After a hiccup yesterday, we’re back with the MLB Cheat Sheet for Tuesday! After a long weekend, which is basically a sign that the summer is coming to a close, (noooooo) nothing will bring your spirits up like some fantasy baseball tonight! Let’s jump right into all the information on tonight’s full slate! 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.
Clayton Kershaw vs. LA Angels (-186) – I’m actually a bit surprised. Kershaw is certainly the favorite pitcher on the night, but he’s not the resounding favorite like he usually is. Tonight, he gets a matchup against the struggling Angels. The second half has not been kind to the Angels, as the own the second to lowest wOBA during that time span, only exceeding the Atlanta Braves. They come into tonight with a .292 wOBA with a strikeout percentage at 19.3%, which ranks 21st in the league. To make matters even worse, the Angels have really struggled against left handed pitching the entire season. Aside from their numbers since the All Star Break, they come into tonight with a wOBA of .288 against LHP, which ranks them 28th in the league. Only the Braves and White Sox hit LHP worse than the Angels. The only upside for the Angels here is that they don’t strikeout as much against lefties, owning a 18.5 K%. At this point though it’s like, yay, you are actually decent at something Angels. For as good as Kershaw is, his price tag is honestly through the roof tonight. If you thought it’s been high before, you’re mistaken my friend. Kershaw is going to run you for $15,700. Yup. Not a typo. Almost $16,000! Simply rostering him and no one else leaves you with $3,811 on average for the remaining players on your team. Even if you rostered the lowest priced pitcher on the day in Matt Boyd, which I don’t know why you’d do that, you’re still only giving yourself $3,787 left to spend on average per player. Hey, if you can make it work, all the power to you. His price is just too rich for my blood.
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Baltimore Orioles (-168) – Tanaka also gets a matchup against a team that has not taken too kindly to the second half of the baseball season. Coming into tonight with the 25th wOBA in the second half of the season at .310, the Orioles have simply stumbled the entire way down the stretch. It also doesn’t help that they’re striking out at an extremely high rate of 22.5%, unless you’re going to be rostering Tanaka with his K/9 of 8. Tanaka has settled down nicely since his early season struggles, as he’s only given up more than three runs on just five starts this season. He also feels extremely cheap tonight, checking in with a price tag of $9500. Maybe that isn’t so cheap on a normal day, but when you’re staring at a salary of $15,700 for Kershaw, a 40% discount for Tanaka sounds awfully appealing. Tanaka sounds like a fine play tonight against the strike out happy Orioles at home tonight, with a price that certainly won’t break your plans for offense. I’d certainly be taking a look at Tanaka.
*Edinson Volquez vs. Minnesota Twins (-167) -*The last time I actually went the whole nine yards (football on my mind) and recommended Volquez as the pitcher to start on the night, I think he ended up in the negative in points. That’s what happens when you try to get all cute with pitching on a particular night. Lesson learned. Volquez gets the Twins tonight, who own a .302 wOBA in the second half of the season, which is good for 27th in the league. But hey, at least they’re better than the Angels! Their strikeout percentage has actually climbed to the second highest in the league at 24%! Only the Cubs have struck out more, but I’m sure you already knew that. As impressive as that K% is, you certainly aren’t rostering Volquez for his strikeout potential, as he owns a 6.7 K/9 on the season. Volquez is certainly capable of turning a good start, like he did recently against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went six innings allowing one run on six hits and striking out five. Five strikeouts sounds to be where I’d pin Volquez at tonight, barring that he has a decent start. He’s cheap enough to consider, as he’s only going to cost you $7,100. If you’re looking to save some money at pitching tonight, Volquez certainly would be someone to consider. Just expect a score in the mid to high teens.
Top Overall Game Over/Unders
Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox – 9.5 Over/Under – I don’t know about you guys, but I was SO SICK of talking about games at Coors Field. Truly, how much more advice can you give on games at Coors. So, at least that’s over with for the time being. Tonight the projected highest scoring game belongs to the Blue Jays and Red Sox and rightfully so. We have two teams in the top five of hitting in the second half of the season. The Blue Jays being the first with a .352 wOBA and an ISO of .202, which is also first in the league by a good measure. The Red Sox check in with the fourth best wOBA of .339 with an ISO of .166. Pitching wise, the Blue Jays have RA Dickey while the Red Sox have rookie Henry Owens. Both pitchers tonight have splits that are at least .313 or higher against both types of batters. So to say that some offense won’t be had in this game would be nonsense. Owens has especially struggled at time during his cup of coffee in the majors. He owns a .329 wOBA against righties and a .465 against lefties. Don’t forget, this game is also at hitter friendly Fenway Park. If you’re going to have a lot of exposure to this game, it would seem like a smart idea. Dickey struggles the most against righties and Ownes lefties. That seems like a good starting point.
Toughest Left/Right Matchups
Toughest Pitchers vs. Left Handed Batters
Carlos Rodon vs. Cleveland Indians- The two toughest pitchers against lefties tonight, naturally, are left handed pitchers. Rodon enters tonight’s start as the best against lefties, as his .229 wOBA is a clear indication of that.
Andrew Heaney vs. LA Dodgers- I bet you thought you’d find Clayton Kershaw here didn’t you? Yup, I was just as surprised as you guys were. For reference purposes, Kershaw owns a .241 wOBA against lefties this season. Heaney checks in slightly better than that, owning a .231 wOBA against lefties.
Toughest Pitchers vs. Right Handed Batters
Clayton Kershaw vs. LA Angels –So Kershaw can be the best against righties, instead. Do we all feel better now? Kershaw enters the night with a .235 wOBA against righties this season.
Matt Harvey vs. Washington Nationals- Harvey has been making headlines lately, and not for good reason. Concerns with his innings this season are creeping up and the Mets fans are not happy. He faces the Nationals tonight, who have to face his .236 wOBA against RHB. Maybe Harvey just isn’t the hero they deserve.
Best Left/Right Matchups
Easiest Pitcher vs. Left Handed Batters.
Matt Boyd vs. Tampa Bay Rays-Boyd is the worst against lefties. I mean, really, the worst. He’s been having a REAL tough time in the majors this season and it hasn’t been getting much better. Coming into tonight, Boyd owns a .496 wOBA against lefties. Terrible.
Henry Owens vs. Toronto Blue Jays- It’s never a good idea to be one of the worst against a particular type of batter when you skim through the Blue Jays lineup. You just can’t feel good about yourself. Well, Owens just might have that feeling today, as he owns a .465 wOBA against lefties.
Easiest Pitcher vs. Right Handed Batters.
Matt Boyd vs. Tampa Bay Rays-Yup, here he is again. Man, he needs some help or something. His pitching is just horrible. Boyd owns a .422 wOBA against righties. I mean at what point do you just start feeling bad for the guy?
Jonathan Gray vs. San Diego Padres- Three things in life are certain. Death, taxes, and Rockies pitcher struggling. I’d love to be in their war room some day and hear their thought process when scouting pitchers. “Why, yes, Gray gave up 10 runs in the first inning alone. He sounds like a fine choice to pitch in Coors this season!” Then they raise their glasses and take a shot of whatever the hell they drink in Colorado. Gray owns a .385 wOBA against righties this season.
Nolan Arenado 3B ($5000) – Well one thing is for certain, they Rockies brass may be terrible with pitching, but they sure know how to pick their offense. Arenado continues to be on a tear as he’s 15-32 with six home runs, 11 RBIs, and nine runs scored.
Yoenis Cespedes OF ($4700) – I’ll tell you one thing, if the Mets go on to win the World Series, Cespedes might have to take the Dark Knight nickname from Harvey. And besides, Harvey in the Dark Knight is Two Face, which no body likes. Have we thought about that yet? Ok whatever. Cespedes is 13-28 with five home runs, eight RBIs, and 11 runs scored.
Chris Davis 1B ($4500) –Well at least Davis is still trying. With the Orioles struggling in the second half, Davis is trying to be the complete opposite. He’s 9-22 with five home runs, nine RBIs, and seven runs scored.
Best Batter vs. Pitcher Matchups
Daniel Murphy vs. Jordan Zimmermann- These guys have seen a lotttttt of each other in their careers. In their battles, Murphy has gotten Zimmerman on quite a few occasions. Murphy is 20-59 against Zimmermann with nine extra base hits, four of them being home runs, and a .977 OPS.
Albert Pujols vs. Clayton Kershaw- These two certainly met more often with Pujols was in the National League with the Cardinals, but Pujols has always found success against Kershaw. Pujols comes in 10-23 against Kershaw with four extra base hits and a 1.160 OPS. Pujols has yet to take Kershaw deep.
David Ortiz vs. RA Dickey- Ortiz is chasing that 500 home run mark, and tonight he has a good chance to add to that chase. Ortiz is 9-28 against Dickey with five extra base hits, three of them being home runs, and a 1.121 OPS.
A few games have some rain in the forecast, but nothing overly threating thus far.
Tampa Bay at Detroit
Cleveland at Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis
One Pitcher To Build Lineups Around
Masahiro Tanaka ($9,500) –The Orioles continue to struggle and tonight get a tough foe in Tanaka. His ERA is a bit inflated at 3.73 coming into tonight, but he’s been pitching better lately. I like this matchup for him because of how much the Orioles are striking out and how they’re struggling to hit in the second half of the season. Tanaka can certainly rack up the strikeouts on any given night, but with the Orioles striking out as much as they have lately, at 22.5%, you have to like your chances for a guy like Tanaka to get those K’s. He enters tonight with a K/9 of 8, which I feel like if all goes well, is certainly obtainable. He owns a 115:25 K:BB ratio, which just goes to show the command is still with him. At a “discounted” price of $9500, I think you’ll be able to find some value with Tanaka tonight.
Superstar Worth Paying For
Josh Donaldson ($5400) – “Oh, Steve is picking Donaldson again….what a smart guy he is!” Yeah well guess what, when Donaldson is facing a leftie in Fenway Park, he’s going to be on my pick. It just doesn’t make sense to not showcase him. Against lefties this season, Donaldson owns a .476 wOBA with an ISO of .386. .386! That’s literally the highest I’ve seen for an individual player yet this season. Going again Henry Owens tonight, who’s been struggling in his first year in the majors, tell me this isn’t a matchup you want to take advantage of. Or do you not like money?
Save Big Bucks By Drafting…
Asdrubal Cabrera ($3700) – Looking to get some exposure to Matt Boyd tonight, Cabrera is a switch hitter who has been successful against left handed pitching this season. Then again, almost everyone has been successful against Boyd so maybe that doesn’t matter. On the season, Cabrera owns a .328 wOBA against lefties with an ISO of .174. If Boyd’s past starts are any indication, the Rays should have PLENTY of opportunities tonight.