Closing Time: Kevin Kiermaier comes back smoking

Kevin Kiermaier is back in the swing of things (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

I had a few chances to add Kevin Kiermarier this month, here and there, and couldn’t commit. He was coming back from a fractured hip and he wasn’t doing anything on a rehab assignment, so I thought maybe this could be a slow-developing return.

Score it Kiermaier 1, Pianow 0.

Kiermaier returned to the Rays five games ago and he’s on a tear — 10-for-21, three homers, a steal. That’s a .476 clip. Perhaps the steal was the most important thing; I wasn’t confident that part of his game would quickly return. Kiermaier merely has a .258 career average, but we add him for the power/speed combo he can provide. This year, he’s at 10 homers and 11 swipes in just 67 games.

Yahoo owners have been slow to the story; Special K is modestly owned in 18 percent of leagues. Category juice always tastes good in mid-August. Take a swig.

• For most of the year, it’s been Greg Holland’s Opus. Lately, it’s been Greg Holland’s OPS.

Holland had mow-them-down stats into into early August, with a 1.56 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. But he’s lost his way over the last six turns — four losses, 12 earned runs, three homers. Eric Hosmer’s walk-off rocket beat him Wednesday. All of a sudden, Holland’s sitting with a 3.77 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. These late losses are soul-crushing for a playoff contender.

The Rockies have given Holland a vote of confidence for now, but given the gravity of what’s at stake, it can’t be a long leash. Perhaps it’s time to look into Pat Neshek (my preference) or Jake McGee, two alternatives if Holland can’t figure things out.

• There isn’t a fantasy takeaway to the crazy Rich Hill story, but it’s too juicy not to get a bullet point. Hill had a no-hitter through nine innings at Pittsburgh, but had to trudge on because the Dodgers didn’t score, either. Hill was actually perfect into the ninth, before a Logan Forsythe error broke that bid up.

Then Josh Harrison shocked the world, beating Hill with a just-enough homer in the tenth. Maybe the Ghost of Harvey Haddix had a say in this; not on his watch, not in Pittsburgh.

Hill doesn’t always work deep in games, but he’s been remarkably consistent this year — allowing three earned runs or less in 11 straight starts. That run hashes out to a 2.38 ERA and 0.91 WHIP, making him the No. 4 fantasy SP over that period. I feel worse for Hill than I do for his smiling fantasy owners. Hill and his dazzling curveball will get tested at Arizona next week.

• My buddy Dalton Del Don covered the Rhys Hoskins story in the previous CT; we’ll just mention that things remain on course. Another homer Wednesday, and Hoskins has already crushed one Thursday, making it five straight games with a tater. Once he climbs over 50 percent ownership, we scrub him from pickup discussion; Hoskins is at 48 percent now. Last call.

What to Read Next