With the season starting to wind down, looking at some important storylines and aspects this week is important to be ahead of the curve and gain an edge on your league mates.
20 Things to Watch
Week Schedule Notes
- The following teams have just five games this week
- Arizona Diamondbacks vs SF, at NYY
- The following teams have seven games this week:
- Baltimore Orioles at HOU, at CLE
- Cleveland Guardians at KC, vs BAL
- Detroit Tigers at LAD, at OAK
- Oakland A’s vs SEA, vs DET
- Atlanta Braves vs PHI, at WAS
- New York Mets at MIA, at PHI
- Philadelphia Phillies at ATL, vs NYM
- Washington Nationals vs CHW, vs ATL
- Milwaukee Brewers at STL, at MIA
- St. Louis Cardinals vs MIL, at SD
- Los Angeles Dodgers vs DET, vs SF
The Playoff Races
The playoff races are unreal right now. While the AL Central, NL East, and NL West are pretty much wrapped up, the rest of the divisions and Wild Card races are still toss-ups. In fact, the final NL Wild Card spot has a three-way tie as of the writing of this article between the Giants, Diamondbacks, and the Reds, and that doesn’t include the Marlins, who are a half-game back. How these races finish out over the next two weeks will have an effect on how pitchers and hitters get used down the stretch.
Top prospect Crow-Armstrong has been called up by the Chicago Cubs. The question remains: how much will he play? PCA profiles as a defense-first guy with some power and a lot of speed. If he can get everyday playing time, he could be really valuable down the stretch.
Bautista was seen throwing the ball on the field before an Orioles game recently and is trying to work his way back from an elbow injury. If he can return to the closer role in Baltimore, he could be a nice source of a few saves before the end of the season.
Kelenic is back after missing almost all of the second half after breaking his foot by kicking a cooler. He had an up-and-down first half, but if he can be anything like he was to start the season, he could help carry teams to championships, or if he is more like he was right before the injury, he could sink them.
Top prospect Heston Kjerstad has made his Major League debut with the Orioles. Kjerstad is the former second overall pick in 2020 and has hit .303/.376/.528 with 22 home runs and five stolen bases between AA and AAA this season. He profiles as a power outfielder who can swing and miss but has made strides in the strikeout rate this season. He is worth picking up in case he is a full-time player down the stretch.
Ohtani continues not to play, last suiting up for the Angels on 9/3. He has yet to be put on the IL, but the Angels could now do that retroactively and then activate him whenever he was ready to play. Keep an eye on this situation.
Miller has returned from the IL and has been fantastic, throwing four scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk over two outings. Will he throw deep enough into a start to qualify for a win, or is he just a high-powered reliever the rest of the way?
Can Acuna Get to 40/70
Acuna has been fantastic this season, and he is close to being a 40-home run and 70-stolen base player which has never been accomplished before.
Schneider has been fantastic since coming up to the Majors, hitting .337/.464/.742 with eight home runs and a stolen base in 110 plate appearances. With Matt Chapman expected back soon, there are questions as to where Schneider will play and if he can keep full-time playing time.
As the season winds down and more and more teams fall out of races, players are going to be put on the IL, skipped in the rotation, or limited in starts. It is extremely important to pay attention to the news on all your players to avoid making a mistake that costs you down the stretch.
12-17. Streaming Options
Sawyer Gipson-Long at OAK
The Tigers prospect has pitched well since debuting and now gets the worst team in baseball in one of the best parks to pitch in.
Nick Pivetta vs CHW
Pivetta has struggled down the stretch, but he looked better in his last start and now gets a bad White Sox team.
J.P. France vs KC
France has been up and down in the second half, but he is coming off of a good start against a good offense and now faces a bad offense at home.
Kyle Wright at WAS
I don’t want Wright’s first start if I can avoid it, but he is a good pitcher going up against a bad offense. At worst, you should get a win here.
Cristopher Sanchez vs NYM
Similar to Wright, I don’t want Sanchez’s first start of the week because the Braves are so strong, but the Mets are bad, and Sanchez has been great much of his rookie season.
Zack Thompson vs MIL
Thompson has pitched well since returning to the Majors and now faces a Brewers offense that has been among the worst against left-handed pitching this season.
18-20. 2-Start Options
Ryan Pepiot vs DET, vs SF
Pepiot has been fantastic since returning to the Dodgers rotation, throwing 27 innings with a 2.00 ERA and getting 22 strikeouts. He has two really nice matchups versus bad offenses, so he is among the best streamers of the week.
Cal Quantrill at KC, vs BAL
After how well Qunatrill has pitched since returning from the IL, he probably deserves to be in the higher tier, but his lack of strikeouts really limits his upside. If you are win-chasing, the first half of this two-step is enticing, and I am not overly worried about the second half.
Edward Cabrera vs NYM, vs MIL
Cabrera has the unique ability to help you win or lose a week. He has been decent since returning from the IL but has yet to throw five innings in a start. However, he has two great matchups and was pretty close to qualifying for a win in his last start, so I think this is a situation I would roll with.