Back in Boston and coming at you with the Monday version of the MLB Cheat Sheet here on the DraftKings Playbook. We have a short slate of 10 games for tonight so let’s jump right into it and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
CC SABATHIA HAS BEEN SCRATCHED FROM HIS START TONIGHT
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
Gerrit Cole vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-210) – Cole isn’t just the favorite on the night, he’s a big favorite. Cole gets the Diamondbacks, who rank 5th in the league in wOBA in the month of August at .343. Cole has stumbled a bit here in the month of August. In three starts this month, Cole hasn’t exceeded 18.5 points. In those three starts, Cole has allowed eight runs on 18 hits while striking out 19 in 16 innings. With a WHIP of 1.12 on the season, the 18 hits is a bit concerning, especially when you consider how well the Diamondbacks offense can hit. One of the factors I do like for Cole tonight, is the fact that the Diamondbacks strike out at a decent clip. Overall on the season, the Diamondbacks have the 6th most strikeouts in the league, even with only ranking 15th in the month of August. Overall, do I think Cole is a slam dunk tonight? Absolutely not, at $10,600, I just may be looking else where.
Scott Kazmir vs. Tampa Bay Rays (-159)- Kazmir going up against the team he came up with back in 2004. If you’re into these types of story lines, you’ve got a good one going tonight. When the Rays got rid of Kazmir, it was thought he was losing his command and thus not throwing effective pitches. Years later, Kazmir looks as good as ever. Kazmir feels underpriced to me, coming in at $10,000 with a 2.12 ERA to go with a 1.08 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.7. The Rays have been hit ting very well this month, owning the best wOBA this month besides the Boston Red Sox (you ever think those two teams would be the top two this month?) The Rays strikeouts are also way down the month, ranked 23rd at 20%. Like Cole, Kazmir has stumbled a bit this month, coming off a wild start against the Giants his last time out. In that start Kazmir gave up three runs on seven hits and only striking out three in five innings. Even with a great hitting month, the Rays are still one of the worst offenses overall in the majors. I’d trust Kazmir over Cole tonight by a long shot, just on the matchup alone.
SABATHIA HAS BEEN SCRATCHED
CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins (-159) – It’s crazy to me that Sabathia is listed at just $6200 on the night. Safe to say, we’ve seen the last of good years in Sabathia. Tonight, he matches up against the Twins and is one of the favorites on the night. Sabathia has been quite unimpressive this season, entering tonight with a 5.23 ERA to go with a 1.43 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.4 on the year. The Twins continue to struggle immensely, especially this month, owning a .286 wOBA on the month. For as bad as the Twins are though, on the surface it’s hard to trust Sabathia. He’s averaging on 11.8 points per start, and his struggles against righties are very apparent. On the flipside, he’s only going to run you fit $6200 like I mentioned, a far cry from a steep price. It’s just a matter of how brave you feel.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park) – 9 Over/Under- Tonight’s highest projected run total belongs to the Indians and Red Sox. The Indians play to run out Danny Salazar to take on rookie Matt Barnes. Salazar enters tonight with a 3.26 ERA to go with a 1.08 WHIP and a K/9 of 10.2. As I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox actually have the highest wOBA of the month at .378. Just keep in mind though, it’s awfully inflated from scoring 45 runs in a three game series against the Mariners. Yup, that’s not a typo, 45. So clearly, that helps a lot, but it still happened. Salazar has been money this month, scoring at least 22.5 points in three starts. As for Barned, he’s been only used as a reliever since being with the Red Sox. Barnes owns a 5.64 ERA on the season with a 1.88 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 22 innings. The biggest issue with Barnes, is the inability to keep the ball in the park. Barnes has already given up six home runs in the short amount of time with the Red Sox. Pitching in Fenway Park with that issue is going to cause a lot of problems for Barnes. Luckily for Barnes, the Indians own one of the worst ISO on the month, at just .120. As always, get some exposure to this game.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins – Ah yes, if only the Twins were running out an all leftie lineup tonight. It would be a gold mine for Sabathia. On the season, Sabathia is holding lefties to a .222 wOBA.
Andrew Heaney vs. Chicago White Sox – Heaney is still, in my opinion, one of the most exciting young pitchers to watch in 2015. When he faces lefties, no one can stop this kid. He owns a .225 wOBA when facing them.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Sonny Gray vs. Baltimore Orioles – After being scratched from his last start due to sickness, Gray is back to take the hill against the Orioles. Gray owns a .243 wOBA against righties this season.
Scott Kazmir vs. Tampa Bay Rays – I wish Kazmir had a prop bet against Kazmir this year, asking if he would be awesome or not. I would have taken that bet ALL DAY. On the year, Kazmir is holding righties to a .252 wOBA.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Williams Perez vs. San Diego Padres- Eh, Perez is the worst on the night against lefties, with a .369 wOBA in the season. I just don’t know much about him to rip him apart. I mean, he plays for the Braves, isn’t that punishment enough?
Matt Garza vs. Miami Marlins- Garza, is one of the most overrated pitchers in the majors. Fact, not just opinion. Maybe not a fact, but I believe so. One thing you can believe, is his .355 wOBA against lefties.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins- If baseball wishes to improve on ratings, why not throw Sabathia on the mound against an all righties lineup. You want offense? You’ll get it here! Sabathia owns an atricious .385 wOBA against righties.
Carlos Rodon vs. LA Angels – I know Rodon is much better than this. He wouldn’t have been such a highly ranked prospect if he was this bad against righties. They own a .376 wOBA against Rodon this season.
Adam Jones ($4100) – That slump that Jones was in, looooooong gone my friends. Jones is absolutely on fire right now. He’s 10 for his last 25 with five home runs, 10 RBIs, and eight runs scored. Fireeeeeee.
Jackie Bradley Jr. ($3700) – I can’t ever seeing myself recommending you start JBJ, but I can at least showcase him here as hitting well (for now.) JBJ is 12 for his last 24 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and 10 runs scored.
Gregor Blanco ($3200) – If you’re looking for a source of steals lately, Blanco might just be your guy as of late. He’s 10 for his last 21 with three RBIs and four stolen bases.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Over the past few days, we’ve had some bad BvP days. So bad, I’ve resorted to only showing two matchups. Tonight, is SO BAD, I’m only showing one. This isn’t the death of BvP, it’s just a small chink in the armor. We will rebuild.
Logan Morrison vs. Cole Hamels – Morrison is our saving grace today with his numbers against Hamels. Morrison is 9-24 against him with three extra base hits and a .929 OPS. Even these numbers, aren’t that impressive. Better than nothing though, right?
The Diamondbacks and Pirates are expected to have some showers throughout the night. Make sure to keep an eye on this one.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Scott Kazmir ($10,000) – For a short slate tonight, all of the top pitchers honeslty have tough matchups tonight. Gray vs. Baltimore, Salazar vs. Boston, Cole vs. Arizona and Hamels against Seattle, who are crushing the ball this month. Even this matchup, with the Rays hitting the ball much better lately, isn’t a slam dunk. I seriously considered putting Carlos Rodon in here, as the Angels have the lowest wOBA on the month, but he’s hard to be trusted. So, I’ll ride Kazmir tonight and hope for the best. Overall, Kazmir has been fantastic this season and the Rays are hitting way over their heads lately, which makes me feel like tonight is a perfect night for the Rays offense to go south. Truly, tonight is about which pithcer you think has the best chance to overcome a good/hot offense.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Nelson Cruz ($5500) – Yikes, Cruz is expensive tonight. He gets Cole Hamels tonight, who hasn’t exactly been the pitcher the Rangers hope he’d be. Cruz has tremendous power against left handed pitching, with a .342 ISO and a .478 wOBA. With Hamels struggling with the home run ball since coming to the AL, allowing five in two starts, including three against Seattle last time out, who better to take Hamels deep tonight than Cruz?
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
David Murphy ($2500) – Murphy has quietly been hitting well for the Angels lately, and has been hitting lefties well this season. Murphy gets Carlos Rodon tonight, who’s either pitching like an ace or Jerome Williams. Murphy against lefties has a .345 wOBA with an ISO of .141. He’s certainly cheap enough to sneak on your roster tonight.