I don’t think anything is better than a long weekend. Maybe a huge payout from playing fantasy baseball, but if you combine the two, I don’t know what could be any better. We have a full slate of games today, so we have a ton of info to get to. As always, Friday is the day I give away a couple of DraftKings tickets, so make sure you follow me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24 to find out how.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
Clayton Kershaw vs. New York Mets (-210) – Vegas will always favor Kershaw when he comes to the mound on any given day, so naturally he belongs here. However, I have a bit of a different take on this. First, his salary is super high, at $13,100. Kershaw has been great don’t get me wrong, but has he been Max Scherzer great? Not at all. His last three starts, he’s come away with 27.6, 24.2, 23.9 points, all respectable numbers. But if I’m going to pay for a pitcher of this caliber, I’m expecting 30+ points, and Kershaw isn’t getting that lately. The home runs have been a problem for Kershaw, as he’s now given up 11 on the season. He’s already passed his mark for 2014 and has matched the total of 2013. In the grand scheme of things, does that really matter all that much? Not really, but it shows that maybe hitters are picking up on something with Kershaw or maybe he’s starting to slip just a little bit. In the end, on paper, he has a cake matchup against the Mets. I wouldn’t go as far as to say fade Kershaw, but I would have to really really love the rest of my team with him on it. He isn’t a lock for me right now.
Julio Teheran vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-186) – Teheran is really having a rough go of it in 2015. After a stellar season last year, Teheran is coming into tonight with a 4.94 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and a K/9 of 7. He’s been in a real tough stretch lately, as three of his last seven starts, Teheran has surrendered six or more runs. He gets the Phillies tonight, who of course are one of the worst offensive clubs in the league. But again, it’s hard to trust a guy who’s giving up six or more runs so often. One thing Teheran does have going for him, is that fact that he’s real cheap at $8000. He certainly has the talent and this would be a great matchup for him to throw a good game, it’s just a matter of if he can execute that or not.
Michael Wacha vs. San Diego Padres (-174) – Finally, a pick from Vegas that I can feel pretty damn comfortable about. Wacha comes into tonight with a 2.77 ERA to go along with a 1.10 WHIP and a 7.1 K/9. The only gripe I have about Wacha is that he doesn’t go too deep into games. In his last three starts, he’s gone six innings twice and five in the other. So while he may be pitching well, he’s a bit limited in terms of going the distance. Matchup wise, I like this one for Wacha, as the Padres have really been disappointing this season. They rank 27th in team batting average and OPS and 20th in home runs.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Baltimore Orioles at Chicago White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field) – 9 Over/Under- We have a lot of games projected at nine runs tonight, so I picked the two I personally thought had a great chance of reaching that projection. What a better game to pick then one started by my buddy John Danks. First off, Danks hasn’t pitched since June 22nd, as his last start in the rotation was skipped due to rain. So wwe have a very “well rested” John Danks, who won’t be helped by the rest at all, going up against Ubaldo Jimenez. For all the times I’ve said the implosion of Jimenez is coming, it still hasn’t. He’s been solid all season with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. His matchup should be a piece of cake tonight. Danks goes up against one of the best offenses in the league, as the Orioles are 5th in runs scored and home runs, 6th in team OPS and 7th in team batting avearge. If you want to stack a team tonight, stack the O’s. Danks is giving up a ton of home runs this season, four in this last two starts, and the O’s have some serious power. I LOVE this matchup for Baltimore.
Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Fenway Pahhhhhhk) – 9 Over/Under- Once again, another game that is projected at 9 runs, Dan Straily takes on Justin Masterson. Straily is getting a start after being called up from Triple-A to replace Brett Oberholtzer. Straily owns a 4.06 ERA down in the minors, but does have a 70:14 K:BB ratio. I can’t give him crap because he’s done nothing up here at the majors. However, some exposure to the Red Sox wouldn’t be a bad thing, as this kid will be battling nerves the entire game. Masterson is a differnt story. He had a really good game last time out in his return to the rotation where he went 5 innings against Tampa Bay giving up no earned runs and striking out six. Don’t be fooled by all the glamour. Masterson has been a train wreck all season, as he owns a 5.58 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP. The Astros have been hitting better lately as they moved down to 24th in the league in team batting average. They still are first in home runs, which is great for their play at Fenway Park tonight, although Masterson has at least done a good job at keeping the ball in the park, having only given up four home runs this season.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Tommy Milone vs. Kansas City Royals- Milone kicks us off here, as he’s holding lefties to a .175 average on the season.
Chris Archer vs. New York Yankees- Ah yes, we can’t forget that my boy is taking the mound tonight. Archer is holding lefties to a .208 average.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Chi Chi Gonzalez vs. L.A. Angels- When you look the splits Gonzalez has, he seems like he would be such an attractive option. Righties are only hitting .158 against him. It’s that damn 3.0 K/9 he has that’s a deal breaker.
Chris Archer vs. New York Yankees- So instead, I’ll take Archer and his .190 avearge against right handed batters and pay up for him instead. If you were curious, his K/9 is at 11.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters
Jeremy Guthrie vs. Minnesota Twins – Well at least, hopefully, Guthrie has a relatively easy matchup tonight against the Twins. Lefties are hitting him to a tune of .339 on the season.
Julio Teheran vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Teheran has been wildly inconsistent his last few games, and lefties have a batting average of .331 against him.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters
Drew Hutchison vs. Detroit Tigers – Hutchison is allowing a .321 average to right handed batters. Something the Tigers are really looking forward to.
John Danks vs. Baltimore Orioles – Danks is a very average Major League pitcher, and righties are hitting for an average of .321 against him.
Ryan Braun ($5100) – Thank God Braun is on the Brewers. I don’t know what they would do without him. Braun is 13 for his last 28 with a home run, eight RBIs, two stolen bases and six runs scored.
Neil Walker ($4100) – The Jonathan Bales special. Walker is 14 for 26 with two home runs, seven RBIs, a stolen base and five runs scored.
Torii Hunter ($4400) – I honestly keep forgetting that Hunter is now back with the twins. What a hometown hero. Hunter is 9 for his last 26 with four home runs, five RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Nolan Reimold vs. John Danks – Remember when I said Danks isn’t good against righties? Well, Reimold is a righty, and he is 7/16 with 1 HR and 1.313 OPS against John Danks. If Reimold is in the lineup, he should definitely be considered.
Kelly Johnson vs. Kevin Correia -Here’s Johnson again with another good matchup for him. He’s 10-3o lifetime against Correia with five home runs and a 1.261 OPS. I have a funny feeling you’ll be reading these stats again real soon.
Aaron Hill vs. Kyle Kendrick – Make sure Hill is starting, if he is, he’s got good numbers against Kendrick tonight. Hill is 8-17 against him with four extra base hits, a .706 SLG and a 1.176 OPS.
Alex Gordon vs. Tommy Milone – Gordon is 4-11 against Milone with three extra base hits, one of them being a home run, and a 1.318 OPS.
Two games have a chance of some rain during them, so make sure to watch these ones closely.
Indians at Pirates
Brewers at Reds
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Jesse Chavez ($7000) – On a night where we see a decent amount of big name starters going tonight, I’m going with Jesse Chavez. Now, he certainly could be your second starting pitcher tonight and you can fill in the blanks with one of the obvious choices, but I wanted to make you aware of Chavez and his low price to go along with a great matchup. Let me breathe for a second, that was a long sentence. Anyways, Chavez has been fantastic this season, he comes into tonight with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.8. Truly, is a poor mans Michael Wacha basically. Both of those players struggle a bit to go deep into games, but everything else has been on point. The Mariners are really struggling offensively as they’re dead last in team batting average, 29th in runs scored and 26th in team OPS. They strike out the 6th most in the league and Chavez could be real sneaky and rack up a few K’s in this one. Again, he’s not your number one tonight, but his low cost and high ceiling can certainly help you roster some big names tonight.
Superstar Worth Paying For…
Manny Machado ($4800) – Machado had a fantastic month of June. He hit .361 with six home runs, 14 RBIs, four steals and 19 runs scored. He can really kick the month of July off with a start against John Danks. Danks is allowing a .321 avearge to right handed batters and with Machado leading off, this is a great opportunity for Machado. You really want to exposure to the O’s tonight and starting off with Machado is something I certainly will be doing myself.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Nolan Reimold ($3,000) – Reimold is so cheap and historically, he’s hit Danks very well. To recap, 7/17 with a 1.313 OPS, in my book, is pretty damn good. Think about this, if you started off your lineup with Reimold and Chavez and let’s say Kershaw, you’d still have an average of around $3,700 to spend on each additional player. You certainly can build a solid lineup playing with those numbers.