We have a typical short slate on Thursday, as it’s been a common theme throughout the season. We have two games going this afternoon and seven tonight. We’ll be focusing on the seven game slate tonight. If you have any questions about the afternoon slate, 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.
Marco Estrada vs. Atlanta Braves (-220) – Estrada gets the nod as the favorite pitcher on the night, as he takes on the light hitting Atlanta Braves. Coming into his start tonight, Estrada owns a 3.31 ERA to go with a 1.10 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.6. Estrada isn’t a power pitcher by any means, he basically goes out to the mound, throws 6-7 innings of relatively clean baseball, and that’s the end of it. Hence the low price point of $7,900 and the low points per game average of 13.4. If Estrada was able to strike out a few more guys per game, he would be a fantastic pitcher. As always, we’ll do our daily check of what the Braves own for a wOBA since the All Star break, since Vegas loves to go against them. Ok so, the Braves are now down to a .288 wOBA in the second half of the season. It just continues to drop further and further down. I bet I know one team that is looking forward to the end of the year. Estrada, although not someone who will get you the big points, is certainly in play tonight for a start, just make sure your expectations of what he’ll give you are in check. He will certainly help you save some money to pay up for some offense.
Tanner Roark vs. Miami Marlins(-180) – The cheapest pitcher on the night, getting the thumbs up from Vegas. They must be playing the Marlins tonight. Ah yes, they are indeed. Roark owns a 4.38 ERA on the season with a 1.36 WHIP and a K/9 of 5.6. Roark has made two starts for the Nationals since moving into the rotation from the bullpen. In those two starts, Roark has scored a combined 8.9 points. He’s gone only four innings in each start giving up three runs on 13 hits with a K:BB ratio of 3:3. Not impressive numbers by any means. Even with the Marlins hitting as poorly as they are, .301 wOBA in the second half, Roark isn’t even on my radar tonight. He owns a 1.80 WHIP in his two starts this season, that even a team like the Marlins should be able to handle him. Even with the potential for a huge salary relief, on a short slate, you’ll more than likely be having left over salary to begin with. I wouldn’t bother with Roark. If anything, maybe this is a good night for a Marlins stack?
*Corey Kluber vs. Kansas City Royals (-151)-*Kluber finally makes his return after going down with a hamstring injury. An injury that very conveniently happened when I was running one of my contests to give away some free DraftKings tickets, and the way to win was to give Miguel Cabrera’s numbers against Kluber. They were huge! Cabrera has crushed Kluber. So now, I have a certain vendetta against Kluber. Kluber is by far the most expensive pitcher on the night, checking in at $12,300. Next in line is Lance McCullers, who’s at $9,900. So yeah, you’ll certainly be paying the premium price for Kluber tonight. For a team that was for a long time one of the best hitting teams in the league, the Royals check in right in the middle of the league in wOBA since the All Star break at .317. The one factor that will most likely keep me off Kluber, is the fact that the Royals are the toughest team in the league to strike out. I honestly don’t think I’ve had a pitcher that was facing the Royals this season. With a 15 K% on the season, Kluber at his expensive price tag may not be the best guy to throw on your roster tonight. I have a hard time believing he’ll reach value against the Royals tonight and that money can be used elsewhere.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers 9.5 Over/Under – Well, at least Vegas didn’t feature one of their top pitchers to also be in the highest projected run total of the night. That drives me insane. On a short slate like tonight, I was fully expecting it. This game features two teams who are in the top ten wOBA in the second half of the season. The Rangers own the fifth highest at .33o and the Astros 10th at .325. I’ll be interested to see how well the Rangers do against McCullers, as he’s been fantastic since getting the start for the Astros. McCullers does struggle a bit more against righties than he does lefties, so that would be your first target in this game. As for Colby Lewis for the Rangers, his splits have him with wOBA of .309 and .315 against righties and leftie respectively. I wouldn’t necessarily target either one specifically, since he’s pretty even across the board against them. Even with these two hot hitting teams, I don’t know if I agree with this one scoring both runs, as I think McCullers can pull out a decent start here. I’d certainly recommend getting some exposure to this game, just maybe not a lot.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Lance McCullers vs. Texas Rangers- As I just mentioned, McCullers isn’t an easy pitcher to face by any means. Coming into tonight, he’s been extremely tough to lefties, owning a .254 wOBA when pitching to them.
Tommy Milone vs. LA Angels- Milone gets a matchup tonight against an Angels team that has completely fallen flat on their face offensively. They have the third to worst wOBA in the league since the All Star Break. Milone has been great against lefties, holding them to a .254 wOBA.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Corey Kluber vs. Kansas City Royals- Kluber coming back from his hamstring injury still has the best wOBA against righties on the seven game slate tonight. On the season, Kluber has held righties to a .220 wOBA.
Jimmy Nelson vs. St. Louis Cardinals- If only Nelson could handle left handed batters as well as he does righties. On the season, Nelson owns a .251 wOBA when facing right handed bats. Lefties is an entirely different story, as they get him for a .374 wOBA, which isn’t even in the top two for worst on the night.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Matt Wisler vs. Toronto Blue Jays- Man, Wisler is really, REALLY bad against lefties. They’ve been crushing him every time he takes the mound. Wisler comes into his start against the Blue Jays with a .450 wOBA against lefties. My goodness…..
Matt Moore vs. Baltimore Orioles – Not a good night pitching to be name Matt, or maybe just Matt Moore. He makes his usual stop in this section for his first of two showcases. First, we’ll let our readers know he owns a .376 wOBA against lefties on the season. But that’s not all…….
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Matt Moore vs. Baltimore Orioles-…..Moore has also won a .446 wOBA against righties as well! If you want to ask me what would be a good stack tonight, by answer is going to be Baltimore every single team. Even if somehow, Moore pitched a no hitter tonight, my answer would STILL be Baltimore.
Chris Tillman vs. Tampa Bay Rays- Maybe this is a good night to target all the right handed batters? Tillman has also had his struggles against righties this season, but no one as bad as Moore. Tillman comes into tonight with a .365 wOBA against righties.
Prince Fielder 1B($4500) – Overall, I think it’s been a bit of a disappointing year for Fielder. However, if there was ever a time to start getting hot, now would be the time. Fielder is 12-30 with three home runs, 10 RBIs, and nine runs scored.
Adrian Beltre 3B ($4300) – Must be something in the water over in Texas. When Fielder and Beltre start running hot at the same time, they are truly a deadly 1-2 punch in the lineup. Beltre is 12-29 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and eight runs scored.
Jayson Werth OF ($3900) – I think the Nationals would have liked for Werth to have gotten hot a few weeks ago, but hey, can’t win them all. Werth is 7-23 with four home runs, eight RBIs, and six runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Evan Longoria vs. Chris Tillman- I’m almost positive every time these two guys matchup, I have them in my BvP section. Well, today will be no exception. Longoria is 16-46 against Tillman with 10 extra base hits, six of them being home runs, with a 1.238 OPS.
Matt Weiters vs. Matt Moore- I think after tonight, everyone on the Orioles could be included on the BvP section against Moore. He’s truly been that bad. But for now, we can stick with Weiters. He’s 8-14 against Moore with three extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.718 OPS.
Mike Moustakas vs. Corey Kluber- Moustakas has seen a good amount of success against the former Cy Young winner. In his career, the moose is 16-35 against Kluber with six extra base hits, one of them being a home run, and a 1.186 OPS.
All clear for today/tonight
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
John Lackey ($9700) – Lets try another pitcher against the Brewers. Lackey has been solid this entire season, coming into tonight’s start with a 2.89 ERA to go with a 1.23 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.9. I’m not a fan of the matchups for Kluber and McCullers, so I think Lackey makes the most sense. The Brewers have a .315 wOBA in the second half of the season with a high strike out percentage of 21.7%. Lackey isn’t a big strike out guy, but 5-6 tonight is completely obtainable in my eyes. It’s a short slate, so the picks are going to be slim. I think Lackey is going to make the most sense in this spot.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Manny Machado ($4500) –Machado doesn’t actually hit lefties as well as he does with righties. However, with Machado leading off against Matt Moore, who is just been a mess on the mound, I like this spot for Machado. Don’t get me wrong, Machado still hits lefties well. On the season, he owns a .347 wOBA with an ISO of .197. They’re certainly not bad numbers by any means. If Machado is able to get on base, the rest of the lineup can help do some damage, which will only benefit Machado owners.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Justin Smoak ($2600) –Looking to get some exposure to the volatile Matt Wisler, who allows a .450 wOBA to lefties on the season. Smoak, a switch hitter, could and should be batting from the left side tonight. Facing a right handed pitcher as a left handed batter, Smoak owns a .317 wOBA with some serious power, as his ISO is .250. For cheap money to get exposure to the Toronto lineup in what should be a high scoring affair, this could be a good one.