Joey Gallo paced the Yankees' 8-0 victory over the Indians on Friday by going 3-for-4 with two solo homers and three runs scored. Gallo put New York on the board with his first solo shot in the second inning, then tacked on another solo blast for good measure in the eighth when the game was already out of reach. The game was Gallo's first three-hit performance since August 5 and first multi-homer effort since August 14. After a terrible August and start to September, Gallo has finally turned things around with his new team over the past week, blasting six home runs over his last eight games. The three hits boosted his average to .204, while he now has 37 big flies and 75 RBIs to go along with 84 runs. The 27-year-old has continued to be the definition of a three-true-outcome hitter with 106 walks (most in AL) and 196 strikeouts (most in MLB) this season, meaning that 59.3 percent of his plate appearances with either a walk, homer, or strikeout. While his elite power is certainly welcome in all fantasy formats, the high strikeout totals and low batting average limit his overall value.
Chris Sale improved to 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA this year after holding the Orioles to just one run and no walks with one strikeout over five innings at Fenway Park on Friday. Sale was crisp in his first start back from the COVID list, limiting Baltimore to a second-inning solo shot during the first five frames of Boston's 7-1 victory. While the one whiff was a season-low for Sale, he still earned his fourth win in six starts this year -- two of which have come against Baltimore. The Red Sox continue to remain cautious with their ace in his first year back from Tommy John, however, as his 79 pitches were his second-fewest this season. He's completed six innings just once so far, but his strong strikeout numbers and rate stats still make him a must-start regardless. Even with the Red Sox trying to keep him fresh for the playoff push, he's still doing enough to help fantasy squads with 31 Ks in 30 innings. He'll get another juicy home matchup when he faces the inconsistent Mets next Wednesday.
Dylan Cease dominated the Rangers on Friday, striking out 10 over five shutout innings. Cease had no problem carving up one of the worst teams in baseball in a terrific rebound performance from a pair of rough starts to begin September. Despite only going five innings, Cease reached double-digit Ks for the eighth time in 30 starts this season, boosting his strikeout total to 212. Five of those 10+ punchout performances have come during his 12 second-half starts, over which he has a whopping 95 strikeouts in just 64 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old has emerged as a full-blown strikeout machine in his third season, which makes his 12-7 record and 4.09 ERA somewhat disappointing by comparison. He'll look to take advantage of another cupcake matchup when he faces the Tigers on the road for his next start.
Jose Altuve went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk against the Diamondbacks on Friday. Altuve put Houston on the board with his go-ahead two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth off Madison Bumgarner, contributing half of the Astros' four runs in their 4-3 victory. Altuve's long ball was his 28th of the season and third of September, as he appears to have rediscovered his power stroke after failing to go yard at all in August. He's been much more dangerous in September with 10 extra-base hits in 14 games this month, which have helped him score a whopping 17 runs as Houston's leadoff man. He's already scored 106 times in 132 games this year, and he now sits just two homers shy of his second 30-homer campaign. After an abysmal 2020 campaign, the former AL MVP has reclaimed his status as one of the best hitters in baseball.
Jarred Kelenic powered the Mariners to a 6-2 win over the Royals on Friday by going 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs. Kelenic enjoyed his first career multi-homer game by slamming a pair of two-run shots off Jon Heasley in the second and fourth innings, plating Seattle's first four runs. The big game provided a hint of Kelenic's star potential that he debuted with back in May, but has yet to fully realize. While the 22-year-old's overall numbers remain disappointing, he's started to find his groove in September with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and a .255 average in 14 games this month. While it's too little, too late for most fantasy managers, Kelenic's potential remains tantalizing and he'll continue to be a fixture in fantasy leagues for years to come, especially if he trims his 29.7 percent strikeout rate.
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