One Week to Go
This is my final edition of Closing Time for 2020, and I would like to start out by telling you how much I have enjoyed joining the long legacy of writers who have contributed to this series. With just one week remaining in the regular season, nearly all the eyes on this article belong to those who are battling for a league crown. With that in mind, I will focus as much as possible on news and notes that could help to grind out a few extra statistics which may put your team over the top.
Surprising Sunday Studs
Trades are no longer a thing, and we can wait until next week to start looking ahead to 2021. For now, here are some players who are widely available and enjoyed plenty of success on Sunday.
Darin Ruf homered and drove in four runs in a lopsided win. The 34-year-old is one of many surprising San Francisco sluggers this season, and he should play more than half of their remaining games. He can help those who need power.
Andrew Miller threw a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his third save of the season. The lanky lefty is leading a closer committee on a team that has eight games this week. Even with Giovanny Gallegos set to return from the IL, Miller is an option for those in deep-mixed leagues.
Joe Musgrove was stellar (6 IP, 0 ER, 11 SO) in a no-decision against the Cardinals. The righty tends to blow hot and cold, and he has a great opportunity to finish the season on a high note when he faces an underwhelming Indians offense this week.
Antonio Senzatela conquered the Dodgers and his hitter-friendly home park when he allowed one run over 6.1 innings. The righty does not rack up whiffs, but he owns excellent ratios (3.13 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) and will wrap up his season with a road start against an underachieving D-backs squad.
Arguably the biggest Sunday injury development was Bryce Harper departing with back stiffness. His status for this week is uncertain, but with the Phillies in the thick of a postseason race, their superstar will likely push himself to play.
Nolan Arenado continues to deal with a shoulder injury and did not play on Sunday. The superstar slugger has struggled this season (.738 OPS) and will play all his remaining games on the road. He can be dropped in most leagues.
J.T. Realmuto missed all of the past week’s action and is questionable for Monday. I expect the star catcher to play this week, but he may not play enough to help those in one-catcher leagues.
Alex Verdugo missed a second straight game with a hamstring injury. He could return on Tuesday, but those in weekly leagues may want to play it safe and find an alternative.
Tim Anderson departed with a hamstring injury and is listed as day-to-day. Like Verdugo, he is now a risky option for those in weekly transaction leagues.
Sonny Gray will return from the IL on Tuesday. The right-hander was terrific for most of this season before struggling mightily in two starts and then hitting the shelf. He’s the ultimate boom-or-bust option in the final week.
Giovanny Gallegos should return from the IL for an upcoming series against the Royals. He could pick up a save during the final week.
Jon Berti returned from the IL and could fit the needs of managers who need steals this week.
Matt Shoemaker will return from the IL to start against the Yankees on Monday. Shoemaker is normally a solid starter, but this matchup is too tough to make him a trustworthy option.
Favorable Monday to Thursday Matchups
The Phillies are your volume play for the next four days, as they face the Nationals four times and the Mets once. Didi Gregorius, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and Alec Bohm should be active in most leagues.
The Yankees beat up on Toronto’s pitching staff last week to the tune of 43 runs in three games. And now the Bombers face the Blue Jays four times, with some of the same starters on the docket. Clint Frazier should be started everywhere, while Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner are deep-league options.
Favorable Friday to Sunday Matchups
Many teams play four games from Friday to Sunday. Here goes …
Arizona and Colorado have four contests but unfortunately won’t get the hitter-friendly backdrop of Coors Field. Christian Walker and David Peralta are two D-backs to strongly consider, while Kole Calhoun fits the bill for anyone looking for pure power. Rockies hitters generally aren’t advisable on the road, but Raimel Tapia is a decent option for those who need runs scored.
The Brewers and Cardinals hook up for four games that could be pivotal in the postseason race. Milwaukee hitters to stream are headlined by Ryan Braun and also include Avisail Garcia. For the Cardinals, Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong are solid streamers. Tyler O’Neill and Brad Miller are options in deeper leagues.
Oakland and Seattle will face each other a quartet of times. I really like Tommy La Stella as a streamer for the A’s, while Sean Murphy is a great option for those who need a catcher and Robbie Grossman can help those who need steals. From the Mariners, Dylan Moore should be active everywhere and Ty France is a strong option in many leagues.
The Padres wrap up their successful season with four games against the Giants. From the Padres, Trent Grisham and Austin Nola should be started in most leagues, while Jurickson Profar is a deep-league option. And finally, the Giants can offer Wilmer Flores and Brandon Belt.
Starters to Stream
Dane Dunning (@CLE)
Jon Lester (@ PIT)
Brady Singer (vs. STL)
Kyle Freeland (@SF)
Zach Eflin (@WSH)
Logan Webb (vs. COL)
Kwang-Hyun Kim (vs. MIL)
Alec Mills (@PIT)
Deivi Garcia (vs. MIA)
Antonio Senzatela (@ARI)
Matthew Boyd (@KC)
Ryan Yarbrough (vs. PHI)
Brady Singer (vs. DET)
Tarik Skubal (@KC)