Amidst the debate of who should win the National League Cy Young award, could Blake Snell be on the precipice of the award in the American League? He won his 20th game without his best stuff on Tuesday night throwing five shutout innings in Texas with first pitch temperature sitting at 90 degrees. Snell did generate 16 swinging strikes with 16 called of his 92 pitches, lowered his ERA to 1.97 and became the second Rays pitcher to reach 20 wins along with the first pitcher in the majors since 2016. Pretty good transformation by a pitcher who only won five games in 2017 with seven starts at Triple-A.

His main competition could be Corey Kluber who won his career best 19th game as well last night. Kluber fanned 11 over eight innings giving up eight hits, three earned runs and two walks. With the strikeouts, Kluber surpassed 200 strikeouts joining teammates Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco making Cleveland’s rotation only the fourth team in history with three teammates to do so. The last, Detroit in 2013 when Justin Verlander , Anibal Sánchez and Max Scherzer all recorded more than 200 strikeouts.

Injury Updates and Roster Machinations

When news broke about Trevor Story ’s elbow injury, his owners and Colorado feared the worst. Luckily, Story’s MRI did not reveal any damage to the UCL joint, just inflammation. He will need a “few” days off to rest, but this proves less than optimal in the heat of a playoff chase. Plan accordingly.

Trevor Bauer threw an encouraging simulated game and hopes to return to game action soon. He should make a start prior to the end of the season to prepare for the playoffs.

Michael Fulmer will be shut down for the remainder of the season and could require surgery on his torn meniscus. He will seek a second opinion, but if he does get surgery, he could be out for six months which could delay his start to the 2019 season.

From the no luck department, José Abreu will miss the series against the Indians with an infection in his thigh. No word on when he will return this week, stay tuned.

Mixed news on the return of two sidelined closers. Brandon Morrow will be shut down for the remainder of the season by the Cubs but Aroldis Chapman could be activated as soon as Wednesday or Thursday by the Yankees.

Last, but not least, Mookie Betts plans on playing Wednesday night with Boston trying to clinch the division.

That Just Happened

Facing his former team, Nate Eovaldi made his first start since September third and fired six shutout innings giving up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. His bullpen ceded the lead allowing three runs in the seventh leading to an eventual loss. Not addressing the bullpen depth prior to the playoffs means a soft underbelly exists for the Red Sox if teams can wait out their starting pitching in close games in October.

New York traded for J.A. Happ to not only provide depth to the staff, but to face Boston in meaningful games. Happ did not factor in the decision, but worked six innings allowing four hits, one run (unearned) and three walks with six strikeouts. Zach Britton recorded his sixth save of the season and also yielded an unearned run. Both runs scored versus the Yankees on Tuesday were unearned, the defense needs to improve with a play-in game looming.

Lost in the curious moves by the Pirates at the trade deadline, how well Jameson Taillon ’s pitching. He struck out 11 in seven shutout innings allowing only four hits and a walk with 20 swinging strikes generated on 104 pitches. Over his last 12 starts, Taillon’s 8-2 with a 2.19 ERA and since June first owns a 2.62 ERA spanning 120.1 innings with 113 strikeouts versus 26 walks. Felipe Vázquez lost his streak of 24 consecutive saves but Pittsburgh rallied in extra-innings for the win.

Not the best outing for Aaron Nola but he did last 5.2 innings giving up six hits, two earned runs and two walks with nine strikeouts. He was lifted after 104 pitches, which cost him a win. Thanks Gabe Kapler. Speaking of which, welcome back to the save column Héctor Neris . One night after allowing three earned runs in a rough outing, Neris notched his first save since June 16th with a clean ninth and two strikeouts. Avoid this bullpen next season. Jorge Alfaro did record a smash and dash hitting his 10th home run along with his third stolen base. I may be able to steal a base on the Mets.

Ken Giles converted his fourth save in as many outings with a clean ninth inning. Giles remains a perfect 23-for-23 this year, has been scoreless his last seven appearances and notched all 11 save chances with the Blue Jays.

In a loss, Jonathan Villar swiped his 29th base of the season and sits one behind Dee Gordon this year in the category. Who saw this coming?

Jorge Polanco went 2-for-4 with two runs, a double and his fifth stolen base. He’s hitting .385 over his last 12 games with eight runs, two doubles, two home runs and four RBI. Will he be a forgotten late round gem at middle infield next year?

Just when it seems safe to move on from Stephen Strasburg , he strikes out 11 in six innings. Strasburg’s won two straight starts and owns a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings this month with 33 strikeouts. Trea Turner finished 2-for-4 extending his hit streak to seven games and stole his 40th base of the season. Bryce Harper became the eighth player in history to walk five times while not scoring a run, his OBP rose to .394 as a result.

It’s tough to judge small sample sizes, but Peter O’Brien could get a chance to win the first base job in Miami. He homered for the second time in the last three games and walked twice. If he’s going to avoid the Quad-A label, O’Brien will need to remain patient at the plate but there’s power upside here.

Speaking of power, Paul DeJong launched his 19th home run driving in three during a Cardinals win. DeJong’s tied for third in RBI in the second half with 43 trailing only Christian Yelich (50) and Michael Conforto (45). However, with DeJong’s 37 runs, 11 doubles and 11 home runs since the break, he’s hitting .220 with a .288 on-base percentage. This will need to be examined at the end of the season to see if it’s bad luck or selling out for power.

Ronald Acuna Jr. played in the 100th game of his career. He hit his 26th home run and has 55 extra-base hits, ninth most in major league history through this many games. Since moving to leadoff, Acuna’s played in 57 games with 48 runs, 19 home runs, 38 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a robust .336/.420/.691 slash line.

So, José Peraza now has more home runs than Joey Votto this year. Peraza went 2-for-5 with a run, double, his 13th home run and two RBI. Over his last 13 games, Peraza’s hitting .382 with four doubles, four home runs, 11 RBI and three stolen bases. As for Votto, he’s reached base in his last 17 games with a .356 average, three doubles, three homers and 12 RBI.

Christian Yelich became the first Brewer to amass at least 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases since Ryan Braun in 2012 last night.

While many focus on Snell’s breakout, both Joey Wendle and Willy Adames continue to produce. Wendle tallied four hits and he’s hitting .320/.372/.489 in the second half with 24 RBI. Adames hit his 10th home run and slashing .333/.418/.500 in September. Not too shabby.

As many teams search for arms to get to the end of the season, Houston can provide extra rest to Gerrit Cole by inserting Josh James into the rotation. James fired 5.1 shutout innings against Seattle giving up four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He produced 16 swinging strikes of his 87 pitches and has 24 strikeouts over his 16 innings this year. James was a 34th round draft pick in 2014 averaging over 97 MPH with his fastball. Teammate Marwin González remained hot hitting his 16th home run driving in two. His last 38 games yields a .299 average in 137 at-bats, nine doubles, 10 home runs and 28 RBI.

With the Cubs closing in on the division, Mike Montgomery turned in a strong start lasting six innings allowing four hits, one earned run and one walk with eight strikeouts in Arizona. This marks Montgomery’s fifth win during his career high 17th start. Javier Báez (33) and Daniel Murphy (11) each homered.

Charlie Blackmon extended his hit streak to 11 with his 27th home run. However, his team lost to the Dodgers on Chris Taylor ’s walk-off home run in the 10th inning. Taylor’s been hot of late with eight runs, three home runs, seven RBI and a .333/.421/.697 line his last 15 games.

A smash and dash for Mike Trout . He hit his 35th home run and stole his 24th base. Trout needs only one more steal for his second ever season with at least 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases. And if anyone forgets how great Trout is:

Remembering how the Red Sox bullpen’s struggling in the bridge to Craig Kimbrel , they traded away Ty Buttrey who notched his fourth save for the Angels last night. Buttrey’s struck out eight of the last 14 batters he’s faced, saved four games his last six outings and been scoreless his last eight appearances.

Hunter Pence recorded the third smash and dash of the night with his third home run and fifth stolen base. Will Smith yielded a hit but struck out the side for his 14th save and third in as many outings. He’s racked up 69 strikeouts since his debut on May second.

Padres rookie Franmil Reyes moved his hit streak to 10 games with his 16th home run and three RBI. Flying below the radar, Reyes has a .337/.404.596 line his last 30 games with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 89 at-bats.

What To Watch For

St. Louis goes for the sweep in Atlanta with Jack Flaherty on the mound facing fellow rookie Touki Toussaint.

David Price will try to exorcise his demons in Yankee Stadium and clinch the East for Boston. He’s opposed by struggling starter Luis Severino , it’s a long season.

Southpaw match-up in Arizona with Cole Hamels facing Robbie Ray .

Rookie Walker Buehler will try to extend the Dodgers lead in the West opposing Tyler Anderson .

Be sure to check back on Thursday for Nate Miller’s Round Up on Fantasy Alarm to stay ahead of the competition.

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