The Giants became the first team in 2021 to reach 100 wins with a 7-2 victory over the Rockies in Colorado on Friday. It's the first time the franchise has reached 100 wins since 2003. Alex Wood struck out seven batters while giving up two runs over four innings before the bullpen with the best ERA in baseball took over for the final five frames. The offense provided the run support with four home runs on the day, starting with Tommy La Stella's leadoff homer in the first. Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Mike Yastrzemski would all go yard, adding to the team's NL-leading home run total.
San Francisco started the season as a feel-good story, becoming the first team to 50 wins, then 60, then 70, and well, you get it. While many were waiting for the other shoe to drop, the Giants just kept going. It was clear this team bought into themselves. Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt played significant roles in the Giants' previous championship runs. This was supposed to be another rebuilding year while the fans got to watch one last year of their homegrown favorites. The veterans had other plans. Crawford ended the day with his 22nd home run while hitting .303/.377/.527 with 84 RBI and ten steals in what has been a career-year for the 34-year-old shortstop. Belt and Yastremski hit their 27th and 25th homers, respectively, becoming the first pair of 25-homer hitters for the Giants since Ray Durham and Barry Bonds in 2006. With 234 home runs as a team, they're one away from breaking the franchise record of 235 in a single season -- set in 2001 with the help of Bonds' 73.
Despite winning 100 games, the Giants have no room to take their foot off the pedal over the final week. The Dodgers are right on their heels with 99 wins. It's incredible to think that one of these teams will have to play a one-game Wild Card playoff. And there's a possibility we could get a game 163 between the two teams in San Francisco to determine a division winner. It's baseball, so can we expect anything less than chaos?
Cardinals tie franchise record with 14th consecutive win
The Cardinals took both games of a doubleheader against the Cubs on Friday. The wins give them 14 consecutive victories, tying a franchise record set in 1935. Paul Goldschmidt and J.A. Happ were the heroes in game one as Goldschmidt drove in three runs and hit his 30th homer of the season while Happ tossed four scoreless innings. The offense would explode for five homers in the second game, including two from Lars Nootbaar. The wins give St. Louis a commanding five-game lead on the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Barring an unlikely total collapse over the final week, the Cardinals will be in line to play either the Dodgers or the Giants in an exciting Wild Card matchup.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Max Fried vs. Padres
9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 23% CSW
Fried was incredible on Friday, tossing a complete-game shutout against the Padres in under 100 pitches for his second Maddux of the season. He scattered three hits and threw 66-of-98 pitches for strikes. The 27-year-old left-hander induced a whopping 16 groundouts and recorded 18 consecutive outs to finish the game. Fried will take a 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 152 strikeouts over 158 2/3 innings into his final regular-season start against the Phillies in Atlanta next week.
Eric Lauer vs. Mets
6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 34% CSW
Lauer gave up a leadoff triple to Brandon Nimmo in the first inning before Francisco Lindor put the Mets on the board with a groundout. The 26-year-old left-hander settled in and struck out nine batters over 6 2/3 innings, scattering two more hits and two walks. Lauer has posted a 2.93 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 114 strikeouts over 113 2/3 innings.
7 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 8 K, 31 % CSW
Montas was brilliant on Friday against the Astros, holding them to two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings. Jose Altuve reached third base on an error to lead off the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel. Altuve added the second run with a leadoff homer in the third inning. Montas was otherwise excellent, throwing 65-of-106 pitches for strikes while generating 13 whiffs to strike out eight batters. The 28-year-old right-hander has been incredible in the second half, posting a 2.33 ERA with 95 strikeouts over 81 innings since the All-Star break.
Hitters with an EDGE
Starling Marte vs. Astros
4-for-5, 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI
Marte had a big day at the plate as the A's put up 14 runs on Houston. The 32-year-old outfielder knocked three base hits and a double while driving in four runs. He's hitting an excellent .315/.389/.464 with 12 homers, 52 RBI, and 45 steals across 502 plate appearances.
Lars Nootbaar vs. Cubs
3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Nootbaar took Michael Rucker deep to lead off the third inning for a solo homer. After adding an RBI base hit in the fifth, he went yard for his second solo homer in the seventh inning off Adam Morgan.
Giancarlo Stanton vs. Red Sox
3-for-5, HR, 4 RBI
Stanton drove in half of New York's runs with four RBI against the Red Sox. He plated one run with a groundout in the first inning before blasting a three-run homer in the third off of Nathan Eovaldi. Stanton added a single in the fourth for his third hit of the day. The 31-year-old slugger is up to 32 homers to go with a .272/.355/.507 slash line and 87 RBI over 547 plate appearances.
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Brendan Rodgers, 2B - Colorado Rockies (available in 73 percent of Yahoo leagues)
As we enter the final week of the fantasy season, any teams in contention will want every edge they can get. The Rockies have some of the best matchups for championship week with a three-game series against the Nationals in Coors Field, followed by a three-game set in Arizona. Brendan Rodgers is widely available and a great way to get some exposure to those excellent matchups. The 25-year-old infielder is slashing .300/.328/.476 with six home runs since the start of August. Four of those homers have come in the last ten days.
Kenley Jansen vs. Diamondbacks
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (35th save)
Jansen made quick work of the D-Backs in the ninth inning. He needed just eight pitches to shut the door on Arizona for his 35th save. The 33-year-old right-hander has a 2.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 80 strikeouts over 65 2/3 innings.
Paul Sewald vs. Angels
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K (11th save)
Sewald was summoned in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game against the Angels with a one-run lead. He intentionally walked Shohei Ohtani before Phil Gosselin doubled to put two runners in scoring position. After walking Jared Walsh, Sewald struck out Jack Mayfield and got Jose Rojas to ground out to end the game. It wasn't easy, but Sewald picked up his 11th save to go with a 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts over 59 1/3 innings.
Mark Melancon vs. Braves
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K (38th save)
Fernando Tatis Jr. put the Padres ahead in the top of the seventh inning with a solo homer. Melancon took the mound in the bottom of the frame and allowed one walk while striking out two batters to secure the win for San Diego.
Alex Colome vs. Blue Jays
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (16th save)
Colome needed just five pitches to get through the heart of the Toronto order in the ninth inning. He got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to ground out on the first pitch before striking out Bo Bichette. Teoscar Hernandez went after the first pitch he saw and lined out to right field to end the game. Colome is up to 14 saves since the trade deadline.
Liam Hendriks vs. Cleveland
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (35th save)
Hendriks was summoned to close Friday's contest with a one-run lead against Cleveland. He got Jose Ramirez to strike out swinging before inducing two groundouts to end the game and secure the win for Chicago.
Scott Barlow vs. Tigers
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (15th save)
Barlow recorded his 15th save for the Royals on Friday with a clean ninth inning against the Tigers. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 2.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 86 strikeouts over 71 1/3 innings while going 15-for-21 in save chances.
Ian Kennedy vs. Pirates
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (26th save)
Kennedy took the mound in the top of the ninth with a two-run lead against the Pirates. He worked around a single and a walk to record his 26th save of the season -- tenth with the Phillies.
Joe Barlow vs. Orioles
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (8th save)
The Rangers took a three-run lead into the ninth inning against the Orioles and called on Barlow to close it out. He worked around a walk to Cedric Mullins to keep Baltimore off the board and record his eighth save of the season.
Giovanny Gallegos vs. Cubs
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (13th save)
Gallegos shut the door on the Cubs in the seventh inning during the first game of a doubleheader on Friday. He needed just 12 pitches while striking out two batters to secure the win for St. Louis. The 30-year-old right-hander is up to 13 saves to go with a 3.14 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts over 77 1/3 innings.
Saturday's matchup takes us to Tampa Bay, where the Rays are hosting the Marlins for a three-game series. While this matchup may not have many playoff implications, it does feature two of the most electric young pitchers in the game. Alcantara has developed into one of the best pitchers in baseball with a career-best 17.8 percent K-BB rate, giving him a 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 189 strikeouts over 194 2/3 innings. On the other side, McClanahan has impressed tremendously over his first 115 1/3 career innings, posting a 3.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 135 strikeouts.
American League Quick Hits: Shane Bieber was activated from the 60-day injured list to start on Friday... The Rays activated Wander Franco from the 10-day injured list and optioned Taylor Walls to Triple-A... The Astros placed Zack Greinke on the 10-day injured list with neck soreness... Jameson Taillon has "a good chance" to slot back into the Yankees rotation against the Blue Jays... Amed Rosario was activated from the COVID-19 injured list... Ernie Clement was optioned to Triple-A... The Royals placed Michael Taylor on the bereavement list and recalled Edward Olivares, again... The Angels released Felix Pena... The White Sox optioned Matt Foster to Triple-A... Matthew Boyd will undergo surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his left arm... Ryan Thompson will undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery... The Blue Jays activated Joakim Soria from the family medical emergency list and placed Thomas Hatch on the 10-day injured list... Kevin Smith was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
National League Quick Hits: Pablo Lopez is ready to return from the injured list according to Marlins manager Don Mattingly... Noah Syndergaard will make another rehab start with Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday... Chris Taylor remained out of the Dodgers lineup on Friday with a neck issue... Rowdy Tellez could be activated from the injured list next week... Jake McGee was able to play catch from 90 feet without issue on Friday... Robinson Chirinos was placed on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain... The Cardinals activated Dakota Hudson from the 60-day injured list... The Cubs recalled Jason Adam and Greg Deichmann... The Pirated placed Dillon Peters on the 10-day injured list and recalled Miguel Yajure... Colorado activated Peter Lambert from the 60-day injured list and optioned Ryan Vilade to Triple-A... The Giants signed Ka'ai Tom to a minor league contract.