Happy Labor Day, everyone! Today, we celebrate all of those mothers who are in labor giving birth to us, so put your legs up, grunt real hard and scream at a loved one that they are a “bastard” or a “weasel-d*cked moron who isn’t even the real father.” You’ve earned this day, male or female, though I’m not sure how men earned a Labor Day. Do I have this celebration right? Any hoo! People acting like Justin Verlander‘s 3rd no-hitter was stamping his ticket to Cooperstown are hilarious. He was a lock for the Hall of Fame when he posed nude in the mirror with Kate Upton. Yesterday’s butter: 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 14 Ks, ERA at 2.56 is just another example of the legacy of one of the greatest pitchers ever. Everyone should stop to watch a Verlander game. That’s a ‘stop to smell the roses’ request because you deserve something as glorious as seeing Verlander throw a baseball. This is a request for you to live your life, not like you’re in labor with your feet in stirrups, but like your feet are on the ground and you’re reaching for the stars. Okay, now I’m just misquoting Casey Kasem. For 2020 and beyond, Verlander is an ace until he shows he no longer is, and I’m thankful for every one of his pitches that I’ve never owned on a fantasy team (eff me). Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Gavin Lux – Called up with September call-ups beginning, as MLB teams raise a 40 of St. Ides, the Patron Saint of Pitcher Changes, looks on. Whether it’s Kevin Cron, Jon Duplantier, Brusdar Graterol, Pat Valaika, Travis Jankowski, Taylor Ward, Jake Jewell, Cole Irvin, Chris Shaw, Pablo Sandoval (!), Ryan Zimmerman (!!), Gorkys Hernandez (!!!), Braden Bishop (?), Manny Bañuelos (aka Many Bathrooms) and Yitz Youngstein. Okay, I made up the last name, but you had no idea. Unless it’s Kyle Tucker, Gavin Lux and maybe a select few, there’s not a ton these guys going to do much in the final month. My advice is to see who is actually in a starting lineup or pitching and then maybe show slight interest. September baseball is mostly won with guys like Kevin Pillar vs. Kevin Cron.
Dustin May – 1/3 IP, 3 ER, ERA at 5.11, and walked off the field after being hit on the melon by a comebacker. He’s been a ton of fun to own. Like a bowling ball that you only use to drop on your foot.
Cody Bellinger – 2-for-5, and his 43rd homer, hitting .310. Can’t wait to own him next year for the 23-homer, .275 season. It’s gonna be rad.
Tyler Naquin – Torn ACL in his knee and out for this year and part of next year. He suffered the injury when he crashed into a wall on Friday, illustrating the difference between a Naquin and a crash test mannequin.
Carlos Carrasco – 1 IP, 1 ERR, ERA at 5.05 as he was activated from the IL. All hail Cookie! Not for fantasy though.
Nate Lowe – 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 6th homer, as he was recalled from Triple-A. As Lowe put on his jersey, he said, “It’s good to be back–This smells like Brandon.” Lowe’s a cheap outdoors supply store, and power bat in deeper leagues.
Adalberto Mondesi – 4-for-5, 2 runs, and his 32nd, 33rd and 34th steal, as he was activated from the IL. I didn’t know words could mean so much. It simply said, “Mondesi activated from the IL,” but what I read was, “Here is some oxygen for you to breathe.”
Danny Duffy – 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners (7 hits), 3 Ks, ERA at 4.89, as he was activated from the IL. He was a Streamonator call, and, as I said somewhere (I forgot), Duffy was returning from a non-arm injury to face the O’s, so I wasn’t too worried. By the way, the Streamonator projections for Duffy’s start: 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 walk, 6 Ks. One more hit and three more Ks, you jerky Robot Head!
Trevor Bauer – 4 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 4.53, a near-8 ERA on the Reds, and a near-7 ERA post-All-Star break. Off-field douchebag Bauer has finally found equal footing with on-field Bauer. Don’t think he’s this bad suddenly; he’s either injured or his mechanics are broken, but I’d drop him in most redraft mixed leagues.
Sonny Gray – 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.80 vs. Michael Wacha – 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 5.07. This matchup was billed as one guy I will love next year and one guy I will hate, then the guy I love will turn to garbage and the reverse for the guy I’ll hate, no matter which is which.
Eugenio Suarez – 2-for-6, 2 RBIs and his 40th homer, hitting .262, but left the 2nd game in pain after being hit by a pitch. Not sure enough is made of the fact that Suarez was acquired for a murderer.
Sean Manaea – 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners (1 Hit), 5 Ks as he made his season debut. I already gave you my Sean Manaea fantasy. Read it and weep (if someone’s cutting onions nearby). The gist: You should’ve stashed him last week.
CC Sabathia – Hit the IL with knee inflammation. CC’s 39 years old and wearing down, as his Hall of Fame career comes to an end. Now all we have to look forward to is CC guest-starring on MLB TV’s Karaoke Buffett. It’s Karaoke Carpool, but at a buffet with Bartolo Colon.
Edwin Encarnacion – Could return from his fractured wrist next week. Or is that this week? If you ask me, not knowing is weak.
J.A. Happ – 6 IP, 1 hit, 4 BBs, 5 Ks, ERA at 5.34. When you’re giving up four walks vs. five Ks in six innings, you’re trying to pitch a terrible game, but the BABIP Gods just won’t let you.
Reynaldo Lopez – 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 5.41. Next year I’m going to avoid any pitcher who has thrown a less-than-one-inning start. Seriously. How terrible would it be to avoid these schmohawks?
Freddie Freeman – 3-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 37th and 38th homer, hitting .301. It’ll be interesting to look back and see how many players have career power years this year. Not sure we’ll have enough hindsight in 2020.
Pete Alonso – 2-for-3 and his 43rd homer. Albombso!
Zach Eflin – 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 4.33. I looked at him as a possible streamer and, I have to be honest, I couldn’t pull the trigger. Streamonator‘s iffy on his next start, and, yeah, I’ll never be able to do it.
Stephen Strasburg – 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 14 Ks, ERA at 3.47. Member there was a time when we thought this would be Strasburg every time he pitched and not just against a team sporting Starling Castro and Neil Walker as their three and four hitters?
Sean Doolittle – 1 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 4.25, as he was activated from the IL. Nats said Doolittle won’t be thrust right back in the closer role, which means, if past history holds true, he’ll be asked to close no later than tomorrow and every day after with no days off.
Juan Soto – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 31st homer, hitting .298. Also, in this game, Anthony Rendon (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 32nd homer. Together, they hit five homers and 14 RBIs in the series with the Marlins. Rendon and Sexy Dr. Pepper were born eight years apart and they reached 30 homers the same weekend, which shows you it’s never too late to be a sexy, carbonated beverage or not.
Ryan Zimmerman – 1-for-3, 2 RBIs and his 4th homer, as he was activated. Of course, he was on my bench. Now I will put him in my lineup for an oh-for-the-rest-of-the-season.
Caleb Smith – 5 1/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 4.30. Very much will like Smith for 2020, but I dropped him last week in a redraft. Just the facts, fam.
Starling Castro – 1-for-3 and his 16th homer, and his 3rd homer in four games. Hot schmotato alert!
Nolan Arenado – 1-for-3 and his 35th homer. This is my grandmother’s recipe for a lime Jell-o mold in the shape of Richard Nixon. A prized family heirloom which makes it odd that I’m leaving it by this open window–NOOOO!!! Torenado!
Stephen Brault – 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 3.88, as he pitchslapped Tinoco, a guy who throws a poor man’s gas. Don’t let Brault or any Pirates pitcher, suck you in, in a non-sexual way.
Ty France – 2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 3rd and 4th homer. Padres really need to figure out their 2nd base position this offseason, i.e., figure out if they’re by Urias or just spending a semester in France.
Kevin Pillar – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 20th homer. As mentioned in the Lux blurb, do you wanna win in 2021 or now?
Kyle Seager – 1-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 19th homer, hitting .250. Similar to Pillar, Seager has been crazy hot and should be owned in all leagues if you’re trying to win in September, and you should be.
Tom Murphy – 2-for-6 and his 17th homer, hitting .284. I don’t want to blow anyone’s mind but Murphy would have 35 homers if some team would just play him.
Daniel Vogelbach – 2-for-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 29th homer, hitting .218. I believe that was the Jelly Donut of Swat’s 1st hit since July, but I might be misremembering.
J.D. Martinez – 1-for-2 and his 34th homer. Just Dong because the alternative makes us sad.
David Price – 2 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 4.28, as he was activated from the IL. He’s lasted longer in a game of Fortnite.
Xander Bogaerts – 3-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 31st homer, hitting .312. Wanna draft Semien in your pants? Look at Bogaerts’s hard hit %.
Matthew Boyd – 6 IP, 5 ER, 4 homers allowed, 7 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.58. Snafu has such a fatal flaw that he could be a great character in literature. Colonel Snafu Kurtz Boyd screams after each deep bomb, “The homer! The homer!”
Brusdar Graterol – Called up by the Twins to work in relief. When you google Brusdar Graterol, the 1st suggestion is ‘Brusdar Graterol fastball.’ Context clues tell me it’s special. My context clues don’t lie, as Nerd Shakira once said. Graterol throws 100 MPH fairly easily and will strikeout at least one per inning in middle relief. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a small sample, his numbers look similar to Colin Poche (4+ ERA with massive Ks).
Kyle Gibson – Hit the IL with colitis. So, Gibson has the runs? Oh, that definitely checks out.
Keston Hiura – Hit the IL with a strained hamstring. Could be the end of Keston’s year. Check out his rookie numbers in less than a half a year: 16 HRs, 9 SBs, .301. Mr. Prorater, “Holy crap, that’s a 1st round fantasy talent.” You’re not wrong, Mr. Prorater.
Christian Yelich – 1-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 42nd homer, a 9th-inning, 3-run shot off Craig Kimbrel (ERA at 5.68). The Kimbrel signing must make Cubs fans so grateful. Like when you spend four hours preparing a tomato gravy like Mama taught you and, when you go to put parmesan on it, you grate your knuckles into it and need a 24-hour urgent care. Am I using grateful correctly?
Yu Darvish – Scratched with forearm soreness. “Forearm Soreness” is the Hotel California of pitcher injuries. They can check you out, but you can never leave the doctor’s office.
Cole Hamels – 6 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.69. Whatever was bothering him early in August seems to be corrected now that he has three straight decent starts (notice I didn’t say Quality.) Maybe he was nervous about his wife about to go into labor with Bryce Harper’s kid. “Hello, I am Cole Hamels and my son Krew–” “I am Bryce Harper, and my son’s name is Krew.” “Looks like we got a pig-roast with extra coals,” says Charlie Manuel, as he shakes his head and walks away.
Ben Zobrist – Returned to the Cubs after missing five months with a divorce. Happy to see Zobrist get his life in order, and can’t wait for the Kramer vs. Kramer remake when it takes him five months to hire a nanny. “So, you dunk the bread in the milk then the eggs?” Ben begins to break down, sniffling, “It’s just eggs and milk are what females carry in their naughty bits and…Oh god, why’d she leave me?!”