The Pittsburgh Pirates’ playoff chances seemed pretty much nonexistent a couple of weeks ago. Manager Clint Hurdle’s club dropped 12-of-16 from June 19 through July 7, falling to eight games below .500 in the process. Since then, the Buccos have completely turned things around, as they have won 10-of-11 and their eighth straight with a 6-2 victory at Cincinnati on Saturday evening.  

Corey Dickerson has been one of the main cogs in the Pirates’ machine during this stretch, putting up an impressive 1.058 OPS with eight extra-base hits across 42 plate appearances. The sixth-year outfielder hit the 99th and 100th home runs of his career in Saturday’s win and has now gone 6-for-16 with four roundtrippers over his last three games.


In Case You Missed It

Dickerson is not the only N.L. Central slugger in the midst of a power barrage. Matt Carpenter homered in both halves of a doubleheader against the Cubs on Saturday, giving him eight deep drives during his current six-game home-run streak. Back on May 25, Carpenter was hitting .200 with only four homers through 44 games. Since then, he has lined up solely in the leadoff spot for the Cardinals and been one of the top producers in the league. Over his last 49 games, Carpenter has crushed his way to a .341/.442/.780 slash line with 21 homers and 17 doubles.

On the pitching side, Carlos Carrasco gave Cleveland fans and fantasy owners alike reason for confidence that he’s ready to be at least close to ace-like down the stretch. Carrasco was not bad in the first half, but he did come up short of lofty expectations due to injury and inconsistency. On Saturday night at Texas, the 31-year-old righty gave up two runs on five hits and a walk while punching out eight across 6.2 innings.


Sunday on the Hill

Like Carrasco, José Quintana is another veteran hurler with a track record of success that largely failed to deliver stats worth of his pre-season fantasy draft status during the first half. However, there seems to be reason for renewed confidence in the lefty. Quintana worked 6.0 innings in each of his first two July starts, allowing only two runs combined alongside a 1.08 WHIP. He’ll be on the mound at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals to get his “second-half” started.

Atlanta All-Star Mike Foltynewicz had a tremendous breakout here in 2018, but he labored through two of his weakest efforts of the season heading into the break. The long ball has been the issue for him, as he’s been tagged for four of them over his last 12.2 innings. That’s compared to only six homers allowed across his first 89.0 innings of the campaign. Foltynewicz is getting set to face the Nationals for the fourth time this season. The last time (June 1) he saw the division rival from D.C., Folty turned in basically the most dominant performance of his career; a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts.



Starling Marte – 14 games – 22-for-59, 1.098 OPS, 5 HR, 4 2B

Jesse Winker – 12 games – 21-for-42, 1.277 OPS, 1 HR, 6 2B

Trevor Story – 12 games – 20-for-47, 1.268 OPS, 4 HR

Stephen Piscotty – 11 games – 15-for-47, 1.070 OPS, 5 HR, 4 2B


You can follow Nate Miller on Twitter @Miller_RotoDad or hear him every Monday & Thursday hosting the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Podcast along with Colby Conway.