I know, I know. We’re all dragging today coming off the unoffical kick off to summer with the 4th of July long weekend (for most.) We have an 11 game slate tonight, which is plenty of baseball to get you going this week. Let’s get to the info and as always, you can reach me on the Ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
Doug Fister vs. Cincinnati Reds (-167) – Always remember, this is what Vegas is favoring, not me. Reason being, I wouldn’t have Doug Fister as the favorite tonight. The Reds aren’t horrible, but they aren’t great either. They’re ranked 18th in batting average, 22nd in runs scored, 13th in OPS and 6th in home runs. But the problem with Fister is that he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts. So, if you’re rostering Fister, you’re basically hoping for a lot of clean innings. Fister comes into tonight with a K/9 of 4.5, not exactly a number that impresses. Another reason I’m off Fister, is that fact that he’s had a real rough go of it since coming off the DL. Since he has, Fister has given up nine runs in only 18 1/3 innings pitched. The Reds don’t exactly scare me as an offensive club, I’m more concerned with the performance Fister would bring. Thus, I’m off of him tonight.
Chris Sale vs. Toronto Blue Jays (-155) – Now, at a quick glance, favoring Fister of Sale is complete madness! How on Earth could this happen? Well, I think this is a nod to how good this Blue Jays offense is. We haven’t seen someone dominate hitters like Sale is since Pedro Martinez was in his prime. Sale has struck out 115 batters in his last 76 innings. An insane stat. However, with all those strikeouts come a lot of pitches thrown, as Sale has now thrown over 110 pitches in nine of his last 10 starts. He got an extra day of rest because of this, but it comes with a matchup with the Blue Jays instead of the Orioles as it was originally planned. The Blue Jays are ranked first in runs scored and OPS, 2nd in home runs and 4th in batting average. They don’t strike out a ton, as they’re 18th in that category. This might sound pretty crazy, or it may not, but I don’t know if Sale is a good play tonight. With his price tag at $12,700, you’re taking a real risk here. While I don’t think Blue Jays will crush Sale, I think it will be hard for Sale to reach his value against such a high scoring team. This is most likely the first and last time I will publicly say I’m not a fan of Sale tonight.
Chris Heston vs. New York Mets (-148) – Oh boy, here we go. Heston once again goes up against the team he no hit the last time they faced. I would hope the reason Heston is on your roster tonight is not because of the no-hitter, but because he’s a great value play against a truly awful Mets offense. The Mets are 29th in batting average, 27th in runs scored, last in OPS and 23rd in home runs. At the small price of $6300, you can’t go wrong here. With that being said, expect Heston to be very highly owned. Just don’t expect a no no, for the love of God.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Atlanta Braves at Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park) – 8 Over/Under- This really has to show how much Vegas doesn’t like the pitching in this one, as both of these teams aren’t exactly famous for this offense this season. Rookie Matt Wisler takes on Kyle Lohse in this one. Wisler has seen some success in his short stint in the majors thus far, as he owns a 2.60 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 17 innings pitched. In the minors, Wisler owned a 4.29 ERA with a 6.8 K/9. Wisler is considered the top pitching prospect in Atlanta. Lohse has been having a typical Lohse season. He owns a 6.25 ERA to go along with a 1.38 WHIP. He’s been getting knocked around, as usual, in his last three starts in which he’s given up eleven runs. Lohse is only averaging 7.7 points per start, so I think it’s safe to say that even the Atlanta offense can generate some decent offense off of him. Take a look at righties in this one, as Lohse is allowing a .321 average against them.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Dallas Keuchel vs. Cleveland Indians- Keuchel is like a god damn machine when it comes to pitching against lefties. He’s holding them to a ridiculous .126 average this season. That’s just nasty.
Chris Sale vs. Toronto Blue Jays- Sale continues his historic run against the Blue Jays tonight. He’s been holding the fort down against lefties, as they’re only hitting .176 against him.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Chris Sale vs. Toronto Blue Jays- Not suprisingly, he’s been killing it against right handed batters as well. Righties are only hitting Sale to a .211 average on the year. Guess who’s also great against right handed batters?
Dallas Keuchel vs. Cleveland Indians – Well, if these two aren’t show offs, I don’t know who is. Keuchel is holding righties to a .215 average on the season. It would be quite the pitchers duel if he and Sale face off this year.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Sean O’Sullivan vs. L.A. Dodgers – God dammit, it’s O’Sullivan. One of my favorite pitchers to pick on, O’Sullivan is allowing a .369 average to lefties. .369. Absurd.
James Shields vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Shields had a real rough month of June, which is a big reason why he’s landed on this list. Lefties are hitting Shields to a tune of .305 on the season.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Detroit Tigers – Iwakuma is coming a long stint on the DL to face the Tigers tonight. He’s made three starts this season, so he meets the Steve Buchanan criteria. In those three starts, righties were hitting him at a .333 clip.
Doug Fister vs. Cincinnati Reds – It’s been a rough year for pitchers who were on the DL. Fister has had a really rough year, as righties are hitting him to a .327 average.
J.D. Martinez ($4300) – This won’t be the last time I mention how well Martinez is ripping the cover off the ball lately. He’s 11 for his last 24 with four home runs, 10 RBIs, and six runs scored.
Adam Lind ($4500) – Lind is starting to pick things up for the Brewers lately. He’s 9 for his last 25 with three home runs, 12 RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Cesar Hernandez ($3100) – Hernandez continues to fly under the radar, but rewarding those who take a chance on him. Hernandez is 13 for his last 30 with four RBIs, six runs scored, and most importantly, five stolen bases.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Yoensis Cespedes vs. Hisashi Iwakuma – Iwakuma not only has to deal with coming off the DL, but he faces a bitter rival that absolutely crushes him. Cespedes is 10-24 against Iwakuma with eight extra base hits, three of them being home runs, and a 1.417 OPS.
Melky Cabrera vs. Mark Buehrle -Cabrera has been relatively quiet this season, but he’s been anything but that when facing Buehrle. Cabrera is 17-30 against him with six extra base hits, two of them home runs, and a 1.467 OPS.
Justin Upton vs. A.J. Burnett – I figured these two would have crossed paths motre than they have, but regardless, Upton has done well. Upton is 8-16 with four extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a 1.556 OPS.
Yikes. We have quite a few games that have a chance of rain/thunderstorms tonight. Make sure to monitor these games closely.
Reds at Nationals
Padres at Pirates
Blue Jays at White Sox
Rays at Royals
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Carlos Carrasco ($10,200) – I was flipping back and forth with who I could put here tonight. It certainly wasn’t going to be Sale, Heston is a super value play tonight but I think that’s fairly obvious, Keuchel has phenonmal numbers but the Indians are tough to strike out. So I landed on Carrasco. The reason being, I love his strike out potential for tonight. The Astros strike out the most out of anyone in the leaue, and Carrasco owns a 10.2 K/9 on the season. You have to like that. Now, the obvious threat with the Astros is that the have a TON of power, as they’re first in the league in home runs. With that being said, Carrasco does a great job of keeping the ball in the park, as he’s only let up nine home runs this season. Granted, six of this home runs have come at home, but I think the strikeout upside outweighs the home run here. I’m taking Carrasco tonight with Heston more than likely my number two.
Superstar Worth Paying For…
J.D. Martinez ($4300) – I’ll tell you what. Martinez is by FAR the cheapest “superstar” I’ve featured in this section. Honestly, he should cost $5300 right now. So I’m going to pretend that he does cost $5300 and tell you why I’m a big fan of him tonight. Martinez, as we know, is tearing the cover off the ball right now. Tonight, he faces the returning Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma gets in trouble with the home run ball. In his career, he averages a home run a start that he lets up. This season, he’s only had three starts, but in those three starts, he’s already let up five. Martinez is hitting righties exceptionally well at .292 with 17 of his 22 home runs. Yes, they’re playing at the hitter friendly Safeco Field, but on paper, I love this matchup. Take advantage of Martinez while he’s still dirt cheap.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Will Venable ($3,200) – I remember I recommended Venable awhile back, it might have even been against Burnett, and he hit a bomb that night. I’m hoping for more of the same here tonight. Venable has great numbers against Burnett for dirt cheap money, which is always one of my favorites. Venable is 9-22 against Burnett with three extra base hits, two of them home runs, with a 1.119 OPS. Let’s get itttttttt.