MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Jose Fernandez: A legacy of pure joy

Jose Fernandez: A legacy of pure joy

Everything about Jose Fernandez radiated hope. Those brown eyes that had seen so much yet shined so bright. The electric arm that racked up strikeouts at a record rate. The contagious smile. The enthusiastic way he rooted for his teammates. The passion he had for his family, for his sport, for his adopted country. And most recently, the excitement he shared with all of us on Instagram, where he announced he would soon become a father.

That hope left us early Sunday morning. Fernandez, just 24 years old and just a few days removed from a typically dominant start, was one of three men who died when a 32-foot boat overturned on a jetty off Miami Beach. And it is a gut-wrenching loss for Fernandez's family, for his girlfriend and unborn child, for the Marlins and for the entire sporting world.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vinning tribute! LA walks off to clinch West

Vinning tribute! LA walks off to clinch West

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers gave Vin Scully a championship sendoff in his final Dodger Stadium broadcast, as reserve Charlie Culberson blasted a two-out walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday to clinch a fourth consecutive National League West crown with a 4-3 win over the Rockies.

The clubs traded home runs with two outs in the ninth inning, with David Dahl giving the Rockies a 3-2 lead with a homer off closer Kenley Jansen, and then Corey Seager tying the game and earning a curtain call with a blast off Adam Ottavino. Culberson's home run, off Boone Logan, was his first since 2014.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball world mourns death of Fernandez

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Baseball world mourns death of Fernandez

Early Sunday morning, reports surfaced that Marlins ace José Fernández had passed way in a boating accident in Miami. The Marlins have confirmed the tragic news in a statement.

After learning of the news, the baseball community offered an outpouring of condolences.

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Red Sox K record 11 straight, win 11th in row

Red Sox K record 11 straight, win 11th in row

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays catcher Luke Maile had three chances to tag Dustin Pedroia at plate in the 10th inning, but the Red Sox second baseman avoided the tag twice -- despite being beaten by more than 15 feet on a relay throw from the outfield.

On the third try, Maile tagged Pedroia, but the ball came loose. And David Ortiz's last hit at Tropicana Field will go down as a game-winning double as Boston beat the Rays, 3-2, in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon. It's the 11th win in a row for the Red Sox, who set a Major League record by striking out 11 straight batters at one point in the game.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sights and sounds from Scully's LA finale

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Sights and sounds from Scully's LA finale

We ignored the calendar. We slept with our pajamas inside out. We made sacrifices to the Baseball Gods. And yet, the day we hoped would never come is finally here: Vin Scully called his final home game on Sunday, as the Dodgers beat the Rockies with a bottom of the 10th walk-off, 4-3.

Scully's not hanging it up quite yet -- he'll call L.A.'s final series of the season in San Francisco next weekend -- but after 67 years as the narrator for the team, it's the end of an era. So, naturally, the Dodgers celebrated that ending the only way Vin would want: in style, and with plenty of smiles.

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Mets alone atop WC standings after rout

Mets alone atop WC standings after rout

NEW YORK -- Considering the jagged state of their starting rotation, the Mets were set up for trouble heading into a four-game series against the Phillies this weekend. It would not have taken much for their burgeoning playoff hopes to dim before their eyes.

For this Mets club, however, little seems insurmountable. The latest example unfolded when Robert Gsellman saved a worn-out bullpen in a 17-0 blowout of the Phillies on Sunday, the Mets consistently took advantage of Philadelphia mistakes and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a late grand slam to secure a series victory at Citi Field.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays walk off to close in on Wild Card spot

Blue Jays walk off to close in on Wild Card spot

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Blue Jays rallied late to steal a crucial 4-3 victory against the Yankees on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

Toronto maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over Baltimore for the top American League Wild Card spot, while the Yankees dropped 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles with seven games remaining.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Yankees on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Israel drops Great Britain for 1st Classic berth

Three homers, strong pitching carry team in 'very emotional' victory

Israel drops Great Britain for 1st Classic berth

NEW YORK -- Team Israel has reached a goal it has been pursuing for the past four years.

The Israelis have made it to the elite 16 of the World Baseball Classic, vanquishing an extra-inning elimination loss that has haunted them since 2012.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen of the Week: LA relievers deliver title

When starters have faltered, Dodgers 'pen has saved the day

Bullpen of the Week: LA relievers deliver title

On the night of June 26, when Clayton Kershaw made his final start before hitting the disabled list, the Dodgers trailed the Giants by eight games in the National League West.

Few would have predicted that night that Los Angeles would be celebrating its fourth consecutive National League West title just 13 weeks later. Injuries and inconsistency have ravaged the Dodgers' rotation all season long, but they are still division champs.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast of the Day: Seager does it all

Rookie takes over NL West-clinching victory on offense, defense

Statcast of the Day: Seager does it all

At just 22 years old, Corey Seager has emerged as the Dodgers' best player and perhaps one of the best players in the National League. The way Seager has played so far beyond his age in 2016, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he led his team to its biggest win of the season Sunday, a 4-3 division-clinching victory.

The Dodgers stood on the verge of clinching the NL West with a win Sunday. They were tied with the Rockies in the bottom of the eighth (thanks to a seventh-inning RBI triple hit by, who else, Seager) when Colorado's DJ LeMahieu hit a hot shot up the middle. Seager ranged to his left with a first-step reaction time of just three one-hundredths of a second and covered 20 feet, according to Statcast™, before diving behind second base to stop the ball.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tribe seeks division crown on MLB.TV

Kluber starts as Indians go for first division title since 2007

Tribe seeks division crown on MLB.TV

The Indians have a chance to clinch the American League Central tonight when they open a four-game series on the road against the Tigers, who are in contention for an AL Wild Card spot.

It's the final week of the regular season, and the Wild Card races remain close in both leagues, so there is a lot on the line in today's Major League schedule.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltre WAY out of baseline on rundown

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Beltre WAY out of baseline on rundown

Adrian Beltre got the day off during Saturday's 5-0 win over the Athletics -- his reward for the team clinching the American League West crown the night before. Beltre doesn't really do days off, though. If he isn't allowed to play, he'll still be on the top step of the dugout giving out (somewhat incomprehensible) defensive alignments.

Beltre was back out on the field for Sunday's game in Oakland, and he had a lot of pent-up energy to burn. So sure, he might have been caught in a rundown in the top of the second, but he would not give up easily. Instead, he decided to go around in a few circles, and then onto the infield grass:

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

2016 tiebreaker scenarios

As the 2016 season winds down the six divisions are pretty much decided. However, the two Wild Card races are completely up in the air, and there is a good chance we end up seeing at least one tiebreaker game played on Monday, Oct. 3.

With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the likeliest tiebreaker scenarios for the American and National League Wild Cards.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O's sweep D-backs to boost lead for 2nd WC

O's sweep D-backs to boost lead for 2nd WC

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles did exactly what they needed to do on Sunday afternoon: complete a three-game sweep against Arizona.

Baltimore, which rebounded this weekend following a four-game sweep by the Red Sox, used Hyun-Soo Kim's two-run homer and four scoreless innings from an impressive bullpen to edge the D-backs, 2-1, and gain ground in the American League Wild Card race.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beloved star Fernandez dies in tragic accident

Beloved star Fernandez dies in tragic accident

MIAMI -- Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, a beloved young superstar in Major League Baseball, died early Sunday in a boating accident in Miami Beach.

The tragedy rocked the organization, the South Florida community and the baseball world. With his passion for playing, emotion and energy, Fernandez became a figure who transcended sports in his four-year big league career.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ross, Lester key Cubs' 99th win

Ross, Lester key Cubs' 99th win

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester won his National League-leading 19th game and Addison Russell notched his 94th RBI but Sunday night belonged to David Ross, who was greeted by standing ovations every at-bat, and responded with a solo home run, a few tears and a tip of his cap.

Ross and Lester combined to lead the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals to set a franchise record in home wins at Wrigley Field at 57. It also was Chicago's 99th win overall, tops in the Major Leagues.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Cards climb rankings in pursuit of playoffs

St. Louis enters final week half-game back of Giants, 1.5 behind Mets in NL Wild Card race

Cards climb rankings in pursuit of playoffs

With most of the division races decided, or on the cusp of being so, all that is left is the matter of a couple of Wild Card races, and determining who will grab home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the postseason.

The Cubs clinched home-field advantage awhile back and should surpass the 100-win mark soon. But the other series, presumably pitting the Nationals against the Dodgers, is still up in the air in terms of where it will begin. Through Sunday, the Nationals had a one-game edge in the win column over Los Angeles, but with a week to play -- the Dodgers play in San Diego and San Francisco; the Nationals are home against the D-backs and Marlins -- things can change quickly.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortiz cancels ceremony; honors friend Fernandez

Ortiz cancels ceremony; honors friend Fernandez

ST. PETERSBURG -- David Ortiz played his final game at Tropicana Field on Sunday. Throughout his farewell tour, a final game at a stadium has been met with a ceremony and a gift.

Out of respect to his friend Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday morning, Ortiz asked that the pregame ceremony be cancelled. The Rays had a video tribute to Ortiz before the second inning.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres' comeback hurts Giants' playoff standing

Padres' comeback hurts Giants' playoff standing

SAN DIEGO -- The Giants still can qualify for the postseason, though their 4-3 loss Sunday to the San Diego Padres captured many of their second-half woes.

San Francisco generated a fraction of the offense it produced Saturday, when the club amassed nine runs and 12 hits. This time, the Giants mustered seven hits and scored only in the third inning.

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Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vin's final LA call is clinching walk-off HR

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Vin's final LA call is clinching walk-off HR

Sunday afternoon marked the final game at Dodger Stadium in Vin Scully's legendary 67-year career, and the contest against the Rockies wrapped up in just about the most dramatic way possible.

With L.A.'s magic number to win the West sitting at one game entering the day, a number of things could have happened. If they won the game, they'd clinch. If they lost and the Padres beat the Giants, the Dodgers would wrap it up. Then again, if both the Dodgers and Padres lost, they would have to wait just a bit longer to punch their postseason ticket.

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Fernandez fondly recalled by fellow Cubans

Impact of All-Star's passing felt across MLB, Miami and Cuba

Fernandez fondly recalled by fellow Cubans

The barrage of text messages woke up Padres outfielder Jon Jay at his California home long before the sun rose. Across the country in Florida, the cellphone of former Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez was fielding non-stop calls.

At first, Hernandez thought it must have been a cruel joke. Then, he turned on the television. On the other coast, Jay was stunned and confused, even after he began to soak in the news he read from the screen of his smartphone.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vote: Young talent up for Best Rookie Award

Balloting open until Nov. 11 to reward game's elite

Vote: Young talent up for Best Rookie Award

Voting is underway through Nov. 11 at MLB.com/awards to help decide who wins Best Rookie regardless of league affiliation, and all five of your candidates are currently playing key roles in pennant races: Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer, Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Nationals center fielder Trea Turner.

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) voters and fans like you at MLB.com.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

David Ross homered and received a thunderous ovation in his final regular-season home game

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David Ross homered and received a thunderous ovation in his final regular-season home game

David Ross is a 39-year-old catcher with over 200 plate appearances this year. There aren't many of those, with only 23 players pulling it off in Major League history. 

Ross is also a career backup catcher and yet, thanks to his abilities behind the plate, in the clubhouse and away from the field, has been a fan favorite and consummate teammate wherever he's gone. There are no Baseball-Reference Play Index searches we can run for that, but pretty sure there are fewer.

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Taken far too young, Fernandez not alone

MLB has suffered the loss of several active players over the years

Taken far too young, Fernandez not alone

Tragedy struck the baseball world early Sunday morning, when 24-year-old Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, along with two other people, died in a boating accident in Miami Beach. The Marlins organization and the rest of the Major League Baseball community were left to grieve the loss of a player with All-Star personality and talent. 

"As you can see around you, there is no words to describe how this organization feels," Marlins president David Samson said at a Sunday afternoon press conference, surrounded by Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill, manager Don Mattingly and players. "Jose was someone who we've known since he was a drafted young man, and I think when you talk about a tragedy like this, there are no words that come to mind, there's no playbook, there's no words of consolation."

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Dustin Pedroia score the go-ahead run by playing Twister at the plate

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Watch Dustin Pedroia score the go-ahead run by playing Twister at the plate

Do you remember playing Twister as a kid? Maybe, if you were really good, you thought that one day being able to put your left hand on red without touching anyone else would somehow help you in your adult life. Well, you were wrong …

… Unless you were Dustin Pedroia. In that case, you were totally right. 

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Unlikely cast lifts LA to 4th straight crown

Rookie manager guides Dodgers through rash of injuries

Unlikely cast lifts LA to 4th straight crown

LOS ANGELES -- Not since the last Dodgers World Series squad of 1988 has Vin Scully called a more improbable first-place team than the 2016 edition, which clinched a fourth consecutive division title Sunday.

The Dodgers accomplished their mission with an unprecedented 32 placements on the disabled list, including almost the entire starting rotation. Clayton Kershaw was down for 2 1/2 months, and for most of the season Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood were out.

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Party delayed as Tribe looks ahead to key series

Cleveland shut out in finale; One win in Detroit will capture AL Central

Party delayed as Tribe looks ahead to key series

CLEVELAND -- There was champagne on hand at Progressive Field on Sunday, but it never made it to the Indians' clubhouse. Rather than the sound of popping corks and jubilant shouts from within a plastic-wrapped room, there was only the shuffling of feet, hushed voices and bags being packed.

Cleveland knew what was at stake. The scoreboard kept flashing updates from the Tigers' game against Kansas City, and the players could hear the Progressive Field crowd roaring with delight at each Royals run. White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon just did not play along. He handcuffed the Tribe's bats and cost the Indians the chance to wrap up an American League Central crown by dealing them a 3-0 defeat.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Scully hits all the right notes in farewell

Beloved broadcaster honors wife with song after final game at Dodger Stadium

Scully hits all the right notes in farewell

LOS ANGELES -- At the end of the day, Vin Scully asked the crowd to indulge him a personal moment. Twenty-five years earlier, he'd recorded a song for his wife, Sandi, and had recently had it remixed and digitized.

This is how he would leave Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon for the final time as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would make it about her, not him.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harper exits with sore thumb after awkward slide

Right-fielder initially worried he reinjured UCL, listed as day to day

Harper exits with sore thumb after awkward slide

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left Sunday's 10-7 victory over the Pirates in the bottom of the third inning because of a sore left thumb. He is listed as day to day, but will have X-rays taken on the thumb on Monday.

In the top of the third inning against Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow, Harper hit a triple down the right-field line. As he headed toward third base, Harper thought the Pirates were going to make a play on him. As it turned out, third baseman Jung Ho Kang's fake tag deked Harper. Pittsburgh never came close to making a play, and Harper hurt the thumb sliding awkwardly into the bag. At first, Harper thought he tore the UCL in the thumb.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Crew duo, Cards trio in line for big days at plate

Crew duo, Cards trio in line for big days at plate

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below are in position to provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Monday.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.