We have a full slate of games spread all throughout the day today, so you have no excuse not to get into some fantasy baseball action. I’ll be covering all the games today, so let’s jump right into it. 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.
Cole Hamels vs. Seattle Mariners (-220) – Hamels enters his start tonight against the Mariners as the favorite, according to Vegas. Hamels owns a 3.76 ERA on the season with a 1.22 WHIP and a K/9 of 9. Since coming over to the Rangers, Hamels has been average at best. Hamels has been able to go deep into games, but the scoring has been an issue. Hamles has allowed at least three runs in six of his eight starts since joining the Rangers. The strikeouts also haven’t been very high either, as he owns seven in his last two starts. What’s even more disappointing, was that he only got four strikeouts against the Astros, a team that certainly likes to swing the bat. Personally, I’m not a fan of this spot for Hamels. It would be one thing if this game was in Seattle, but it’s not. That’s your first problem. Second, the Mariners haven’t been great against left handed pitching (unless your name is Nelson Cruz) but they haven’t been bad either. The Mariners own a .317 wOBA against lefties this season. Again, it’s not great, but we certainly could be in a lot worse position. The do strikeout a lot against lefties, with a 21.7 K%. However, if Hamels is only going to get four against the Astros, who have a K% of 21.6 against lefties, how am I going to believe he’s going to fare much better against the Mariners? I think this is a start I’ll be skipping.
Clayton Kershaw vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (-200) – This is another awesome matchup to watch, if you’re a big fan of baseball. Kershaw takes on Francisco Liriano in this one, which is a true battle of left handed pitching. Coming into tonight, Kershaw owns a 2.12 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP and a K/9 of 11.4. As always, his price tag is ridiculously high at $15,100. That type of price tag makes it always difficult to roster him and have an effective team surrounding him. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s a bit of a challenge. It cracks me up when people let me know the team they built with Kershaw and how good it is, but I never hear a follow up on it. Anyways, this is another one of those starts for Kershaw that if you CAN get him in a roster, he could certainly repay you with a high score. The Pirates strike out a lot with left handed pitching, owning a 22.2 K%, which is ranked 8th in the league. They own a .307 wOBA on the season against lefties, which is 19th in the league. All these factors pointing to another quality start for Kershaw is on the horizon, if you’re man (or woman) enough to pay the hefty price tag.
Jordan Zimmermann vs. Miami Marlins (-200)- I checked in early on the Marlins game, as I was curious how Max Scherzer was going to perform against them. For whatever reason, the Marlins just have Scherzer’s number. Low and behold, end of the first inning and it’s 2-0 Miami. Unreal. Zimmermann is hoping to have a reversal of fortunes here tonight, as Vegas agrees. Zimm enters this afternoon with a 3.51 ERA to go with a 1.20 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.3. First off, we can just throw Zimmermann’s K/9 out the window, as the Marlins are one of the toughest teams to strikeout. Even Scherzer was only able to get six against them last night. So we take out the K/9 and what does that leave us? Zimmermann has been pitching decent lately, his last three starts has seen scores of 21.9, 20.4 and 12.1. At this point, the Marlins are a frustrating team, on the end of predicting pitching performances. They are by far, one of the worst hitting teams in the league, yet they come out and start hitting “ace” pitching well. Zimmermann hasn’t been the most consistent guy this season, as you can tell by his numbers, and his price tag sits under the five digit range, at $9,200. It’s crazy to think that I’ll pass up a decent pitcher against the Marlins, but hey, I passed on Scherzer yesterday.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies 11 Over/Under – Ok, let’s check and see how many runs the Padres and Rockies are slated for today. Ah yes, 11. No need to check the other games, this game will certainly be the highest projected total of the night. Robbie Erlin takes the mound for the Padres as he opposes Yohan Flande in this one. Erlin gets the call from Triple-A today, where he spent the entire season. Erlin had a 5.60 ERA with a 105:37 K:BB ratio in 125.1 innings. So, without going off much, he certainly has good command, his strikeouts are good, but he gives up a TON of runs. Helloooooo Coors Field! I really hate giving predictions going off guys coming up from the minors because it’s a completely different ball game when you’re in the majors. Some guys fall flat on their face, others flourish. But, gun to my head, I think a Rockies stack is in order. As for Flande, we know his deal. He’s an extremely shaky pitcher with a 4.95 ERA on the season. He struggles against righties especially, with a .378 wOBA against them this season. He also gives up a ton of home runs, with 14 in just 63 innings this season. Sometimes, you’re better off fading Coors. Tonight, not so much.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Carlos Rodon vs. Cleveland Indians- Rodon has been a left handed batter slayer this season. Righties, not so much, but we won’t worry about that right now. Against lefties this season, Rodon owns a .218 wOBA against them.
Erasmo Ramirez vs. Baltimore Orioles- Ramirez has certainly been a nice surprise for the Rays this season. He hasn’t been fantastic, but he’s certainly been a solid addition to the rotation. On the season, he’s holding lefties to a .245 wOBA.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Atlanta Braves- If Eichoff wasn’t so bad against lefties, I would have to consider him to be a weekly under the radar play. But he’s not, so that’s out the window. On the season he’s holding righties to a .195 wOBA, but just remember, short sample compared to these other pitchers.
Clayton Kershaw vs. Pittsburgh Pirates- Now, if you really want the best against righties, look no further than this guy right here. Kershaw comes into tonight with a .228 wOBA against righties.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Matt Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals- I mean what’s a Matt Boyd start without showcasing him in this section? I thought James Paxton had one of the worst wOBA against lefties, leave it to Boyd to crush his. At .506 on the season, I’m left speechless.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Atlanta Braves- And here’s my rational for saying why Eickhoff is so bad against left handed pitching. A .419 wOBA will do that to you.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Matt Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals- No banter needed. .396 wOBA. Worst.
Yohan Flande vs. San Diego Padres- Flande is heading toward Boyd territory with his wOBA on the season. Checking in at .378, he’s starting to creep up!
Prince Fielder 1B ($4700) – Fielder continues to hit! As do all of the Rangers lineup it feel like. Fielder comes into tonight 11-29 with three home runs, 11 RBIS, and 10 runs scored.
Francisco Lindor SS ($4600) – Lindor has been someone I’ve been using a lot lately. He’s been a nice under the radar play, until I let the cat out of the bag here. Lindor is 13-28 with two home runs, eight RBIs, five runs scored and a stolen base.
Melky Cabrera OF ($3400) – Cabrera is usually a solid hitter, he’s just been especially hot as of late. Cabrera is 12-25 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and five runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Starlin Castro vs. Michael Wacha- Wacha has been having a great 2015, but that doesn’t mean Castro doesn’t know how to hit him. Castro is 9-19 against Wacha with four extra base hits, two of them going for home runs, and a 1.395 OPS.
Logan Forsythe vs. Wei-Yin Chen- Forsythe has been batting cleanup for quite some time now, which makes this matchup even more enticing. Forsythe is 10-25 against Chen with six extra base hits, three of them being home runs, and a 1.384 OPS.
Melky Cabrera vs. Carlos Carrasco- With Cabrera hitting so well lately, I thought it would be a proper move to throw him in this section here as well, seeing how well he’s hit Carrasco. Cabrera is 7-16 against Carrasco with two extra base hits, one of them going for a home run, and a 1.214 OPS.
Looks like a clear day ahead for baseball!
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Clayton Kershaw ($15,100) – Is this a lazy pick? No, not really. I honestly just really like this matchup tonight. As I explained earlier, the Pirates are pretty weak when it comes to facing left handed pitching this season, AND they strike out a TON when facing them. I mean if you’re wake against lefties and you strike out a lot against them, what better pitcher to roster then Kershaw? I realize he’s going to be super expensive tonight, but I’ve made a couple of lineups and was able to make some solid ones. It wasn’t super easy, but I think we have a lot of value on the board tonight that would allow that to happen. With Kershaw coming in with a K/9 of over 11, truly, I think he could really rack up the strikeouts tonight. I’ll bite the bullet and go with Keshaw tonight.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Nelson Cruz ($4900) –Oh, is that Nelson Cruz facing a left handed pitcher tonight? Instant roster spot. No really, that’s kind of how my thinking goes sometimes. Oh, did I mention this it’s away from Seattle? DOUBLE INSTANT ROSTER SPOT. Against lefties this season, Cruz owns a .462 wOBA with an ISO of .325, which is an extremely high number. Throw in the fact that this is on the road, where Cruz has had 26 of his 42 home runs, and why the hell isn’t he on your roster yet. Cole Hamels has been struggling, this is the time to pounce!
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Ryan Raburn($2100) –Keeping Raburn on here one more time because he faces another leftie tonight, one that isn’t named Chris Sale either. Raburn worked out pretty well last night, getting us six points. I know it’s not a ton, but for the price your paying, six points works for me. His price did jump $400 overnight, but he’s still dirt cheap to not roster. Against lefties on the year, Raburn owns a .411 wOBA with a .261 ISO on the season. If you’re going with Kershaw tonight, I think this is one of your essential picks for tonight.