Another week of great baseball is in the books. Pennant and wild card races are in full swing and every inning matters right now. For fantasy owners, the same can be said. The playoffs are here for most of us so every roster move matters. Every start matters, if you want to reach the pinnacle of excellence in your league, and more importantly bragging rights. With that said let’s not waste any time and see what’s on tap for pitching this week.
But first, Injury news and notes. Max Scherzer is expected to make his return Monday just in time for a 2 start week. Alternately, another Dodger is looking like he’ll require an IL stint in David Price after being scratched from his start Friday. Jacob deGrom is not close to a return to the mound so don’t get excited. Jon Gray, however, could return from the IL this week so monitor that. Austin Gomber will miss the rest of the year with a stress fracture in his back. Lucas Giolito hit the IL with a hamstring injury this week. Kyle Freeland will return to start Monday. Also, Aaron Civale will return Monday to start for the Cleveland Indians. And lastly, Michael Pineda is expected to return from the IL Monday and piggyback Bailey Ober’s start. That’s the news now let’s get to the rankings. Good luck to your teams!
1. Max Scherzer LAD: (9/6 @ STL)(9/11 vs SD)
2. Gerrit Cole NYY: (9/7 vs TOR)(9/12 @ NYM)
3. Brandon Woodruff MIL: (9/6 vs PHI)(9/12 @ CLE)
4. Zack Wheeler PHI: (9/6 @ MIL)(9/11 vs COL)
– Wheeler is in a bit of a rough patch with 4 consecutive starts of letting up 4 runs or more. The Phillies have really ridden Wheeler all season, as he’s about surpass all of his career-high numbers. With that said, the Phillies got Wheeler an extra day of rest and hopefully that gives him the breather it seemed like he needed.
5. Max Fried ATL: (9/7 vs WAS)(9/12 vs MIA)
– Fried has been great this year. If you take out his pre-injury numbers from April his numbers are even more impressive. Also, he’s on a 7 start QS streak and these matchups at home should delight Max Fried owners everywhere.
6. Chris Sale BOS: (9/6 vs TB)(9/12 @ CHW)
– Attention! Chris Sale is still an Ace. He proved it against the Rays in his last start. He gets the Rays again this week and the White Sox. This does not dissuade me at all. Start him with confidence.
7. Aaron Nola PHI: (9/7 @ MIL)(9/12 vs COL)
– I’ve determined that this is Aaron Nola’s outlier season in terms of a bad year. None of the underlying numbers make me suspect he’s neither bad nor going to be bad in the long haul of his career. My guess is it’s a mechanical issue that will be fully addressed in the off-season. With that said, He’s still one of the leaders in K/9 in the league which is nothing to sneeze at. So, this is the most volatile pick of the bunch but Nola still has extreme upside even this year.
8. Lance McCullers Jr. HOU: (9/6 vs SEA)(9/12 vs LAA)
– I feel like I haven’t seen McCullers name pop up for 2 starts all year. However, if it did he’d be in the must start category all year. He’s got two weak lineups here, so he should fair well.
9. Kevin Gausman SF: (9/6 @ COL)(9/12 @ CHC)
– Gausman has been pretty good on the road, but the Rockies have been really good at home. That games a toss up for me, but he should have no issues dominating the Cubs. Something to keep in mind though is that Gausman has only reached the 6th inning twice in his last 9 starts.
10. Triston McKenzie CLE: (9/7 vs MIN)(9/12 vs MIL)
– I’ve waited for his emergence all year. After having issues with walks all season, McKenzie has fixed whatever the problem was. Here’s the line for his last 5 starts. 34 IP, 14 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, and 34 Ks. These are the numbers I was expecting to see all year from the highly regarded prospect. With two weak offenses on tap and T-Mac pitching lights out I feel great about him. So if he’s available scoop him up and start him.
11. Hyun-Jin Ryu TOR: (9/6 @ NYY)(9/11 @ BAL)
– Ryu has not been what I’d call consistent this year. One thing he has been consistent with is taking care of business against bad teams. Enter Baltimore. The Yanks matchup will be a crapshoot so we’ll just hope for the best with that one and start him this week.
12. Sonny Gray CIN: (9/6 @ CHC)(9/12 @ STL)
– Two away games should bode well for Gray. He gets out of the notoriously hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark and heads to face off against two weak lineups. We’re starting him.
13. Carlos Carrasco NYM: (9/7 @ MIA)(9/12 vs NYY)
– Cookie has looked pretty decent in his last 3 outings. He’s had full control of the strike zone and should easily handle the Marlins. And In the last game of the Subway series at home, I have to feel like adrenaline will be high and Carrasco will be ready to go. I’m starting him this week.
14. Yusei Kikuchi SEA: (9/6 @ HOU)(9/12 vs ARI)
– This sets up to be a good week for Kikuchi. He just blanked the Astros over 7 innings in his last start, he gets them again and the timing couldn’t be better, since the Astros are in a bit of a dry spell lately. Then, home game against Arizona? Sign me up. Go get the Kuchi’.
15. Aaron Civale CLE: (9/6 vs MIN)(9/12 vs MIL)
– Civale hasn’t pitched since June 21st. His last rehab outing he threw 71 pitches so I expect a number somewhere in the 80s for his first game back if all goes well. We couldn’t ask for a better opponent to help produce success in his first outing. I’m actually going to start him this week because of the matchups.
16. Bailey Ober MIN: (9/6 @ CLE)(9/12 vs KC)
– He’ll actually face off against Civale on Monday. I expect a very similar outcome from both sides in the game for the first 5-6 innings, and that outcome is low scoring. Ober has pitched well for a while now and gets two good matchups so you can start him if need be.
17. J.A. Happ STL: (9/7 vs LAD)(9/12 vs CIN)
– We’re not starting Happ. No Chance. Although, I just want to say that I wrote after the deadline about how effective Happ has been in his career after being traded at the deadline and he has been exactly that for the Cardinals. Even though he got obliterated by the Reds in his last start. If you take that start out his line since being traded is 28.1 IP, 20 H, 7 ER, 9 BB and 23 Ks. We most certainly can not start him this week, but he’s someone to keep an eye on in future playoff rounds if the matchups dictate.
POINTS LEAGUE PLAYS
18. Jackson Kowar KC: (9/6 @ BAL)(9/12 @ MIN)
19. Jameson Taillon NYY: (9/6 vs TOR)(9/11 @ NYM)
20. James Kaprielian OAK: (9/7 vs CHW)(9/12 vs TEX)
21. Steven Matz TOR: (9/7 @ NYY)(9/12 @ BAL)
22. Kyle Freeland COL: (9/6 vs SF)(9/11 @ PHI)
23. Mike Minor KC: (9/7 @ BAL)(9/12 @ MIN)
Patrick Corbin WAS: (9/6 vs NYM)(9/11 @ PIT), Edward Cabrera MIA: (9/7 vs NYM)(9/12 @ ATL), Miles Mikolas STL: (9/6 vs LAD)(9/11 vs CIN), Justin Steele CHC: (9/6 vs CIN)(9/12 vs SF), Paolo Espino WAS: (9/7 @ ATL)(9/12 @ PIT), A.J. Alexy TEX: (9/6 @ LAA)(9/12 @ OAK), Matt Harvey BAL: (9/7 vs KC)(9/12 vs TOR), Spenser Watkins BAL: (9/6 vs KC)(9/11 vs TOR), Chi Chi Gonzalez COL: (9/7 vs SF)(9/12 @ PHI), Bryse Wilson PIT: (9/6 vs DET)(9/11 vs WAS)