fantasy value. He has a .245 batting average with 17 home runs and 55 RBI in 274 at-bats.
Carlos Correa homered twice and drove in three runs as the Astros beat the Angels 6-4 on Friday. The Astros smacked three home runs in the first inning -- Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman ripped solo shots before Correa smoked a two-run bomb off Jaime Barria. Correa took Barria yard again with the bases empty in the third inning. This was Correa's second game since being activated off the injured list. He spent a month on the shelf with a lower back injury. He missed two months earlier in the season with a broken rib. He's been limited to just 74 games this year but has pounded the baseball when able to play. He is slashing .277/.355/.568 with 21 home runs and 59 RBI in just 278 at-bats. A healthy Correa helps makes the Astros an extremely formidable opponent in the playoffs.
National League Quick Hits: Corey Seager went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in a blowout win over the Rockies... A.J. Pollock went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer against the Rockies... Clayton Kershaw gave up four runs over six innings and still got a win over the Rockies in Los Angeles. He gave up three homers and struck out five... Chase Anderson fired six scoreless frames as part of a 10-1 victory over the Pirates... Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a go-ahead three-run homer and a walk in a 6-4 win over the Marlins... Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in a loss to the Nationals... Luis Castillo surrendered three runs over seven innings and took a loss to the Mets... Jeff McNeil went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBI, and three runs scored against the Reds... Aristides Aquino went 2-for-4 with a solo homer against the Mets... Tyler Beede was tagged for six runs over six innings in a loss to the Braves... Ronald Acuna Jr. went 2-for-2 with his 41st homer and a pair of walks against the Giants... Mike Yastremski went 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of singles in a loss to the Braves... Yadier Molina went 3-for-4 with two RBI in a win over the Cubs... Ketel Marte is now shut down for the season due to a stress reaction in his lower back.
American League Quick Hits: Kyle Lewis went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, a double, and two runs scored in Friday’s loss to the Orioles. He now has six home runs in his first 10 big league games. Lewis hit just 11 home runs in 122 games at Triple-A this year... Mark Canha went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer in a win over the Rangers... Aaron Judge went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, a double, and a walk against the Blue Jays... Rick Porcello struck out six while firing six shutout innings against the Rays but the Red Sox ended up losing the ballgame... Randy Dobnak allowed just a run over 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts in a win over the Royals... Kevan Smith went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in a loss to the Astros... Felix Hernandez fell to 1-7 on the year after allowing five runs over five innings against the Orioles... Aaron Brooks threw seven innings of one-run baseball for the win against the Mariners. He served as the bulk follower in relief of opener Richard Bleier... Anthony Santander hit a three-run homer against the Mariners... Eloy Jimenez went 3-for-4 including a grand slam on Friday, powering the White Sox to a 10-1 victory over the hapless Tigers... Jordan Zimmermann was obliterated in Friday night's loss to the White Sox, surrendering nine runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings. He is 1-12 with a 6.85 ERA on the season... Dylan Cease allowed one run over six innings and struck out eight in a win over the Tigers... Yolmer Sanchez went 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles and two RBI as the White Sox beat the Tigers... Oscar Mercado went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base against the Phillies... Shane Bieber picked up his 15th victory of the season, limiting the Phillies to two runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings... Frankie Montas will return to action next week against the Angels. He has finished serving his 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He is ineligible for the playoffs.