NOTE: With the season coming to an end next week and relevant fantasy news tapering off, Monday, September 24 will be the final Daily Intel of the 2018 season. We’ll have news next week on the offseason schedule, including when initial 2019 rankings will post, when to expect in-depth individual player breakdowns, and more.
- OF David Peralta was the lone Snake to do damage against Rockies SP German Marquez last night, hitting a two-run homer in the first inning and also singling later in the game. Peralta is now hitting .297 with an .875 OPS and 29 homers this year.
- OF Ender Inciarte was back in the second spot in the order last night, his third straight game there. Previously-regular number two hitter 2B Ozzie Albies was down to the seven hole, where he went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run. Inciarte went 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI.
- OF Cedric Mullins remains the most enjoyable thing about this bare-bones roster, as he posted another two-hit night last night with three runs scored ,a walk, and a stolen base.
Boston Red Sox
- SP Chris Sale worked up to 73 pitches last night, but it only got him through 3 1/3 innings with Cleveland working counts but still striking out seven times against Sale. He allowed two runs on five hits. Sale gets a must-start for his last outing of the season against the Orioles at home next week. He should be able to go at least 90 pitches.
- 2B Daniel Murphy went 3-for-5 with a leadoff home runs and two runs scored last night. After a shaky start to September, Murphy is now 6-for-12 over the last week with five runs scored.
Chicago White Sox
- SP Reynaldo Lopez pulled an unexpected gem out of his hat last night against the Cubs, striking out eight over seven innings and allowing only five hits and one run. Lopez is closing strong with 30 strikeouts in 27 innings this month, and he’s now on a six-start stretch where he’s allowed just five earned runs over 39 2/3 innings. He’ll finish with a start Wednesday against Cleveland.
- SP Luis Castillo is going to be one of the more interesting draft stocks to watch next spring. He was arguably the hottest stock in drafts coming in to this year, being drafted in the top 100 despite less than 100 career innings in the majors. He’s burned his owners this year, ranking in the 70-90 range among starters for most of the year. But after last night’s outing, probably his best of the year with 8 1/3 innings of shutout work against Miami, he’s now pitched 33 innings in September to a 1.09 ERA and .85 WHIP, striking out 34 and walking eight. It hasn’t been soft competition like Miami, either, as he’s done it at the Cubs and Cardinals and home against the Dodgers.
- SP Shane Bieber backed up returning-SP Trevor Bauer last night, as Bauer worked 1 1/3 innings before being removed. Bieber was hit hard again, with the Red Sox tagging him for six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He’s now allowed 18 earned runs in five starts and 29 innings this month, good for a 5.59 ERA.
- SP German Marquez dominated again last night, striking out 11 Arizona batters over seven innings to win his 13th game of the year. He allowed two runs on six hits and no walks. Marquez will finish his season Wednesday at home against Philly, so he caps his incredible season of road starts with 102 innings, 111 strikeouts, and a 2.91 ERA.
- DH Victor Martinez will end his career tomorrow with a home game. He’ll be on the roster next week but will not play.
- SP Lance McCullers will be activated from the disabled list on Monday after missing most of the last two months with a forearm strain. He’ll only work out of the bullpen in preparation for that role in the playoffs.
Kansas City Royals
- RP Wily Peralta closed his 12th game of the season yesterday with two strikeouts in the ninth, also allowing a hit and a walk. He seems locked in to be next spring’s “I can’t believe I’m taking this guy but I need saves in the 16th round” award winner, annually given to a veteran reliever who is scheduled to close for an awful team. This year’s winner of that award would’ve been RP Shane Greene, and that endeavor would’ve worked out if you just cared about amassing saves.
Los Angeles Angels
- SP Andrew Heaney faced the Astros last night for the third time in six starts, and that’s usually a recipe for a bad outing when you give an elite lineup that many looks at you in a short span. Heaney allowed six runs on five hits and three walks over three innings, striking out five. He will end his season next Wednesday with a start against Texas, who has hit him up for 10 runs in 11 1/13 innings over two matchups since mid-August.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2B Brian Dozier is, to us, the most interesting free agent asset on the market this winter. He’s had MVP-caliber seasons in the recent past and he’s only 31 with a strong plate discipline skill that should age well, but he is totally flaming out down the stretch in a pennant race. He went 0-for-2 yesterday with a walk and a strikeout, and for the month he’s now 3-for-37 with three doubles, two RBI, and a 10-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He hasn’t posted an OPS over .784 in a full month this season.
- One of the fun things about looking at box scores everyday is noticing the trends that materialize over the course of the season. Perhaps our favorite for 2018 is SP Wei-Yin Chen’s indescribable home/road splits. Last night, he dominated the Reds at home for seven shutout innings. It was his 13th home start of the year. He now has thrown 78 innings in those starts with a 1.62 ERA, striking out 74 and walking 22. He’s thrown 12 starts on the road this year, amassing 51 1/3 innings. In those starts, he’s struck out 36 and walked 22, with a 9.29 ERA. Chen has finished strong overall, though, with 46 1/3 innings since August 1 and a 2.53 ERA in that stretch, with 48 strikeouts compared to eight walks.
- OF Lorenzo Cain missed another game last night due to core muscle issue. The Brewers could conceivably sit Cain the rest of the way if they get enough cushion on the Cardinals for home field in the wild card game, so keep an eye on Cain’s status this weekend to see if you should drop him before Monday.
- 3B Miguel Sano was unable to return last night from a left leg injury and was instead sent back to Minnesota for additional testing. If you were holding out hope that he’d give you one last power boost next week, we’d move on from him now.
New York Mets
- SP Jacob deGrom clinched the NL Cy Young last night, at least in our opinion, with another dominant outing that gave him his ninth win of the year and somehow lowered his already-miniscule ERA from 1.78 to 1.77. He threw seven innings to beat the Nats, allowing three hits and a walk and striking out eight. He’s now struck out 35 in 27 innings this month while pitching to a .67 WHIP and 2.33 ERA.
New York Yankees
- SP CC Sabathia bounced back last night with a quality start to beat the Orioles. He allowed two runs on six hits and three walks over six innings, striking out five. Sabathia probably should be cut though for a safer starter next week, as his final outing of the season will come against the red-hot Tampa Bay lineup.
- OF Khris Davis has a legitimate shot at finishing with 50 homers after going 2-for-5 last night with two bombs, including a walk-off shot in the 10th inning. He now has 119 RBI on the season to go with his 45 homers.
- Yesterday we wrote that RP Seranthony Dominguez would be the highest drafted reliever on this team next spring. He worked the sixth inning yesterday, and we’re questioning how anyone is going to believe manager Gabe Kapler about his bullpen usage, barring the front office going out and grabbing a no-doubt veteran closer type in free agency. RP Hector Neris may be the best value in the spring, as he’s working later innings this month since returning to the major league club.
- 1B Josh Bell is closing with a flourish – last night was his fourth straight multi-hit game and sixth in his last 10 starts. He went 2-for-4 with a solo homer, and for September as a whole he is hitting .346 with three homers, nine runs scored, and 10 walks in 62 plate appearances.
San Diego Padres
- OF Hunter Renfroe is going to be an enjoyable asset to own next spring, because the realistic outcomes for him are going to be all over the place. He hit his 24th home run of the season, and seventh of the month, last night, and he’s actually made some impressive progress in narrowing his platoon splits – he entered this season with a 1.084 OPS against lefties and .676 OPS against righties over the previous two seasons. This year, those numbers are .796 against lefties and .817 against righties. With a crowded outfield in San Diego, Renfroe could either land a regular role and hit 40 homers, or get an opening day job, flame out in a few weeks, and be off your roster by May 1.
San Francisco Giants
- SP Madison Bumgarner worked six innings last night to pick up a quality start, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out five. He’ll finish his season on Wednesday against the Padres.
- SP James Paxton will return to the rotation on Monday or Tuesday and should be started next week in all leagues with a final potential two-start week on the table.
St. Louis Cardinals
- SP/RP Tyson Ross pitched well again in long relief last night, working 2 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and only one hit allowed. Ross has now worked 25 2/3 innings since coming to the Cardinals and shifting in to this hybrid role, and he’s pitched to a 2.10 ERA and .94 WHIP in that stretch.
Tampa Bay Rays
- OF Austin Meadows got his first shot at regular at-bats in the Rays’ lineup last night after 1B Ji-Man Choi left the game with an injury. Meadows was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, a stolen base, and three RBI.
- 1B/3B/OF Joey Gallo returned to the lineup last night after missing most of the week with a toe injury, going 1-for-1 with two walks and a two-run home run. He’s got 38 on the season and should once again reach the 40-homer mark, barring the toe injury flaring up against in the last nine games.
Toronto Blue Jays
- SS Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is swinging a very hot bat right now, homering in the ninth inning on Thursday and the first and fourth innings last night, part of a 3-for-4 day with two runs scored and two RBI. He’s 10-for-25 over the last week.
- SP Joe Ross was better in his second start of the season, posting a quality start with six innings of work and three earned runs allowed on eight hits and a walk. He struck out three. Ross’ velocity has been up or steady across his full arsenal from where it was in 2016, so he looks like one to watch in spring training next year.