As if the Red Sox needed any extra punch to their already ridiculously potent lineup, second-year third baseman Rafael Devers , who has largely disappointed fantasy owners by failing to live up to lofty expectations this season, appears to be locking in at the plate just in time for the playoffs. During Thursday's doubleheader with Baltimore, Devers went a combined 5-for-8 with two homers and two doubles. Three of those extra-base hits came in the first game alongside six RBI, as the Red Sox routed the Orioles 19-3.

Devers is now hitting north of .300 with five long balls and 11 runs driven in over his last 10 games. Despite some inconsistency and definite rough patches during his first full season at the show, he is still sitting with 21 home runs, 24 doubles and an ISO approaching .200 over 482 plate appearances. Let's keep in mind that Devers is still a month shy of his 22nd birthday, so he could still well be just scratching the surface of his potential.


In the Bag

Go ahead and hand the N.L. Cy Young Award to Jacob deGrom right now. After eight shutout innings that included 10 strikeouts and only two baserunners against the Braves on Wednesday evening, deGrom will wrap his historic 2018 season with a 1.70 ERA, 269 Ks (11.2 K/9), a single-season record 24 straight quality starts, and 18 outings in which he allowed one run or less. The Mets ace finished the year in style, retiring the final 20 batters he faced. Yes, deGrom has only 10 wins on his resume, but that should be of little consequence in today’s game Simply put, he's been the best in the business across the last six months.


In Case You Missed It

Another N.L. right-hander made some history Wednesday night, as German Marquez tied a modern (1900) MLB record by striking out the first eight batters he faced in the Rockies 14-0 blowout of the Phillies. Marquez’s 11 punchouts over seven scoreless innings brought his season total to 221 which stands as a new club record. The Rockies have won six straight games and climbed atop the N.L. West by a half-game over the Dodgers.

After plating eight runs over the previous two days, it was laughably clear that the Cardinals wanted no part of Christian Yelich on Wednesday. The Brewers MVP candidate, who boasts a 1.209 OPS in September, drew five walks over as many plate appearances and scored twice during a 2-1 playoff-clinching win. With Yelich and fellow off-season acquisition Lorenzo Cain forming a dynamic duo atop the batting order throughout the season, the Brew Crew is returning to the postseason for the first time since 2011.


Thursday on the Hill

Could CC Sabathia be gearing up for the last regular-season start of his outstanding big-league career? It seems like a possibility for the 38-year-old lefty even though he has made it known that he'd like to return for one more season in 2019 if he feels physically up to it. Whatever the six-time All-Star decides this off-season, if his 3.77 ERA and 8.2 K/9 across 28 starts are any indication, he's still effective enough to provide stability at the back of most any rotation. Sabathia will be aiming for career win number 246 Thursday afternoon in Tampa.

Pittsburgh righty Trevor Williams has somewhat quietly been one of the game’s best hurlers during the second half of the season and will look to put the finishing touches on what's turned out to be a breakout campaign Thursday evening at Wrigley Field. Since the All-Star break, Williams has allowed two runs or less in 10-of-11 starts while turning in a masterful 1.08 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 51-to-17 K/BB ratio across 66.2 innings. The strikeouts are not always there for him, but he has fanned 14 without giving up a single run over his last 12 frames. Williams will be opposed by veteran southpaw Jon Lester , who will be in search of his 18th victory of the year.



Whit Merrifield - 16 games - 21-for-67, .889 OPS, 1 HR, 6 2B, 10 SB

Yuli Gurriel - 12 games - 21-for-49, 1.124 OPS, 3 HR, 15 RBI

Tommy Pham - 10 games - 16-for-36, 1.488 OPS, 4 HR