Description: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said on Sunday that first baseman Pedro Alvarez (foot) could return if the team advances to the NLDS according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
Insight: This confirms that Alvarez will not be ready for the Wild Card game. Alvarez suffered a stress reaction in his left foot in late August and the injury normally takes four to six weeks to recover.
Description: Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma continues to struggle badly.
Insight: Before today's start, Iwakuma was 1-2 with a 9.69 ERA over his past three outings. Today was not much better as he lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs and raising his ERA to 3.54. Iwakuma did manage eight strikeouts, but it was not enough as Seattle fell.
Description: Indians pitcher Corey Kluber is making a case for the Cy Young.
Insight: It may sound crazy, but after a ridiculous eight inning, 14-strikeout performance, Kluber definitely deserves some consideration. He is now 17-9 with a 2.53 ERA, pitching in an extremely tough division.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland locks down 43rd save of season.
Insight: The entire bullpen came up huge for Kansas City, as they went 3 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Holland sealed the deal with a perfect ninth and two strikeouts along the way. He is an elite option at the closer position.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie is good enough to earn 12th victory.
Insight: He went 5 1/3 innings allowing two runs (one earned), while striking out two. Guthrie is now 12-11 with a 4.28 ERA, but more importantly kept the Royals alive in their fight for a division title.
Description: Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello cannot get out of fourth inning versus Kansas City.
Insight: Porcello has not been the same pitcher of late, and Sunday was possibly the low-point. He went 3 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs. Porcello is now 15-12 with a 3.31 ERA on the year. Detroit will need him to get back on track, if they want to hold down the AL Central.
Description: Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp went 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI on Sunday.
Insight: Kemp started the Cubs series 0-for-4 on Thursday, but went 7-for-13 over the next three games with two home runs and seven RBI. He hopes to continue the trend on Monday when the Giants come to town. Kemp is batting .286 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI this year.
Description: White Sox lefty John Danks earns 10th victory of 2014 on Sunday.
Insight: He was effective against the Rays, going six innings of two-run baseball. Danks struck out five, and now owns a 4.82 ERA. It has not been a great year for Danks, who will look to rebound in 2015.
Description: Red Sox starter Joe Kelly goes seven innings to earn his third victory for Boston.
Insight: He pitched well, going seven innings and allowing only two runs, while striking out five. Kelly is now 3-2 with the Sox, and has lowered his ERA to 4.00. At 26-years-old, Kelly could prove to be a steal moving forward.
Description: Nationals closer Rafael Soriano allowed a run but converted the save against the Marlins on Sunday.
Insight: With closer Drew Storen unavailable, Soriano received the chance to pitch the ninth. Soriano gave up a leadoff double, which came around to score on a sacrifice fly, but Soriano preserved the one-run victory.
Description: Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) earns victory in return to mound.
Insight: The Yankees were clearly keeping him on a pitch count, as he left the game with only 70 pitches thhrown. That totaled 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, and four strikeouts. It is nice to see Tanaka get back out there, and return to form.
Description: Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison went 2-for-4 on Sunday against the Brewers to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
Insight: With one week to go in the season, Harrison leads the batting title race by nine ten-thousanth of a point over Justin Morneau. Harrison also has a .350 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 72 runs and 17 steals this year.
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin had the game-winning RBI single in the, 1-0, victory over the Brewers on Sunday.
Insight: Martin accounted for four of the five runs Pittsburgh scored in the series against Milwaukee. Martin hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to win on Friday. Pittsburgh took two of three from Milwaukee to increase its wild card lead. Martin has a 12-game hitting streak.
Description: Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is questionable to play in the upcoming series against the Dodgers.
Insight: Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle this news on Saturday. San Francisco would love to get Pagan back for the final week as they continue to fight for the top wild card spot, but do not be surprised if he plays sparingly until the playoffs.
Description: X-rays on Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna's right ankle came back negative according to Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post.
Insight: Even though the x-ray was positive news, Ozuna probably severely sprained his ankle and is likely done for the season. The outfielder is hitting .269/.317/.455 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI this year.
Description: Pirates starter Vance Worley threw eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits, to defeat the Brewers, 1-0, on Sunday.
Insight: It was Worley's biggest start as a Pirate, and he came through, giving up just four singles and walking one Brewer. Pittsburgh now has a 4 1/2 game lead over Milwaukee for the final wild card spot with a week to go in the season. Worley has won his last three decisions and is 8-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 104 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones getting the day off Sunday.
Insight: After an impressive, two-homerun game, Jones will get a much deserved day of rest today. He will be back in the lineup next time out, and must be inserted into lineups, once he is back in there.
Description: Red Sox DH David Ortiz is getting the day off on Sunday.
Insight: It is just a routine day of rest for Big Papi. He continues to rake the ball, as he is third in the AL with 35 homeruns and tied for third with 104 RBI. Ortiz has shown no signs of a decline, just yet.
Description: The return of Reds first baseman Joey Votto this season is looking doubtful according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Insight: Votto has taken batting practice and ran the bases this week, but according to Reds manager Bryan Price, he is not pain free. The club has little incentive to bring back the former MVP for one meaningless week of baseball, so we do not expect to see him again until 2015.
Description: Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is a career .480 (12-for-25) hitter with two home runs, two triples, a double and eight RBI against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn in his career.
Insight: Bruce was likely on your bench on Saturday as he was 0-for-11 against Michael Wacha in his career coming into the game. Bruce should go back into the lineup with this favorable matchup on Sunday.
Description: Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario is 9-for-19 (.474) with a pair of home runs against Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley.
Insight: Rosario has been on a tear lately, going 12-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in his last four games. He also has hits in each of his last seven games. Rosario is batting .270 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI in 363 at-bats this season.
Description: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve just keeps on hitting.
Insight: After a two-hit game last night, Altuve has a nice matchup against Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma. He is 9-for-22 (.409 BA) lifetime against Iwakuma, with four RBI. Altuve has the AL batting title locked up.
Description: Giants catcher Buster Posey is 14-for-33 (.424) with three RBI against Padres starter Ian Kennedy.
Insight: As a surprise to most, not due to his talent but because of the position he plays, Posey has not slowed down at all in Septemeber. Posey is batting .413/.451/.635 with three home runs and 15 RBI this month. The catcher should again be in your lineup on Sunday.
Description: Padres right fielder Will Venable is 6-for-17 in his career against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Insight: Venable has been cold recently, going 2-for-21 in his last eight games. Perhaps the friendly matchup on Sunday will get him going. He is hitting .217 with 22 extra-base hits, 31 RBI and 41 runs in 382 at-bats this year.
Description: Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson has been feast or famine against Braves starter Ervin Santana in his career.
Insight: Granderson has five home runs and nine RBI against Santana but has also struck out 10 times. He is 12-for-49 (.245) with two doubles, five walks, a steal and three caught steals in addition to the home runs and strikeouts. The right fielder hit his 19th home run on Saturday.
Description: Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche is a career .462 hitter with a double and home run against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi.
Insight: LaRoche also has five RBI versus Eovaldi. The first baseman missed two days this past week to rest his back, but he hit a home run on Friday. He is hitting .255 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI in 474 at-bats this year.
Description: Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been ruled out on Sunday due to a hamstring injury according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Insight: Rollins has been hoping to play in his hometown of Oakland this weekend, but he tested his left hamstring on Saturday and is not yet feeling well enough to return to action. It is unclear if Rollins will return at all this season, so do not count on him the last week.
Description: Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) will be on the mound for the Yankees for the first time since July 8th, when New York hosts Toronto Sunday afternoon.
Insight: He got some work in the Yanks' spring training complex, but will face a big test today. Tanaka was a CY Young candidate before he went down with the injury. He is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 2014.
Description: Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera is likely to miss several days because of a quad strain according to ESPN New York.
Insight: Herrera suffered the injury on Saturday against the Braves. Manager Terry Collins said he intends to leave Daniel Murphy at third base with Herrera out. Do not count on Herrera returning at any point in the final week of the season.
Description: Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez is hitless in his last 16 plate appearances, going 0-for-5 on Saturday against the Pirates.
Insight: Gomez was hitting extremely well just about 10 days ago, recording four multi-hit games in a week, but he is back in a slump, perhaps the biggest this year. Overall though, he has still basically reproduced his numbers from his breakout season a year ago. Gomez is hitting .281/.352/.467 with 21 home runs, 69 RBI and 33 stolen bases.
Description: Indians starter T.J. House continued his strong September in Saturday's victory over Minnesota.
Insight: Over the past 28 days, House has been terrific with a 2-0 record in five games started, and a 2.64 ERA during that span. After last night's win, he is now 4-3 on the year with a 3.43 ERA. Not a bad season for the rookie.
Description: Reds starter Mike Leake allowed six runs, five earned, over five innings in Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Cardinals.
Insight: Leake tossed up two big home runs, a three-run homer from catcher Tony Cruz and a two-run bomb to Kolten Wong. He allowed six hits, struck out four, and walked two. Manager Bryan Price pulled him after five innings and only 70 pitches. He is 11-13 with a 3.78 ERA this year.
Description: Giants right fielder Hunter Pence hit his 20th homer of the season against the Padres on Saturday.
Insight: Pence led off the top of the ninth with a solo home run to cut the Padre lead, 3-1. It was the first run charged to San Diego starter Andrew Cashner. Relief pitcher Kevin Quackenbush came on to barely close the door as San Diego won, 3-2. Pence is hitting .288/.342/.463 with 73 RBI, 13 stolen bases and 105 runs to go along with the 20 homers.
Description: Giants right-hander Yusmeiro Petit pitched five 1/3 innings, allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits, struck out seven and walked three in a loss to the Padres.
Insight: Not a bad start by any means, but San Diego's Andrew Cashner outpitched Petit with eight shutout innings. The Giants did tag Cashner for two runs in the ninth, but the Padres held on to win. Petit has lost his last two starts and is 5-5 with a 3.63 ERA.
Description: Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre has another big night.
Insight: Texas has the worst record in baseball, however that is no fault of Beltre's. He continued his strong play, going 3-for-4 with all three hits being doubles, along with two RBI. He now is hitting .327 with 18 homers and 75 RBI. Beltre will be an early round pick in 2015.
Description: Padres starter Andrew Cashner nearly threw his second straight complete game shutout as he defeated the Giants, 3-2, on Saturday.
Insight: Cashner pitched eight shutout innings before giving up a solo home run to Hunter Pence and single to Joe Panik to begin the ninth. Cashner exited and saw the tying run reach third base, but San Diego held onto the victory. Cashner has won his last three starts with an ERA of 1.50 over that span. He is 5-7 with a 2.21 ERA in 18 starts this year.
Description: Angels center fielder Mike Trout continued his pursuit for his first MVP Award.
Insight: He clubbed his 35th homer of the season, while knocking in his 108th and 109th runs of the year. The AL MVP favorite is slashing .290/.379/.568 with 112 runs and 14 stolen bases. Oh, and he's only 23-years-old.
Description: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols had a big night to get to the 100 RBI plateau, on Saturday.
Insight: Although his second half of the season (.268 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI) has not been as good as the first half (.279BA, 20 HR, 64 RBI), Pujols has rebounded nicely in 2014. While he will never be the player he once was, Pujols is still a major threat at the plate, and will continue to be over the next couple of seasons.
Description: Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez's resurgence continued Saturday night.
Insight: He has been amazing all season, and that continued against the Pirates, as Rodriguez locked down his 43rd save. The 3.09 ERA is nothing to cry home about, as a closer, but in no way is it terrible.
Description: Pirates closer Mark Melancon has not been great in non save situations this season, since becoming closer.
Insight: He took the loss to the Brewers, giving a run in the ninth, dropping his record to 3-5. However, Melancon has been extremely reliable when Pittsburgh has the lead, with 31 saves a 1.96 ERA. He is an extremely dependable fantasy closer.
Description: Pirates starter Edinson Volquez continued his hot pitching of late, Saturday versus Milwaukee.
Insight: He hit Ryan Braun, which casued warnings to be issued, eventually resulting in the ejection of Matt Garza. However, Volquez did not allow a run on three hits and seven innings. He did not factor into the decision, and owns a healthy 3.15 ERA.
Description: Rays starter Chris Archer defeated Hector Noesi and the White Sox 3-1 on Saturday.
Insight: He is now 10-8 after going 6 1/3 innings, including three strikeouts. Archer did not allow a run, and now owns a 3.42 ERA. Jake McGee shut the door for his 18th save, allowing the one earned run in the process.
Description: Cardinals righty Michael Wacha could not get out of the fifth inning tonight.
Insight: He went 4 2/3 innings, and couldn't stay in long enough to earn the victory. Jason Motte stole the win, recording only one out. Wacha still owns a low 3.18 ERA, and continues to be a major part to St. Louis' rotation.
Description: Nationals 3B/LF Ryan Zimmerman returned to action Saturday night, and came up big.
Insight: He started in left field and opened up the scoring in the seventh, with an RBI triple that Reed Johnson missed played. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful sight for Nats fans to have him back. Zimmerman owns a .288 average with five homers and 37 RBI in 2014.
Description: Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched six strong innings to earn his 13trh victory of 2014.
Insight: He was taken out with only 84 pitches. However, Zimmerman was hit in the shoulder by a line drive in the sixth, and although he stayed in the game, the Nats scored all of their runs in the seventh, causing him to sit for an extended period of time. Zimmerman has been fantastic this season with a 2.78 ERA. Drew Storen shut the door on the Marlins, to seal the win.
Description: Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong came up big for St. Louis Saturday night.
Insight: He went 3-for-3 with a walk, including his 12th homer of the year. Wong has been a little inconsitent at the plate, but still has a .256 average with 20 stolen bases. At 23-years-old, Wong should improve upon those numbers in 2015.
Description: Mariners righty Chris Young was knocked around in Saturday's loss to Houston.
Insight: He lasted only three innings, giving up a dreadful seven earned runs. Still, Young has been a pleasant surprise for Seattle this season. He heads into his next start with a 12-9 record and a 3.65 ERA.
Description: Astros starter Dallas Keuchel continued his strong month on Saturday.
Insight: He went eight innings of one-run ball, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 2.93. Keuchel received run support early, and he coasted to defeat Seattle, improving his record to 12-9. He has been somewhat of a sleeper this year.
Description: Brewers right-hander Matt Garza was ejected Saturday night for hitting Andrew McCutchen in the fifth inning.
Insight: McCutchen was hit for the first time in the third inning, and Edinson Volquez retaliated by throwing at Ryan Braun in the fourth. At the point, warnings were issued to both benches. Garza did not appear to mean to hit McCutchen in the fifth, but was tossed nonetheless. He was throwing well after 4 2/3 innings, striking out six and not letting up a run. Garza's pitch count was at 86, making it unlikely he would advance too far into the game.
Description: Marlins right-hander Jarred Cosart had a rough seventh inning.
Insight: He was sailing along through six innings, giving up no runs, but could not keep it going when he came out for the seventh. The big blow came on an RBI triple by Asdrubal Cabrera, which tied the game at 2-2. Cosart was then pulled, and Mike Dunn allowed the inherited runner to score.
Description: Braves starter Mike Minor was removed after just one inning Saturday night, with shoulder discomfort.
Insight: He will probably be shelved for the season, as he missed the first month of the season with shoulder tendinitis. Minor likely finishes the year at 6-11 with a 4.77 ERA. He will look to rebound in 2015.
Description: Phillies reliever Ken Giles earned his first career save against Oakland on Saturday.
Insight: With Jonathan Papelbon serving a seven-game suspension, Giles was in line for the save. He went three up and three down, with one strikeout. The flame-thrower is the future at the closer position for Philadelphia.
Description: Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson continued his big seasom Saturday afternoon.
Insight: He tripled in the first inning to open up the scoring, and added his 24th homer of the year during the fifth inning. In his first full season Dickerson is slashing .312/.364/.563 with the 24 homers and 75 RBI. He should be targeted early in 2015.