Our second Cheat Sheet of the day will cover the late slate of games tonight. We have five games on this slate, starting at 7:05 pm ET. Don’t be fooled by the short slate, we have some quality pitching in this one. Let’s jump into all the information! As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24

Update (3:45 PM ET): Sonny Gray (SP) has been scratched for Oakland tonight and will be replaced by Rich Hill.*

Game Notes

Biggest Favorite

ARZ (-230) vs. COL – Zack Greinke The Arizona Diamondbacks get the nod in the night slate as being the heavy favorites for this one. Zack Greinke gets the start, coming off his dominant 2015 where he held opposing batters to a .225 wOBA on the road. Greinke did endure some trouble with the Rockies last season, giving up nine runs in 18.2 innings with a 10:2 K:BB ratio in three starts. If you’re wondering, one of those starts did come at Coors Field, where Greinke gave up five of those nine runs.

LAD (-175) vs. SD – Clayton Kershaw No surprise here with the Dodgers giving Kershaw the nod against the Padres. After a rough start to the season, Kershaw came back to form and ended the season on a high note. Last season against the Padres, Kershaw owned a 14.9 K/9 in 16.1 IP against them. Be prepared to pay the big bucks for Kershaw, as he’s the most expensive pitcher on the night at $12,900, $1,700 more than Jake Arrieta.

Highest Total

TOR vs. TB – 7.5 runs – The first two days of baseball are usually loaded with solid pitching, so high run totals are a bit tough to come by. However, TOR and TB at 7.5 is a welcoming total. With R.A. Dickey and Drew Smyly looking to take the hill in this one, the potential for offense is great. Most notable, Dickey was horrible on the road last season, owning a .346 wOBA compared to .271 at home. Smyly only saw about 60 innings of work last season coming back from injury, so it’s a bit unfair to judge him on that. For what it’s worth, Smyly was much better on the road than he was at home in 2014.

Weather Concerns

No weather concerns in this game, as no pending storms are on the horizon.

Park Factors

When looking at Park Factors, offensive categories with a rating at or above 1.000 favor the hitters. Stats with 0.999 or below favor pitchers. 

  • Chase Field – COL @ ARZ – In 2015, Chase Field in Arizona had favorable factors for all offensive categories except home runs. With Jorge De La Rosa on the mound for the Rockies, you can expect some decent offense from the Diamondbacks. I don’t think it’s wise to be hoping for much from the Rockies going against Greinke.
  • Angel Stadium of Anaheim – CHC @ LAA Angel Stadium of Anaheim (how awful is that name?) ranked as one of the best pitchers park in all of baseball last season. With favorable conditions for pitchers in every offensive category except walks, this could be a tough stadium to get some good offense in. Overall, this stadium was second to last in runs scored in 2015.


Splits to Start

Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Best vs LHBOPS-AAVG-AWorst vs LHBOPS-AAVG-A
Jake Arrieta0.4490.159Tyson Ross0.7210.256
Drew Smyly0.5070.157Jorge De La Rosa0.670.24
Zack Greinke0.5350.194Garrett Richards0.6280.226

  • Arrieta was by far the best against LHB last season. Holding those hitters to a .205 wOBA with a 10 K/9 just further shows how nasty he was.
  • Drew Smyly had a much smaller sample size than Arrieta and Greinke last season. However, it’s very much in line with his 2014 numbers, where he was much more effective against lefties than he was righties. In 2014, Smyly posted a wOBA of .216 vs. LHB and .334 vs. RHB.

Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Best vs RHBOPS-AAVG-AWorst vs RHBOPS-AAVG-A
Zack Greinke0.4820.182R.A. Dickey0.7590.249
Clayton Kershaw0.5110.192Drew Smyly0.7510.249
Jake Arrieta0.5570.207Garrett Richards0.7070.247

* The best against RHB is truly the cream of the crop tonight with Greinke, Kershaw and Arrieta. Facing RHB, these three posted K/9 of 8.42, 11.3, and 8.52 respectively.

  • As I noted in the above section, Smyly had his struggles against RHB last season and in 2014, so even though his sample size is smaller, it’s right in line with his full season stats. Dickey really had his struggles with righties, giving up 14 of his 25 home runs to them.

Batter vs. Pitcher Splits

BatterOpposing SPABFP/AB
Billy ButlerChris Sale422.19
Carlos GonzalezZack Greinke252.28
Yunel EscobarJake Arrieta191.36
Ben ZobristGarrett Richards112.36

  • It’s quite impressive what Billy Butler has done against Chris Sale. In his career, Butler is 15/42 with three doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs, and four walks.
  • Carlos Gonzalez (when healthy) has also really given Greinke a hard time. Gonzalez is 9/25 with a double, triple, three home runs, and five RBIs.


Lineup Starters

Pitcher to Build Around

Tyson Ross- LAD @ SD- $8,400 – Surprised? If you’ve read my articles on baseball prior to now, you shouldn’t be. When picking a pitcher on a particular slate, I like to look for as much value as possible. Thus, I present to you, Tyson Ross. With SO many big names on this slate, it’s very easy to overlook Ross all the way down on the list. However, he’s got some decent numbers to sustain a good output for tonight. Ross ended 2015 with a 9.7 K/9 overall and some success against the Dodgers in two starts last season. Ross doesn’t give up many home runs (nine last season), and in cozy PetCo Park, we don’t have much to dislike here. He may not be in line for a win going up against Kershaw, but you certainly should have low ownership across the board on Ross.

Heavy Hitter to Pay For

Anthony Rizzo – CHC vs. LAA – $4,800 – “Wait, didn’t you say LAA stadium was one of the worst for hitters….?” Yes, indeed I did. However, taking all other factors into place, Rizzo is in a great spot here for Opening Day. Rizzo, batting lefty, crushes right handed pitching. Last season, Rizzo saw 25 of his 31 home runs come off a right handed pitcher. Furthermore, Rizzo owned a .384 wOBA with a .255 ISO against RHP. On this slate, we have a lot of expensive hitters going up against quality starting pitchers. Rizzo certainly has the softer of matchups, even if it is in an unfavorable park.

Save Big by Drafting…

Corey Dickerson – TBR vs. TOR – $3,500 – A lot of chatter and excitement is going around about Dickerson being traded to the Rays during the offseason. It certainly will give their lineup a nice boost, but I don’t know how excited I am just yet. A player coming from Coors Field as their home field has much to prove in my opinion. Regardless, Dickerson has a nice matchup against R.A. Dickey here, as Dickerson posesses almost 100% of his power against RHP. In a short season in 2015, Dickerson posted a .398 wOBA with a .280 ISO against those pitchers. If you’re into narrative street, his first game on a new team in front of the home crowd could give him a little more of a push.

Stack Em Up

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays – We don’t have one single offensive player on the Rays that costs over $4,000, making a stack a nice and easy way to get some exposure to this game. Vegas currently has this game as the highest run total of the night, but it’s one I feel a lot of people will be on, as well. With so many quality pitchers going tonight, it’s going to be hard to find value with hitters. This is most likely your best option. In 12 career games in Tampa Bay, Dickey owns a 4.14 ERA allowing 36 runs (33 earned) in 71.2 IP with a 54:29 K:BB ratio.