Victoria sobre las Aztecas! Yup, that was 100% a Hernando reference for all my conquistador aficionados out there. It’s not so much that I like Hernan Cortes as I just really hate Aztecs, but let me tell you about a Cortes I do really like. Nestor Cortes lead the New York Yankees to their eighth straight win Friday night pitching seven strong innings, allowing just six base runners, and striking out seven for his second win in a row. He’s also struck out seven in back-to-back starts. Nasty Nestor has been somewhat of a savior for the depleted Yankees pitching rotation and in five starts since the end of July, he’s allowed just 10 runs in 28.2 IP (3.19 ERA) with a 26/5 K/BB in that stretch. Must I mention the Jankees are 19-5 since Cortes joined the rotation, and they’ve only lost one of his starts? What about his 2.56 ERA that leads all Yankees starters? That 1.07 WHIP and 60/16 K/BB aren’t too shabby either. He doesn’t have Cole’s fastball or Taillon’s repertoire, but he’s managed to find success by switching up the speeds and styles with which he throws and has kept hitters guessing with his quirky delivery. Whether it’s a rando leg kick or a toe tap, a back show or a quick pitch, no two deliveries seem exactly alike, and that has resulted in confusing the heck out of batters. Unfortunately but fortunately, the NYC City Yankees are about to get real healthy, real quick. With Gerrit Cole already back, and Jordan Montgomery and Domingo German also set to return soon it remains to be seen if the 26-year old will stick in the rotation, but there’s no doubt Cortes has been an anchor when this staff needed him most. Imagine they go with Andrew Heaney (5.51 ERA) over this kid? SMH. Let’s hope not, as Nestor’s been so solid and the Yankees haven’t stopped winning. Cortes would line up for a favorable match-up in Oakland next weekend and he’s worth a speculative add in case he sticks. And I’m not just saying that because he takes the subway home after games all while rocking that amazing Mario mustache. Nasty Nestor conquers all!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Luke Voit – 4-for-5, HR (7), 4 RBI. Aaron Judge also homered (27). Can you believe the Yanks almost traded this guy? He’s batting .423 with 3 bombs and 11 RBIs in the past week. This lineup is quickly turning into one of the scariest in baseball. A heart of the order that includes Judge, Gallo, Stanton, and now Voit. A true murderer’s row. Sheesh! F to pay my respects to the pitchers who have to face this.

DJ LeMahieu – 2-for-4, 3 runs, HR (8), 2 RBI. His first jack since June 26th! I’m starting the think the Yankees are surging in a special way and it’s making me very melancholy.

Sonny Gray – 7.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 5th win. The days haven’t been all that sunny for Sonny lately, as he holds a 7.22 ERA since the break but the sun was shining a little brighter in Cincinnati Friday night and Gray’s 118/39 K/BB is still elite.

Michael Givens – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K, SV (4). BUY. He was a BUY and he hasn’t allowed a run since joining the Reds. IE the pitching coach hasn’t gotten to him yet. Grab him while he’s still untainted!

Elieser Hernandez – 4.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. You know I’m a sucker for Marlins starters and Elieser is no exception. Methinks he’ll fare better outside Great American Ballpark. He gets a much more favorable match-up at home versus Washington next week and I’m starting him.

Jazz Chisholm – 2-for-4, HR (14), 3 RBI. All that Jazz has three homers and a steal batting .381 in the past week. Will be interesting to see how he’s ranked for 2022. Marlins baseball, ya’ll! Get Hooked!

Joey Votto – 1-for-3, HR (28). ALL HE DOES IS HIT HOME RUNS! He’s got 17 ribbies and six dingers in the past two weeks and is currently winning your fantasy league.

Tyler Naquin – 2-for-4, HR (16). Tyler the Run Creator extended his hitting streak to 10 games Friday and he’s slashing .410/.452/.744 with 3 homers in the stretch. But no, maybe you should wait until he cools off to pick him up.

Myles Straw – 3-for-4, 3 runs, RBI. Amed Rosario 2-for-4, 2 runs, RBI. I had to choose between adding Straw and Rosario a few weeks ago and I was torn, you guys. Torn like Natalie Imbruglia in the mid-90s Torn.  I ended up adding both and can assure you that was the right decision.

Franmil Reyes – 2-for-5, HR (22), 5 RBI. Was slumping a bit but now has back-2-back homer games like that Drake song I can’t remember the name of. Framil’s injury earlier in the year made it possible for us all to draft him next year for his 50 homer season.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 1-for-4, HR (36). Yeah he’s slashing .312/.407/.608 with 89 RBI, but if he’s not starting every 5th day why should I care. ZZZ, wake me up when Ohtani’s on TV.

Robbie Ray – 8.0 IP, 5 hits, ER, 11 K. More amazing than his 2.79 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 178/36 K/BB to me, is the fact that the Blue Jays sit in fourth, 10.5 games back, with that lineup and what’s easily the best starting rotation in the AL East, possibly the league. How do they manage to lose so much? Is it really the bullpen? As for RobRay, dude could win the Cy Young for really.

Tyler Alexander – 7.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Pretty impressive start versus the mighty Blue Jays, who look less and less mighty if they keep dropping games to the Detroit Tigers.

Max Fried – 9.0 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 4 K, 11th win. His first complete game shut out in ever. In ever, folks. His 3.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 117/34 K/BB remind me of an early TSwift love ballad, and the Braves are 9-1 in their last 10 games. Let’s give him the Chop!

Jorge Soler – 1-for-4, HR (17). Soler Power!

Travis d’Arnaud – 2-for-3, HR (4). Well you know I’m going to shamelessly plug my post from last week where I told you to add him and he went 2-for-13 until Friday night. d’Arnaud just signed a big boy contract with the Braves so maybe he was just waiting to get paid before showing off his stuff.

Brad Keller – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, BB, 8 K, 8th win. Literally, start anyone against the Cubs right now. They are awful.

Salvador Perez – 2-for-3, 2 HR (32). While I tell you all to punt catcher I secretly draft Sally Perez all to myself and ride him to fantasy glory! Sal’s got career highs in homers and RBIs in the quietest MVP season ever.

Andrew Benintendi – 2-for-4, HR (12). His .256/.306/.409 with 12 homers, 40 RBI, and eight stolen bases aren’t elite, but they’re 100% better than anything Franchy Cordero has done this year. Ironic Boston has struggled so hard to find a good left-handed bat.

Chris Sale – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, BB, 5 K, 2nd win. ERA at 1.80. Sale Day is back! Boston is buzzing! Could Chris have asked for two easier matchups to return to in Baltimore and Tejas? Minnesota next week?! Easy does it now, Ace. He could have a sub-1 ERA by September!

Matt Barnes – 1.0 IP, 3 K. A non-save, no-pressure situation but Barnes looked more like first half Barnes and less like trash bag Barnes.

Xander Bogaerts – 2-for-4, HR (20). Awesome X!

Lucas Giolito – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K. I see your Lucas Giolito and his 9 wins and 3.77 ERA who you drafted in the 3rd round and raise you my Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon who I picked up off waivers in early May. Who wins?

Tim Anderson – 3-for-6, 4 runs, HR (14), 2 RBI. Sweet sassy molassy I love me some Tim Anderson! TA hit a game-tying dinger in the 9th then a go-ahead single in the 11th to beat the 1st place Rays. Who cares if he’s a lead-off hitter who never walks, I can’t wait to see this guy in the postseason.

Yoan Moncada – 1-for-3, HR (11), 2 RBI. Yoan is so overdue we need an emergency OBGYN to induce labor.

Miles Mikolas – 5.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. His first start in over two months, Miles did exactly what most of us expected him to do. He’s not setting the box score on fire but he definitely won’t hurt you and he gets another easy one with the P-Rats next week. I’d stream that!

Mitch Keller – 6.0 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, BB, 6 K, 10th L. Is there any other team in the league who’s starting five pitchers are as untouchable as Pittsburgh’s? Cubs? Twins maybe?

Lars Nootbar – 3-for-4. NGL (<–super popular acronym rn (<–another goodie)), I just wanted to write Nootbar. He’s batting .333 in the past week. Nootbar!

Patrick Corbin – 6.1 IP, 3 hits, ER, 7 K, 7th win. PatCo is at his best when there’s absolutely no stakes and nothing to play for.

Kyle Finnegan – 1.0 IP, BB, K, SV (5). Hey, did you say you needed a closer! Here’s one right here! Maybe you should add him? IDK! You said you needed saves!

Lorenzo Cain – 1-for-2, 2 SB (9). Ugh. No. Yah but nah.

Austin Gomber – 5.0 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. Austin’s home ERA is almost 3.5 points lower than his away ERA which would make a little bit of sense if he didn’t call Coors Field his home. I guess some just like to live a little more dangerously.

Tyler Gilbert – 5.0 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER, 2 K. I guess I don’t know what I was expecting, but yeah this seems about right.

Josh Rojas – 2-for-5, 2 RBI. BUY. He was a BUY and he’s under 50% owned, which is unusual for any player batting .288/.371/.466 with 11 home runs, 35 RBI, and seven steals, but even more unusual for a player with 354 ABs. This is not a hot schmotato, folks. This is the real Josh Rojas.

Garrett Hampson – 1-for-3, HR (7), SB (15). I drafted Hampson on just about every fantasy team this year and was loving life as he hit .250 with 5 steals in April. Yessss, he gave me just what I needed! Then–Bud Black happened. Hampson stopped playing every day, I stopped getting steals and times were dark. Thankfully I had Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour to get me through that tough period. Well, Hampson was back Friday with the slam & legs and has started two games in the row. Will he start a third? Will I re-add him on Sunday morning? IDK! Probably not though!

Connor Joe – 2-for-5, 2 RBI. BUY. The Rox are at home this weekend and Joe is leading off with 4 bombs in the past week. I love a lot of these Colorado players that don’t play but Connor J might rank at the top. He should continue to start as long as Tapia is out.

James Kapreilian – 5.0 IP, 3 hits, ER, 4 BB, 4 K. Big Game James’ 3.25 ERA, and 1.17 WHIP plus 87 Ks make him a true contender for Rookie of the Year honors. His start versus the Yankees next week scares me a bit, but if I owned him I’m starting him.

Carlos Carrasco – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, BB, 6 K. His longest outing of the year, and against this Dodgers team I’ve got to be pretty happy with this start after his past two (3.0 IP, 10 ER). Tbqhwy, holding Carrasco, waiting for him to get back to being even a decent streaming option is likely hurting your chances at competing for the big prize. Don’t be afraid to d-rop if you need the spot.

Walker Buehler – 7.2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 8 K, 13th win. You think about how banged up the Dodgers are, then you realize Buehler’s rocking a 2.11 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, with 170 strikeouts. Oh, and Max Scherzer starts today. OK, I empathized with LA for about 10 seconds, and it’s over now. Let’s go, Giants!

Pete Alonso – 2-for-4, HR (27). Albombso! Hey Pete! we’re gonna need about 15 more of these in the next two weeks if we have any hope to see some October albombos.

Blake Snell – 5.0 IP, 2 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 5th L. Sigh. I hate so much, the things you choose to be.

Matt Moore – 4.1 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. He didn’t no-hit anyone this time, but he does get the Diamondbacks next week. I look forward to seeing how the Phillies will blow their chance at the pennant even with the easiest schedule remaining.

Ian Kennedy – 1.1 IP, 2 K, SV (20). It’s unreal how much better this bullpen got once Kennedy arrived. Still bad. But much much better.

Bryce Harper – 1-for-3, HR (23). The 23 jacks seem low for Harper, but that .291/.408/.567 is mmm good. He’s also rocking a 1.105 OPS in August. OK, maybe the Phils got a chance at this thing with Harper on a mission. I look at all these players with 10+ year contracts and how disappointing they end up being, but Harper has elevated his game in many ways. Then I realize he’s only 23 and he has so much time left to be disappointing.

Ty France – 3-for-4, HR (14). Where were you in April when I needed this! Gosh! Why do I keep drafting Mariners hitters!

Yordan Alvarez – 2-for-5, HR (23), 4 RBI. Now that Yordan has outfield eligibility I will be drafting him everywhere next year. Yes maybe as early as the third round. You say I’m crazy, Sam Smith, but I know I’m not the only one.

Yuli Gurriel – 3-for-5, HR (13), 2 RBI.  Martin Maldonado also homered as the Astros had themselves a good old-fashioned hometown community pow wow. I feel like I forget how good they are because they were a bunch of cheating cheaters who cheat, but they’re still probably the best team in the AL.

Lance McCullers Jr. – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, BB, 8 K, 10th win. This is basically what I wanted out of Lance when I drafted him the last 4 years. He’s finally living up to the high standards I set for him, but not on my team :/. And even more unfortunately for me, it’s all about me you see, his 3.21 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 144/56 K/BB make it almost certain I won’t be able to afford him on draft day next year. Sorry Lance! You’ve outgrown me!

Yusei Kikuchi – 2.1 IP, 7 hits, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. 3 HR. If you want to blame your entire season collapse on this one Kikuchi start I will support you.

Jake Meyers – 1-for-4, HR (3). Jake has raked filling in for Kyle Tucker while Tucker is on the IL with an undisclosed injury. I have no idea what undisclosed injury that’s not COVID could mean but sounds like it could take a while and Jake is ripe for the picking (up)! He’s batting .333 with 3 homers and a steal in 36 ABs and currently riding a four-game hitting streak. This is not coming completely out of nowhere either as the rookie slashed .343/.408/.598 with 16 homers, 51 RBI and 10 stolen bases at AAA this year. You can pick him up, I won’t tell anyone! We can be secret add Meyers-ers!

Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below. Join us next Saturday for another Friday recap as fantasy baseball continues next week, all week long!