We start the week off with a nine game slate tonight. Folks, this is certainly not a slate we want to brag about, as the pitching matchups tonight are a bit ugly. So we’re going to try to weed you through all the potential landmines and make you some money. Let’s get you right into everything and as always, you can reach me on the ol’ Twitter machine, @Sbuchanan24. Because of how bad the slate is tonight, feel free to listen to this song as you read this article. The article is great, not the selections.

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Heaviest Pitcher Favorites

Bud Norris vs. Texas Rangers (-141) – I mean, when Bud Norris is the favortie on the night, you know something isn’t right. But regardless, I have to report to the masses the information I’m given. Norris comes into tonight with a 6.71 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. He gets a pretty tough matchup tonight against the Rangers, who are ranked 8th in the league in home runs. Norris gave up 20 home runs last year and so far this year has given up seven, with four of them against left handed batters. Lefties have given him a lot of trouble this year, as you’ll see more info below. Personally, I’m 100% against this pick. This is Vegas making the calls here.

Kendall Graveman vs. Colorado Rockies (-140) – I guess I can get behind this pick more then Norris against the Rangers, but even this one is still a bit tough. Sure, the Rockies were basically held in check yesterday, but that was against Madison Bumgarner. Graveman is no Bumgarner. Overall though, Graveman is having a decent year coming in with a 3.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 63 innings pitched. As I mentioned the Rockies are in the top ten in a lot of offensive categories including runs scored, batting average, home runs and OPS. One factor that Graveman does have going for them, is that he’s at home in the pitcher friendly confines of the Coliseum.

Mike Leake vs. Minnesota Twins (-137) – Bud Norris, Kendall Graveman, Mike Leake. How’s that for a top three on the day? The saving grace here for Leake is that he’s had two great starts in a row coming into tonight. One against Miami and one against Pittsburgh, where’s only given up two runs in 14 innings pitched while striking out 12 in the process. The Twins, who for a small time were really moving up the ranks in terms of offense, have slipped back into the real world. They’re batting .249 as a team and are 22nd in the league in home runs. In a slate full of landmines today, this could be one of your “safer” bets.

Over/Under Lines

Top Overall Game Over/Unders

L.A. Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field) – 9 Over/Under- Projected at the highest run total of the night, Mike Bolsinger and Allen Webster are set to due battle in this one. Bolsinger has a great ERA on the season, at 2.95, but his issue is not getting far into games. His last three starts he’s pitched four innings, five innings and four innings again. He’s basically a long relief pitcher and not a starter.  Webster is the one here who’s been having the issues. Webster is coming off back to back bad starts and owns a 6.46 ERA in his three starts this season.

Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles (Camden Yards) – 8.5 Over/Under- Taking place at the hitter friendly Camden Yards, Wandy Rodriguez will take on Bud Norris in this one. Yes, the pitcher Vegas likes the most tonight, is also in the second highest run projection game of the night. This one should certainly see some runs, as Rodriguez may finally be seeing some regression on his season. He comes into tonight with a 4.06 ERA after giving up eight runs in his last start against the A’s. It was his second bad start in a row. Like the Rockies, the Orioles are in the top 10 in batting average, runs scored, OPS and home runs. Norris, while not facing an offense as tough as his own team, still should have some issues with Texas tonight. His ERA at home sits at 7.97 while hitters are hitting .314 against him. The big favorite tonight, right?

Toughest Left/Right Matchups

Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Lance McCullers vs. Kansas City Royals – Talent wise, McCullers might be the best pitcher on the night, but he’s going up against a tough offense. Against lefties however, he’s been great. They’re only hitting .176 against McCullers.

CC Sabathia vs. L.A. Angels – Are you shocked he’s here? Of course he’s great against left handers. They’re only hitting .195 off of Sabathia this season. I bet you know where you’ll find Sabathia again in this article…..

Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Nathan Karns vs. Cleveland Indians – Karns is quietly having a decent season for the Rays. Coming into tonight, he’s been holding right handed batters to a .200 average on the season.

Lance McCullers vs. Kansas City Royals – Heyyyy it’s our buddy McCullers again. As I’m thinking about it, I think the matchup is not going to matter to much and McCullers is going to be highly owned tonight. Not only has he been great against lefties, he is against right handed batters as well, holding them to a .205 avearge.

Best Left/Right Matchups

Easiest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Sean O’ Sullivan vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Here’s my buddy O’Sullivan, who I always like giving crap to. O’Sullivan strugglies mightly against left handed batters, as they’re hitting him to a tune of .350.

Bud Norris vs. Texas Rangers – Our ace on the day, Norris struggles against those lefties. They’re hitting .325 against him.

Easiest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

CC Sabathia vs. L.A. Angels– If you’re keeping score at home, you can win the game of “Where’s Sabathia?” by simply looking in this section of my article. He’s great against lefties and not so much against a right hander. Righties are hitting .339 against him.

David Hale vs. Oakland A’s – Hale, like everyone else in the Rockies rotation, struggles against someone. Hale does against right handed batters, as they’re hitting .293 against him.

Hottest Hitters

Nolan Arenado ($5200) – At this rate, I might just have to keep Arenado in this section. He just does not stop crushing the ball lately. He’s 9 for his last 23 with seven home runs, 14 RBIs, and 10 runs scored. Seven home runs out of his last nine hits. Let that sink in.

Maikel Franco ($4700) – Franco is basically the only player on the Phillies worth a roster spot, unless you’re being super bold on any given night. Franco is 9 for his last 26 with three home runs, 13 RBIs,  and seven runs scored.

Brett Gardner ($4600) – Gardner continues to rake at the top of the Yankees lineup. He’s 13 for his last 26 with two home runs, six RBIs, and nine runs scored. He’s always a threat to steal a bag as well.

Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups

Russell Martin vs. Clay Buchholz -Martin has seen a lot of success in his time facing Buchholz. Martin is 6-19 with four home runs and a 1.263 OPS.

David Ortiz vs. R.A. Dickey – I’m honestly surprised more people don’t have huge numbers against Dickey. Ortiz is 9-25 against Dickey with three home runs, five extra base hits overall and a 1.248 OPS.

Joey Votto vs. Mike Pelfrey – Votto has only had five hits against Pelfrey, but he’s made every single one count. Votto is 5-14 against Pelfrey with four extra base hits, three of them being home runs and a 1.471 OPS.

Weather Concerns

The only real weather threat we have on the day is with the Royals and Astros game, which is looking at a 50% chance or greater of a thunderstorm.

One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around

Mike Leake ($6900) – Man, this is really really tough today. I will give full disclosure, I don’t really have a lot of confidence in ANYONE tonight. If anyone is going against a weak offense, they’re just as weak. If someone is a decent pitchers, they’re going up against a really tough offense. So I landed on Leake, with Joe Blanton a second option. Excuse me while I go throw up. Ok so, Leake is coming off two nice starts against Marlins and the Pirates and face a mediocre Twins offense tonight. The Twins don’t hit a lot of fly balls, as they rank 20th in the league in that category and they’re right in the middle of the league in runs scored at 15th. Honestly, it’s hard to find a lot of positives with anyone tonight, but I feel the best with Leake going tonight against a middle of the road offense. Don’t expect huge results, but I can see something worth his $6900 salary. If not, blame the awful slate and me, of course.

Superstar Worth Paying For…

Albert Pujols ($4400) – With how much Sabathia is struggling against right handed batters, I like the idea of Pujols facing him tonight. Pujols has hit 19 of his 23 home runs against right handed pitchers and has basically split his home runs between home and away games, with home with the slight advantage at 12. For Sabathia, along with the .339 avearge he’s giving up to right handers, 16 of his 17 home runs have come from them. I mean, how can you not like Pujols here?

Save Big Bucks By Drafting…

Ryan Goins ($2200) – It’s time to play a little BvP! Tonights contestant, Ryan Goins! He takes on Clay Buchholz tonight. Goins has seen some nice succcess against Buchholz and for his price, you just can’t beat it! Goins is 9-19 with two extra base hits and a 1.105 OPS. Do itttttt.