Today’s slate of baseball is by far one of the weirdest I’ve seen this season. A whopping total of six games will be played today, one this afternoon and five tonight. We’re going to focus on those five games tonight and try and win you some cash money. Tonight is going to be one of those nights where you’re really going to have to think outside the box if you’re going to be playing a tournament. Picking the “obvious” picks aren’t going to move you up the ranks. So I’ll do my best to help you navigate through this odd night. 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.
*Jordan Zimmermann vs. Atlanta Braves (-256) -*Well, the three favored pitchers for tonight don’t have any surprises. I mean, Vegas couldn’t really go to crazy here. We start off with Zimmermann against the Braves. Zimmermann enters tonight with a 3.45 ERA to go with a 1.22 WHIP and a K/9 of 7. He’s been pitching better lately, and when I say better, I say we’ve been getting what we usually expect from him. His price tag is a bit high for his production though lately. Scoring in the mid teens for fantasy points per start, Zimmerman is going to run you for $10,400. I think tonight he might be able to come close to reaching value, but that’s price tag is still a bit high for someone who’s only averaging 15.9 points per start. However, on a night where you only have 10 pitchers to choose from, you can’t get very picky. The Braves come into tonight’s start with the lowest wOBA in the second half of the season at .288. The strikeouts are hard to come by with a K% of 18.8, but again, I fully expect Zimmermann to be the second highest owned pitcher on the night. He certainly has a favorable matchup.
Edinson Volquez vs. Detroit Tigers (-190) – As I mentioned earlier, if you’re playing in a tournament tonight, you’re going to have to think outside the box with some players to try and give yourself an edge. Volquez, in my opinion, could be one of those guys. I feel like he might not be highly owned as you may think, butttt I could be completely off on that. Volquez has been solid this season, entering tonight with a 3.27 ERA to go with a 1.26 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.7. He’s averaging only .3 points less per start than Zimmermann, and yet he will save you a whopping $1,300. Huge difference. I wouldn’t say Volquez matchup is as favorable as Zimmermann, but they both certainly have good matchups. The Tigers sit just below the league average in wOBA at .315, good for 18th in the league. They’ve been striking out at a decent rate as well, with a 20.6 K%. Volquez isn’t a power pitcher, so don’t expect a ton of strikeouts here, but four or five doesn’t seem unreasonable. I think Volquez is a good pick tonight based on his price point, on a night where you’re really going to be stretching to find some key players to help carry your team.
*Francisco Liriano vs. Milwaukee Brewers (-155) -*Liriano, in my opinion, could be the highest owned pitcher of the night. So basically, he makes us think about two factors for tonight. Do you want to fade him and hope he blows up so it effects the majority of the field, or do you want to run with the pack and try to beat teams with other players? Personally, I’m on the fade Liriano boat. He hasn’t looked sharp lately, his last three starts, he’s scored 10.4, 20, and 13.3. Granted, all three matchups were against tough teams, Arizona, San Francisco and Colorado. When you look at his price tag and see $11,300, does it make you feel confident in him tonight? I don’t know if I can agree with that. Statistically, this SHOULD be a good matchup for Liriano. The Brewers own a .308 wOBA in the second half, good for 24 in the league. They’re also striking out at a good rate, with a 21.6 K%, which is 9th in the league. However, in the second half of the season, Liriano owns a 4.15 ERA, compared to the first half at 2.98. Hitters own an overall .330 wOBA against him in the second half compared to a .251 in the first. It’s a little eye opening how much of a difference were looking at. So personally, I’ll be fading Liriano tonight.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
San Francisco Giants at Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 11 Over/Under – Here’s another tough one tonight. Five game slate, game at Coors Field, do you buy all in or fade!? Well, this might be a tough one to fade with this pitching “matchup” we got going tonight. Ryan Vogelsong takes on Chris Rusin in this one. Vogelsong has been having a rough year, entering tonight with a 4.19 ERA to go with a 1.43 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.1 Scoring 1.4 points in his last TWO starts, Vogelsong isn’t exactly going to right the ship in Coors Field. Lefties have been crushing him this season, as he owns a .375 wOBA on the year against him. He’s been a below average pitcher this entire season, and I can completely see the Rockies knocking him around in this one. As for their starting pitcher Rusin, he’s your typical Rockies starter. He enters tonight with a 4.94 ERA with a 1.61 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.2. His splits are ugly on the season, owning a .361 wOBA against righties and a .378 against lefties. Both the Giants and the Rockies aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire with their bats, but they both possess enough talent to get a hold of some bad pitching. I think tonight is going to be one of those nights. If you’re fading Coors Field, good luck.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Francisco Liriano vs. Milwaukee Brewers- As expected, Lirinao would be next in line here. He’s worried be lately with his struggles, but I fully expect him to still be the highest owned pitcher of the night. His overall numbers still backup his performance this season, with his .272 wOBA against lefties.
Edinson Volquez vs. Detroit Tigers-Honestly, I didn’t realize how decent Volquez has been this season. Now that the slate is so short tonight, I can actually give his numbers more than a glance. He’s been solid against lefties this season, holding them to a .285 wOBA
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Jordan Zimmermann vs. Atlanta Braves-With the picks so slim tonight, I think it’s going to be fairly obvious who lands in what section here. Zimmermann starts us off with his .263 wOBA against righties. Honestly, even on a normal night, this still could be one of the best.
Francisco Liriano vs. Milwaukee Brewers- Regardless of his recent struggles, Liriano still has some of the best numbers on the night, which shouldn’t mean that much. I mean, he only has to beat out nine other pitchers. I’d hope he’d win here. Liriano owns a .274 wOBA against righties.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Matt Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals- Did you really expect someone else to be here? Boyd and his “pitching” takes the mound tonight against the Royals, in what will most likely be the most popular stack on the night. His abilities against lefties are unmatched, as a .489 wOBA against them will do that to you.
Matt Wisler vs. Washington Nationals- Wisler isn’t much better. I think Wisler and Boyd might be auditioning for throwing batting practice during the home run derby next season. They’d be great! Wisler owns a .444 wOBA against lefties this season.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Colin Rea vs. LA Dodgers –Damn, these poor rookies this season are just getting it handed to them this season. I mean, Rea coming into tonight with a .407 wOBA is just bad news. Not much good can come out of this. At least he’s not Matt Boyd. Speaking of him……
Matt Boyd vs. Kansas City Royals- To the shock of no one, Boyd has arrived for the second time this Cheat Sheet! Against righties, Boyd had done much better, as his wOBA is under 400 this time! At .391, Boyd is getting it done! I bet you’re a good guy Boyd, let’s get a beer sometime. Your treat.
Ryan Zimmerman 1B/3B ($4200) – We talked about the other day how Zimmerman was a forgotten man over on the Nationals. He must be a big fan of these Cheat Sheets, because since then he’s been on fire. Zimmerman enters tonight 12-29 with six home runs, 12 RBIS, and seven runs scored. If he doesn’t read these articles, then I guess we can just call this a hot streak.
Nolan Arenado 3B ($5700) – Arenado could probably hang out in this section the entire season. I feel like every time I turn, he’s either hitting an absolute bomb or nabbing a clutch hit for the Rockies. Coming into tonight, Arenado is 10-29 with three home runs, eight RBIs, and six runs scored.
Jayson Werth OF ($3600) – It’s starting to look like the Nationals remembered how to play baseball! For awhile, they truly looked NOTHING like they did earlier this season. Maybe they’re finally starting to turn things around. Werth comes into tonight 10-29 with three home runs, five RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Justin Upton vs. Mat Latos – Upton kicks off our favorite section with some solid numbers against Latos tonight. Upton is batting a cool .500 against Latos, going 10-20 with five extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.565 OPS.
Freddie Freeman vs. Jordan Zimmermann- Freeman is back in the Braves lineup, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know he was back until a few days ago. I feel like I have a very good feel for what’s going on in baseball, but that just proves that the Braves are so far out of it. Anyways, enough about me, Freeman is 9-24 against Zimm with three extra base hits and a .964 OPS.
Nolan Arenado vs. Ryan Vogelsong- This one is a bit of a stretch, as the sample size is extremely small. But with such a short slate, why the hell not. Arenado is 4-10 against Vogelsong with two extra base hits, both of them being home runs, and a 1.400 OPS.
We’ve had so many clear nights of baseball lately, that I’m waiting for a huge monsoon to come barreling though soon. Until then, all clear today/tonight.
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Edinson Volquez ($9,100) – Like I said, today I’m going to try and give you a couple of picks that may not be as popular, to try and give you a bit of an edge today. Noramlly, Volquez wouldn’t land in this section, but on such a short slate tonight, he intrigues me. Volquez, as I mentioned, as been solid this season. He’s done a great job of keeping the ball in the yard, surrendering only 11 home runs on the season. Going up against a Tigers team that owns a .163 ISO in the second half, good for 13th in the league, I like his chances of keeping it in the yard again tonight. The Tigers aren’t exactly hitting well either in the second half, with a wOBA ranked 18th in the league at .310 with a K% of 20.6%. Again, expecting four or five strikeouts on the night sounds reasonable, anything more than that should be considered gravy. I think he won’t be highly owned tonight, and I mean that in terms of pitchers like Lirinao, Zimmermann and even Jungmann. He has a good enough chance to get you a solid game and hopefully be one of the difference makers in your lineup.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Adrian Gonzalez ($4400) – Again, trying to go a little different here, with a lot of people looking to be on the SF/COL game and of course Miguel Cabrera. I like Gonzalez going up against the RHP Colin Rea. Rea struggles against righties more than lefties, but I like the splits Gonzalez has against RHP. On the season, Gonzalez owns a .375 wOBA against RHP with an ISO of .196. Gonzalez really isn’t that expensive tonight and I feel like he could be on the lower owned end of the spectrum. With players like Cabrera, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Hosmer ahead of him, I think Gonzalez could be a forgotten man tonight. Advantage, you.
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Jonny Gomes($2400) – Now were really going to the bottom of the barrel, right? To be honest, this might not be as bad you think. Gomes is facing Matt Boyd, who we all know has been a train wreck this season. Gomes actually hits lefties quite well, and if you didn’t know, was traded to the Royals. On the season, Gomes owns a .374 wOBA against lefties with a .213 ISO. Not to bad for someone is almost going to cost your the bare minimum right? A highly favorable matchup with someone who will certainly be left on the board by most teams tonight. Let’s win this tonight!