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Let’s talk about Freddy Peralta for a second. On the heels of three consecutive underwhelming outings, in addition to missing two weeks due to mild shoulder inflammation last month, the electrifying 25-year-old righty rebounded with a stellar performance on Tuesday night, striking out nine batters and scattering two hits over six scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Tigers. He struck out the side in the opening frame and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning in one of his most dominant performances of his breakout 2021 campaign. In addition to generating a whopping 13 swinging strikes, he relentlessly pounded the strike zone, throwing 48 of 71 pitches for strikes to finish with an elite 42 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs).
It’s abundantly clear that the Brewers have understandably been exercising some caution with the youngest member of their “Big Three” at the front of their starting rotation -- comprised of proven aces Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff as well -- with a postseason berth virtually locked up heading into the home stretch of the regular season. Yet, Peralta has still managed to put together one of the most remarkable breakthrough campaigns of any pitcher in baseball, recording a sparkling 2.57 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 181/54 K/BB ratio across 133 innings (26 appearances, 25 starts). There will be some lingering questions surrounding his long-term durability and workload, but Peralta will likely finish as a top-20 fantasy contributor at the position and will be selected in that range in fantasy drafts next spring. He’s the real deal, folks.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Erick Fedde vs. Marlins
5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
35% CSW, 17 swinging strikes
Fedde hasn’t exactly exploded onto fantasy radar screens, but he’s been piling up the strikeouts lately, notching a sublime 33/3 K/BB ratio across 25 2/3 innings over his last five starts since August 24. The 28-year-old righty generated an impressive 17 swinging strikes and finished with a robust 35 percent CSW on Tuesday night against an underwhelming Marlins’ lineup. It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from September performances, for a variety of factors, but Fedde should be a viable streaming option for fantasy managers when he squares off against the Marlins on Monday night in a rematch at pitcher-friendly loanDepot park in Miami.
Jon Gray vs. Braves
5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
29% CSW, 9 swinging strikes
The strikeouts have been there for Gray, who has notched at least seven punchouts in eight of his last 14 starts since compiling a season-high 10 whiffs back on June 25. The 29-year-old righty held his own against a high-powered Braves’ offense as an RBI single from Freddie Freeman and RBI double by Dansby Swanson accounted for all of the damage against him.
Drew Rasmussen vs. Blue Jays
5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
27% CSW, 4 swinging strikes
Rasmussen silenced the hottest lineup in the game on Tuesday evening, limiting the sizzling-hot Blue Jays’ juggernaut to just three baserunners over five shutout frames. The 26-year-old righty has been phenomenal since becoming a full-fledged member of the Rays’ starting rotation last month, recording a minuscule 1.33 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 18/5 K/BB ratio across 27 innings (six starts) since August 12.
Hitters with an EDGE
Tyler O’Neill vs. Mets
2-for-5, 2 R, HR (26), 3 RBI
O’Neill put the Cardinals on the board with an RBI single in the fourth inning and also belted a towering 439-foot two-run shot to straightaway center field -- his 26th round-tripper of the season -- off righty reliever Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning. The 26-year-old burgeoning fantasy stalwart has a chance to finish among the select few to reach the 30-homer plateau while also finishing with double-digit stolen bases.
Javier Baez vs. Mets
2-for-2, R, HR (31), 2 RBI, 3 BB
Baez reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances, and also walloped a game-tying solo homer off Cardinals stopper Giovanny Gallegos in the ninth inning to force extra-innings. It was his 32st long ball of the season. He’s gone deep seven times over his last 18 games since August 27.
Adolis Garcia vs. Astros
3-for-4, 2 R, HR (30), 2 RBI
It took a bit of time, but Garcia finally crossed the 30-homer threshold on Tuesday night, tattooing a no-doubter to right-center field off righty Zack Greinke in the third inning of the Rangers’ eventual lopsided win over the Astros. The late-blooming 28-year-old rookie outfielder has run a bit hot-and-cold, but he’s going to finish with 30-plus homers and double-digit stolen bases. Not too shabby for someone who was a complete afterthought just a few months ago heading into the 2021 season.
Emmanuel Clase vs. Twins
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (23rd save)
Clase has blossomed into an upper-echelon fantasy closer, recording a microscopic 1.44 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 66/15 K/BB ratio across 62 2/3 innings. He’s firmly entrenched as Cleveland’s closer of the present and future, converting 23 of 27 save opportunities this season.
Alex Colome vs. Cleveland
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (14th save)
Colome was brought on to guard a three-run lead in the seventh inning and worked around a leadoff single from Owen Miller to toss a scoreless frame. The 32-year-old righty has converted 12 of his 16 save chances in the second half.
Chris Stratton vs. Reds
1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (5th save)
With David Bednar landing on the injured list with an oblique strain, Stratton appears poised to take over as the Pirates primary closer for the remainder of the 2021 campaign. He gave up a solo shot to Nick Castellanos, but still managed to hang on for his third save in the last week.
Rowan Wick vs. Phillies
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4th save)
Wick came on to protect a one-run lead on Tuesday night against the Phillies and struck out the side on just 15 pitches (11 strikes) to register his fourth save of the year. The 28-year-old righty appears to be the favorite to close for the Cubs over the final three weeks of the regular season.
Andrew Kittredge vs. Blue Jays
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (7th save)
The non-traditional Rays haven’t deployed a primary stopper since dealing Diego Castillo at the trade deadline in late July, but Kittredge has picked up a handful of saves over the last few weeks. The 31-year-old righty has been one of the best relievers in the game this season and should be rostered in all fantasy formats.
Carlos Estevez vs. Braves
1.0 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (8th save)
Estevez issued a one-out walk to Eddie Rosario and a two-out single to Ozzie Albies, but managed to escape the ninth-inning jam completely unscathed to notch his eight save of the season. The 28-year-old righty has picked up five saves since September 1.
Kwang-Hyun Kim vs. Mets
1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (1st save)
Kim was brought on to guard a three-run lead in the 11th inning after Giovanny Gallegos surrendered a game-tying solo shot to Javier Baez in the ninth inning to send the contest to extra-innings. The 33-year-old lefty was charged with a pair of runs, but managed to hang on for his second career save.
Scott Barlow vs. Athletics
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (13th save)
Barlow handed out back-to-back free passes, which brought the potential tying run to the plate, to open the ninth inning, but he managed to induce a pivotal double play and a fly out to extinguish any hope of an Athletics rally. He’s converted 13 of 19 save chances this season.
EDGE Priority Pickup
Jesus Sanchez, OF, Marlins
After homering in three consecutive games versus the Braves over the weekend, Sanchez has gone 1-for-8 with three strikeouts over his last two games against the Nationals. The 23-year-old outfielder has been exceptionally streaky during his brief time in the majors, but unquestionably remains one of the more intriguing raw talents in the game. He’s going to strike out at a healthy clip, but he’s looked locked-in at the dish recently, posting an .833 OPS across 12 games since September 1. He should benefit greatly from the Marlins’ remaining schedule, which features series against the Pirates, Nationals, Rays, Mets and Phillies to close out the 2021 campaign. He’s worthy of a speculative roster spot in deeper mixed leagues just on the potential that he goes on a hot streak against some pretty lackluster pitching staffs over the final two weeks.
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Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
The NL Wild Card race has heated up with five teams, including both the Cardinals and Mets, within five games of the final senior circuit playoff spot. If the season ended today, the Cardinals, who have won four consecutive games, would actually be in the postseason. Lester has been pitching well of late since his arrival in St. Louis and this matchup represents a critical game for both of these squads, especially after the Cardinals eked out a narrow victory in an 11-inning marathon on Tuesday night.
American League Quick Hits: Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Tuesday that the Mariners will host the 2023 MLB All-Star Game … Chris Sale (COVID-19) is on track to start Friday night against the Orioles … Astros placed Jake Odorizzi on the 10-day injured list with right foot soreness … Trey Mancini was removed from Tuesday's game against the Yankees due abdominal soreness … Bradley Zimmer homered to lead Cleveland to a win over the Twins in the front-end of Tuesday’s doubleheader … Ryan Jeffers went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and four RBI in the nightcap of the twin-bill to help the Twins salvage a split against Cleveland … Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Joey Gallo and DJ LeMahieu homered in the Yankees’ win over the Orioles … Salvador Perez went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBI in the Royals’ win over the Athletics … Brandon Lowe and Ji-Man Choi walloped solo homers in the Rays’ victory over the Blue Jays … Nate Lowe crushed a two-run homer and DJ Peters launched a three-run blast in the Rangers’ blowout win over the Astros … Gavin Sheets tallied three hits, homered and collected four RBI in the White Sox’ win over the Angels … Jared Walsh blasted a two-run homer in the Angels’ loss to the White Sox … Jose Berrios yielded one run over seven innings before exiting Tuesday’s start against the Rays with left abdominal tightness … Triston McKenzie tossed six innings of one-run ball while tallying seven strikeouts in a win over the Twins … Gerrit Cole fanned seven batters and allowed one run over five innings in a win over the Orioles … Jordan Lyles posted seven strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a win over the Astros … Nathan Eovaldi struck out nine batters and allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings in a no-decision against the Mariners … Wily Peralta whiffed five batters over six scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Brewers … Lucas Giolito struck out eight batters and allowed three runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Angels … Frankie Montas surrendered four runs over 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Royals … Tyler Anderson allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox … Jackson Kowar was shelled for five runs over one inning in a no-decision against the Athletics … Joe Ryan struck out five batters and allowed one run over five innings before exiting his start against Cleveland due to a right wrist contusion … Charlie Barnes was charged with three runs over four innings in a no-decision against Cleveland … Zack Greinke was torched for eight runs (seven earned) over five innings in a loss to the Rangers … Logan Allen gave up four runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Twins … Alexander Wells surrendered five runs over four innings in a loss to the Yankees … Packy Naughton allowed four runs over 2 2/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox.
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom (elbow) threw 10 pitches off a mound on Tuesday … Seth Beer has been diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder after exiting Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers due to injury … Avisail Garcia left Tuesday night's game against the Tigers with lower back spasms … Jesse Winker (intercostal) started a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Louisville … Jake Cronenworth (finger) took batting practice on Tuesday … Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) remains on track to return this weekend … BrIan Anderson (shoulder) underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his left shoulder capsule … Phillies released Vince Velasquez … Ryan Braun announced his retirement on Tuesday … Max Muncy, Trea Turner and Will Smith homered in the Dodgers’ win over the Diamondbacks … Yoshi Tsutsugo and Jacob Stallings posted two hits and two RBI in the Pirates’ win over the Reds … Patrick Wisdom blasted a two-run homer -- his 26th big fly of the season -- in the Cubs’ victory over the Phillies … Ryan Zimmerman clubbed a solo homer and Juan Soto notched three hits in the Nationals’ win over the Marlins … Trevor Story and Brendan Rogers went deep in the Rockies’ win over the Braves … Buster Posey went 2-for-5 with a solo homer in the Giants’ win over the Padres … Ketel Marte went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Dodgers … Nick Castellanos belted a solo homer in the Reds’ loss to the Pirates … Odubel Herrera lef the yard in the Phillies’ loss to the Cubs … Lewin Diaz scalded a pair of solo homers in the Marlins’ loss to the Nationals … Adam Duvall walloped a two-run homer in the Braves’ loss to the Rockies … Tony Gonsolin posted six strikeouts over five scoreless innings in a win over the Diamondbacks … Dillon Peters notched five strikeouts over five scoreless frames in a win over the Reds … Adrian Sampson was charged with two runs over five innings in a win over the Phillies … Anthony DeSclafani yielded one run over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Padres … Marcus Stroman posted eight strikeouts and yielded two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals … Jake Woodford allowed two runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Mets … Kyle Gibson struck out seven batters and surrendered four runs over five innings in a loss to the Cubs … Wade Miley coughed up six runs (five earned) over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Pirates … Jesus Luzardo gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Nationals … Touki Toussaint allowed four runs over four innings in a loss to the Rockies … Luke Weaver was charged with four runs (three earned) over four innings in a loss to the Dodgers … Jake Arrieta coughed up three runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss to the Giants.