We only have seven games going tonight in a shorter slate than usual on a Thursday. I’ll get you prepped for this slate and hopefully a successful one at that. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
MIA (-215) vs. STL – Jose Fernandez- Fernandez has been almost untouchable at home, owning a 1.63 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and a K/9 of 13. The Cardinals are a very right-handed heavy lineup, which plays right into the wheelhouse of Fernandez. Coming into this start, Fernandez owns an insane 15.3 K/9 against righties and holds them to a .216 wOBA with a .255 SLG. The Cardinals have been one of the best against righties this season, owning the third highest wOBA at .340 with a .336 OBP and a .461 SLG, but injuries have ravaged that lineup and they drop quite a bit missing key players. With their active roster, they sit at a .327 wOBA with a .326 OBP and a .435 SLG. All in all, it’s hard to legitimately go against Fernandez and I expect him to be a dominant force on the mound like he always is.
BAL vs. MIN – 9.5 runs – The Orioles and Twins get the nod as the biggest projected run total of the night at 9.5 runs at Target Field. Ubaldo Jimenez and Kyle Gibson will take the hill in what most certainly has the potential for crooked numbers. Jimenez has been downright dreadful on the road this season, owning an ERA of nine, yes nine, in seven starts. In 28 innings, Jimenez has allowed 31 runs (28 earned) on 40 hits with a 24:20 K:BB ratio. The surprising part out of all of this is that Jimenez has only allowed three home runs on the road compared to his seven at home. The Twins are no offensive juggernaut by any means, but you have to like their chances here.
Kyle Gibson for the Twins hasn’t exactly been a ray of sunshine at home, owning a 4.36 ERA with a .325 wOBA and a .429 SLG allowed. Gibson is another guy that doesn’t give up a ton of home runs, but six of the eight he’s allowed have come at Target Field. The Orioles are full of guys that can take him deep, as Gibson has split his home runs evenly with four a piece coming from each side of the plate. I think this is going to be a fantastic game to target for hitters and I expect this to come close if not surpass the highest run total of the night.
CHW vs CHC (Wrigley Field)- This isn’t an overly huge concern, but we may see an early delay in this one. Chicago is expecting some thunderstorms right around first pitch, but it looks as if it should clear soon after that.
Park Factors are rated on a scale of 1.000. Anything at or above 1.000 favors hitters, anything below it favors pitchers.
- Globe Life Park – KCR vs TEX Globe Life Park has been one of the top hitters parks all season and tonight is no different. It favors hitters in every offensive category except walks.
- Turner Field – PHI vs ATL Turner Field gets the nod as the best ballpark for hitters in this seven game slate. Coming into tonight, it favors hitters in runs, singles, triples and walks.
- Wrigley Field – CHW vs CHC – Wrigley hasn’t been the home of a lot of offensive love this season. Coming into tonight against the White Sox, Wrigley only favors hitters in walks.
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim – BOS vs LAA – The Red Sox make the cross-country trip to face the Angels starting tonight. Coming into this series, LAA Stadium only favors home runs.
Splits to Start
Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
|Worst vs LHB||OPS||AVG||Best vs LHB||OPS||AVG|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||1.000||.345||Cole Hamels||.542||.178|
|Jered Weaver||.819||.278||Tanner Roark||.563||.201|
|Matt Wisler||.802||.272||Chris Sale||.609||.189|
Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
|Worst vs RHB||OPS||AVG||Best vs RHB||OPS||AVG|
|Jered Weaver||.889||.309||Jose Fernandez||.484||.178|
|Ubaldo Jimenez||.811||.302||Johnny Cueto||.557||.208|
|Michael Wacha||.780||.286||Chris Sale||.632||.221|
Batter vs. Pitcher Splits
|David Ortiz||Jered Weaver||37||2.4|
|Adrian Beltre||Yordano Ventura||12||2.3|
|Ben Zobrist||Chris Sale||11||2|
- The BvP train didn’t have a ton of samples to choose from tonight, so I’m giving you the best of the best, which really doesn’t equal to much. We start off with Ortiz who does have good BvP against Jered Weaver. Ortiz is 12-37 with two doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs and four walks.
- Next we have Adrian Beltre taking on Yordano Ventura at Kauffman Stadium. Beltre is 5-12 with two doubles and three RBIs.
- Finally we have Ben Zobrist going against Chris Sale. Zobrist is 6-11 with a double and an RBI.
Pitcher to Build Around
John Lackey – CHC vs CHW – $10,100 – I think you already know that Fernandez is going to be one of the most popular picks tonight. I think it’s also fair to say who knows what we’ll expect of the knife wielding maniac known as Chris Sale, so I’m going to make a case for John Lackey with his salary of $10,100. He faces one of the worst offenses against right-handed pitching this season, the White Sox, who own a .307 wOBA with a .309 OBP, a .404 SLG and a 19.9 K%. I’d like if that K% was a bit higher, but I’m nit picking at this point, as all other signs point to a solid start for Lackey. He’s been fantastic at home, averaging 21.8 FFPG and around seven innings in his nine starts. While home runs have been a bit of an issue for Lackey this season, he faces a team that ranks 25th with only 82 on the year, which averages out to less than a home run per game. Fire up Lackey with confidence tonight.
Heavy Hitter to Pay For
Odubel Herrera – PHI vs. ATL (Matt Wisler) – $4,900 – When was the last time you saw someone on the Phillies in the top hitter to pay for section? If you answered 2012, you are CORRECT! Maybe that’s a lie, but really, it’s been awhile. I really like this matchup for Herrera against Wisler tonight, who has been downright awful against left-handed batters. Coming into this matchup, Wisler owns a .344 wOBA against them with a .456 SLG and 10 of his 19 home runs allowed. On the road against righties, Herrera owns a .370 wOBA with a .500 SLG and all 11 of his home runs this season.
Save Big by Drafting…
Willson Contreras – CHC vs. CHW (Chris Sale) – $3,200 – To be brutally honest, I don’t know what version of Chris Sale will show up tonight. Will he be the locked in, ready for blood Sale? Or will it be the emotional head case that tore up jerseys and can’t keep his mind straight? Nonetheless, Contreras may be a nice sneaky play tonight that is hitting near the heart of the Cubs lineup for just $3,200. Granted, his time up in the majors hasn’t been huge, but since his call up, he owns a .372 wOBA against lefties with a .486 SLG. If you’re looking to be a bit creative tonight, I’d give you a nod of approval for Contreras.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Steveazors) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.