Max Scherzer earned his 15th win on Saturday after spinning seven shutout innings against the Reds, yielding just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. Scherzer kept Cincinnati off the board for seven innings, marking his fifth consecutive start without an earned run (36 2/3 innings). He's now won his last 11 decisions to improve to 15-4, while the recent scoreless streak has lowered his ERA to an MLB-leading 2.08. The Dodgers have won all nine of his starts since acquiring him from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline, as he's allowed just five earned runs in 58 innings with his new team alongside an absurd 79:7 K/BB ratio. The 37-year-old is pitching some of the best baseball of his career right now and could very well win his fourth Cy Young award when it's all said and done. He's carrying many fantasy rotations to the finish line right now while helping the Dodgers gain ground on the Giants in the NL West. He'll look to keep rolling in an easy road start next week against either the Rockies or Diamondbacks.
Brendan Rodgers powered the Rockies to a 6-0 win over the Nationals by going 3-for-5 with a double, a two-run homer, and two runs scored on Saturday. Rodgers gave Colorado a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first by taking Patrick Corbin deep for his 14th tater of the year -- eight of which have come against southpaws and 12 of which have come on the road (a true rarity for a Rockies hitter). He later added a double and single to finish a triple shy of the cycle. Rodgers, who homered for the third time in his last four games, has caught fire in September with a .333 average with eight extra-base hits with 12 RBIs in 15 games this month. The 25-year-old has established himself as a solid everyday regular in his first full season, tallying 34 extra-base hits with 47 RBIs, 42 runs, and an .818 OPS in 89 games this year. He's finishing the season on a high note and needs to be locked into fantasy lineups down the stretch, especially given his ability to succeed away from Coors Field.
Aaron Nola earned the win on Saturday after limiting the Mets to one run on four hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. While he fell one out shy of his first quality start since August 21, Nola still pitched well enough to earn his first win since July 25 and even his record at 8-8. Saturday's performance against the light-hitting Mets was a much-needed rebound for Nola, who entered the day's game with a 7.53 ERA in September. While his overall numbers (8-8, 4.48 ERA) remain lackluster, his peripherals have been outstanding this year with a 211:36 K/BB ratio and a 3.41 FIP prior to Saturday. While a career-worst 39.9% ground-ball rate hasn't helped, he's also gotten unlucky with the lowest strand rate of his career (67.6%) and a higher than average BABIP (.306). Throw in a career-worst 1.3 HR/9 rate, and one can see why he's underperformed relative to his peripherals. Regardless, he'll be a must-start for his friendly home matchup with the Pirates next week.
Corbin Burnes ended up with a no-decision on Saturday after allowing three runs on six hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts over six innings against the Cubs. Burnes's biggest mistake was a two-run homer to Ian Happ in the fifth that briefly gave Chicago the lead before Milwaukee rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. While he didn't get the win, he still wound up with a quality start as well as his eighth outing with double-digit strikeouts this year, boosting his season total to 221 in just 158 innings. Perhaps more incredibly, he's only walked 32 batters this year and has yielded just five homers, which explains why his FIP was a phenomenal 1.50 coming into Saturday's outing. His 2.34 ERA is only slightly disappointing by comparison, but it's easy to see how he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the beginning of last year. Burnes will look to continue his dominance when he faces the Cardinals at home in his next start.
Yu Darvish settled for a no-decision on Saturday after firing seven shutout innings against the Cardinals, yielding just three hits and one walk while striking out nine. Darvish exited after 96 pitches with a 2-0 lead, only to watch San Diego's bullpen immediately implode for three runs in the bottom of the eighth, resulting in a devastating 3-2 loss for the Padres. Darvish was denied his ninth win of the season despite holding the opposition scoreless for the first time since May 17. San Diego's second-half slide has mirrored Darvish's, as he entered Saturday's outing with a 1-8 record, 7.67 ERA, and 5.74 FIP over his last 11 starts since the beginning of July. The 17 home runs he allowed during that stretch were the primary culprit of his struggles, which is extra-concerning given that he pitches half his games at Petco Park. Perhaps the 35-year-old is finally slowing down after a decade in the big leagues. Despite Saturday's gem, fantasy gamers should think twice before deploying him against the Giants at home in his next start.
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