A week ago, the Yankees got right.
Now, they're getting healthy.
That's a combination that could be big trouble for the rest of the league come October.
The Yanks extended their winning streak to six games in a big way Tuesday, routing the Blue Jays 20-6. On the same day, they got their cleanup hitter, slugger Giancarlo Stanton, back from the injured list, and fellow bopper Aaron Judge appears to be just days away from activation as well.
They didn't need either Tuesday. Stanton returned and batted cleanup but went 0-for-4 before being removed, but it was the rest of the Yankees' lineup -- notably the first two hitters in the order, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit -- that propelled them to the lopsided win over their division rivals. LeMahieu finished 4-for-6 with a home run, five RBI and three runs scored, while Voit grabbed hold of the major league lead in homers with a pair, going 3-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. Voit's 18 jacks are two more than second-place hitters Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz.
While Stanton didn't play a part in Tuesday's victory, he'll likely have to have a featured role in the offense if the Yanks are to hold onto a playoff spot and advance deep into October. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Stanton, who hadn't played since August 8 due to a left hamstring strain, will probably have Wednesday off after returning on Tuesday but that he could be playing back-to-back games by the weekend.
"Hopefully he'll be able to build up properly and rack up a lot of at-bats, and most importantly, go out and help us win ballgames," Boone said before Tuesday's win, the team's sixth in a row.
The weekend could also be big for Judge, who has been on the injured list since August 28 for a right calf injury. The 28-year-old logged seven plate appearances in an intrasquad game Tuesday at the Yankees' alternate training site, and Boone said Judge should be back with the team very soon, possibly in time for the start of their series against the Red Sox on Friday.
"I'm confident it's imminent," he said.
When that day does come, it'll make an already-potent Yankees lineup even more fearsome. LeMahieu and Voit have been two of the league's best hitters this year, and guys like Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and Clint Frazier give the lineup serious length.
With Frazier playing well, the loser in a playing time crunch could be one of Aaron Hicks or Brett Gardner. Neither has been particularly good offensively, at least not on the surface, but given that Hicks has served as the team's primary center fielder this year it's less likely he takes a seat than Gardner. Plan accordingly if you have either in your fantasy leagues.
Houck shines in MLB debut
The Red Sox have given away plenty in 2020 -- runs, wins, Mookie Betts.
It's the $700 that will be given away following Tuesday's game that may be one of the best things to come from 2020 for the Boston club, though.
Making his major league debut, 2017 first-round pick Tanner Houck struck out seven over five scoreless innings Tuesday to lead the Sox to a 2-0 win over the Marlins. The 24-year-old allowed just two hits and walked three in his five innings of work.
He kept Marlins hitters off balance with four-seam fastballs up in the zone, sliders down and away to right-handers and sinkers that bore in on them. The four-seamer averaged 93.6 mph, and the slider generated 12 called strikes plus whiffs of 30 pitches thrown. The right-hander gave up just three hard-hit balls all evening.
“It seemed like we didn't see that breaking ball very good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You didn't see too many good swings on the breaking ball. The guy is halfway, effectively wild. He can be a little bit all over, and then he is throwing strikes. We didn't do a whole lot with him.”
The good night was also a win for adoption. Before the start, Houck pledged to donate $100 for every strikeout he recorded to his Pitch for Adoption campaign, which benefits Caritas Family Solutions.
Despite being a first-round pick of the team just a few years ago, Houck was the No. 10 prospect in the Red Sox system according to MLB.com, so he's not without his flaws. Not a must-add at this point, fantasy players would do well to avoid a potential meeting with the Yankees this weekend but could look to stream him in the season's final weekend against the Braves depending on whether the Braves will have anything to play for ahead of a likely postseason berth.
“That’s why we have him pitching right now is to see what he’s like and see if he would fit in next year, or what we think of him,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “So it’s good to have him out there and yes, if we could get him a couple more [starts this season], that would be great. So we’ll see what happens. But what a great start for him. You want to make an impression, and he made an impression on all of us.”
Editor’s Note: Unlock our daily, weekly and rest-of-season projections, all-new weekly positional tiers, Lineup Adviser, Trade Analyzer, Player Tracker and much more! Get our in-season tools for as low as $3.99/month!
Jays poised to bring back bopper?
There must be something in the water in Buffalo -- besides, you know, buffalo, I assume.
After Bo Bichette beat his timetable and returned to the Blue Jays lineup earlier this month, Teoscar Hernandez is trending toward a remarkably expedient return from an injury of his own, it was reported Tuesday. Hernandez ran the bases Tuesday and is scheduled to take batting practice on Wednesday, an act that could precede his activation from the injured list.
“That’s our hope, that everything goes well and it could be any day after that,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.
It would border on miraculous if Hernandez was able to return so quickly from the mild oblique strain that sent him to the shelf on September 5. Obliques are notoriously fickle and often require longer, not shorter, stays on the injured list than originally anticipated.
Few would complain about getting the 27-year-old back for the home stretch, though, after Hernandez was one of the most productive hitters in the league for the season's first month and a half. Before the injury, the outfielder batted .308/.358/.637 with 14 home runs, 27 RBI, 27 runs scored and five steals in 39 games.
Because the injury in early September was something akin to a death blow to his 2020 regular season, Hernandez may have been dropped in many leagues with few or no IL spots. Leaving him on the wire after Tuesday's news would be a mistake.
National League Quick Hits: Nolan Arenado (shoulder) was back in the Rockies' starting lineup on Tuesday night. Arenado started at third base and batted cleanup against the Athletics and left-hander Sean Manaea after sitting out of Sunday's series finale versus the Angels due to AC joint discomfort in his left shoulder. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored in Tuesday's win ... Chris Paddack (ankle) is scheduled to start Friday against the Mariners. There was some thought that Paddack might be able to work Wednesday's all-important series finale against the National League West-leading Dodgers, but the Padres will give him a little extra rest after he exited his start last Thursday against the Giants due to a minor right ankle sprain. Adrian Morejon will serve as the opener in a bullpen game for San Diego on Wednesday versus Los Angeles ... Kris Bryant (wrist, elbow) was back in the Cubs' starting lineup on Tuesday night. Bryant started at third base and batted second against the Indians and right-hander Carlos Carrasco after sitting out of Sunday's series finale versus the Brewers while getting treatment on his lingering wrist injury. He had a good night in his return to the lineup, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, an RBI and three runs scored in the Cubs' walk-off win ... Zack Wheeler (fingernail) has been cleared to start Wednesday against the Mets. Wheeler hasn't made a start since September 7 because he ripped the fingernail on his right middle finger while putting on some pants last week, but he's made it through a couple of throwing workouts without issue and should be plugged into fantasy lineups for Wednesday's matchup with New York. The 30-year-old right-hander boasts a 2.47 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, and 36/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings (eight starts) this season ... Dodgers activated 3B Justin Turner from the 10-day injured list. Turner missed a couple of weeks with a left hamstring strain. The expectation is that he'll be eased back into the mix out of the designated hitter spot, but he played a starring role Tuesday, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Dodgers' win ... Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Tommy Pham (hand) could return "any day." Pham has been working out at the Padres' alternate training site as he makes his way back from hamate bone surgery. He's said to be working on his grip strength and his ability to play will be dependent on pain tolerance. Fantasy players shouldn't necessarily count on Pham down the stretch, but it sounds like he'll be able to contribute on a potential postseason run for San Diego, which is huge ... Reds placed 3B Eugenio Suarez on the paternity list. Suarez can be away from the team for 24 to 72 hours. Mike Moustakas covered third base duties on Tuesday while Freddy Galvis played second base ... Adam Duvall hit a solo homer to help the Braves to a win on Tuesday by a 5-1 score over the Orioles. Duvall is just the fourth player on the Braves to ever hit 10 homers in September, joining Chipper Jones, Eddie Matthews and Dale Murphy. Pretty good company. It was a solo shot off Thomas Eshelman in the fourth inning, and it's the 15th round-tripper of the season for the 32-year-old slugger. While he's hitting just .237 in his last 10 games, Duvall has six homers in that time frame and has driven in 13 runs. Keep in mind that he had two 30-homer seasons with the Reds, so while this is obviously not sustainable, it doesn't completely come out of nowhere. ... Jesse Winker (back) returned to the Reds' lineup Tuesday against the Pirates. Winker hadn't played since last Thursday due to back tightness. He went 0-for-4 in Tuesday's game and is just 1-for-26 to begin the month of September ... Antonio Senzatela yielded one run on six hits in a complete-game victory over the Athletics on Tuesday. Senzatela recorded three strikeouts and only issued one walk in the first complete-game of his major-league career. The 25-year-old righty needed only 109 pitches (74 strikes) to go the distance in this one. He’s made tremendous strides in the control department, slashing his walk rate from just over four free passes per-nine last year, to fewer than two per-nine this season. He still doesn’t miss enough bats to warrant a permanent roster spot in shallow mixed leagues, but he’s proven that he can be a useful streaming option for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues. He’ll carry a 3.30 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 36/12 K/BB ratio across 62 2/3 innings (10 starts) into a road tilt against the Dodgers on Sunday ... Jake Arrieta is being evaluated for a right hamstring injury. Arrieta appeared to badly tweak his right hamstring while throwing a pitch in the top of the sixth inning Tuesday night against the Mets. Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters after the game that "Jake doesn't think it's all that bad," but any sort of strain at this point on the calendar could be a season-ender. The veteran right-hander is headed for testing/imaging, and there should be a more exact diagnosis on Wednesday ... An MRI on Kevin Gausman's right elbow turned up negative for any structural damage. Great news for the Giants after Gausman had to be scratched from his last scheduled start Sunday against the Padres due to right elbow tightness. It sounds like he could return to the starting rotation sometime during this weekend's three-game series versus the Athletics. Drew Smyly and Tyler Anderson will cover the team's rescheduled games against the Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday ... Eric Hosmer (finger) took on-field batting practice on Tuesday at Petco Park. It's a very encouraging step in the right direction for the 30-year-old first baseman, who landed on the injured list September 8 after being diagnosed with a fractured left index finger. Hosmer is expected to return to the Padres' active roster before the end of the regular season, and he could even be back at some point this week. He had posted a strong .288/.344/.542 batting line with eight home runs and 32 RBI through 31 games this year ... Marlins placed 2B Isan Diaz on the 60-day injured list with a left groin injury. In other words, his season is over. This completes a bizarre year for Diaz, who opted out of the season during the Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak before making his return just a few days ago. Jazz Chisholm figures to see a lot of time at second base moving forward.
American League Quick Hits: Tuesday night's game between the Mariners and Giants was postponed due to air quality issues in Seattle. It's sort of remarkable in retrospect that the Mariners and Athletics were able to fit in a doubleheader under smoky skies on Monday at T-Mobile Park. The MLBPA apparently took issue with those games being played at all. Ljay Newsome was scheduled to face off against Tyler Anderson on Tuesday, and those two could potentially match up at San Francisco's Oracle Park on Wednesday or Thursday ... Carlos Correa has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left ankle. That's relatively good news given that Correa had to be helped off the field Tuesday night against the Rangers after fouling a ball off his lower left leg in the bottom of the sixth inning. X-rays turned up negative for any fractures. The shortstop will probably need a couple days off but should ultimately avoid the injured list ... Justin Verlander (forearm) is expected to throw 3-4 innings in a simulated game on Wednesday morning. Myles Straw, Abraham Toro, and Jack Mayfield are among the hitters he'll face in the simulated setting at Minute Maid Park. It's a big step for Verlander, who is aiming to return to the Astros for one or two starts down the stretch. He's been on the IL since late July after suffering a forearm strain in his 2020 regular season debut ... Gleyber Torres sat out Tuesday because of a quad issue, per Yankees manager Aaron Boone. Boone downplayed the issue while noting that Torres wanted to play on Tuesday night and was available off the bench. Sounds like there's nothing to see here ... Eddie Rosario (elbow) was back in the Twins' starting lineup on Tuesday night. Rosario was removed from Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Indians after a scary-looking outfield collision with teammate Byron Buxton, but it turned out to be nothing more than an elbow contusion. He started in left field and batted fifth Tuesday versus the White Sox and right-hander Dane Dunning, going hitless in three at-bats in the loss ... Astros activated 2B Jose Altuve from the 10-day injured list. Altuve wound up missing 11 days of action with a mild right knee sprain. He started at second base and batted second in his return to Houston's lineup Tuesday versus the Rangers and righty Kyle Cody, walking and scoring a run while going 0-for-3 in his return ... Rangers activated OF Willie Calhoun from the 10-day injured list. Calhoun served as the DH and hit second on Tuesday night against the Astros and right-hander Jose Urquidy after missing nearly four weeks of action with a left hamstring strain. Rangers manager Chris Woodward has stated that he wants to get Calhoun as many at-bats as possible down the stretch this season as the team prepares for 2021, so there could be some fantasy appeal if the 25-year-old can get hot. That hot streak didn't start Tuesday, as he finished 0-for-4 in the loss ... Miguel Sano (neck) was in the Twins' starting lineup Tuesday versus the White Sox. Sano was held out Monday because of a stiff neck, but it never did seem to be a serious concern. He played first base and batted sixth for Minnesota on Tuesday night against righty Dane Dunning, going 0-for-4 in his return ... Tigers placed 2B Jonathan Schoop on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right wrist. Schoop was hit on the right wrist by a pitch last Tuesday and the discomfort has lingered. The best-case scenario is that he would return for the final weekend, so most fantasy players can move on. Niko Goodrum, back off the IL, figures to see most of the looks at second base ... Danny Duffy was scratched from his scheduled start against the Tigers on Tuesday after missing the team flight to Detroit. Duffy is reportedly with the team now after taking a later flight and is said to be fine, but he was scratched as a disciplinary measure. We'll see how long the team punishes him ... Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-2 with a solo homer and three walks in the Tigers' 6-0 defeat of the Royals on Tuesday. It was the first time that Cabrera had reached base five times in a game since May 16, 2017. The big night lifted his season OPS from .661 to .711. Unfortunately, that is still a career-low mark for the 37-year-old ... Matt Chapman underwent successful surgery Tuesday on his right hip. It was a labrum repair, per A’s trainer Nick Paparesta, and the surgeons also did a little cleanup on his femoral head. The rehab process is expected to take around 16 weeks -- or about four months -- which means that Chapman should be fully ready to rock for the beginning of the 2021 season. The 27-year-old third baseman finished with a .232/.276/.535 batting line, 10 home runs, and 25 RBI over 37 games in 2020 ... MLB officially announced Tuesday that the 2020 World Series will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The announcement was expected for a while now, but the official schedule was released on Tuesday afternoon. The AL Wild Card Series will begin on September 29 -- two weeks from today -- while the NL Wild Card Series will begin on September 30. It's going to be a wild couple days of baseball action, with eight games to be played on the 30th. Interestingly, MLB hasn't scheduled any off-days between the Wild Card Series, Division Series, or League Championship Series, so teams are going to be stretched to their limit from a pitching perspective. As expected, the ALDS will take place at Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles) and PETCO Park (San Diego) with the ALCS also taking place at PETCO. The NLDS will reportedly be played at Minute Maid Park (Houston) and Globe Life Field (Arlington) with the NLCS also taking place at Globe Life. Due to the pandemic and bubble structure implemented for the playoffs, this will be the first time since 1944 (Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis) that the World Series will take place at one site.