Chicago White Sox, no–umm, Anaheim Ang–wait, Cleveland Guardians pitcher Lucas Giolito (finally) looked like his old self Friday night dominating the Tejas Rangers through seven shut out innings, allowing just three base runners (two hits, one walk) and striking out a career high 12 for his eighth win of the year. He entered the game Friday night with a 4.89 ERA, and a tragic 8.02 ERA since his trade to the Angels back in July. The seven shutout innings was the first time he’d accomplished such a feat since April, and can you imagine if he’d pitched like this when arriving in Anaheim? Angels might still be in this thing, Ohtani would have never been injured and definitely wouldn’t have been shut down, Renfroe would still be an Angel, Anthony Rendon would be playing and with gusto, my girlfriend never would have left me, Mookie would still be a Red Sock, Trout would be Trouting and I would have won all my fantasy football match ups week one. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but at least two of those things might have been true had Lucas delivered anything resembling Friday’s start when he arrived in Orange County. Yep, Friday night LG looked like the guy the Angels needed at the deadline to help them get to October. He was locating his fastball and the change up looked unhittable. All this after allowing 18 runs over his last 15.2 innings. Woof. I could have streamed him. He was available, but how could I even think about it? If you started him I do not know how you fit those mammoth grapefruits in those lulu joggers of yours, but you have the confidence of Deion Sanders I want you to teach me how to do that. Perhaps the Rangers are just in spiral-mode, even though they just swept the Blue Jays, maybe Terry Francona really is that much of a players coach, and he just inspired the F out of Gio and the Guards are gonna climb into wild card contention despite being eight games back? Whatever happened, maybe a switch has been flipped and Lucas is back in the fantasy conversation with a juicy match up in Kansas City on tap for next week. I know, I’m scared, too. But now’s not the time for that. Big risk, big reward! So, summon up your best Deion Sander impression, throw on your darkest sunglasses and why not try to ride Lucas Giolito’s renaissance to a fantasy glory?

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

Josh Naylor – 4-for-5, 3 RBI. Yes, yes, yes, we hardly know her. But maybe we should get to know her? Ask about her why don’t we? Hobbies? Family? Interests? Definitely don’t mention your fantasy team. I know, I know, you’re in the semi-finals but I promise you no one cares. Well, I care, you can tell me all about it in the comments. Also, did you know Naylor is hitting .417 in the past week with two homers and a steal? His .312 average is a career high and while you expect bigger power numbers from a guy who looks like this, he could be a popular sleeper next year with first base being the barren wasteland it is, a position riddled with fire and ash and dust where not even light can escape. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. So ya, I like Naylor at first next year!

Jon Gray – 3.2 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. The Rangers look 50 shades of c00ked to me, and Gray hasn’t helped giving up 17 runs in his past five starts despite favorable match ups. But Tejas also just swept Toronto, who just swept Boston and Gray gets the Dead Sox next week, and as pathetic as they are if Gray can’t take care of Cleveland and Oakland I’d be reluctant to use him again this year until he shows us something sweet.

Ramon Laureano – 2-for-2, 3 runs, HR (9). The Guardians (dumbest team name ever) will take your trash, douse it in febreeze and turn it into sparkling trash with glitter all over it. See Giolito, Lucas. Now that’s some pretty trash!

Andres Gimenez – 2-for-4, HR (13). Not the speed demon we wanted him to be but six steals in September will do! He’s also batting .348 in the past week as the Guards are surging despite being very out of it. Finish strong for Tito!

Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3-for-5, 2 RBI. In addition to hurricanes and presidential mugshots and Colorado football, Ke’Bryan was one of the better things to emerge out of the end of summer. However, after seemingly finding his power in August with six homers, he seems to have lost it again. Is this my passive aggressive way of getting him to homer for the first time in 10 days? Maybe. So while the batting average is nice, the power, or more accurately power-less streaks make him really hard to rank for 2024, so he’s probably just easier to avoid.

Gerrit Cole – 5.0 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. To be honest, I was expecting a bit more of a dominant showing from the soon-to-be Cy Young award winner Gerrit Cole, but I guess all Cole needs to do is not get bombed by the Pirates on the road. I know we say to never draft top starters but Cole’s stats speak for themselves, his 2.81 ERA is first in the AL, and he’s second in WHIP (1.05), third in strikeouts (208), and second in batting average against (.217). Ehh, it’s closer than it probably should be, and there are a few relievers who might even deserve it more but as far as a top round starter, Cole has done his job and has pitched exceptionally well in the past few weeks when you need him most. So you didn’t totally drop the ball drafting Cole in the first or second, but just know Gausman, Eflin and Luis Castillo who are neck-and-neck with him in almost all these categories, could be had in your drafts probably five or six rounds later.

Colin Holderman – 1.0 IP, 4 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, BS. Bucs regular closer David Bednar was off Friday night, and the Holderman got a chance to be the Saverman and oh boy did it not go well. To be fair to Colin, Ji Hwan Bae made an egregious error, botched the the double play throw and Colin Blowerman is charged with all four runs as his ERA jumps almost a run and a half from 2.87 to 3.48. Not very BAE, Bae.

Luis Arraez – 2-for-5, 2 HR (9). Twin ding dongs to the exact same spot in right just about. The two homer game was a career high, as was the 9 homers (he hit eight last year). I want you to watch both home run one and homer two because not only are these little baby bombs kind of adorable but I had to watch them twice just to make sure it wasn’t the same home run.

Michael Harris II – 2-for-4, HR (17). My beef with MH2 has been more my own issue for drafting him so high, but more specifically for drafting him ahead of Corbin Carroll. But that ain’t Michael Harris’ fault! For real, considering he bat .190 in April, and .160 in May, the fact that he’s slashing .290/.334/.477 now is insane. Not to mention he’s getting hot just as we head into H2H playoffs, hitting .321 with three homers in the past week.  He should be a 20/20 guy by season’s end, which is exactly why I drafted him. So sorry for hating on you so hard in May, MH2. Still besties?

Ronald Acuña Jr. – 2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI. Left the game with calf tightness, and thankfully he may have avoided serious injury. The scream you heard was not Ronald but was in fact me in my basement gasping aloud.

Zach Eflin – 7.0 IP, 1 hit, ER, 8 K, 15th win. So Eflin good. Here’s my pick for Cy Young, he’s got the league leading WHIP (1.01), the most wins which the boomers go ga-ga for, and his team is in first, which is what having a Cy Young candidate should enable. He also gets a juicy match up with the Angels next week to pad his stats. Keep Eflin going, Zach! Your mom would be so mother Eflin proud.

Jack Flaherty – 4.0 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, BB, 6 K. What happened to you, man? We used to be cool. ERA at 5.03 ERA, with a 1.58 WHIP? I don’t know what the O’s gave up for you but it was probably too much.

Heston Kjerstad – 1-for-2, HR (1).  Grey told you to BUY Heston, “if you’re desperate, and he gets ABs, which I’m not sure about.” Hmm, a ringing endorsement for sure! Still, he’s an Orioles rookie, which has been a pretty safe bet these days to be a stud. Worth a flier, especially if you lost Mountcastle!

Brandon Lowe – 1-for-4, HR (20), 2 RBI. Harold Ramirez also hit his 11th homerun. B-Lowe notches his second 20 homer season, the other being his 39 homer 2021. Will he ever approach 40 again, or will he continue to perform at B-Lowe expectations?

Jose Berrios – 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 8 K, 11th win. Berrios is strutting his best stuff at just the right time, the blacker the Berrios, the sweeter the juice, that’s what KDOT would say. In his last 20 innings JB is rocking a 1.80 ERA, 0.85 WHIP with a 22/3 K/BB. He’s also pitched six or more innings in five straight starts. I’m going to hold my sweet sassy molassy for now considering he’s faced the Nats, A’s Royals and Red Sox in his past four but he’s top 10 in ERA and I see you and I heard you Jose. Keep it up!

Jordan Romano – 1.0 IP, 2 K, SV (35). You guys know how I feel about Jordan Romano of the Locatelli Pecorino Romanos, his family throws a huge Sunday dinner, everyone is invited! Detroit pitchers Beau Brieske of the Ile de France Bries, Ashton Goudeau of the Sargento Smoked Goudas, Cardinals Ace Jack Flaherty of the Tillamook Pepper Jacks, and of course, Joey Lucheesi of the Mozzarella di Parma Luccheesis. The chianti is flowing, the gravy is *chefs kiss*, and don’t even get me started on that cheese plate! Grate!

Brayan Bello – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, BB, 10 K. Typically 10 strikeouts gets you close to a win, but that’s sort of par for the course for this 2023 Red Sox team. Bello got the kind of movement on his pitches that should translate to Ks and could be a big sleeper next year, and by that I mean I want to draft him not that he’ll take lots of naps.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 2-for-4, HR (23), 3 RBI. Vlady daddy, he likes to party! That’s back-to-back games with homers, and sure most of the people who drafted have probably been out of it since June but if you decide to get hot right now I won’t be mad at cha. He’s one huge week away from another 30 homer, 100-RBI season, and then it won’t even look like he had a down year.

Hunter Greene – 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, BB, 6 K. HG was cruisin’ before surrendering a bomb to Pete Alonso in the sixth and he was pulled immediately, which is wack cause the Reds scored in the next inning and he would have been in line for the win. The homer was the first he’d surrendered since he gave up five to the Blue Jays in his return from the IL August 20th. The one silver lining to this 2023 Hunter Greene season is I’ll still be able to draft him everywhere next year.

Alexis Diaz – 1.2 IP, 2 K, SV (37). The most valuable player on the Reds this year has been Diaz, and it’s not that close. Steer is about 40 spots below him, as Diaz is encroaching the top 30, tied for the league lead in saves, with just two blown saves, the best percentage in the league. Looking back, he quite honestly might have been one of my best draft picks all season. Cheers to you, Alexis! Way to give your big bro, FOMO!

David Peterson – 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, ERA at 5.52. I need to stop trying to make David Peterson happen. It’s not going to happen, Gretchen. He does have 18 Ks over his past two starts though *eyeballs emoji* StreamONator hates his next but I could see it depending on how desperate I am. Typically very!

Pete Alonso – 1-for-4, HR (45), 3 RBI. Three 40+ homer seasons in five years is pretty darn not-too-shabby–let’s watch. What you don’t see here is a fairly epic bat flip. Polar bear will remain one of the most reliable sources for power in 2024, and I could see drafting him in the top five even. I know–I like home runs, sorry!

Jonathan India – 1-for-5, HR (16), 2 RBI. The Bombay from India! That’s two homers and a steal in the past week. No, I would never draft him again. But I might add him right now if he keeps hitting bombays.

Carlos Santana – 2-for-3, 2 HR (21). He’s got more homers than Andrew Vaughn, Josh Bell, and Yandy Diaz to name a few first baseman definitely drafted over Smooth Santana. It’s okay to cry now, fantasy is almost over.

William Contreras – 1-for-3, HR (16). Only Sean Murphy, Yainier Diaz and Mitch Garver have been more valuable catchers on the player rater this year, and almost twice as valuable as his brother. It’s almost like you shouldn’t even worry about drafting a catcher? Huh!

Lane Thomas – 1-for-4, HR (25). He’s had 10 hits all September and five have them have gone yard. Is that good or bad, you tell me. I’d say, probably bad. Still looking at a 25/20 season, he will definitely be drafted way to high next year.

Royce Lewis – 1-for-2, 3 BBs, 2 runs, Grand Slam HR (14), slashing .302/.365/.545. His fourth grand slam this season. OK, this definitely warrants the sweetest of sassy molassys! All this in just 54 games, ie he’s averaging a grand slam every two weeks. He’s got five in his career, which already ties him with vets like Carlos Santana, Sal Perez, Trea Turner and Vlad Guerrero. Ohtani’s only gonna two. Pathetic! Lewis has big a major breakout for the Twinkies and have got to make them feel even stupider about signing Correa long term. I could see drafting him as early as top 30 if he wasn’t so injury prone. My team continues to sputter but Royce Rolls. Carry me to the championship, RL!

Willi Castro – 2-for-4, run, RBI. Make way for Willi, he was a BUY and he’s hitting .310 with 2 ding dongs in the past week. It’s September what do you want off waivers at this point? No time to act all Willi Nilli!

Alex Kirilloff – 3-for-5, run. Twins looking good at just the right time…hopefully Royce Lewis doesn’t break out in the October so much that I can’t draft him everywhere next year.

Chase Anderson – 7.0 IP, 0 hits, ER, 5 BB, 7 K, ERA at 6.00. Might have been his best start all year. Lol. Not to call out StreamONator, but the robo ranked Chase dead last Friday with a -43.5 value. And Chase took that personally. Chase and the Rox carried a no-hitter into the eighth before Justin Lawrence hurt his ankle striking out Joc Pederson, which is pretty impressive but also a bummer. Tyler Kinley should be next up for save chances in Colorado, and if you’re chasing saves on the Rockies, I pray for your and Justin Lawrence.

Logan Webb – 8.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, 6 K. Webb has been spinning down the stretch with just six runs allowed over his past 26.2 innings pitched. The ratios are nothing to sneeze at 3.31 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and considering this start was at Coors you have to be happy with the results. Webb could be an intriguing no. 2 next year if the Giants can add enough offense to actually get Logan some wins.

Camilo Doval – 0.1 IP, 2 hits, ER, BB, L. Do’hval!

Bobby Witt Jr. – 2-for-3, HR (29), 2 SB (46). I already gushed about BWJ a few weeks ago. He’s a elite fantasy player, top three pick, and should be strictly the marry option when playing marry, boff, kill. He also has seven steals in the past week and hit this pretty little lady. His 5.3 WAR is elite and he’s been a league winner despite being part of the biggest band of losers in MLB. Imagine if KC gets him some protection, watch out league.

Nelson Velazquez – 1-for-3, HR (13). Nelly was getting hot in herrre (3 Rs) to start September with four homers to begin the month then the Royals started sitting him for some reason? Throwing? Probably throwing but the 14/4 K/BB doesn’t help.

Michael Massey – 2-for-4, HR (14).  He was a BUY, he was almost your lede and he’s got three dingers in the past week. He struggled to start the month so tread carefully here but hot is hot! Which is why people are still dating Amber Heard.

Taylor Clarke – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, ER, 3 K, SV (1), 5.60 ERA, 1.59 WHIP. Is he the Royals closer? Maybe. Doesn’t matter. As your fantasy advisor slash therapist, I advise you not to add him, I don’t think your blood pressure can take the hit at this point in the year.

Jose Abreu – 1-for-4, HR (15). He’s got four homers and 16 RBI over the past two weeks. It’s good to be an Astro sometimes, they can afford to be patient with you until you’re not terrible anymore. Too bad my team with Abreu was out of contention in May.

Zack Greinke – 2.0 IP, 3 hits, BB, K, 5.39 ERA, 1.31 WHIP. Zack. Buddy! We’ve had a lot of great years together. You’re 1-15, why are you doing this to yourself? Is it money? Just say it’s money and I’ll leave you alone.

Aaron Nola – 4.2 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, BB, K. Hey, we were just talking about how disappointing you are! Nola is slated to be one of the top free agent pitchers this offeseason, and I’m trying to decide if I want my team to sign him or Snell or if I should just start preheating the oven now.

Jose Alvarado – 1.0 IP 2 hits, ER, 2 BB, K, SV (8). Craig Kimbrel (1.0 IP, 3 BB, 2 K) got a hold, but only after loading the bases in the eigth. Phils fans, how we feeling about this pitching staff going into October? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Nick Castellanos – 1-for-4, 2-run HR (24). Castellanos has crossed from viable fantasy player into meme territory, and no he didn’t homer on 9/11, but he is hitting .296 with 2 homers, 8 RBI and a steal in the past week and is on his way to a 25-100 season. I’ll take that any day of the week and twice on 9/11.

Fernando Tatis Jr. – 2-for-3, HR (25), 3 RBI, SB (26). Not bad for a guy who missed most of April and is on one of the most talent slash most disappointing teams in the league. Hard to say if Tatis is the disappointment or its everyone else. Let’s assume its everyone else and still draft him top five next year?

Juan Soto – 1-for-3, 2 runs, 2 SB (10). Oh right, this guy. I totally forgot you existed let alone were supposed to be one of the best players in the league. That’s probably because all your fantasy owners have been out of it since June.

Shaea Langeliers – 1-for-3, HR (20). BUY. Third homer in the past week! If you’re into Cheap Thrills, Sia’s favorite player has not just been The Greatest catcher of late, he’s been Unstoppable!

Bobby Miller – 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 10th win. Hank was wrong, that boy is right! Bobby’s been carrying me the last few weeks since I lost Urias to being a shitty human being, and while the stats are slightly underwhelming he pitches deep into games, he gets wins and he strikes jokers out! He also has a questionably un-woke past. I love me a good BM! Sign me up for 2024.

George Kirby – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 10th L. Kirby’s had a rough few weeks since his complete game against the O’s, but the future looks brighter with a Oakland A’s match up on the horizon. Off to Dreamland, Kirby!

Javier Baez – 2-for-5, HR (9), 4 RBI. Javy time! Maybe I’m Baez-ed, (see what I did there?), but I feel like Javy is good for a handful of these games a year. Although this year the handful seems to belong to a very small handed child.

Justin Steele – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 4th L. The Man of Steele met his kryptonite getting roughed up by the same DBacks who he shut down through seven innings last week. Cubs are reeling and needed Justin to step up and be the Ace and he didn’t. Cubs being cubs I guess. He does get a nice start withe the Pirates next week, but this start will take him out of the Cy Young conversation. Oops, I just mentioned it so does that mean he’s still in the conversation? IDK!

Marcus Stroman – 2.0 IP, 1 hit, BB, 3 K. Did you get the memo from Kevin to activate him? Methinks the Cubs could have utilized MaStro in a more meaningful way as they’re chasing the postseason birth but David Ross thought garbage time was best.

Brandon Pfaadt – 5.1 IP, 4 hits, BB, 6 K, 2nd win. Mark this one down as a big Pfaadt dubya! Let’s go Brandon! If you ignore the ratios (I said don’t look!), the 78/26 K/BB in 86 innings is kind of pretty, right? Rest assure with numbers like that you should be able to draft him wherever you want next year, assuming he doesn’t break out in the post season. He gets the Jankees next week and I might consider the prospect of maybe thinking about mulling over the possibility of contemplating whether or not I should review the option of potentially picking him up. I still don’t know for sure though!

Christopher Morel – 2-for-4, HR (23). BUY. Seiya Suzuki (18) and Ian Happ (18) also homered. You don’t have to be trippin’ on shrooms to see how adding Morel and his three homers in the past week could help you. I don’t see how it could hurt though! See you on the other side!

Tarik Skubal – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, ER, 9 K, 6th win. Tarik has been hotter than a frat boys TikTok FYP, notching his third win in a row Friday night. He’s allowed just three runs over his past 19 innings (3 starts with a 25/3 K/BB. Yes, please and more thank you. He has had the benefit of facing the ChitSox and Lamegels but good to know he’s capable of being dominant still. He might be in for a reality check at the LA Dodgers next week though.

Kerry Carpenter – 2-for-5, 2 RBI. I wonder if Kerry Carpenter has ever met Kerry Wood, and if they haven’t and did meet, would they be friends?

Griffin Canning – 6.0 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, BB, 7 K. Hogwart’s most popular extracurricular was a StreamONator fav Friday night and while this wasn’t that terrible I’m just going to stop trusting the Angels for the rest of the year, and probably the rest of my life.

Shohei Ohtani – Shut down for the season–well, the official report says he “cleared out his locker” which actually sounds way MORE dramatic than just shutting the guy down so he can get the UCL surgery. Whatever it is, it all seems very finite, like we’ve probably seen the last of Shohei Ohtani in an Angels uniform. The next time we see him he could be wearing Dodger blue, or worse–pinstripes! Yuck! Wherever he ends up, hopefully they’ll give him a better shot at October than the Angels did. The Angels blowing it with Shohei’s MVP seasons will go down as one of the all time greatest sports what-ifs. But hey, maybe I’m overreacting to non-news, and Shohei still wants to retire an Angel? Perhaps, his dirty drawers just reeked so bad the clubhouse manager forced him to clean out his locker? That’s seems like a pretty optimistic way to look at it the situation, yeah! Also, I will pay top dollar for those drawers on ebay!

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!