Daily Dose: Down The Stretch

Drew Silva
With five days left in the season, Brad Johnson covers the latest news and notes for closers and base thieves

There are only seven days left of regular-season baseball for the 2013 season. To exploit the juicy final-week pitching matchups and dig up some last-minute streamers, check out Nick Nelson’s always-valuable Week Ahead column. For Monday’s games, Nelson likes Royals rookie Yordano Ventura on the road against the Mariners and Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada, who is facing the Braves in Atlanta. I’m rolling with both in a head-to-head championship week. Desperate times call for desperate-but-calculated measures.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $5,000 Fantasy Baseball league today (Monday). It's just $2 to join and first prize is $700. Here's the link.

Larger Helping Of Hamilton?

Billy Hamilton’s speed isn’t some gimmick. He’s not a sideshow to a real baseball presentation. The 23-year-old outfielder is a game-changing athlete and he is going to win people fantasy leagues this month.

Hamilton has been given two starts since his promotion to the major leagues on September 2. In those two games, he’s gone 6-for-10 with two walks, two doubles, four runs scored and six stolen bases with a batting line of .429/.500/.571. As a pinch-runner he’s added on six more steals, giving him a whopping 12 swiped bags within just 16 career plate appearances.

Reds manager Dusty Baker has maintained that he wants to use Hamilton primarily off the bench down the stretch and into the postseason, but the kid has probably done enough in his two starting opportunities to earn a bigger role. Or at least a better look. He’ll be a must-play in all standard fantasy leagues when granted a start over this final week.

Saying Goodbye For Now To Segura

It will likely be a frustrating finish for one of the breakout stars of the 2013 fantasy season.

Brewers shortstop Jean Segura suffered a strained right hamstring in a game last Wednesday against the Cubs and has not made enough progress in his recovery to guarantee an appearance during the regular-season’s final week.

Assuming the Brewers won’t feel the urge to rush back a major part of their future, the 23-year-old will finish up with a .296/.331/.426 slash line, 12 home runs, 49 RBI, 44 stolen bases and 74 runs scored in 145 games. He slumped some in the second half, but those are gaudy numbers for any shortstop and Segura carried an average draft position (ADP) on Yahoo! of 236.4. He was a 21st-rounder in most standard fantasy leagues.

Undervalued by the Angels and undervalued this year in fantasy, he’ll be a big-ticket item in 2014 drafts.

National League Quick Hits: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is day-to-day with left knee soreness … Julio Teheran allowed just one run and struck out seven over six innings Sunday as the Braves defeated the Cubs …  Wily Peralta was bothered by a blister during his start Sunday night against the Cardinals … Carlos Gomez swiped his 37th base of the season in the Brewers’ win over the Cardinals on Sunday night … Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter hit his 11th home run of the season in Sunday’s loss to the Brewers … Shin-Soo Choo (thumb) is aiming to return to the Reds’ starting lineup on Monday night … Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Davidson hit his third career home run in Sunday’s defeat of the Rockies … Matt Holliday is day-to-day with back stiffness … Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke tossed five scoreless innings in a no-decision Sunday against the Padres … Will Venable stole his 22nd base of the year in the Padres’ loss to the Dodgers on Sunday … Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit his 16th and 17th home runs of the season in Sunday’s win over the Cubs … Jeff Locke was pulled from his start Sunday against the Reds after allowing five earned runs in the top of the first inning … Yusmeiro Petit tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball and fanned seven in the Giants’ defeat of the Yankees on Sunday.

American League Quick Hits: Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell clubbed a walkoff grand slam in Sunday’s dramatic defeat of the Rangers … Evan Longoria (flu) expects to return to the Rays’ starting lineup on Monday ... A’s center fielder Coco Crisp finished 2-for-4 with a homer, a stolen base and four RBI in Sunday’s win over the Twins … Andy Pettitte took a tough-luck loss Sunday against the Giants in what will likely be his final start at Yankee Stadium … Justin Smoak slugged his 18th home run of the season Sunday to lead the Mariners past the Angels … Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder hit his 25th home run of the year on Sunday against the White Sox … Felix Hernandez struck out 10 batters but lasted only four innings in a no-decision Sunday against the Angels … Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia drove in six runs in a losing effort Sunday versus the A’s …Jacoby Ellsbury (foot) is on track to return to the Red Sox starting lineup this Wednesday … James Shields shut out the Rangers for eight innings Sunday in a no-decision … Desmond Jennings will undergo a precautionary MRI on his tight left hamstring … White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored in Sunday’s win over his former team, the Tigers … Jesse Crain (shoulder) is finally expected to join the Rays’ bullpen on Monday … Carlos Santana had an RBI double and a solo home run in the Indians’ win over the Astros on Sunday … Bud Norris (elbow) is slated to rejoin the Orioles’ starting rotation Wednesday versus the Blue Jays.