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- RP Brad Boxberger just didn’t have it from the jump yesterday when asked to protect a 2-1 lead and prevent the Dodgers from sweeping the Snakes out of first place in the NL West. Boxberger walked the first two batters he faced, including losing 1B/3B/OF Max Muncy after getting ahead 0-2. After a sacrifice bunt, Boxberger was replaced by RP Archie Bradley, who needed just one pitch to hand first place over to LA when OF Matt Kemp doubled home both of Boxberger’s runners for a 3-2 walk-off win.
- OF Ronald Acuña Jr. hit another leadoff home run yesterday, his seventh of the season (he has 23 overall), and also added a double, a single, and two runs scored in yesterday’s 5-1 Braves win.
- SP Julio Teheran went seven strong innings yesterday, overcoming some spotty command to limit the Pirates to a run on four hits and two walks while striking out five.
- 2B Jonathan Villar went 1-for-4 with a solo home run yesterday – he’s picked up his value in the last few weeks and now ranks 11th in roto at second base for the season. In his last 10 games, Villar has 11 hits, including two homers, five steals, and eight runs scored.
Boston Red Sox
- SP Chris Sale will likely be ready to pitch this weekend, but we wouldn’t suggest putting him in your lineups in weekly leagues, as reports are saying that he’ll likely only get two or three innings in his first start back.
- SP Jon Lester shut out the Phillies for six innings yesterday, allowing eight hits, but no walks, and striking out seven. After his meltdown stretch from July 20 to August 11, Lester has now delivered quality starts in three of his last four outings, and the one he didn’t was one in which he went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one run. He can confidently be started in all situations, including in his next start over the weekend against Washington.
Chicago White Sox
- Perhaps now it is time to believe in SP James Shields’ revival in the second half of the season after he shut out the vaunted Red Sox offense for six innings yesterday, limiting them to four singles and two walks while striking out six.
- RP Raisel Iglesias is struggling right now – he allowed three walks and an unearned run yesterday, but still managed to earn his 25th save of the season. Iglesias has allowed at least one baserunner in his last seven appearances and runs in four of his last five.
- OF Melky Cabrera continues to hit well with everyday playing time, going 1-for-4 yesterday with two RBI and a double. Melky is hitting the ball hard 40.4 percent of the time, as he’s sacrificed a small amount of overall contact for a meaningful boost in power. He’s a nice deep sleeper for the stretch run.
- 1B/OF Ian Desmond only reached base once in four at-bats yesterday on a single, but he made a fantasy impact anyway by stealing second and third base and scoring a run. Although Desmond has had a serious drop in power with one home run in the last 30 days, he’s still remained relevant with steals, and he now has 17 on the year.
- OF Victor Reyes went 4-for-5 with his first major league home run, three RBI, two doubles, and two runs scored yesterday.
- OF George Springer hit his first home run since August 5 yesterday, part of a 3-for-5 day that included a double, a single, two runs scored, and two RBI. Springer finished August hot and has hits in six of his last seven games.
Kansas City Royals
- Manager Ned Yost said yesterday that OF Jorge Soler had a setback in his rehab assignment as he worked to return from a toe injury that has kept him out since mid-June. Soler is likely done for the season and can be dropped anywhere he was being stashed.
Los Angeles Angels
- SP Shohei Ohtani only last 2 1/3 innings and 49 pitches yesterday in his first start since June 6, allowing two runs, two hits, and two walks while striking out two. Ohtani’s velocity totally fell off the map in his last inning, dropping from 96-97 mph on his four-seam fastball to 91-92 mph. He said after the game his elbow was fine but that his back stiffened up, which was what caused the velocity drop. He will make his next start, either this coming Sunday or a week from today.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- SP Walker Buehler struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings of work yesterday, allowing only two singles, three walks, and a run. Buehler had a very impressive 16 swinging and 24 called strikes among his 103 pitches, and it looks like the time off he had due to minor injuries in the summer has allowed him to stay strong for this stretch run despite him already surpassing his minor league innings total from last year by almost 20 percent.
- SP Jeff Brigham allowed three earned runs on four hits and four walks in a three-inning major league debut yesterday. He struck out two.
- Newly-acquired OF Curtis Granderson led off yesterday and went 0-for-1 with two walks and a run scored. Granderson will be a part-time player for Milwaukee this month.
- OF Eddie Rosario still wasn’t cleared Sunday to resume baseball activities, and if you have a replacement for him available in a weekly league, we’d go ahead and bench Rosario this week.
- OF Jake Cave homered again yesterday, his third straight game and fourth in six starts with a bomb.
New York Mets
- OF Michael Conforto went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run yesterday. He’s been an extended slump with only two extra-base hits and 18 strikeouts in the last 15 days, but he remains a worthy flyer in deeper mixed leagues because he’s been so streaky.
- SP Noah Syndergaard pitched a complete game two-hitter for his 10th win of the year, striking out 11 and allowing only one walk and one run.
New York Yankees
- After a strong start two Saturdays ago agains the Orioles, SP Sonny Gray came back yesterday in long relief and was good again, allowing only a solo home run, three singles, and a walk in four innings of work while striking out three.
- OF Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI yesterday, capping off a terrific weekend when the A’s needed him most against the team closest to them in the Wild Card race (Seattle). Piscotty has hit .322 with a 1.027 OPS in his last 15 games
- SP Aaron Nola struck out 11 in 5 2/3 innings yesterday, but he was victimized by extra-base hits, with three of his five hits allowed going for homers and the others being a triple and a single. He ended up allowing four earned runs on the day, pushing his ERA from 2.10 to 2.23.
- 3B Colin Moran was the lone offensive bright spot for the Pirates yesterday, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Moran started five games last week with 3B David Freese traded to the Dodgers, picking up hits in four of them (7-for-18 overall).
San Diego Padres
- OF Hunter Renfroe was moved up to third in the order yesterday with regular number three hitter 1B/3B/OF Wil Myers being dropped to the five hole. Myers went hitless and Renfroe had a single in their four respective at-bats.
San Francisco Giants
- SP Chris Stratton was solid over six innings yesterday, allowing just a two-run home run, a double, and a single, but striking out only two. Stratton isn’t able to go very deep in to games right now and makes for a risky start next weekend when he takes on the Brewers.
- 3B Kyle Seager continues to be useless in most mixed formats – he went 1-for-4 yesterday with a double, but he’s been dropped in the order to seventh and is hitting .178 with a .563 OPS in his last 30 games.
St. Louis Cardinals
- RP Bud Norris had his first bad outing in his last eight appearances, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning to lose for the fourth time this season.
- 3B Patrick Wisdom started two games this weekend and went 1-for-5 with two walks, a home run, two runs scored, and an RBI. In his third full season of work at Triple-A this year, Wisdom hit .288 with 15 homers and 11 steals in 414 plate appearances, but at age 27 he’s not a great prospect for the long-term.
Tampa Bay Rays
- 2B/OF Brandon Lowe is starting to get comfortable at the plate after a very rough start to his career. He went 3-for-5 yesterday with two doubles and a home run, driving in three. Lowe was always scouted to have good raw power, and with a couple of tiny adjustments he could be a deep sleeper next season as the Rays look to turn him in to another Swiss Army knife along with fellow infielder/outfield types Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson.
- OF Nomar Mazara hit two home runs and a double yesterday, scoring twice and driving in three runs. He’s now homered in three consecutive games after going two weeks without one in his return from a thumb injury that put him on the disabled list and was still swollen even when he came back.
- SP Yohander Mendez was the beneficiary of 18 runs of support yesterday, but he didn’t need it to earn his first major league win, going six shutout innings and allowing only three hits and a walk. He struck out two.
Toronto Blue Jays
- OF Teoscar Hernandez went 1-for-2 yesterday with a three-run home run and two walks. Hernandez has been dropped to the lower third of the order in recent weeks thanks to a brutal post-All-Star Break stretch where he’s hit .202 with a .667 OPS in 129 plate appearances.
- SP Sean Reid-Foley struck out 10 over seven innings to earn his first major league win yesterday. He allowed four singles, a walk, and a run over 101 pitches.
- OF Bryce Harper went 1-for-2 with a single, a walk, and a run scored yesterday. Harper’s power outage continues on – in his last 50 plate appearances he has just nine hits and three doubles with no home runs.