Fantasy Baseball Final: September 30, 2015
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What’s not mentioned below: The Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals again tonight, winning by a score of 2-0. Jordan Zimmerman fell to 13-10 after allowing two runs over his six innings of work, giving up six hits and striking out one batter. The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians split their doubleheader today, leaving the Twins one game out of a Wild Card spot, and while mathematically keeping the Indians alive. The Twins captured the first game 7-1 behind home runs from Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton. Indians’ Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez both went deep in the second game to lead the Tribe to a 10-2 victory. Yoenis Cespedes is likely done for the rest of the regular season after leaving tonight’s 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies with what is being diagnosed as finger contusions. The hope is that Cespedes will be healthy for the NLDS. Jon Lester struck out nine batters over eight innings in the Chciago Cubs’ 10-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds tonight. Stralin Castro went 4-5 with his 11th home run of the season in the win.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE THING…
The Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first AL East title in 22 years in their 15-2 rout over the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon, the first game of a day/night doubleheader between the two clubs. The American League juggernauts were backed by eight strong innings from starter Marcus Stroman, who let up just one run and struck out eight batters. Stroman has been stellar since the Blue Jays activated him earlier in the month, as he improved to 4-0 on the season with a 1.67 ERA. Stroman returned form injury just in time to give the Blue Jays’ rotation the boost that it so desperately needed, as he was their ace heading into the season and a fantasy favorite (I own him in four dynasty leagues). The Jays’ offense smacked three home runs in the game, coming off the bats of Jose Bautista (40), Edwin Encarnacion (37), and Justin Smoak (18), respectively. It’s going to be tough to try and contain this offense in the playoffs, and it’s only going to get better when Troy Tulowitzki returns to the lineup, as he’s expected to be ready for the postseason. Miguel Gonzalez took the loss for the Orioles, as he lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits, while walking three batters and striking out three batters. It’s amazing the impact that the trade deadline had on this Blue Jays team, as they entered play on July 29th with a 50-51 record, sitting eight games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East; now they’re division champions. The second game of the doubleheader was quite the opposite, as the Orioles won 8-1, with all of the Blue Jays’ starters being obviously benched. Kevin Gausman was flawless for the O’s, striking out ten batters over eight innings of one run ball to pick up the win. Manny Machado smacked his 31st home run of the year, while Chris Davis collected home run numbers 44 and 45 of the season, setting himself up for a nice payday this winter.
JUST AS WE EXPECTED…
The St. Louis Cardinals clinched their third straight NL Central title in the second game of the team’s day/night doubleheader, winning the game 11-1. Jason Heyward launched a grand slam in the third inning of the game to help the Cards jump out to an early 6-0 lead over the Bucs. Tyler Lyons was the winning pitcher for the Cardinals, tossing seven shutout innings with five strikeouts. The Buc-o’s took home the win in the first game of the doubleheader, as Gerrit Cole outdueled Michael Wacha to temporarily keep the team’s NL Central hopes alive. Cole went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out two batters while not issuing a walk. Francisco Cervelli launched a grand slam in the fourth inning of the game, his seventh home run of the season, to give the Pirates a 5-1 lead, and that was all Cole would need to collect his 19th win of the season. Wacha lasted just four innings for the Cardinals, letting up six runs on four hits, walking four and striking out four. One has to wonder if the Cards overused Wacha this year, as he’s tossed over 70 more innings than he did last year, while coming off of a shoulder injury. We saw it happen to Carlos Martinez, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if Wacha is starting to simply break down. That being said, if there is one organization that knows how to respond to injuries, it’s the Cardinals.
BUT WE DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING…
The Los Angeles Angels are currently tied with the Houston Astros for the second AL Wild Card spot after their 8-7 loss to the Oakland Athletics tonight. Each of the Angels’ final games will be their most important of the season, as they look to stay alive and capture the second Wild Card spot to (most likely) take on the New York Yankees in the Bronx. However, the Astros are currently in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners as I type this, though they’re trailing the M’s 2-1. Garrett Richards gave up three runs over his six innings of work for the Angels, while walking four and striking out seven batters. Unfortunately for Richards and the Angels, the bullpen came apart once Richards exited the game, giving up five runs to lead the team’s loss. Mike Trout launched his 41st home run of the season in the loss, while going 3-3 with two walks. Albert Pujols went 0-4 in the loss with a walk.
THE REST OF THE DETAILS
Brad Boxberger (40)
Arodys Vizcaino (8)
Sean Doolittle (3)
Ken Giles (15)
Wade Davis (15)
Yoenis Cespedes – Day-to-day – (Fingers)
Matt Kemp (hand) scratched from the Padres’ lineup tonight