The final few days of the baseball season are upon us. It’s insane to think this is the last weekend of the regular season. So, let’s make this weekend count! Let’s jump right into things and as always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.
Heaviest Pitcher Favorites
This section is to showcase who the Vegas favorites are on the night. Not my own personal choices.
Francisco Liriano vs. Cincinnati Reds (-235) – I think it’s safe to say that 2015 was a successful one for Francisco Lirinao. He enters the final start of the 2015 season with a 3.27 ERA to go with a 1.20 WHIP and K/9 of 9.9. Liriano has really turned it on as of late, as he’s thrown three straight quality starts with at least nine strikeout in each of them. Tonight in his matchup against the Reds, he gets a team that owns a .311 wOBA against left handed pitching, which ranks 14th in the league. Their strikeout rate against lefties is right in the middle of the league, with a 20.8 K%, which ranks 17th. I think this will be a great spot for Liriano, as his price tag at just $10,000 makes him all the more appealing. The only thing I’m concerned about, and this will basically go across the board for any pitcher who’s team is in the playoffs, is if they take them out on a short pitch count. These games really don’t mean anything, so thinking that Liriano will go out and throw 120 pitches on a complete game is probably slim to none. So just keep that in mind when you’re picking your pitching tonight.
Jake Arrieta vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-208) – I’m hoping I’m wrong here. I’ve looked at multiple websites and it does indeed list Arrieta as starting tonight. Am I the only one who thinks this is insane? With a Wild Card game against the Pirates just days away, what on earth is the benefit of starting Arrieta tonight!? I’m truly lost here. I hope I’m just missing something, but this just seems to be quite silly to me. I mean yeah, if Arrieta is starting tonight, he’s certainly the top option on the night. I mean when you have a pitcher entering his final start of the season and his ERA is sitting at 1.82 with a WHIP of 0.88, you have to consider him. Oh, did I mention, he has a 0.80 ERA in the second half of the season. Just keep an eye on this. Again, I hope I’m wrong and he’s not actually starting, but that’s what I’m seeing as of this morning. It’s also crazy to see that Arrieta is $2,000 more than Chris Sale tonight. That my friends, is a sure sign of dominance.
Chris Sale vs. Detroit Tigers (-194) – Speaking of Chris Sale, here he is making his final start of the season against the Tigers. It’s been a weird season for Sale. On one end of the spectrum, he has a higher than usual 3.48 ERA but a certainly nice WHIP of 1.10 and K/9 of 11.9. He faces a Tigers team that has crushed left handed pitching all season. With a .349 wOBA on the year, they also do strikeout at a decent clip against lefties, with a 21.7 K%, which ranks 12th in the league. Sale has been back on track lately, scoring 20.4 and 24.6 in this last two starts against the Yankees and Indians. However, we have seen him have his fair share of struggles this season as well. In two starts against the Tigers this season, Sale was met with mixed results. In one, he gave up two runs on four hits in six innings pitched while striking out six. In his second start, not so good. Sale gave up five runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. It also didn’t help that he walked five in that matchup either. I think this could be a tough spot for Sale, but also be mindful of the lineups. If the Tigers throw out a lot of their bench players tonight, which is quite possible, it dramatically changes things.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Josh Tomlin vs. Boston Red Sox- Tomlin sure knows how to get those left handed pitchers to sit back down. If only he was that efficient against righties. On the season, Tomlin owns a .173 wOBA.
Dallas Keuchel vs. Arizona Diamondbacks- I said in his last start, that Keuchel had a chance to get back under the .200 wOBA realm. That’s exactly where he sits going into this start against the Diamondbacks.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jaime Garcia vs. Atlanta Braves- Garcia gets a cake matchup to end his 2015 season on a high note. Facing the Braves tonight, they can look forward to facing Garcia with his .243 wOBA against right handed batters.
Jake Arrieta vs. Milwaukee Brewers- Still don’t understand this start. But what do I know, right? Arrieta comes into this start with a .248 wOBA against right handed batters/
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Kyle Kendrick vs. San Francisco Giants- Here is your daily “Colorado Rockies starting pitcher who has an atrocious wOBA against a particular type of pitcher and I don’t understand how he still has a job” section. Kendrick comes into tonight’s start with a .418 wOBA against lefties.
Rubby De la Rosa vs. Houston Astros- Damn, De La Rosa truly has just been watching his wOBA rise higher and higher up as the season progressed. It almost seems fitting that in his final start, it sits at an even .400.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Aaron Brooks vs. Seattle Mariners- Brooks could really be in trouble in this one, as the Mariners are actually one of the best hitting teams in the second half of the season. Brooks and his .415 wOBA against righties are not something to be proud of.
Kyle Kendrick vs. San Francisco Giants- Kendrick still has a job huh? His .380 wOBA against right handed batters is a real winner tonight.
Albert Pujols 1B ($4500) –Pujols had a really nice season in 2015. At least the Angels can feel somewhat ok about that monster contract that gave him. Well, maybe not, but at least he’s on a hot streak right now. Pujols is 9-28 with three home runs, five RBIs, eight runs scored and SOMEHOW got a stolen base.
Justin Bour 1B ($3800) – If you’ve read this article before, you certainly have come across my love for Bour and his cheap source of power. The numbers do all the talking here. Bour is 8-24 with four home runs, eight RBIs, and six runs scored.
Mookie Betts OF ($5000) – Betts has certainly been one of the more exciting players to watch in 2015, even though DraftKings doesn’t give points for excitement. Maybe in 2016? I’ll see if I can pull some strings. Betts is 11-30 with three home runs, six RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Victor Martinez vs. Chris Sale- I would never in my life think that V-Mart has the number of Chris Sale. But that’s why I love to at least take a look at these BvP matchups. Martinez is 16-34 against Sale with seven extra base hits, four of them being home runs, and a 1.412 OPS.
Shin Soo Choo vs. Jered Weaver- Choo doesn’t have any home runs against Weaver, but he’s hit him well enough to earn a spot here for today. Choo is 15-39 against Weaver with six extra base hits and a .993 OPS.
Eric Hosmer vs Ervin Santana- A short sample size here, but Hosmer has done well against Santana during that time span. Hosmer is 4-11 against Santana with three extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.462 OPS.
Here we go with the damn rain again. Quite a few games to keep an eye on tonight.
Marlins at Phillies
Yankees at Orioles
Nationals at Mets
Cardinals at Braves
Red Sox at Indians will have really strong winds blowing in, which is a good advantage for pitchers. This does not have any rain anticipated.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Francisco Liriano ($10,000) –Liriano is my safe pick tonight for two reasons. First, he doesn’t have any weather issues. Second, he’s not Jake Arrieta pitching in a useless game. Yes, Liriano and the Pirates will face the Cubs in a Wild Card game, so you could make the argument that Lirinao is in the same boat. But, Lirinao is no Arrieta. Anyways, onto his start tonight. As I showcased earlier, his matchup against the Reds is certainly a favorable one, as the Reds are in the middle of the league when it comes to facing left handed pitching. Liriano has really turned it on lately with his pitching and I think that continues again tonight. At $10,000, I think Liriano is a bit of a steal and he should have no problem reaching value. Let’s just hope he can rack up some early strikeouts just in case he gets pulled early.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Nelson Cruz ($4900) –Normally I only showcase Cruz against left handed pitching, because he absolutely crushes them. He hits lefties so well, I almost have him as an automatic in my lineup if he’s facing one. Even though he faces Aaron Brook tonight, who’s a right handed pitcher, I think he’s got another favorable matcup. On the season, Cruz owns a .372 wOBA with a .248 ISO. It’s crazy to think these are the numbers that are on the low side for Cruz. Brooks is allowing a .415 wOBA against right handed batters, which makes this a no brainer for me.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Neil Walker ($3500) –Walker is a switch hitter who gets a good matchup against Keyvius Sampson, who doesn’t exactly get the concept of getting batters out. On the season, Sampson is allowing a .427 wOBA to lefties, which one would have to assume Walker will be batting from tonight. As a left handed batter vs. a right handed pitcher, Walker owns a .341 wOBA with a .183 ISO. He’s cheap enough with an exceptional matchup that he should be worth the price.