While attention usually focuses on hitters in Coors, most fantasy owners avoid pitchers on the Rockies due to the venue. However, this could be a mistake in 2018. It has nothing to do with ballpark effects, rather, the effectiveness of Colorado’s staff this year. Especially German Marquez of late and Kyle Freeland . Freeland won his 15th game on Thursday, his sixth decision in a row and turned his 21st quality start of the year. Since July second, Freeland’s 8-1 with a 2.56 ERA and with yesterday’s start, has a 2.36 ERA at home with nine wins. It feels like not many people know this.

As for the hitters, both Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered helping propel the Rockies to another home win. Story set the franchise record for home runs by a shortstop with his 33rd. He’s firmly in the MVP conversation in the National League. As for Arenado, he slugged his way into the history books: 

Not only did Arenado become the third Rockies player to record four straight seasons of at least 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI, he’s the ninth third baseman in major league history to do so.

Roster Updates and Machinations

Fantasy owners will find out who Joe Maddon trusts in the days ahead after Pedro Strop suffered a left hamstring injury running out a double play ground ball in the 10th inning yesterday. Strop had pitched 1.2 innings already and was going to return to the mound in the 11th prior to his injury despite the Cubs having seven relievers available to pitch. As for Strop, he will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of his injury, but best case scenario is a two week recovery. Welcome to another committee approach in high leverage.

Trevor Cahill will not make his scheduled start on Saturday due to a rhomboid muscle strain. Recent performances make him a risky start as the season draws to a close.

Arizona scratched Clay Buchholz before his start on Thursday with reports of a sore right elbow. When things go bad, they seem to snowball for this franchise.

Neither James Paxton (pneumonia) nor Félix Hernández (right hamstring) accompanied Seattle as they departed for their road trip. Paxton could return once healthy, but will miss his start this week as a result.

An emotional departure will take place in New York on September 29th. David Wright will start at third base and play his final game with the Mets. Injuries derailed his terrific career and his love for the game will be greatly missed by all fans.

That Just Happened

Michael Conforto launched his 25th home run in Game 1 of yesterday’s doubleheader then went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI in the night cap. Conforto’s racked up eight extra-base hits (six home runs) and 14 RBI over his last 11 games. In the second half, he’s hitting .270/.338/.531 with 34 runs, 14 home runs and 38 RBI. Use this as a baseline for next year when he finally breaks out.

Cubs MVP candidate Javier Báez tallied three hits with a double, his 31st home run and go ahead bunt propelling them to an extra-innings victory. It’s his first multiple hit game since September second. Kris Bryant added three hits as well scoring two runs. In 11 starts since his return, Bryant’s slashing .325/.391/.450 with seven runs, five doubles and three RBI.

It would be nice if the Nationals would take the training wheels off of Victor Robles to let fantasy owners gauge his capability for next season. Robles stole his first base of the season after sitting the past four days. Trea Turner doubled and stole his 38th base but only sits two ahead of Whit Merrifield for the major league lead. Sean Doolittle allowed a run for the second straight outing on three hits and could share saves with Greg Holland going forward. It’s a long season.

While many hope a strong finish could salvage Matt Olson ’s season, Stephen Piscotty continues to mash. He extended his hit streak to 14 games, homering for the sixth time in his last 12 contests. Over the last 23 games, Piscotty’s hitting (.356) with six doubles, nine home runs and 23 RBI. Plus, his last 79 games yields 21 home runs and 52 RBI. Do not forget this next year.

Suggesting it’s been a rough stretch for Dylan Bundy would be an understatement. But, he won for the first time since July 29th and recorded his first quality start since August fourth en route to his eighth win on Thursday against the A’s at home. Bundy struck out eight in six innings giving up six hits and two earned runs. Mychal Givens notched his seventh save and first in nine days firing a scoreless 1.2 innings with two strikeouts.

Trying to assess value plays for next year, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will be on watch the last two weeks. Hitting leadoff in Toronto makes him intriguing. After a hot streak prior to his injury, Gurriel seems to be rounding into form off of the disabled list. He went 2-for-5 with two runs and his hit eighth home run last night.

No need to assess how great J.D. Martínez has been. He crushed his 41st home run to move into a tie for the American League lead in the category, added his 122nd RBI which leads the league and he’s second in average (.322) chasing a Triple Crown. Eduardo Rodríguez yielded one run on six hits and struck out seven in a no-decision. Craig Kimbrel converted his 40th save of the season, the fifth time he’s reached this plateau in his career. Over his last 10 outings, Kimbrel’s only allowed one earned run on two hits with 17 strikeouts against seven walks.

It may be too late to salvage his fantasy campaign, but Chris Taylor ’s heating up this month. He tallied two hits scoring two runs and driving in one in St. Louis. In September, he’s hitting .391/.462/.783 with seven runs, three doubles, two home runs and six RBI. Manny Machado racked up his 50th multiple hit game of 2018 going 3-for-4 with his 34th home run and three RBI. It may be something or it may be nothing, but Kenley Jansen allowed two runs (one earned) on a hit and two walks snapping his five game scoreless streak.

Utility stud Yairo Munoz finished 2-for-4 with two runs and a double. Over his last 15 games, Munoz has 10 runs, two home runs, five RBI, five walks, six strikeouts and a .341/.417/.585 slash line.

Jake Cave hit his 11th home run of the year and seventh in his last 23 games during which he’s slugging .563 with 11 of his 20 hits going for extra-bases. Need power? Cave’s a sneaky add this weekend.

As referenced earlier, Whit Merrifield continues to run with reckless abandon of late. He scored two runs and stole his American League leading 36th base. Merrifield leads the majors with 19 steals in the second half and has swiped five bags the last three contests. Salvador Pérez launched his 25th home run and Wily Peralta recorded his 11th save in as many chances as well.

No one targets Nelson Cruz in drafts due to his lack of a position, but he’s aging like fine wine. Cruz homered for the second straight game and has 36 this year in only 129 games. Cruz remains tied for third in hits with an exit velocity of 110+ MPH with Joey Gallo and has hit at least 35 home runs the last five years, starting in his age-33 season.

What To Watch For

With their lead slipping to host the play-in game, New York will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound on Friday night.

For the DFS crowd, Diego Castillo will be the “opener” with Ryan Yarbrough slated to pitch as the bridge to high leverage. Will we see Sergio Romo ?

Max Scherzer will start in Atlanta and face Kevin Gausman with the Braves trying to inch closer to the division title.

A battle of southpaws in Houston with Robbie Ray matching up with Dallas Keuchel . Perhaps Ray can pick up a few pointers on efficiency from the veteran Astro?

Last, two young studs will do battle with playoff races heating up when Walker Buehler opposes Jack Flaherty in St. Louis.

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm all weekend to stay ahead of the competition as the baseball marathon comes to a close.

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