J.T. Realmuto paced Philadelphia's 15-4 rout of Pittsburgh by going 5-for-6 with two doubles, three runs, four RBIs, and a stolen base. After ending July in a slump, Realmuto kicked off August with one of his best games of the year, racking up a season-high five hits. The barrage lifted his average from .257 to .268, exceeding his hit total from his previous seven games combined. Despite his recent slide at the plate, the 30-year-old All-Star is still having a strong offensive campaign with an .801 OPS, 11 homers, seven steals, 42 runs, and 46 RBIs. While that's a bit below his stellar production from 2018-20 (.825 OPS), it still makes him one of the better backstops in fantasy and a must-start in all formats.
Rafael Ortega erupted for three home runs against the Nationals on Sunday, going 4-for-4 with three runs and five RBIs against the Nationals. Ortega drove in all five of Chicago's runs in their 6-5 loss to Washington with a leadoff homer in the first and two-run shots in the sixth and eighth. He also singled, which is what the rest of his teammates managed altogether as they ultimately squandered Ortega's big game. The 30-year-old veteran has caught fire after taking over as the Cubs' starting center fielder and leadoff man in recent weeks, raising his OPS from .649 to .918 since the All-Star break. While he's unlikely to keep this up based on his track record (career .623 OPS) and lack of supporting talent around him, he could prove to be a viable NL-only option the rest of the way if he holds down the leadoff spot. While this hot streak will likely end up being a flash in the pan, he should continue to provide decent counting numbers.
Yadiel Hernandez cranked a pair of homers during a 4-for-5 performance against the Cubs on Sunday, scoring two runs and driving in three. Hernandez powered Washington to a 6-5 victory over the Cubs with a season-high four hits, the last of which was a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the ninth. The game doubled as the 33-year-old's first career multi-homer game as well as his first ever four-hit game in the bigs. The long balls were his first since May 16, ending a run of 37 homerless games and doubling his season total from two to four. After spending much of the season as a reserve, Hernandez has flourished with more regular playing time recently, notching at least one extra-base hit and one RBI in each of his last four games. With Washington in need of offensive talent after trading away Trea Turner, look for Hernandez to get more consistent at-bats down the stretch, making him a possible waiver-wire option in NL-only leagues.
Sandy Alcantara wound up with a no-decision on Sunday despite twirling seven shutout innings against the Yankees, limiting them to just two hits and one walk while striking out 10. Alcantara was in top form against the Bronx Bombers, slinging 64 of his 99 pitches for strikes and matching his season-high with 10 punchouts, doing his best to preserve Miami's 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for him, the Marlins' bullpen surrendered three runs after he departed and the offense failed to scrape together any additional runs, wasting his superb effort. While he remains stuck on a 6-9 record, his ERA improved to 3.12 to go along with his 120:39 K/BB ratio over 132 2/3 innings. Aside from an eight-run outburst by the Los Angeles Dodgers back on May 14, Alcantara has allowed four earned runs or less in 20 of his 21 starts this year, including three or less on 17 different occasions. He's been one of the most consistent, reliable, and matchup-proof pitchers in baseball this year, making him a quality starting option every time he takes the hill. He'll look to stay hot against a hapless Rockies lineup at Coors Field in his next start.
Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with three doubles, three runs, and a walk against the Pirates on Sunday. Harper carried over his strong July (.333/.452/.571) into August, boosting his average to .302 with a trio of doubles. Two-baggers have played a big role in Harper's recent heater, as he's clubbed 14 of them over his last 22 games. He only has two home runs during that span, however, so his fantasy owners would like to see a few more of those gappers clear the fences, especially given his low RBI total (38). Regardless, the 28-year-old is enjoying one of the best offensive seasons of his career with a .959 OPS, 16 long balls, 12 steals, and 57 runs in 84 games. Considering how well he's been swinging the bat lately, don't be surprised if he starts connecting for more round-trippers in August while the weather is still warm.
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