We have a very short slate of games going on a busy Thursday night. However, even with the short slate, we still have some solid pitchers going tonight as well as some good hitters matchups. We have two games being played this afternoon, but we’re just going to focus on the six night games. As always, you can get me on the ol’ Twitter machine @SBuchanan24.

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Heaviest Pitcher Favorites

This section is to showcase who the Vegas favorites are on the night. Not my own personal choices. 

Jake Arrieta vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-301) – Arrieta isn’t just the favorite tonight, he’s a HUGE favorite. And why shouldn’t he be? Arrieta comes into tonight’s start with a 2.03 ERA to go with a 0.92 WHIP and a K/9 if 9.2. Arrieta is currently on a streak of not allowing a run in four straight starts. Yup, you read that correctly, four straight. It’s almost unheard of. It’s as if someone entered a real life cheat code for Arrieta, because he’s been pitching that well. Honestly at this point, I could tell you what the Phillies have been doing in the second half and how much they strike out or don’t strike out, but I think the real story here is Arrieta. Almost EVERYONE will be on him tonight, even with his price tag of $13,700. Sure, it’s a very high price to pay, but on a short slate like tonight, you don’t have to worry about that as much. The contrarian play here tonight is to fade him and hope he blows up, since you’d have a gigantic edge. I just don’t see that happening. I don’t think anyone does.

Danny Salazar vs. Detroit Tigers (-207) – Just the difference in numbers for favoritism between Arrieta and Salazar just goes to show how much Vegas like Arrieta tonight. Salazar is no slouch though, and will be a significant discount from Arrieta. Priced at $10,600, Salazar has a matchup against a Tigers team that enters tonight with a .312 wOBA, which is only good for 22nd in the league. It also doesn’t help that they’re striking out at a high rate of 20.9%, or 13th in the league. Salazar enters with a high K/9 of 10 on the season, which makes a Salazar start all the more enticing. With the Tigers season all but over, it’s been a real long second half of the season, with the team continuing to fall further and further down the ranks in wOBA. At this point, Salazar looks like quite an attractive start, one that I would highly consider.

A.J. Burnett vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-168) – The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees didn’t have any numbers out from Vegas this morning, but I fully expect Price to be favored in that one. Regardless, Burnett gets the nod as he makes his return from the disabled list tonight. First and foremost, Burnett has a REALLY nice price tonight against the Brewers, a team that owns a .319 wOBA in the second half, good for 18th in the league. They also strikeout at a good rate, with 21.3%. Burnett was having a rough month of July before being placed on the disabled list. In the first half of the season, Burnett owned a 2.11 ERA to go with a .281 wOBA against him. Since then, and it was only 16 innings, Burnett owned a 10.13 ERA with a .467 wOBA. So needless to say, he certainly had something wrong here. Burnett was given the green light after throwing a bullpen session on Sunday, which allows him to make the start today. Value wise, I love his price point and feel as if a lot of people will be off of him tonight. With Arrieta, Salazar and Price going tonight, it would be easy to pass on Burnett, especially with the salary space you have on a short slate. I think Burnett should strongly be considered.

Toughest Left/Right Matchups

Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters

Jake Arrieta vs. Philadelphia Phillies- This section is going to be quite skewed, as with only 12 pitchers to pick from, we could be seeing some odd numbers here. However, nothing is odd about the dominance that Arrieta has had since the month of June. He enters tonight with a wOBA of .216 against lefties this season.

Adam Morgan vs. Chicago Cubs-Not a fun game to be a left handed bat in this one. Morgan, for all of his struggles against RHB this season, has been able to hold it down with lefties. They own a .259 wOBA against Morgan this season.

Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters

Jaime Garcia vs. Cincinnati Reds- I’m telling you, even with a short slate, we still have such quality pitching going tonight. Garica is certainly not the exception to that. Coming into tonight’s start, Garcia owns a .223 wOBA against righties.

Luis Severino vs. Toronto Blue Jays – I will say one thing, even if the Red Sox are down and out of it right now, they at least showed that the Blue Jays can be tamed. Coming into tonight, Severino has been fantastic against righties this season, as he owns a .230 wOBA when facing them.

Best Left/Right Matchups

Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.

John Lamb vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Lamb certainly has the ability to strike out batters, as he owns a 10.6 K/9 in the short time he’s been up in the majors. If only he could figure out how the hell to get batters out! Lamb owns a .478 wOBA against lefties this season.

Alfredo Simon vs. Cleveland Indians- Simon was pretty solid for about 2 months this season, but who knows what’s happened since. Simon enters tonight with a .364 wOBA on the season.

Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.

John Lamb vs. St. Louis Cardinals –Remember when I said Lamb has a hard time getting out batters? I wasn’t kidding about that. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, c’mon now! Lamb has a .362 wOBA against righties.

Adam Morgan vs. Chicago Cubs- Morgan is certainly your typical left handed pitcher when it comes to his splits. He’s fantastic against left handed batters, but when it comes to righties, oh forget about it. Morgan owns a .360 wOBA against righties this season.

Hottest Hitters

Jose Bautista OF ($5600) – Bautista has been hot lately, even though he did almost nothing for me last night. Yeah, thanks a lot for that one Jose. Coming into tonight, Bautista is 7-20 with two home runs, seven RBIs, six runs scored and two stolen bases. He’s been great, unless I roster him.

Domingo Santana OF ($3500)- I feel like I have a good feel for what’s going on in baseball. I mean I write this article everyday, I’d hope so. However, when I saw Santana, I was puzzled. Who?? It doesn’t matter, he’s been hitting the baseball lately. Santana is 9/18 with two home runs, seven RBIs, and six runs scored. The mystery man is no longer a mystery.

Ryan Braun OF ($4600) –Yeah we cheated a bit here, we have two repeat guys in this section from yesterday, but that’s what happens when you’re running out a six game slate! Braun comes into tonight 10-25 with a home run, two RBIs, five runs scored and three stolen bases. A little bit of everything from Braun lately.

Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups

Michael Brantley vs. Alfredo Simon- Boy, has Brantley liked facing Simon in his career or what? This is just straight up unfair. Brantley is 11-20 against Simon with five extra base hits, no home runs though just yet! Brantley also owns a 1.371 OPS against Simon.

*Brian McCann vs. David Price -*I love looking at the BvP stats, because it’s truly mind boggling sometimes to see who hits what pitcher well. For example, McCann against Price. Just doesn’t seem like it would be a favorable matchup. McCann and his stats would like to prove you otherwise. McCann is 10-23 against Price with three extra base hits, all of them being home runs, and a 1.284 OPS.

Nick Swisher vs. Bartolo Colon- Swisher certainly hasn’t hit well this season, but he at least faces someone he’s had some good success against, even if it’s in a small sample. Swisher is 6-12 against Colon with four extra base hits, two of them being a home run and a 1.705 OPS.

Weather Concerns

Three game could see rain tonight, which is ONLY 50% of the games. Sigh……

Blue Jays at Yankees

Cubs at Phillies

Mets at Braves

One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around

Danny Salazar ($10,600) – I’m sitting here assuming you’re already going to roster Arrieta, so I didn’t even bother putting him in this section. Arrieta should be a fine play tonight, so yeah, that’s my analysis on that. As far as Salazar, besides his last bust of a start, he had thrown quality starts in eight of his last nine starts. Facing the Tigers tonight, he has the opportunity to throw yet another one. The Tigers have really struggled in the second half of the season, as I mentioned earlier. With Salazar owning a K/9 of 10 on the season, he should also be in a good position to rack up some strikeouts, which of course is one of the number one stats I target with these starting pitchers. You don’t have much to choose from tonight, so this isn’t one of those days to get real cute with pitching. You can’t really afford to fade someone who should perform well tonight. Unless of course, you live a YOLO lifestyle.

Superstar Worth Paying For

Michael Brantley ($4900) – Brantley has a nice matchup against my favorite pasta sauce pitcher, Alfredo Simon. Yes, I’ve used that joke numerous times. Anyways, Brantley is hitting righties extremely well, with a wOBA at .394 on the season with some good pop, an ISO of .186. Simon has been nothing but a mess as of late, so this should be a great matchup for Brantley to pounce.

Save Big Bucks By Drafting…

Gregory Polanco ($3700) –Yeah I know he’s not that cheap, but I was truly struggling with trying to find a good cheap matchup tonight. If you can find one, I owe you a pat on the back. Polanco goes up against Wily Peralta tonight, who is allowing a .372 wOBA against lefties. Polanco owns a .323 wOBA with some decent pop with an ISO of .130. I know it’s not fantastic, but the picks are slim tonight. Just roster Polanco, ok?