'Baltimore Orioles Bird' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ There were a handful of impressive performances Monday night of the final week of the MLB season. We had saves, victories, cycles... there was a lot going on so let's get to it.

Joaquin Benoit blew a save chance Monday. It was his first blown effort of 2013. Benoit has stabilized the 9th inning for the Tigers tremendously well as he's gong 22-for-23 in save chances while posting a 1.97 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 64 innings. He's been a fantastic waiver-wire add in mixed leagues.

Johnny Cueto was at it again Monday as he allowed three hits and one earned run over seven innings. His season has been one of the most frustrating in the game, he's constantly been out of action with a lat issue, but he's been as good as every when he's been able to pitch. In 11 games he's got a 5-2 record, 2.82 ERA and 1.05 WHIP for the Reds.

Brian Dozier has seven hits in the last three games to raise his average to .248. Not great, but how many 2B/SS eligible players have 18 homers, 13 steals, 72 runs scored and 65 RBIs? The answer is one – Brian Dozier.

Marco Estrada is killing it in the second half. He's gone 3-0 with a 2.26 ERA over his last eight starts including seven shutout innings Monday versus the Braves. He'll be on a lot of “sleeper” lists next season.

How about that Greg Holland. Remember when you thought he was going to lose his job to Kelvin Herrera early in the year? Not so much. Holland picked up his 45th save Monday to tie Dan Quisenberry's team record, an on the year Holland has a 1.25 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 99 Ks in 65 innings. He's been the best closer in the AL.

Manny Machado's season is over after a brutal, non contact injury to his left leg as he crossed first base (it's not a pretty sight). Machado had a very impressive first full season as a big leaguer, but let's not get ahead of ourselves in the fantasy game. Machado's production tanked in the second half (.240-7-26-31-0 in 60 games) and that left him with some rather blah fantasy numbers including a .283 average, 14 homers, 71 RBIs and only six steals on 13 chances. Can't look down on 189 hits, 51 doubles and 88 runs scored, but he'll likely be a bit over drafted next season.

Aramis Ramirez has been beat up all year, his knee has given him fits, but he's still been a very productive hitter. Batting .283, if we allow him to maintain his current level of production over 140 games he would have 19 homers, 78 RBIs, and 68 RBIs, not bad considering how much starting and stopping his done this season. He's played 88 times this season for the Brewers.

Youngster Tanner Roark suffered his first loss of the season Monday as he allowed four runs over five innings. Don't really know how he's managed to do it, but through 46.2 innings he's gone 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He's been a tremendous addition in the second half.

Alex Rios was the third guy to hit for the cycle this season (Mike Trout and Brandon Barnes). You may have stopped paying attention, or not noticed cause Rios played for two teams this season, but the 32 year old has once again been dynamic. Through 149 games he's batting .280 with 18 homers, 76 RBIs, 80 runs scored and 39 steals. He's two homers an a steal from a 20/40 effort. Wow right?

Second half batting averages:

.182 – Mitch Moreland .189 – Darwin Barney .195 – Nick Franklin .203 – Pedro Alvarez .213 – Anthony Rizzo .219 – Kyle Seager .222 – Michael Bourn & Mark Trumbo .225 – Adam Dunn

Eric Stults did me right last night allowing one run over 6.1 innings against the D'backs. He lowered his ERA to 3.94 with the effort and will toe the rubber on Saturday against the Giants to close out his season. While he was on point, one of the other two start hurlers of the week was a total disaster. Brandon McCarthy gave up four runs and eight hits, while only striking out two, over six innings against Stults and the Padres. He's 5-10 with a 4.64 ERA. So much for a move to the NL helping him out. Another hurler I mentioned Monday, Charlie Morton, threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs. That's eight quality starts in his last 10 outings. Keeping the theme going, Yordano Ventura allowed one run over 5.2 innings. I had a pretty good day on Monday.

Joey Votto walked five times Monday for the first time in his career. His .308-24-73 line is well below expectations, but he's still had a fantastic season with a .438 OBP, .938 OPS and 100 runs scored.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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