Mon Sep 21 11:34am ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Here we are in the last week of the regular season. Well, almost! The possibility exists that the Cardinals and Tigers could play a doubleheader next Monday if the games are needed to determine a playoff spot for the Cardinals. As close as the final wild card playoff spot is, and second place in the NL Central, this seems to be a good possibility. Make sure you know what your league rules are and if you can make lineup changes after this week. These two games will qualify in what MLB calls the championship season, so the stats from these games will be included as regular season stats. You need to see if your league will count these two games because a lot of leagues are going to be won and lost from something that happens in these games.
Also, keep in mind this last week that the managers of teams that have clinched a playoff spot and their seeding will rest some players and set up their playoff rotation. The Dodgers will have the number one seed in the NL, so don’t expect any of their pitchers to make two starts. And look for Walker Buehler to come off the IL at the end of the week and throw 60 to 80 pitches to prepare for a playoff start. Shane Bieber would be lined up for a second start on Sunday, but if Cleveland has the wild card clinched, they will probably hold him to pitch their first playoff game.
The Twins will have a playoff spot secured and only have five games on the schedule. None of their pitchers will make two starts. They’ll be less opportunity for saves and less at bats for their hitters than all other teams.
Five teams have eight games on their schedules: Colorado, Milwaukee, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington. All but Washington are fighting for a wild card spot, so expect their players to get a lot of at bats and some of their pitchers to get two starts. For Colorado, it will be Marquez and Freeland. Lindblom and Woodruff should get two starts for Milwaukee. The Giants should use Smily and Anderson twice. And for St. Louis, look for Wainwright and if healthy, Hudson. Otherwise, Martinez or Ponce De Leon could start twice for the Cardinals.
There are 15 teams that have seven games on their schedule, but second starts for a lot of them will depend on who gets saved for their first playoff game. This means DeGrom, Giolito, McCullers, Cole, Tanaka, Wheeler and Davies all have the possibility to start two games but could get just one.
If you’re looking for extra strikeouts, Keegan Akin should get two starts. And based on his last few starts, he should get 10 to 15 strikeouts.
Power needed? Jared Walsh has gone deep five of six games and the Angels should keep him in the lineup. Cards rookie Dylan Carlson is back up and homered Friday. With eight games this week, and possibly two more next week, he might be worth the gamble. Teoscar Hernandez is back in the Blue Jays lineup and was dropped in a lot of leagues, so go get him. Josh Fuentes has been a spark in the Rockies lineup and has eight games, although all are on the road.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.