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Giancarlo Stanton did it again. With their postseason hopes hanging in the balance, the Yankees scored six unanswered runs on Tuesday evening to earn a hard-fought 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays in the opener of a pivotal three-game series at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. It was Stanton, yet again, who delivered New York’s metaphorical knockout punch, walloping a gargantuan three-run homer to left field off righty reliever Trevor Richards in the seventh inning. The 31-year-old slugger has been virtually unstoppable at the plate recently, going deep in four consecutive games and nine times over his last 15 contests since September 12. In addition to Stanton’s heroics, Aaron Judge, who dislocated his left pinkie finger on Sunday against the Red Sox, clobbered a solo homer and reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances. The Yankees bullpen also stepped up to fill the void after starter Jameson Taillon lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his return from the injured list before reaggravating his previous knee injury. In an all-hands-on-deck urgent situation, Mike King, Clay Homes, Chad Green, Luis Severino and Wandy Peralta allowed just one run on two hits over the final 6 2/3 innings to ice the contest.
With the Red Sox suffering a catastrophic loss at the hands of the last-place Orioles on Tuesday night with their ace Chris Sale on the mound, the Yankees were able to increase their lead to two games for the American League’s top Wild Card spot. Barring a monumental collapse, the Yankees appear to be on the verge of securing at least one of those playoff spots. That leaves the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Mariners -- who are separated by less than one game at this late juncture of the season -- battling to secure the junior circuit’s final playoff berth. While the Cardinals’ improbable late-season winning streak has eliminated any drama on the National League side of the ledger, there should be plenty of fireworks in the American League over the next few days.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Charlie Morton vs. Phillies
7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
32% CSW, 16 swinging strikes
In likely his final regular season tune-up, Morton delivered one of his finest performances of the 2021 campaign on Tuesday night, falling just shy of his previous season-high with 10 strikeouts across seven scoreless frames against the division-rival Phillies. The 37-year-old righty coaxed 16 swinging strikes, including 14 combined on his deadly fastball/curveball combo, and finished with a 32 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs). With Morton and lefty Max Fried, who has been one of the premier starting pitchers in the game over the last few months, spearheading their starting rotation, the Braves are going to be formidable opponents this postseason.
Noah Syndergaard vs. Marlins
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
50% CSW, 2 swinging strikes
Granted, it was only one inning, but it was still a solid abbreviated outing from Syndergaard in his first major-league appearance since September 29, 2019. The 29-year-old impending free agent didn’t throw a breaking ball in this one, but still managed to strike out Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisholm to open the frame before getting rookie Bryan De La Cruz to ground out to retire the side in order.
Hitters with an EDGE
Dylan Carlson vs. Brewers
1-for-4, R, HR (16), RBI
Carlson ignited the Cardinals’ rally on Tuesday night with a solo homer -- his 16th round-tripper of the season -- off righty Brandon Woodruff in the fourth inning, propelling the Cardinals to their franchise-record 17th consecutive victory. They also clinched the final National League Wild Card playoff spot in the process. Not bad.
Salvador Perez vs. Cleveland
2-for-3, 3 R, HR (47), RBI, BB
Perez pulled into sole possession of first place on the major-league home run leaderboard on Tuesday night, blasting his 47th round-tripper of the season off righty Aaron Civale in the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium. The 31-year-old backstop has slowed down quite a bit down the stretch, but he has a realistic shot at reaching the stratospheric 50-homer plateau if he can heat up over the final few days of the 2021 campaign. Unreal.
Luis Robert vs. Reds
2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR (11, 12), 3 RBI, BB
Robert served as the White Sox’ main offensive catalyst on Tuesday night, clobbering a pair of solo homers to record his second multi-homer effort of the 2021 season. He kicked off the scoring with a solo shot to left-center field off rookie righty Riley O’Brien in the opening frame and also crushed a colossal 445-foot two-run dinger to left field off southpaw reliever Amir Garrett in the eighth inning. The dynamic 24-year-old’s brilliant season has flown a bit under-the-radar, but he’s slashing .349/.387/.579 with 12 homers and five steals across 279 plate appearances. Given his speed and power, he’s the type of hitter that can sustain an extremely-high BABIP moving forward and projects as an elite five-category contributor moving forward. He should be an early-round selection in all fantasy drafts next spring.
Chris Stratton vs. Cubs
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (7th save)
It was Stratton who got the call over David Bednar on Tuesday night to protect a two-run lead in the ninth inning. The 31-year-old righty worked around a two-out single from Nick Martini to turn in a scoreless frame and collect his seventh save of the year. He’s converted seven of his 11 save chances this season.
Cole Sulser vs. Red Sox
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (8th save)
Sulser was brought on to guard a two-run lead on Tuesday evening and needed just 12 pitches to slam the door on the Red Sox. The 31-year-old righty has converted eight of his 11 save chances this season.
Will Smith vs. Phillies
1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (36th save)
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but Smith has managed to get the job done routinely and represents the Braves best option at closer entering the postseason. He’s converted 36 of 42 save opportunities this season.
Alex Colome vs. Tigers
1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (17th save)
Colome was brought on to guard a three-run lead on Tuesday night, and barely managed to hang on, striking out Robbie Grossman to end the contest and net his 17th save of the season. The 32-year-old veteran righty has converted 17 of 24 save chances this season, but has been solid since reclaiming the closer role after an injury to lefty Taylor Rogers shortly after the All-Star break.
Carlos Estevez vs. Nationals
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (10th save)
Estevez has been solid as the Rockies’ closer in the second half of the 2021 campaign and has converted 10 of his 16 save opportunities this season.
Blake Treinen vs. Padres
1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (7th save)
Treinen was brought on to guard a two-run lead in the ninth inning on Tuesday night and wound up surrendering a solo homer to Jake Cronenworth with one out in the frame. Things got dicey after he issued a two-out walk to Eric Hosmer, but he settled down after that, striking out pinch-hitter Tommy Pham to end the contest.
Drew Steckenrider vs. Athletics
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (12th save)
Steckenrider surrendered a leadoff single to Matt Chapman, but managed to set down Seth Brown, Sean Murphy and Tony Kemp to preserve a pivotal two-run victory for the Mariners on Tuesday night.
Camilo Doval vs. Diamondbacks
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (1st save)
Doval was summoned to protect a two-run lead on Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks and managed to work around a one-out double from pinch-hitter Geraldo Perdomo to slam the door. It was his first career save at the major-league level. The hard-throwing 24-year-old righty has earned a spot on the Giants’ postseason roster and could wind up pitching in high-leverage situations in October.
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EDGE Priority Pickup
Alex Cobb, SP, Angels
(3.46 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 1.23 93/31 K/BB, 88 1/3 IP)
Rostered in 33 percent of CBS fantasy leagues
There aren’t a ton of high-quality streaming options for fantasy managers during the final week of the 2021 campaign, but Cobb is available on the waiver wire in nearly two thirds of fantasy leagues, and represents one of the most intriguing mid-week options. He doesn’t possess massive strikeout upside, but he’s been solid from a run prevention standpoint, allowing one earned run or fewer in each of his previous six starts. The 33-year-old impending free agent is lined up to face a floundering Rangers’ lineup, which has scored the second-fewest runs in baseball this season, on Thursday afternoon at pitcher-friendly Globe Life Field. He should be rostered in deeper fantasy leagues and is a solid streaming option in his final outing of the year.
Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day
Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.08 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (12-9, 3.48 ERA) - 7:07 PM ET
With the American League Wild Card race coming down to the wire, the Yankees and Blue Jays have just two games remaining in a pivotal three-game series at Rogers Centre. It’ll be aces Gerrit Cole and Jose Berrios locking horns in a potential pitcher’s duel on Wednesday night. This should be a good one, folks.
American League Quick Hits: Brady Singer will be evaluated for right upper arm discomfort after making an early exit from his start Tuesday night against Cleveland due to injury … Andrew Benintendi was removed from Tuesday's game against Cleveland due to an apparent knee injury … Yandy Diaz belted a two-run homer before departing Tuesday night's game against the Astros due to left side rib discomfort … Ryan Pressly was unavailable on Tuesday night due to a knee issue … Starling Marte (lat) remained absent from the Athletics’ starting lineup on Tuesday against the Mariners … Zack Greinke (neck) will make a minor-league rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Sugar Land … Michael Brantley (knee) is expected to return this week … Garrett Whitlock (pectoral) played catch on Tuesday … Jose Cisneros (elbow) has been shut down for the rest of the season … Orioles placed Anthony Santander (knee) on the 10-day injured list … Rays activated Andrew Kittredge from the 10-day injured list … Ryan Mountcastle walloped a two-run homer, powering the Orioles to a victory over the Red Sox … Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve clobbered solo homers in the Astros’ win over the Rays … Mitch Haniger slugged his 38th round-tripper of the season in the Mariners’ win over the Athletics … Miguel Sano tattooed his 30th home run of the season in the Twins’ victory over the Tigers … Andy Ibanez went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the Rangers’ victory over the Angels … Gavin Sheets went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and two RBI in the White Sox’ blowout win over the Reds … Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 42 consecutive games in the Rays’ loss to the Astros … Kyle Schwarber and Hunter Renfroe belted solo homers in the Red Sox’ loss to the Orioles … Bo Bichette went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the Blue Jays’ loss to the Yankees … Franmil Reyes hit a two-run single in Cleveland’s loss to the Royals … Max Stassi crunched a two-run homer in the Angels’ loss to the Rangers … Chad Pinder socked a solo homer in the Athletics’ loss to the Mariners … Reynaldo Lopez allowed one run over six innings in a win over the Reds … A.J. Alexy yielded two runs over five innings to pick up a win over the Angels … Michael Wacha posted six strikeouts over five hitless innings in a no-decision against the Astros … Jose Urquidy notched six strikeouts and allowed two runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Rays … Chris Bassitt yielded one run over 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mariners … Tyler Anderson allowed one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Aaron Civale was lit up for four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Royals … Bruce Zimmerman gave up one run over four innings in a no-decision versus the Red Sox … Charlie Barnes tossed four scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Tigers … Chris Sale surrendered three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Orioles … Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up three runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees … Tyler Alexander gave up one run over six innings in a loss to the Twins … Packy Naughton was shelled for four runs over two innings in a loss to the Rangers.
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom (elbow) has been shut down for the remainder of the 2021 campaign … Giants placed Brandon Belt on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left thumb … Jesse Winker (intercostal) will not return this season … Jesus Aguilar underwent season-ending arthroscopic left knee surgery. He is expected to be ready for spring training … Pirates are expected to call up right-hander Roansy Contreras on Wednesday to make his major-league debut against the Cubs … Pablo Lopez (shoulder) threw 45-to-50 pitches on Tuesday in a three-inning simulated game … Dodgers activated Cody Bellinger (ribs) from the 10-day injured list … Willson Contreras (wrist) was held out of the Cubs’ lineup against the Pirates … Willy Adames was scratched from the Brewers' lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals due to left quad discomfort … Francisco Lindor went 2-for-7 with a two-run homer, leading the Mets to a doubleheader sweep against the Marlins … Trea Turner went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base, leading the Dodgers to a victory over the Padres … Buster Posey went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Giants’ win over the Diamondbacks … Nolan Arenado and Jose Rondon launched solo homers in the Cardinals’ win over the Brewers … Trevor Story went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in the Rockies’ win over the Nationals … Jorge Soler hit a two-run single to power the Braves to a narrow victory over the Phillies … Colin Moran went 2-for-2 with a three-run homer and four RBI in the Pirates’ win over the Cubs … Eugenio Suarez crushed his 30th homer of the season in the Reds’ lopsided defeat at the hands of the White Sox … Luis Urias went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the Brewers’ loss to the Cardinals … Jake Cronenworth swatted a solo homer in the Padres’ loss to the Dodgers … Nick Martini went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the Cubs’ loss to the Pirates … Jake McCarthy went 2-for-2 with a solo homer in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Giants … Walker Buehler posted five strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in a win over the Padres … Adam Wainwright gave up two runs over six innings in a win over the Brewers … Marcus Stroman allowed two runs over five innings to pick up a win against the Marlins … Kyle Freeland gave up one run over 6 2/3 innings in a win over the Nationals … Logan Webb recorded six strikeouts and was charged with one run (zero earned) over five innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks … Trevor Rogers struck out six batters and yielded one run over five innings in a no-decision against the Mets … Brandon Woodruff served up two runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals … Luke Weaver allowed one run over four innings in a no-decision against the Giants … Alec Mills was tagged for six runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Pirates … Mitch Keller was torched for six runs over four innings in a no-decision against the Cubs … Yu Darvish gave up two runs over four innings in a loss to the Dodgers … Zack Wheeler struck out seven batters and allowed two runs over seven innings in a loss to the Braves … Patrick Corbin posted nine strikeouts and gave up two runs over six innings in a loss to the Rockies … Riley O'Brien allowed two runs over 1 1/3 to take a loss in his major-league debut against the White Sox.