We’ve reached the weekend! As we start to wrap up the month of August, team are starting to gear up for the playoffs, which always leads to some exciting baseball for those teams who are still vying for a playoff berth. Today features a full slate of games like it always does on the weekend, so let’s jump right into it. As always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.There are plenty of MLB contests available — Get in the action!
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
This section is to showcase who the Vegas favorites are on the night. Not my own personal choices.
Drew Hutchison vs. Detroit Tigers(-251) – This seems like a classic case of Vegas just hating the hell out of the opposing pitcher, thus making someone like Hutchison the heavy favorite on the day. I mean, I can’t say I blame Vegas here, as Hutchison is opposed by Buck Farmer this afternoon. Hutchison checks in with a 5.06 ERA to go along with a 1.44 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.8. What? This isn’t someone you want to immediately put on your roster today? Don’t let his 12-2 record fool you, as I pay zero attention to that, but the run support he gets from the Blue Jays is huge, thus his big record. Once you dig deeper into his stats, you soon realize on any other team, he would be a below .500 pitcher. As for the Tigers, they check in today with an overall .318 wOBA in the second half of the season with a K% of 21.1%. To be quite honest, I don’t think I’d be trusting Hutchison at all here today. Do I think he’s capable of earning his 13th win today? Absolutely. But it won’t be because he’s pitching a gem. It will be because Farmer is going to implode, like he almost always does, and Hutchison will have enough run support to grab a win. Even with the Tigers offense falling off since the All Star Break, I’m not rolling the dice with Hutchison.
Jordan Zimmermann vs. Miami Marlins(-230)- I continue to flip flop on if I like this start or not for Zimmermann. On first glance, it’s a great matchup. I mean the Marlins without Stanton aren’t really much of anything. For a team that had a lot of high expectations this season, they do what a Marlins team usually does and fall flat on their faces. Then again, they face Max Scherzer last night and manage to get four runs off of him on six hits, including a home run. I mean, what kind of world do we live in?! Zimmermann enters tonight’s start with a 3.54 ERA to go with a 1.22 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.1 Zimmermann has faced the Marlins this year, quite often actually, with three starts under his belt. During that span, Zimmermann has given up six runs on 20 hits in 19 innings. That sounds just about right. So, Zimmermann is going about six innings in these games, giving up a couple of runs and a few more hits than I’d normally like. Isn’t that Zimmermann in a nutshell? He’s going to run you for $9500, which isn’t great, but it’s not the worst salary I’ve seen either (cough Kershaw at $15,000 cough.) In all reality, Scherzer wasn’t THAT bad last night, as he still scored 20 points, even with giving up four runs. What makes that even more impressive is that the Marlins are the toughest team to strike out besides with Royals, with a 17.2% K%. So do I hate the start? Not exactly, I don’t love it. But I do like the success that Zimmermann has had against these Marlins this season, even more so with Stanton sitting on the bench.
J.A. Happ vs. Colorado Rockies(-221) – Vegas LOVES going against the Rockies. It’s been extremely apparent since the trade deadline. So many instances where I’ve written this article since then, and a team/pitcher is favored to go over the Rockies. I get it, they aren’t the offensive force they used to be, but they also aren’t horrible either. They own the 14th highest wOBA in the second half of the season, which of course is just about the league average. I wouldn’t exactly be hating on them as much as Vegas has been for that. They are striking out a lot, as they’re seventh in the league in the second half with a 21.7 K%. Happ isn’t exactly a big strikeout pitcher, with a 7.1 K/9, so I’m not really factoring that in too much. Happ has been great since moving to the Pirates, owning a 2.08 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. He is prone to the home run ball, which he’s given up 14 on the season, and the Rockies do own the fifth best ISO in the second half, at .183. Like the previous two pitchers in this section, this start isn’t a slam dunk by any means, but I can see some reasons why they could be favored.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
*Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays(Rogers Centre) – 9.5 Over/Under – These two teams again. Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment in the run department, as both teams only managed a combined eight runs. However, if you made a Toronto stack, you certainly weren’t disappointed. Tonight, Drew Hutchison takes on Buck Farmer in what should be another good offensive matchup. Hutchison has his struggles against righties, owning a .379 wOBA against them on the year. He’s decent against lefties at .308, but that’s about it for good things I have to say about him. As for Farmer, he’s still a train wreck on the mound. His splits still remain ugly, in case you thought that might have changed. Against righties, he owns a .420 wOBA and lefties a .415. This is not the team you want to have those types of numbers against. The Blue Jays still remain the best hitting club in the majors, leading in wOBA and ISO. If I were to guess, I think this game will have more than 9.5 runs scored, with both teams being able to handle their opposing pitchers. Target everyone except maybe the Tigers lefties.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Martin Perez vs. Baltimore Orioles- It cracks me up that Perez always make it in this section, especially when he leads the way! He’s great against lefties, no doubt about that with his .223 wOBA against them. Righties are the complete opposite, at .362. World of difference.
Jake Odorizzi vs. Kansas City Royals –I really think Odorizzi flies under the radar. He’s such a solid pitcher wasting away on the Tampa Bay Rays. He has a tough matchup against the Royals tonight, but he does own a .255 wOBA against lefties.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jacob deGrom vs. Boston Red Sox- deGrom continues to grace this section every five days. He is downright nasty when it comes to facing right handed batters. On the season, he’s holding them to a .206 wOBA. Truly, at this rate he could end the year with a sub .200 wOBA against them. That’s insane.
Corey Kluber vs. LA Angels- Surprise! With Trevor Bauer going last night because of an illness to Danny Salazar, Kluber gets slotted into tonight against the Angels. Kluber brings along his .222 wOBA against righties with him tonight, against the struggling Angels.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Matt Wisler vs. New York Yankees-Wisler, what’s going on here? I mean, pretty soon, you’re going to have an wOBA in the 500’s! I’m not kidding either. Coming into his start against the Yankees tonight, he owns a .464 wOBA. Awful.
Buck Farmer vs. Toronto Blue Jays- Spoiler alert! Farmer is not good against lefties or righties. But I think I made that quite clear earlier. I bet Farmer is a good guy, his strong points just don’t include pitching, which seems to be an issue. He owns a .415 wOBA against lefties. Hey, at least he’s only facing the Blue Jays.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Colin Rea vs. Philadelphia Phillies- Rea is trying to steal the spotlight for Farmer! Just when we thought Farmer would headline this section, Rea comes in with his single point higher wOBA than Farmer, at .421.
Buck Farmer vs. Toronto Blue Jays- I really don’t have much else to say on this. Farmer owns a .420 wOBA against righties, he faces the Blue Jays, you’ve heard all this.
Jose Bautista ($5500) –I wonder if getting on a hot streak has anything to do with Bautista facing the Tigers rotation? I think that’s awfully convenient, don’t you think? Bautista is 10-21 with three home runs, six RBIs, 10 runs scored and stolen base.
Paul Goldschmidt ($5900) – Last week, I recommended Goldschmidt during one of my ticket giveaways. He was in a terrible slump, so I thought maybe this was the time to pounce and look like a genius. I kid you not, the day AFTER I recommended him, he started going on his latest hot streak. He’s 9-24 with four home runs, seven RBIs, and eight runs scored. He also stole a base just to rub it in my face.
Franklin Gutierrez($3800) – Gutierrez and Cruz have basically been the only thing that’s keeping Seattle fans tuned in. Well, maybe that’s not true either. But regardless, Gutierrez is hitting well right now. He’s 9-17 with three home runs, nine RBIs, and four runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
*Bryce Harper vs. Tom Koehler-*To say that Harper likes facing Koehler is an understatement. He’s crushed him during their time together, and I truly mean that. Harper is 7-21 against Koehler with five extra base hits, ALL of them being home runs, with a 1.439 OPS. If you like home runs, Harper seems like he might be your guy today.
Martin Prado vs. Jordan Zimmermann- Prado has basically singled Zimmermann to death, but it’s all about getting your guys on base, isn’t it? Prado is 12-26 against Zimm with three extra base hits and a 1.038 OPS. The Marlins are always under owned, so this could be a nice little sneaky play tonight.
*Jay Bruce vs Matt Garza-*Garza is the home run king, and that means giving them up, certainly not hitting them. Bruce is 9-27 against Garza with five extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.046 OPS. Bruce is always a threat to go deep, and Garza is always a threat to put his team behind in the scoring.
Third day in a row we’ve had some nice weather across the board. Enjoy it while you can.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Mike Fiers vs. Minnesota Twins ($10,300)- Let me make one thing perfectly clear before I start, I am NOT picking Fiers because he just tossed a no hitter. That has absolutely zero to do with my decision here. The matchup, in my opinion, is a good one. Fiers is someone, until his last start, that I feel has flown under the radar. Did you realize that Fiers owns a 9.1 K/9 on the season? Did you know Fiers is holding lefties to a .290 wOBA on the year? Do you know his first name was Mike? Going against a Twins team that owns one of the worst wOBA in the second half of the season at .302 and a K% of 23.5, good for second in the league during that time span, Fiers looks to be in line for a good start ahead. His salary could be a tad bit lower for my liking, but the strikeout potential alone should hopefully make up the difference. The pitching today/tonight isn’t half as good as it was yesterday, but I think Fiers might go overlooked a bit here, but the damn no hitter could prove me wrong. Regardless, I’m all Fiers tonight.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Bryce Harper ($5600) – Am I really going to go all BvP on you for my expensive pick of the day? I just might, I just god damn might. But I have a few other reasons. First of all, Harper has been hitting well all season, we all know that. In his last 10 games, he’s only had one where he didn’t score double digit fantasy points. I mean that alone tells you, he’s been getting it done lately. He’s currently riding a nine game hitting streak, brining his overall average on the year up to .334. Then of course, we have the crazy BvP stats on the day, where out of the seven hits Harper has against Koehler, five of them have gone for home runs. I know people hate BvP, but I do use it, not all the time, but I do take a look at it. This is one of those times where I’m going to ride or die with it. Come join me?
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Scooter Gennett ($3300) – Odd pick? Yeah maybe, but when you get to this price point, you have to get creative. Tonight, Gennett faces Keyvius Sampson, who struggles against lefties, allowing a .398 wOBA on the season. Gennett actually hits RHP quite well, with a .306 wOBA against them with a .142 ISO. These numbers don’t blow you away, but that’s why he isn’t priced very high now is it? For some cheap exposure to someone who struggles against lefties, Gennett might just be your guy tonight.