September to remember for Pence, Zimmerman
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's almost over.

The 2013 Major League Baseball regular season has less than two weeks remaining, and with fantasy football in full swing and fantasy hockey and basketball on the horizon, roughly 80 percent of fantasy baseball owners likely abandoned their teams weeks ago.

If you're still paying attention, here are the players who have been either driving you to the championship or out of money in September.

(All stats as of Wednesday, Sept. 18)

Who's Hot

Hitters

Hunter Pence, RF, San Francisco Giants - For a second I thought Barry Bonds came out of retirement, but then I realized that has just been Pence hitting all those home runs for the Giants this month. The veteran is hitting .391 with nine home runs, 26 RBI, 19 runs, 11 walks and a 1.349 OPS in 17 games since the start of September. In his seven-year career, Pence has had exactly zero months with more than eight home runs or more than 25 RBI ... until September 2013.

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington Nationals - Anyone who owns both Pence and Zimmerman has made up major ground in the home run race this month. Zimmerman has blasted 10 since the start of September. However, nine of the 10 were solo shots so he has 13 RBI during the month. In fact, just six of Zimmerman's 25 home runs this season were multi-run shots. He also had 25 in 2012, but 12 were multi-run shots, which explains why he had 95 RBI then and just 74 in 2013.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks - Goldschmidt went 5-for-32 (.156) with zero home runs to start September, but he's still batting .349 with a 1.050 OPS this month. How'd he get there? By going 17-for-31 (.548) with three home runs over his last eight games. The Arizona first baseman likely will hit the 35-homer, 120-RBI, 100-run, 100-walk and 15-steal plateaus by the end of the season, if he hasn't already, and finish with a .300 average and .950 OPS.

Other: Josh Donaldson (.375/.493/.696, four HR, 12 RBI, 11 BB, 13 runs); Mike Napoli (.372/.518/.884, six HR, 14 RBI, 13 BB, 13 runs)

Pitchers

Kris Medlen, RHP, Atlanta Braves - Medlen from August on the last two seasons: 135 1/3 innings; 15-2 record; 1.53 ERA; 0.87 WHIP; 131/18 K/BB. That includes a 7-2 record, 2.38 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP this season. In his first three starts of September, the Braves hurler has gone 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA.

Mike Leake, RHP, Cincinnati Reds - Over the first three seasons of his career, Leake went 28-22 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 485 innings. This year, the former first-round pick is 14-6 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Leake allowed 27 earned runs on 44 hits in 33 2/3 innings from Aug. 4 to Sept. 1, but he has gone 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his last three starts.

Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Cleveland Indians - The Ubaldo resurgence has fully taken shape in September, when he has thrown 21 1/3 innings, allowed one earned run and walked just three batters (gasp!). Jimenez has a 1.83 ERA and a 71/23 K/BB in 64 innings since the All-Star break.

Other: Cliff Lee (3-0, 1.88, 0.67 WHIP, 33 K in 24 IP); Tanner Roark (3-0, 0.95, 0.74)

Who's Not

Hitters

Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds - Phillips' 101 RBI mask what has been a subpar season for him. He's hitting .261 with a .710 OPS, 76 runs and four steals. And since he's now batting second regularly instead of cleanup, the RBI just have not been there this month. He's batting .194 with one home run, two RBI and a .508 OPS in September. If Phillips doesn't hit another home run this season, he'll finish with exactly 18 for the fourth straight year.

Adam Dunn, 1B, Chicago White Sox - The last time Dunn had a multi-hit game, the NFL preseason was in Week 2. He has gone 12-for-97 (.124) with an absurd 46 strikeouts over his last Aug. 18. In September, he's hitting .137 in 51 at- bats.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs - Rizzo came into this season with a ton of promise, but that has slowly evaporated as his average has dropped lower and lower. Rizzo is 5-for-41 (.122) over his last 11 games and he's now hitting .226 with a .733 OPS. Since May 19, when he was batting .282 with 10 home runs and an .890 OPS, Rizzo has hit .203 with 12 homers and a .671 OPS over 404 at- bats.

Other: Kyle Seager (2-for-40, zero RBI last 11 games); Carl Crawford (4-for-33, zero RBI last 10 games)

Pitchers

Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers - Holland's longball issues of 2012 have returned in September after he gave up 14 in his first 180 innings this season. This month, he has served up six in 19 1/3 innings and posted a 7.91 ERA and an 0-3 record.

Matt Garza, RHP, Texas Rangers - It's safe to say the Rangers are going to stop trading for Chicago Cubs pitchers around the trade deadline. Garza has gone 3-5 with a 4.94 ERA in 71 innings with the team after posting a 6-1 record and a 3.17 ERA in 71 innings with the Cubs this season, following a similar path as Ryan Dempster in 2012. Garza is 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in September.

Hiroki Kuroda, RHP, New York Yankees - Kuroda looks worn out from carrying the Yankees rotation for four solid months and it's understandable; CC Sabathia is pretty huge. Kuroda has gone 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA over his last six starts after posting an 11-7 record and a 2.33 ERA through Aug. 12.

Other: Jeff Samardzija (7.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP last four starts); Wei-Yin Chen (7.36 ERA, 1.79 WHIP last five starts)




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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