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It’s been a minute in Milwaukee. After going nearly two months without a home run at American Family Field, Christian Yelich launched two home runs, collected a season-high six RBI and also stole a base on Saturday afternoon, propelling the Brewers to a 9-6 victory over the free-falling Nationals. It was his first multi-homer effort since August 17, 2019. The 29-year-old former National League MVP back in 2018 evolved into a certifiable five-category fantasy superstar immediately upon arrival in Milwaukee, slashing .327/.415/.631 with 80 home runs and 52 stolen bases across 277 games from 2018 to 2019. Due to a variety of factors, including lingering knee and back issues, which have adversely impacted his on-field performance, he’s been unable to re-discover that previously elite form over the last two seasons. Clearly, something clicked on Saturday afternoon as Yelich kicked off the epic two-homer explosion with a mammoth solo shot to right-center field off soft-tossing righty Paolo Espino and capped it off with a colossal 454-foot grand slam to nearly the exact same spot in right-center field against righty reliever Javy Guerra in the eighth inning.
It’s nearly impossible to forecast whether Yelich’s multi-homer outburst is a harbinger of an impending power surge over the final six weeks of the 2021 campaign, or merely a cruel reminder of the elite upside that knee and back injuries have sapped in recent years. If Saturday’s surreal performance was a reminder of anything, it’s that Yelich is still capable of greatness. Perhaps not consistently at this stage of his career, but it’s still there. It could wind up being the difference for the playoff-bound Brewers, who hold a seven and a half game lead on the Reds in the National League Central division and will need to topple powerhouses like the Giants, Dodgers, Braves and Padres once the postseason rolls around in October.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Triston McKenzie vs. Angels
7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
34% CSW, 15 swinging strikes
McKenzie followed up his near-perfect performance against the Tigers last weekend with a stellar outing against the Angels on Saturday afternoon. He generated 16 swinging strikes, including 12 combined on his slider and curveball, and finished with a robust 34 percent CSW. The 24-year-old righty has recorded a stellar 1.93 ERA, 0.50 WHIP and 28/2 K/BB ratio across 28 innings (four starts) since August 5. He's rapidly evolving into an upper-echelon fantasy contributor and will be a highly-sought starting pitcher in drafts next spring if he continues on his current trajectory.
Kris Bubic vs. Cubs
6.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
35% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
Bubic carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning on Saturday afternoon before giving up a two-run homer to Patrick Wisdom and finished with a career-high nine strikeouts in the strongest outing of his major-league career. The 24-year-old lefty induced a whopping 16 swinging strikes, including nine on his changeup alone, and finished with a stellar 35 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). He’ll look to keep the momentum going when he faces the Mariners in a road tilt on Friday evening.
Max Scherzer vs. Mets
5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
28% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
Scherzer continued to dominate for the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon, reducing the free-falling Mets’ bats to kindling over five sublime frames. He yielded only one run on five hits, courtesy of a solo homer by Brandon Nimmo in the fifth inning, and finished with eight strikeouts. The 37-year-old fantasy ace has allowed just five runs on 17 hits with a 31/4 K/BB ratio across 21 1/3 innings over four starts since his arrival in Los Angeles at the trade deadline last month. He’s in line for a tasty matchup against the Rockies on Friday evening at Dodger Stadium.
Reid Detmers vs. Cleveland
3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
36% CSW, 15 swinging strikes
The results weren’t there in this one, but a peek under the hood reveals that Detmers generated an absurd 15 swinging strikes, including 13 on his fastball/slider combo, and finished with a near-elite 36 percent CSW. The 22-year-old rookie southpaw has struggled with his control, leading to issues from a run prevention standpoint at the major-league level, but he possesses the type of strikeout upside that could allow him to blossom into an elite fantasy contributor in the future. It feels like only a matter of time with Detmers. He will be a priority late-round target for savvy fantasy managers in drafts next spring.
Aaron Nola vs. Padres
8.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K
32% CSW, 14 swinging strikes
Nola was virtually untouchable over eight frames on Saturday evening, carrying a shutout bid into the ninth inning, before coughing up a game-tying two-run homer to Jake Cronenworth with two outs in the frame. He generated 14 swinging strikes and recorded his fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the 2021 campaign. He’s in line for an extremely tasty matchup on Friday evening against the Diamondbacks.
Hitters with an EDGE
Anthony Santander vs. Braves
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (11, 12), 2 RBI
Santander recorded his second multi-homer effort in the last two weeks on Saturday night, blasting solo homers off lefties Drew Smyly and Will Smith in the fourth and ninth innings, respectively, in the Orioles’ loss to the Braves. The 26-year-old outfielder has hit half of his 12 round-trippers on the year since August 8.
Amed Rosario vs. Angels
3-for-4, 2 R, HR (7), RBI, BB
Rosario served as Cleveland’s main offensive catalyst on Saturday afternoon, tallying three hits including a solo homer off righty reliever Mike Mayers in the seventh inning. The 25-year-old shortstop has quietly recorded an astounding 47 hits, the second-most in the majors -- trailing only Athletics outfielder Starling Marte (50 hits) -- across 32 games since the All-Star break.
Taylor Jones vs. Mariners
3-for-5, 3 R, HR (2), 4 RBI
Jones stole the spotlight on Saturday afternoon, collecting three hits and driving in four runs -- finishing a single shy of hitting for the cycle -- as the Astros demolished the Mariners 15-1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The 27-year-old slugger blasted a solo homer off righty Logan Gilbert in the fourth inning, hit an RBI double off righty Robert Dugger in the ensuing frame and also smacked a two-run triple in the sixth inning as well. There isn’t a ton of fantasy upside lurking here, but Jones could be worthy of a dice roll in deeper AL-only formats, especially while Kyle Tucker remains sidelined on the COVID-19 injured list.
Collin McHugh vs. White Sox
1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)
McHugh served as the Rays’ fireman in this one, pressed into duty to protect a two-run advantage in the eighth inning on Saturday afternoon. The 34-year-old righty coaxed a ground out from Eloy Jimenez and whiffed Yoan Moncada to keep the lead intact in the eighth inning and came back out to toss a perfect ninth inning to net his first save of the season. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball, recording a microscopic 1.30 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 66/9 K/BB ratio across 48 1/3 innings (27 appearances, five starts) this season.
Scott Barlow vs. Cubs
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (8th save)
Barlow needed just eight pitches (six strikes) to slam the door on the Cubs on Saturday afternoon, guarding a two-run lead for his eighth save of the year. The 28-year-old righty has come out of nowhere to emerge as the Royals’ primary closer over the last few weeks. He’s picked up two saves over Kansas City’s last four games.
Jordan Romano vs. Tigers
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K (11th save)
Romano was summoned to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Saturday afternoon and managed to work around a leadoff single by Derek Hill, striking out Jonathan Schoop, Robbie Grossman and Miguel Cabrera to end the contest. The hard-throwing 28-year-old righty has evolved into one of the best closers in the American League, converting 11 of 12 save opportunities this season.
Kenley Jansen vs. Mets
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (27th save)
Jansen notched a pair of strikeouts to slam the door on the struggling Mets on Saturday afternoon, protecting a one-run lead for his 27th save of the season. Simply put, it was one of his best outings in recent weeks. The 33-year-old righty has hit the occasional speed bump, but he’s managed to hang onto the closing role in Los Angeles, converting 27 of 32 save chances this season.
Josh Hader vs. Nationals
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (25th save)
Hader was forced to enter the contest after righty Miguel Sanchez failed to record an out, allowing three consecutive batters to reach to open the ninth inning. He gave up an RBI single to Carter Kieboom, but managed to escape the frame with the lead intact to collect his 25th save of the year. The 27-year-old lefty, who missed a few weeks due to COVID-19 earlier this month, hasn’t given up an earned run over six appearances since July 28.
Jake McGee vs. Athletics
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (27th save)
McGee had zero issue protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning after the Giants mounted a late rally on Saturday afternoon, firing a perfect frame to lock down his 27th save. The 35-year-old veteran righty has converted 27 of 31 save chances this year.
Lou Trivino vs. Giants
1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (3rd blown save)
Trivino was summoned to protect a one-run margin in the top of the ninth inning and coughed up a go-ahead two-run homer to LaMonte Wade. It was just his third blown save in 24 save opportunities this season.
Michael Lorenzen vs. Marlins
1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2nd save)
Lorenzen delivered for the Reds on Saturday night, recording the final five outs of a victory over the Marlins, after Mychal Givens ran into trouble in the eighth inning. The 29-year-old righty has yet to allow a run over 12 1/3 frames this season.
Will Smith vs. Orioles
1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (27th save)
Smith served up a leadoff homer to Anthony Santander in the ninth inning, but still managed to hang on for his 27th save of the season. The 32-year-old southpaw has converted 27 of 31 save chances this year.
David Bednar vs. Cardinals
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)
There were a lot of saves on Saturday, right?
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EDGE Priority Pickup
Jake Meyers, OF, Astros
Meyers has been tearing the cover off the ball and fantasy managers should take notice. The 25-year-old rookie outfielder endured a tough initial adjustment period after being called up earlier this month, but has been sizzling-hot at the dish over the last two weeks, slashing .333/.379/.639 with 12 hits, three home runs and 10 RBI across his last 10 games. It's important not to draw conclusions based on small sample sizes, but Meyers put up stellar numbers in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League, recording a sublime .343/.408/.598 triple-slash line with 16 round-trippers and 10 steals in 304 plate appearances prior to his promotion. Anything can happen over the final month of the regular season and given the Astros' willingness to play Meyers everyday after jettisoning Myles Straw at the trade deadline, he could make an impact for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.
Sunday’s Matchup of the Day
Webb and Montas, two of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last few weeks, will square off in the Bay Area series finale at Oakland Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. It should be a good one, folks.
American League Quick Hits: Sunday’s scheduled contest between the Twins and Yankees in New York has been postponed due to Hurricane Henri … Mike Trout (calf) said Saturday that he's close to embarking on a minor-league rehab assignment … Alex Bregman (quad) took batting practice on Saturday at Minute Maid Park in Houston and will play in a minor-league rehab game on Sunday at Triple-A Sugar Land … Salvador Perez has been scratched from the Royals' starting lineup on Saturday against the White Sox due to a headache … Mariners placed RHP Diego Castillo on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to August 20, with right shoulder inflammation … Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Yordan Alvarez mashed a three-run homer, powering the Astros to a blowout win over the Mariners … Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton hit two-run doubles to lead the Yankees to their ninth consecutive victory with a win over the Twins … Joey Wendle went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the Rays’ blowout victory over the White Sox … Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez tallied three hits and stole a base to lead the Royals past the Cubs … Marcus Semien launched his 30th round-tripper of the season in the Blue Jays’ narrow win over the Tigers … Jose Ramirez clubbed a three-run homer and also stole a base to lead Cleveland to a win over the Angels … Adolis Garcia, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Andy Ibanez each recorded three hits in the Rangers’ lopsided victory over the Red Sox … Shohei Ohtani went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Angels’ loss to Cleveland … Starling Marte went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base in the Athletics’ loss to the Giants … Jorge Polanco blasted a solo homer in the Twins’ loss to the Yankees … Seby Zavala belted a solo homer in the White Sox’ loss to the Rays … Derek Hill went 2-for-4 in his return from the injured list in the Tigers’ loss to the Blue Jays … Ryan Mountcastle and Ramon Urias walloped solo homers in the Orioles’ loss to the Braves … Bobby Dalbec doubled and scored a run in the Red Sox’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the Rangers … Gerrit Cole struck out six batters over six scoreless innings in a win over the Twins … Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out five batters over seven scoreless innings in a win over the Tigers … Luis Patino notched five strikeouts and allowed two runs over six innings in a win over the White Sox … Jake Odorizzi whiffed eight batters and yielded only one run over 5 2/3 innings to pick up a win against the Mariners … Jordan Lyles yielded one run over seven innings in a win over the Red Sox … Sean Manaea allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Giants … Kenta Maeda was charged with five runs over 4 1/3 innings before exiting with right forearm tightness in a loss to the Yankees … Wily Peralta allowed two runs over six innings in a loss to the Blue Jays … Eduardo Rodriguez was rocked for five runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rangers … Dallas Keuchel was lit up for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Rays … Logan Gilbert was shelled for nine earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Astros … Matt Harvey netted five strikeouts and allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Braves.
National League Quick Hits: Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters Saturday that both Francisco Lindor (oblique) and Javier Báez (back) could be activated for Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers … Mookie Betts (hip) sprinted while running the bases on Saturday during pre-game workouts at Dodger Stadium … Noah Syndergaard (elbow) threw a 20-pitch simulated game on Saturday … Evan Longoria (hand) remains out of the Giants' starting lineup for Saturday's matchup against the Athletics … Brewers placed OF Tyrone Taylor on the 10-day injured list with a strained right oblique … Braves placed C Travis d'Arnaud on the paternity list … Jake Cronenworth slugged a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth inning, leading the Padres to an eventual extra-inning victory over the Phillies … Nick Castellanos went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI, powering the Reds to a win over the Marlins … Trea Turner, Chris Taylor and Albert Pujols homered as the Dodgers won their ninth consecutive game with a narrow victory over the Mets … Kris Bryant, Brandon Belt, Darin Ruf and LaMonte Wade went deep in the Giants’ comeback victory over the Athletics … Austin Riley and Joc Pederson left the yard as the Braves notched their eight consecutive victory in a win over the Orioles … Yoshi Tsutsugo and Kevin Newman homered in the Pirates’ win over the Cardinals … Elias Diaz slugged a three-run walk-off homer to lift the Rockies past the Diamondbacks … Kolten Wong went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the Brewers’ win over the Nationals … Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks in the Phillies’ loss to the Padres … Ketel Marte collected three hits and Daulton Varsho socked a solo homer in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Rockies … Patrick Wisdom belted a two-run homer in the Cubs’ loss to the Royals … Brandon Nimmo tallied three hits and stole a base in the Mets’ loss to the Dodgers … Tyler O’Neill went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the Cardinals’ loss to the Pirates … Lane Thomas went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and three runs scored in the Nationals’ loss to the Brewers … Drew Smyly posted eight strikeouts and allowed three runs over five innings in a win over the Orioles … Joe Musgrove tallied nine strikeouts and yielded one run over six innings in a no-decision against the Phillies … Zac Gallen struck out nine batters over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Rockies … Kyle Freeland recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts over seven innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks … J.A. Happ struck out eight batters and allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Pirates … Kevin Gausman was charged with five runs (two earned) over 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Paolo Espino netted six strikeouts and allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Brewers … Eric Lauer gave up three runs over 4 1/3 frames in a no-decision against the Nationals … Wade Miley allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Marlins … Zach Thompson surrendered two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Reds … Dillon Peters gave up one run over five frames in a no-decision against the Cardinals … Rich Hill allowed three runs over five innings in a loss to the Dodgers … Keegan Thompson gave up two runs over four innings in a loss to the Royals.