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Baseball Daily Dose

Tough Cookie

by D.J. Short
Updated On: September 21, 2020, 10:06 am ET

Carlos Carrasco is hitting his stride at exactly the right time for the Indians and fantasy players.

Carrasco went full-on Cookie Monster in Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the Tigers, allowing just one hit with three walks over seven scoreless frames while striking out a season-high 11 batters. The 33-year-old induced 24 swinging strikes in his 109 pitches and was still touching 96 mph in his final inning of work. In fact, three of his four hardest pitches on the day were thrown in his final inning.

Carrasco’s ERA sat at 4.50 for the year coming out of his previous start against the Tigers on August 23, but he’s posted a 1.41 ERA in five starts since. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of them. Carrasco now holds a 2.90 ERA and 74/24 K/BB ratio in 62 innings over 11 starts overall, which is much closer to what we’ve come to expect from him over the years.

Of course, Carrasco was anything but a sure thing coming into this season after being limited to just 80 innings in 2019 following a diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia. He made it back as a reliever down the stretch last year and opted to participate this year despite being in the “higher risk” category during the COVID-19 pandemic. What a story he’s been so far.

The Indians will likely only go as far as their starting pitching carries them in the postseason, but Jose Ramirez is going overlooked on the position player side of things. After a topsy-turvy 2019, the 28-year-old is batting .284/.369/.574 with 15 home runs, 38 RBI, 10 steals, and 39 runs scored over 51 games. He slugged two homers in Sunday’s win over the Tigers, giving him a pair of multi-homer games in the span of four days. He’s a legitimate AL MVP candidate.

Notable Injury Updates

- Sonny Gray is expected to rejoin the Reds’ rotation Tuesday against the Brewers. The veteran right-hander hasn’t pitched since September 10 against the Cubs due to a mid-back strain, but he made it through a bullpen session Saturday without incident. Gray holds a 3.94 ERA through nine starts this season, but he was rocked for 11 runs in six innings with a 5/6 K/BB ratio in his most recent two starts while showing diminished velocity.

- J.T. Realmuto hasn’t played since September 12 due to a strained hip flexor, but it sounds like he could be getting close. Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Sunday that Realmuto won’t catch Monday’s game against the Nationals, but he hasn’t ruled him out as a possible designated hitter. Hey, it’s something. Missing Realmuto hurts, but Andrew Knapp has proven himself as one of the better backups in the game. The problem is that the Phillies are relying on the inexperienced Rafael Marchan as a backup right now.

- Only adding to the Phillies’ injury concerns, Bryce Harper was forced to exit Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays due to lower back stiffness. He appeared to tweak something in the outfield in the top of the seventh inning and struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame before exiting. Phillies manager Joe Girardi indicated after the game that Harper has dealt with back issues throughout the season, but it hasn’t sidelined him until now. It’s too bad, as Harper appeared to be coming around in recent days after falling into a lengthy slump. Girardi said Harper will get “a lot of treatment” and they’ll keep their “fingers crossed” as they attempt to secure one of the final playoff spots in the National League this week.  

- Mike Clevinger was scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Mariners due to right biceps tightness, but the plan calls for him to throw a bullpen session on Monday. Assuming all goes well, he could return Wednesday against the Angels. The Padres are postseason-bound, so it appears they were just being cautious. Clevinger has a 3.00 ERA and 17/3 K/BB ratio in 18 innings through his first three starts with San Diego.

- Is there a shutdown coming for Nolan Arenado? The 29-year-old didn’t play Sunday while undergoing tests on his left shoulder. Rockies manager Bud Black expects to have some sort of update coming on Monday. Arenado recently revealed that he’s been playing through discomfort in the AC joint in his shoulder, which provides some context for his struggles this year. He’s batting just .253 with eight homers and a .738 OPS over 48 games. Don’t count on him in fantasy leagues for the final week.

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Sunday Saves

Ryan Pressly (12) - Pressly saved three games during the Astros’ six-game homestand and appears to have righted the ship.

Josh Hader (10) - Hader was asked to get just one out after Brent Suter started the ninth inning against the Royals with a four-run lead. However, Suter allowed a two-run homer to Salvador Perez and a single to Maikel Franco before being pulled.

Brandon Kintzler (10) - With the Marlins clinging to a one-run lead, Kintzler loaded the bases before striking out Kurt Suzuki swinging to finish out the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Nationals. Despite some pedestrian peripherals, Kintzler hasn’t allowed a run in his last five appearances.

Andrew Miller (3) - This was Miller’s first save since August 17. He’s pitched well since coming off the injured list and could see some more chances, though Giovanny Gallegos is expected to be activated from the injured list on Monday.

Cesar Valdez (2) - The soft-tossing right-hander gave up two runs in his last appearance on September 17, but he bounced back with a 1-2-3 inning to finish off Sunday’s win over the Blue Jays. Valdez, 35, has made for an interesting story this season with a 1.35 ERA over 13 1/3 innings.

Mychal Givens (1) - Daniel Bard is the Rockies’ closer, but he entered Sunday’s game against the Dodgers with two outs in the eighth and ended up throwing 35 pitches before being pulled with two outs in the ninth. Givens, who came over from the Orioles at the end of August, needed just one pitch to finish off the Dodgers.

Two For Tuesday

Take whatever you can get out of Tuesday’s matchup between the Cardinals and Royals in Kansas City. Brady Singer has been on a roll of late and is still rostered in just 31 percent of Yahoo leagues for some reason. He’ll be opposed by left-hander Austin Gomber, who has put up a 2.37 ERA over 19 innings (two starts, 10 relief appearances) with the Cardinals this year. He threw 57 pitches in his most recent appearance on Thursday against the Pirates, so he could be stretched out enough to qualify for a potential victory. The 26-year-old is rostered in just three percent of Yahoo leagues and makes for an interesting dart-throw in deeper formats. By the way, Singer gets the Tigers to finish out the season this coming weekend, so he shouldn't be on the waiver wire right now.

American League Quick Hits: Luke Voit hit his MLB-leading 21st home run — a solo shot — in a lopsided loss to the Red Sox on Sunday … Tim Anderson is considered day-to-day after leaving Sunday’s game against the Reds with a hamstring cramp … George Springer collected a pair of solo homers — one being an inside-the-parker — and stole a base in Sunday’s win over the Diamondbacks … Bo Bichette doubled and triple while scoring two runs in the Blue Jays’ win over the Phillies on Sunday … Making his second major league start, Tanner Houck carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning Sunday against the Yankees, ultimately allowing just one run on one hit over six frames while striking out four and walking three … Alex Verdugo (hamstring) missed his second straight game Sunday … Michael Chavis slugged two homers and drove in five runs in Sunday’s blowout victory over the Yankees … Jose Berrios tossed six scoreless frames with four strikeouts in a win over the Cubs on Sunday …  John Means picked up 12 strikeouts while allowing just one run in 5 2/3 innings in a win over the Rays on Sunday … Jose Urquidy allowed two runs over six innings as part of a no-decision Sunday against Arizona … In one of the weirdest lines in recent memory, Dylan Cease didn’t give up a hit in three-plus innings Sunday against the Reds, but allowed three runs with seven walks.

Deivi Garcia finally had a hiccup Sunday against the Red Sox, allowing six runs over three innings of work … Teoscar Hernandez went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer against the Phillies on Sunday …Dylan Moore went 2-for-5 with a homer, a double, and two RBI against the Padres on Sunday … Ryan Yarbrough allowed two runs over seven-plus innings in a tough luck loss to the Orioles on Sunday … Taijuan Walker struck out eight batters over six innings of one-run ball for the win Sunday against Philadelphia … Matt Shoemaker (lat) will be activated to start Monday against the Yankees … Sam Huff slugged his first major league homer — a solo shot — as the Rangers powered past the Angels on Sunday … Rowdy Tellez (knee) has been taking batting practice in the cage in hopes of returning this season … Peter Fairbanks will serve as the Rays’ opener in Monday’s game against the Mets … Franklin Barreto will undergo surgery this week to repair a subluxation in his left shoulder … Jordan Romano (finger) resumed throwing off a mound Saturday … The Rangers acquired minor league right-hander Stephen Villines from the Mets to complete the Ariel Jurado trade … The Athletics designated right-hander Daniel Mengden for assignment … Mike Zunino (oblique) went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his return from the injured list Sunday, so he didn’t miss a beat … Ronald Guzman exited Sunday’s game against the Rangers with right hamstring tightness.

National League Quick Hits: Ronald Acuna Jr. went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBI in Sunday’s shutout win over the Mets … Jack Flaherty hurled six innings of one-run ball with 11 strikeouts for the win Sunday against the Pirates … Dinelson Lamet piled up 10 strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Mariners on Sunday … Yadier Molina hit a clutch go-ahead two-run homer in the Cardinals’ win over the Pirates on Sunday … Sandy Alcantara tossed six innings of one-run ball as the Marlins took the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Nationals … Daniel Vogelbach slugged two homers and drove in five runs as the Brewers downed the Royals on Sunday … Kyle Wright struck out six batters over 6 1/3 scoreless innings for the win Sunday against the Mets … Rick Porcello suffered a tough-luck loss Sunday against the Braves after striking out 10 batters over seven innings of one-run ball … Mitch Moreland went 2-for-5 and drove in the game-winning run in the Padres’ 11-inning victory over the Mariners on Sunday, clinching the team’s first trip to the postseason in 14 years … Joc Pederson is expected to be activated from the family medical emergency list on Tuesday … Joe Musgrove struck out 11 batters over six scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Cardinals on Sunday.

Josh Fuentes went 3-for-4 and knocked in three runs in Sunday’s victory over the Dodgers … Kevin Newman was placed on the 10-day injured list with a contusion to the peroneal nerve of his left knee, ending his season … Asdrubal Cabrera went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI as the Nationals routed the Marlins in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday … Jon Berti (finger) was activated from the injured list and went 1-for-3 with three walks in Sunday’s doubleheader against the Phillies .. Jake Arrieta (hamstring) played catch Sunday … Darin Run went 2-for-4 with a homer, two walks, four RBI, and two runs scored Sunday against the Athletics … Antonio Senzatela allowed just one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings for the win against the Dodgers on Sunday … Tony Gonsolin struck out 10 batters while allowing two runs over five innings Sunday against Colorado … The Brewers placed outfielder Ben Gamel on the 10-day injured list with a left quad strain, ending his season … The Padres optioned young right-hander Luis Patino to their alternate training site …  Nick Groke of The Athletic reports that Rockies top pitching prospect Ryan Rolison will be with the big club for their season-ending road trip, though it’s unclear if he’ll make any starts … Josh Rojas exited Sunday’s game against the Astros with lower back discomfort.