- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Baltimore Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz tossed seven shutout innings in Tampa on Monday, allowing three singles and two walks and fanning eight to win for the ninth time. Matusz has pitched well in the second half, winning his past five decisions, and should continue to emerge in 2011. Consider him a top-50 pitcher for keeper leagues.
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez homered among his three hits Monday, raising his batting average to .249. Alvarez, owned in 13.3 percent of ESPN standard leagues, has knocked in a run in seven consecutive games, with 15 RBIs in that span. Those still competing should add him for this week. As for next year, expect 30 home runs but a low batting average.
Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco had a messy outing for the WHIP Monday, allowing 11 hits and a walk in six innings, but he permitted only three runs and won the game. Carrasco has made six starts for the Tribe, all of them quality starts. He figures to be in the Indians' rotation next season and has sleeper possibilities.
Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak smacked a three-run homer Monday, but it's been a lost season for the rookie, as he's hitting .207. Smoak was recalled from the minor leagues 10 days earlier and hadn't delivered an RBI or extra-base hit. He'll likely be left out of most standard drafts in 2011.
Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw eight innings of one-run ball in Coors Field, winning for the first time in more than a month. Lilly's season numbers are, as usual, underrated for fantasy owners, considering his 1.09 WHIP and strong strikeout rate. Wherever Lilly pitches in 2011, he'll likely be a value pick.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Jason Kubel, hitting .130 during the past week entering Monday, homered and knocked in five runs. Kubel also homered Saturday, but overall he has had a rough September and his season batting average is down 50 points from 2009. He'll come at a bargain price in 2011 drafts, but he's capable of a stronger season.
Eric Karabell recaps Monday in the major leagues, headlined by another win by Brian Matusz.