Pirates righty Jameson Taillon took a no-decision Tuesday despite allowing only four hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings vs. the Royals. Taillon turned in one of his finest outings of the year on Tuesday, notching a new season high in strikeouts while throwing 70 of his 104 pitches for strikes. After getting off to a bumpy start this year with a 4.83 ERA in April, Taillon has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last four and a half months with a 2.89 ERA and a 4.1 K/BB ratio over his past 24 starts. The third-year starter is having the best season of his career with a 3.24 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 178 innings. He'll look to keep it up in his next start on September 24 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and a stolen base Tuesday vs. the Mets. Alfaro powered Philadelphia to a comeback win, keying the club's five-run sixth inning with his 10th home run of the year. He also picked up his third steal of the season while lifting his average to .259. The 25-year-old has been a mild disappointment in his first full season after slashing .318/.360/.514 in 29 games last year, although regression seemed likely based on his poor plate discipline. He has nearly eight times as many strikeouts (175) as walks (22) in his career, which will likely limit his fantasy value to NL-only leagues and two-catcher formats until he's able to correct it.
Nationals righty Stephen Strasburg won after allowing two runs on five hits (one homer) and two walks with 11 strikeouts over six innings Tuesday at the Marlins. Strasburg was dominant en route to matching his season high in strikeouts and winning his second consecutive start. After a trio of ugly starts caused his ERA to rise more than a full run during the summer, Strasburg has settled down lately by allowing two earned runs or less in each of his last five outings. He'll look to take advantage of Miami's weak lineup again when he faces the Marlins at home on September 24.
Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong went 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI and two runs against the Braves on Tuesday. DeJong connected for his second homer in as many games and his 19th of the season in the fourth inning off Anibal Sanchez to put St. Louis on the board, sparking an 8-1 win. Although it's been a disappointing sophomore campaign for last year's NL Rookie of the Year runner-up, he's finishing the season on a high note. The 25-year-old has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games with three home runs and 11 RBI during that span. While his .749 OPS is still well below last year's .857 mark, it's trending up as the season draws to a close.
Reds shortstop Jose Peraza went 2-for-5 with a double and a two-run homer Tuesday against the Brewers. Peraza staked Cincinnati to a quick 2-0 lead with his homer in the top of the first, later adding a double for good measure. The 24-year-old has developed a solid power stroke this season with 13 homers, 31 doubles and a .423 slugging percentage -- all career highs. He's also rebounded in the average department after hitting just .259 last year, batting .292 this season while matching his personal best in steals (23). Put it all together, and Peraza has proven himself to be a strong fantasy option this year who may still have room to grow as he enters his prime years.
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