Well Monday might be a real drag for all of us. Not only is it, well, Monday, but we have a short slate of games tonight. Short slates should be reserved for Thursday. By the time the games start on Thursday, we’re all jazzed for Friday that we could live with it. But no, it has to be a Monday. So, we’ll do our best to get through it as I got you covered for tonight. As always, you can get me on the Ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
Chris Sale vs. Houston Astros (-172) – Well, no real surprise here. A short slate and a pitcher like Sale going, you have you like you chances. Sale has been back to his old dominant self, as he has 53 strikeouts in his last 39 innings pitched. The big difference? He’s been incorporating his slider again. After trying to get away from using it earlier this season, which failed miserably, Sale is back to mowing people down. The Astros have been surprisingly hitting well, so don’t take them lightly. Sale has a 3.27 ERA on the season with 79 stikeouts in 66 innings pitched.
Mike Bolsinger vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-157) – Bolsinger is coming off his worst outing this season, where he gave up four runs in five innings pitched. However, it was at the unforgiving Coors Fields, so take that for what it’s worth. Previously, he hadn’t given up more than two runs in his previous five starts. He doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts, as his K/9 is at 6.9 on the season, but he’s done a great job at limiting the damage in all of his starts. At only 7000, he could be a nice addition to your team tonight.
A.J. Burnett vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-156) Burnett seems to be regressing a bit, as he’s now given up 8 runs in his last two starts. Still, he owns a 2.20 ERA on the season with 64 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched. He has what should be a cake matchup against the Brewers, who are basically dead in the water in terms of offense. They’re last in the league in team average, 26th in runs scored and 28th in OPS. They hit a lot of home runs, 12th in the league in that department. However, of all the batters on the Brewers that have faced Burnett, they have only one home run combined against Burnett in 130 at bats.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 10.5 Over/Under- Well, this one could be a doozy. John Lackey takes on David Hale in this one. Lackey has had some really bad numbers at Coors field in his short time that he’s pitched here. He’s given up nine runs and four home runs in only 12 2/3 at Coors Field. Hale is making a spot start in this one, he hasn’t exactly done much to keep the ball in the park either, as he gave up three home runs in his last outing.
Miami Marlins vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre) – 9 Over/Under – Another game that features two good offenses going up against each other tonight. Brand Hand takes on Marco Estrada in this one. Both pitchers have some decent splits in this one, however, both teams are in the top ten when it comes to batting average. So something is going to have to give in this one.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Cole Hamels vs. Cincinnati Reds- Hamels has really been mowing down lefties this year. It’s getting to the point where they shouldn’t even try anymore. They’re only hitting .138 against Hamels on the season. His K/9 is at 9.3.
Lance McCullers vs. Chicago White Sox – For a pitcher to be eligible in this section, I wait for them to have at least three starts to be featured here. Well, McCuller has had four so he rightfully deserves to be here. Lefties are only hitting .133 against him while his K/9 sits at 10.9. But again, rememeber he’s only had four starts.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Shelby Miller vs. San Diego Padres- Miller has been fantastic this season. Aside from his last start, where he gave up four runs in only four innings of work, Miller has had no issues. Righties are only hitting .155 against him this season. His K/9 is at 6.4.
Marco Estrada vs. Miami Marlins – Estrada, in my opinion, is actually quite cheap for the production he’s given. He owns a 3.77 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched. Against righties, he’s been great, as they’re only hitting .193 against him.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Rubby De La Rosa vs. L.A. Dodgers – De La Rosa has been really struggling against lefties. They’re hitting him to a tune of .315, which is a dramatic difference of what righties are hitting him at, .194.
Jason Vargas vs. Minnesota Twins– Nothing personal against Vargas, but when I hear his name, I just think he’s a bum. I know, what a cyber bully I am. But, numbers don’t lie andddddd he’s not that great against lefties. They’re hitting him at a .302 clip and according to my math, that’s not that good.
Easiest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Phil Hughes vs. Kansas City Royals – Coming off his shortest outing this season against the Red Sox, Hughes continues to struggle against righties. They’re hitting him at .328 on the season. The Royals have at least five righties in their lineup, so it could be a long (short) night for him.
Brad Hand vs. Toronto Blue Jays– I could have made a lot of corny jokes here, like Brad could use a hand against righties, but I didn’t. I just put it in here acting like I was going to, but you still got to read it anyways. Whatever. Against righties, they’re hitting .286 against Hand.
Jose Bautista ($5400) – Bautista is starting to heat up, which spell trouble for all of those who throw baseballs in his direction. He’s 9 for his last 23 with four home runs, six RBIs, two stolen bases and nine runs scored. He faces Brad Hand tonight.
Maikel Franco ($3700) – It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of him. What matters is that he’s getting you points, and lot of them. Franco is 10 for his last 25 with four home runs, eight RBIs, and seven runs scored. He faces Mike Leake tonight.
Troy Tulowitzki ($4900) – Tulo is one of the best shortstops in the game. So when he’s on, he’s really on. He’s 10 for his last 21 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and five runs scored. He faces John Lackey tonight.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Ryan Howard vs. Mike Leake – Howard is trying to get his power stroke back, and facing Leake today could help that situation out. He’s 6-18 against Leake with two home runs, a .429 OBP and a 1.095 OPS.
Freddie Freeman vs. Ian Kennedy – Freeman has been really hot as of late, and a good matchup against Kennedy could keep that going. He’s 6-10 against Kennedy with a home run, three extra base hits and a 1.767 OPS.
Alex Rios vs. Phil Hughes – It seems as if every start Hughes has, someone has had a lot of success against him. At least he’s not facing Dustin Pedroia. Instead, he takes on Rios who’s 13-27 against him with a home run, five extra base hits and a 1.205 OPS.
The Brewers and Pirates along with the Phillies and Reds both have a chance of seeing thunderstorms during their games. Watch these ones closely.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Lance McCullers ($7,400) – While everyone and thier mother will be on Chris Sale tonight, you can be the smart guy and be on McCullers. He has a lot of good things going for him tonight that I think will really make him a valuable asset to your team. The White Sox are an offensive mess, as they’re 21st in team batting average, 28th in runs scored, 29th in OPS and 28th in home runs. McCullers has faced them already and only went four innings, but struck out seven and gave up one run. I expect more of the same in this one.
Superstar Worth Paying For…
Freddie Freeman ($4800) – Yes, I’m picking him again. Aside from the hot streak he’s been on, he has fantastic numbers against Kennedy. Sure, BvP disbelievers will say that it’s a small sample, and I don’t disagree with that. But on a short slate like tonight, I’ll 100% ride the BvP stats. If you want to go a bit deeper, lefties are hitting .297 against Kennedy on the season, is that good enough for you?
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Brandon Barnes ($3000) – Barnes has bascially been the replacement for the injured Corey Dickerson and has been holding his own in doing so. On the season, he’s batting .333 with five RBIs and a .794 OPS. While these numbers dont knock you over with excitement, he’s playing at Coors Field tonight against a pitcher who, in a small sample, as struggled mightly here. As I mentioned earlier, Lackey has given up four home runs and nine runs in 12 2/3 innings at Coors. For 3000 and a short slate, he’s worth the gamble.