Studs and duds: August 31 – September 6

Offensive stud: Frank Schwindel (1B, Cubs). Schwindel continued his hot hitting last night, extending his hitting streak to 7 games by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. That brings his line to .467/.500/.967 with 5 home runs and 13 RBI over the past week and .374/.421/.699 since joining Chicago in July.

It has been a longtime coming for the 29-year-old, who began his professional career in the Royals system back in 2013. Despite clobbering 20-plus home runs four times in the minors—including a 23 dinger, 97 RBI, .329 BA season spent mostly at Triple-A in 2017—Schwindel never found a home. The Royals cut him loose partway through the 2019 campaign, then Detroit signed him, but he was only a temporary lodger.

He began 2021 in the Athletics system, but was claimed off waivers by Chicago. That’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

Honorable mention: Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. (OF Blue Jays; .381/.458/.857, 2 HR, 13 RBI 1 GS).

Charlie Culberson had an OPS+ of -22 with San Francisco in 2012. (Wikipedia).

Offensive dud: Charlie Culberson (3B, Rangers). Welcome back, Charlie, I’m getting Gavin Lux vibes from you. You sure love to stick around these parts, don’t ya? It’s hard to redeem yourself when your play is so poor your club doesn’t want to put you on the field, but that’s what is happening here. Gotta get that shaky glovework (3 errors in the past week) under control.

Dishonorable mention: Paul DeJong (SS, Cardinals; 0-for-4, 2 K, 1 E).

Pitching stud: Max Scherzer (SP, Dodgers). The Stud seems to be a revolving door of Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Robbie Ray and Logan Webb. This time, it’s Scherzer’s turn.

Last night, he struck out 13 hapless Cardinals in 8 innings, bringing his season total to 210 Ks and his career total to 2,994—just 6 away from the magical 3,000 mark. Having not surrendered a run since August 21, the hurler is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA in 7 starts since joining the Dodgers in a July 30 trade with Washington that also netted Los Angeles star second baseman Trea Turner.

He has led the league in strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio three times in his career and is doing so again this season, with a mark of 12.3—especially impressive since he averaged just 8.7 K/9 through his first four campaigns.

Not just in strikeouts, Scherzer ranks among the elites overall—per Baseball-Reference.com’s similarity scores, three of the hurlers most statistically similar to him through age 36 are Hall of Famers Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez.

Honorable mention: Kevin Gausman (SP, Giants; 1-0, 12 IP, 16 K, 2 BB).

Better days: Machado had a 2.89 ERA in 44 relief appearances at Triple-A in 2019. (Wikipedia).

Pitching dud: Andres Machado (RP, Nationals). Supplanting Baltimore’s Dillon Tate is Machado, who most assuredly did not have an enjoyable time these past seven days. In 1 2/3 frames over 4 appearances, the righthander took 2 losses, blew a save and allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits and a walk for a 21.60 ERA.

His performance eviscerated what had been a decent campaign, raising his season mark from 2.35 to 3.65 in the span of a week. Prior to 2021, Machado last pitched in the major leagues with Kansas City in 2017, with whom he surrendered 9 earned runs in 3 2/3 frames—we see why teams hesitated in bringing him back to the majors.

Dishonorable mention: Andrew Heaney (P, Yankees; 0-1, 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BSV).

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