We have a split slate of games today. Five games will be played this afternoon with the remaining ten going tonight. Just because this afternoon is a short slate, doesn’t mean it’s low on talent. I personally think this afternoon has the better pitching matchups. So let’s get into things and as always, you can follow me on Twitter @SBuchanan24.

Take a shot at the MLB $85K Moonshot for just $3 (Late) — Draft Now!

Heaviest Pitcher Favorites

Gerrit Cole vs. Cincinnati Reds (-167) – Not surprised by this one here, as Cole has been not only one of the best pitchers in the National league, but in all of baseball. He comes into tonight with a 1.78 ERA to go along with a 1.07 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 91 innings pitched. The Reds aren’t the best or worst offensive club, but they can certainly hit some home runs, as they rank 6th in the league in that category. This might come back to haunt me, but with the way Cole has pitched this season, he’s almost matchup proof in my opinion.

Jordan Zimmermann vs. Atlanta Braves (-158) – Now here we have someone who is not matchup proof. Zimmermann has not looked like himself all season, as he owns a 3.75 ERA on the year with a 1.37 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched. His K/9, which is at 6.4, is actually a career low for him which may be contributed to his velocity being down. The Braves are 8th in the league in terms of batting averge, but rank in the middle or the bottom of the pack of everything else. While the Zimmermann of old would be looking at a relatively easy matchup here, I’m a bit shaky on his chances.

Chris Sale vs. Phil Hughes (-141) – This matchup falls under the afternoon slate. Sale has accomplished something that no other pitcher in the modern era has ever done and that’s pitch five consecutive games with 12 or more strikeouts in them. That little tidbit alone should tell you how locked in Sale has been lately, as he comes into this afternoon with a 2.74 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and 119 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched. The Twins don’t strikeout out a lot, as they’re 20th in the league, however, 7 or 8 on the day isn’t impossible either.

Over/Under Lines

Top Overall Game Over/Unders

Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 11 Over/Under- I mean, I don’t have to beat a dead horse here. We all know by now that these games always have a super inflated run total when playing in Coors Field. Allen Webster goes up against David Hale in this one. As always, it’s a good idea to have at least some exposure tho this game, as the runs do usually come in the form of crooked numbers. Just be aware that all these hitters are priced accordingly. Webster has really struggled in his time split between the majors and minors this season.

Oakland A’s at Texas Rangers (Ballpark at Arlington) – 9 Over/Under- These teams also stay in this section, as they’re the second highest run total of the night. Kendall Graveman takes on Wandy Rodriguez in this one. Graveman has been great recently, as he’s been striking out batters at a good rate. The home run ball has been giving him issues though, as he’s now given up eight in 56 innings. The Rangers rank 16th in the league in home runs, but certainly have the talent in that lineup that can make Graveman pay for any mistakes. Rodriguez has been a hidden gem this season, as he comes into tonight with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.25 WHIIP. The biggest problem for Rodriguez will be keeping these A’s off base, as they’re 3rd in the league in runs scored and 8th in team batting average.

Toughest Left/Right Matchups

Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Cole Hamels vs. New York Yankees – Rumors of Hamels being on his way out the door in Philly have been heating up lately. I’m sure his dominance against lefties isn’t part of that reason, right? Lefties are only hitting .129 off of him this season.

Lance McCullers vs. L.A. Angels – I told you the afternoon slate had some damn good pitchers going. McCullers is holding left handed batters to a .152 average.

Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Shelby Miller vs. Washington Nationals – The Shelbster continues to have a fantastic season since coming over to the Braves. He’s holding righties to a .167 average this season.

Michael Bolsinger vs. Chicago Cubs  – Bolsinger is really flying under the radar this year, as he’s been great for the Dodgers. He’s holding righties to a .191 avearge on the year. Take a look at him tonight if you’re in need of a second SP.

Best Left/Right Matchups

Easiest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Bud Norris vs. Boston Red Sox – Norris acts like he doesn’t know how to get a left handed batter out, as he’s been having issues with them all season. They’re hitting .345 off of him. Great work.

Mat Latos vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Latos has not had it easy this season. Lefties have been giving him the most trouble, as they’re hitting .333 off of him.

Easiest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Clay Buchholz vs. Baltimore Orioles– Buchholz has been solid lately, but he continues to struggle some against righties. They’re hitting him to a tune of .294 on the season, which isn’t terrible.

Carlos Carrasco vs. Detroit Tigers – I only really start laying into guys if they’re allowing an average that exceeds 300. Carrasco is getting hit by righties at .293 this season, so it could be worse.

Hottest Hitters

Brett Gardner ($4700) – I recommended Gardner last night and hopefully you listened as he had a fantastic night, scoring 23 points. Overall, he really seems to be settled in at the top of that Yankess lineup. He’s 16 for his last 31 with four home runs, nine RBIs, and 10 runs scored.

Maikel Franco ($4200) – The Phillies have been scoring a lot of runs lately, and Franco has been a big part of that. He’s 14 for his last 27 with three home runs, 11 RBIs, and six runs scored. He may not normally have great offense surrounding him, but Franco is a great bat.

Alex Rodriguez ($4100) – You don’t have to like him, you only have to like his production. He’s 11 for his last 25 with three home runs, 10 RBIs, a stolen base and six runs scored. Plus, he’s doing it clean (we think) (you’d have to think so) (that would be messed up if he wasn’t) (power move if he’s back on the juice.)

Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups

Buster Posey vs. Ian Kennedy – Posey has seen a good amount of Kennedy in his career, and he’s hit him well, just not for power. Posey is 15-37 against Kennedy was a .950 OPS.

Brandon Phillips vs. Gerrit Cole – It’s a small sample size, but I always like to include at least one player who hit’s an ace well. Phillips is 5-11 off of Cole with a .909 OPS.

Carlos Santana vs. Justin Verlander – I flipped back and forth with this one because overall, Verlander has gotten the best of Santana. However, when Santana does get a hold of a Verlander pitch, he does some damage. Santana is 10-47 against Verlander but 6 of those 10 hits have been home runs.

Weather Concerns

As of this morning, it looks like it should be a clear night all arond baseball. However as always, check this as we get closer and closer to game time. Nothing is worse then making a sick lineup that never even trots onto the field. A for effort though.

One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around

Chris Sale ($12600) – I really do hate picking the most obvious choice on the day. It makes me feel like I take the easy way out. But are you going to fade Sale with the histroic run that he’s on? Sale is going to have a bad start at some point, don’t get me wrong I get it. Do I think the Twins are the ones who are going to do it to him, ehhhhhh not really. As I mentioned earlier, the Twins are a bit tough to strikeout, as they’re 20th in the league, but I still can expect a decent amount from Sale. They don’t walk alot, so I know they aren’t going to try and be patient, as they’re 23rd in the league in walks. They truly don’t have any stats that scare me today, other then the strikeout totals. I’d be crazy not to roster Sale this afternoon and so would you. Sorry for the obvious pick. If you want a couple other picks, I like McCullers this afternoon as well, just watch out for the walks. I also like, Buchholz and Cole for tonight.

Superstar Worth Paying For…

Nolan Arenado ($4700) – Arenado is on fire right now, as he hit two home runs last night at Coors Field and has been batting cleanup for the Rockies. Even with his inflated price, he’s only 4700, which in my opinion, is cheap for his production AND playing at Coors tonight. He’s now hit 17 home runs on the season to go with his .284 average and 54 RBIs. He goes against Allen Webster today who owns a 6.55 ERA and a career 5.03 ERA in the majors. While in the minors this season, Webster had a 9.00 ERA. Safe to say this guy is a train wreck? Advantge: Arenado.

Save Big Bucks By Drafting…

JJ Hardy ($2700) – I really like his numbers against Buchholz tonight, so I’m going to be slotting him into my lineup. Yes, I just said a few moments ago that I like Buchholz tonight, but I also don’t think he’s going to be pitching a shutout. The night slate is honestly a bit ugly, so I’m well prepared to have to endure a bit of a rocky road with pitchers tonight. Hardy is 7-19 again Buchholz with two home runs and a 1.084 OPS. I’ll take it.