Chris Sale – This was kind of a tough decision as Sale will be dueling with Chris Archer tonight, but I do think that he is line for a fantastic game tonight. The Rays do hit lefties better than righties with a line of .252 AVG/.321 OBP/.420 SLG with 32 HR in 952 AB’s and have a line on the road of .247 AVG/.312 OBP/.397 SLG with 47 HR in 1729 AB’s. They hit better against lefties because they totally form their lineup based on the righty lefty matchup. For example last night they had Brendan Guyer and Joey Butler in the 1 and 2 hole against Quintana and once he was taken out for a righty, Grady Sizemore and I believe Kevin Kiermaier to replace them. Regardless of that though, they strike out 24.5% of the time against left handers, and are coming off a rough month of July where they only put up a line of .227 AVG/.292 OBP/.372 SLG with 21 HR in 811 AB’s. Just looking from a far, their best hitter in Longoria is having a rough year, and who is their second best hitter? I like Logan Forsythe, but I don’t believe that he should be the second best bat in an offense. Then we have Chris Sale who has amazing overall this year, but has been better at home with a 2.60 ERA, a .227 AVG against, with a 1.00 WHIP. What I really love today is that Sale has shut down right handed batters this year giving up a line of .224 AVG/.258 OBP/.361 SLG with 12 HR in 438 AB’s. As I said before, the Rays stack their lineup with righties against left handed pitching which bodes very well for Mr. Sale. Now he might not have the best chance at a win today, but Scherzer against the D Backs offense is risky in itself and Patrick Corbin has been very good in his own right. I expect Sale to approach double digit strikeouts tonight and pitch deep into the game regardless of the win.
Jimmy Nelson – I was not a Jimmy Nelson believer until recently, but he has been fantastic over 6 of his last 7 starts. He is going against the Padres who exploded for 13 runs last night, but they still have a very lackluster offense overall. They have a line against right handed pitching of .243 AVG/.297 OBP/.384 SLG with 77 HR in 2822 AB’s and have a line on the road of .245 AVG/.304 OBP/.381 SLG with 48 HR in 2009 AB’s. The Padres mustered a total of 74 runs in July while posting a line of .230 AVG/.293 OBP/.365 SLG with 24 HR in 775 AB’s. They have 421 runs on the year and have 93 HR, so a large part of their offense relies on their power game. And, one of the most important parts is their K rate against righties of 24% which gives me a lot of confidence in Nelson today. Nelson was fantastic in July with a 1.64 ERA in 5 starts with 32 K’s in 33 IP and a .213 AVG against. He does struggle against lefties, but if they use the same lineup as they did last night, there were only two lefties in the whole lineup and they are Amarista and Alonso. The rest of their lineup is full of righties who Nelson dominates only giving up a line of .204 AVG/.282 OBP/.298 SLG with 6 HR in 275 AB’s. That SLG rate is amazingly low, and for an offense that relies on a lot of power, Nelson is the perfect guy to help shut them down.
Yasmani Grandal – Buster Posey might be my favorite, and I think the best catcher, but Yasmani Grandal has given him a run for his money this year. Today he is going against Jerome Williams who has really been bad this year, and I will be targeting multiple Dodgers tonight. Williams has been “better” at home with a 4.50 ERA and an AVG against of .308, but is still giving up a line to lefties of .314 AVG/.382 OBP/.416 SLG with 2 HR in 139 AB’s. While I do like righties better against him (15 HR in 211 AB’s which is a .607 SLG against), you really can’t go wrong picking anybody against him. July was actually his 2nd best month and he posted a 5.91 ERA, a .348 AVG against, and gave up 3 HR in 10.2 IP. Then there is Grandal, who has simply been fantastic all year long. He has a line against righties of .278 AVG/.391 OBP/.532 SLG with 15 HR in 216 AB’s and has a line on the road of .298 AVG/.380 OBP/.548 SLG with 8 HR in 124 AB’s. It’s a pretty small sample size, but in 10 AB’s against the Phillies he is 4-10 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 runs, and 3 walks. He has also been hot lately with a line since the All-Star of .350 AVG/.395 OBP/.450 SLG with 1 HR in 40 AB’s. This is simply too good of a matchup to pass on tonight, and Grandal will be the middle of a Dodgers stack tonight.
Caleb Joseph – I hope that I am not too late on the Caleb Joseph bandwagon, but right now the man is simply on fire. In his past 10 games, he has 10 hits with 4 HR, 13 RBI’s, 5 Runs, and 4 walks. Now the bad part is that Joseph bats 8th or 9th in almost all of his AB’s (175/212), but right now he is worth taking that risk on. Tonight he is going against Chris Bassitt who is one of the cheapest pitchers on the slate and is just an okay pitcher. Joseph has a line against righties this year of .247 AVG/.333 OBP/.413 SLG with 6 HR in 150 AB’s, and a line on the road of .215 AVG/.300 OBP/.393 SLG with 5 HR in 107 AB’s. Those road numbers are not that great, but he does have a line at night of .282 AVG/.364 OBP/.479 SLG with 7 HR in 142 AB’s. Most of the time of the time I wouldn’t love Joseph at his price in the 8 or 9 hole, but he is too hot to not take a chance on. Combine those factors with the matchup against Mr. Bassitt who does have a 2.63 ERA at home, but righties are hitting him a little better with a line of .254 AVG/.290 OBP/.390 SLG with 2 HR in 59 AB’s. Bassitt has been good this year, but it has only been 5 starts so we have a decent sample size, but I want to see more. As I said yesterday, the Orioles are right in the middle of the playoff race and are going to need that offense to keep going if they want to make the playoffs.
Mark Teixeira – I wish that this series would mean more, but the Red Sox have been a massive disappointment this year. Mark Teixeira has been far from a disappointment however as he has 29 HR’s this year, and is really turning it back around. He is going against the lefty Henry Owens who is making his major league debut tonight which will likely be a problem. This is such a big rivalry, and pitching at Yankee Stadium, you can only imagine the nerves that will be going through Owens head. He did have a solid 3.16 ERA in the minors, but until he proves something in the majors, I will be picking on him. Then we have Teixeira who has a line against lefties this year of .229 AVG/.391 OBP/.448 SLG with 6 HR in 105 AB’s and has a line at home of .276 AVG/.366 OBP/.603 SLG with 13 HR in 156 AB’s. He isn’t quite as good against lefties as he is righties, but he still has a solid OBP, and a decent HR rate of 1 out of every 16.5 AB’s. He is simply another player that has been scorching hot since the All-Star break with a line of .400 AVG/.492 OBP/.891 SLG with 7 HR in 55 AB’s. Those are fantastic numbers, and I expect them to continue tonight against the rookie pitcher.
Adrian Gonzalez – I really love Adrian Gonzalez today, and as usual, I think a lot of the Dodgers guys are underpriced. Like Grandal, Gonzalez is also going against Jerome Williams today, and think he should be more expensive based on the matchup. Gonzalez is having yet another solid year this year, with a line against right handed pitching of .289 AVG/.374 OBP/.551 SLG with 19 HR in 287 AB’s and has a line on the road of .307 AVG/.393 OBP/.514 SLG with 8 HR in 179 AB’s. Those are pretty great numbers for a first basemen of his price, and when you take into account his line since the All-Star break of .353 AVG/.450 OBP/.608 SLG with 3 HR in 51 AB’s. As much as I like guys like Teixeria, Goldschmidt, and Encarnacion, there is just no doubt in my mind that Gonzalez is the better play. Finally we have Jerome Williams again who has a 4.50 ERA at home with a .308 AVG against, and has a line against left handed batters of .314 AVG/.382 OBP/.416 SLG with 2 HR in 137 AB’s. He may not give up a ton of HR’s to lefties, but he gives up basically everything else, which is why I love A-Gon today.
Robinson Cano – Cano is once again my top play at second base today, and I expect the Mariners to have another good game offensively. They will be going against Jonathon Gray who will be making his major league debut today. He is known as a pretty good pitching prospect, but has never pitched above AA in his career. They are also going to be limiting his pitches so even if he does well, we have the Rockies bullpen to look forward to. Cano had a pretty solid game last night going 2-5 with a double, 2 RBI’s and a run. Of course we are looking for some more power, but that wasn’t a bad showing at all, and I really like him batting behind Nelson Cruz now. Cruz hit a HR tonight, and I would expect the rookie to be very cautious with him tonight so there should be guys on base for Cano quite often tonight. He has now raised his line against righties this year to .274 AVG/.326 OBP/.451 SLG with 9 HR in 288 AB’s and has a line on the road of .254 AVG/.297 OBP/.392 SLG with 6 HR in 209 AB’s. Those road numbers don’t bother me as Coors field is Coors Field, but what I do love is Cano’s line since the All-Star break of .322 AVG/.394 OBP/.644 SLG with 5 HR in 59 AB’s. He seems to have really turned it around, and I expect this to continue as the season concludes.
Kolten Wong – With a lot of poor pitchers going today, there happens to be a lot of good value plays tonight. Wong however is one of my favorite value plays on most nights, and with him going against Anthony DeSclafani tonight, I like him even more. Desclafani is pitching at home tonight, where he has a 5.69 ERA and an AVG against of .315. These are drastically higher than his numbers on the road, and that goes with his line against lefties of .256 AVG/.348 OBP/.440 OBP with 8 HR in 234 AB’s. These aren’t horrible numbers, but he is walking too many guys and after a great April, he has been very average and rocked a 4.01 ERA in July. He is also rocking a 4.39 XFIP so he has worse peripheral stats than actual stats as well. Then we have Kolten Wong who has a line against righties of .287 AVG/.350 OBP/.471 SLG with 10 HR in 272 AB’s and has a line on the road of .278 AVG/.347 OBP/.433 SKG with 6 HR in 180 AB’s. He is a player that actually hasn’t been all that great since the All-Star break with a line of .232 AVG/.284 OBP/.348 SLG with 2 HR in 69 AB’s. I still believe in Wong though, and whether he is hitting 1st or 3rd, I like him the same regardless tonight.
Troy Tulowitzki – Tulo has fit in very well in Toronto so far, and is now leading off for the best offense in baseball. Tonight, he is going against Phil Hughes who has been really bad about giving up HR’s this year which is going to be a problem in Toronto against the Blue Jays. He is now 7-20 since joining the Blue Jays with 1 HR, 4 RBI’s, 8 runs, 3 walks, and 1 SB. A lot of people are saying Tulo is having a down year, but other than the power, he is still having a fantastic year. He has a line against right handed pitchers of .284 AVG/.342 OBP/.451 SLG with 10 HR in 268 AB’s and has a line on the “road” of .299 AVG/.343 OBP/.459 SLG with 5 HR in 157 AB’s. These are great numbers and if not for Carlos Correa, and maybe Brandon Crawford he would be far and away the best SS this year. Then we have Phil Hughes who has now given up 25 HR on the year, and has given up a line to righties of .310 AVG/.322 OBP/.540 SLG with 12 HR in 252 AB’s. A fly ball pitcher going against Tulo, Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Martin, and Colabello is an absolute sign for trouble. One of those guys will hit a HR tonight and maybe more, it’s figuring out which one will be the one to do so.
Adeiny Hechavarria – Hechavarria is one of my favorite plays today as he just mashes left handed pitching, and he is dirt cheap. He is going against Jon Niese today who is decent, but isn’t a good enough lefty to move me away from Hech. He has a line against left handed pitching this year of .384 AVG/.430 OBP/.562 SLG with 2 HR in 73 AB’s and has a line at home of .270 AVG/.293 OBP/.372 SLG with 3 HR in 196 AB’s. Now it is frustrating to see a guy who hits lefties so well bat 8th, but that is often the case (246 AB’s). Now, he has batted 3rd 59 times this year which is what I am really hoping Dan Jennings does today, but I’m not going to get too excited about it. Regardless of where he is batting though, I really like him with the line he is putting up against lefties. As I said with Niese, he is decent, but not enough to make me move away from Hech. He is giving up a line to righties of .279 AVG/.341 OBP/.434 SLG with 12 HR in 373 AB’s and actually has a 3.02 ERA on the road which is very good. Niese actually had a very good month of July for the surging Mets, so while I don’t love a ton of Marlins, I will definitely pick Adeiny tonight.
Kyle Seager – I probably should have picked Seager last night against Eddie Butler, but I wasn’t sure if he was worth his price tag. Well he certainly proved me wrong with a few runs, a HR, and a couple RBI’s. Tonight he is going against Jonathon Gray who is probably a better pitcher than Eddie Butler, but he is making his major league debut and will likely struggle a bit at Coors. Seager has really picked it up over the last month and a half and now has a line against right handed pitching of .256 AVG/.327 OBP/.422 SLG with 10 HR in 289 AB’s and has a line on the road of .271 AVG/.313 OBP/.500 SLG with 13 HR in 210 AB’s. The amount of power on the road is a great sign, and he showed what he can do in a true hitters park last night. In July, he posted a line of .295 AVG/.358 OBP/.446 SLG with 3 HR in 112 AB’s and already has 1 HR, 5 runs, 1 RBI, and 2 walks in 12 AB’s. I think that some of the other third basemen are better players than Seager, but the matchup gives him a major bump and I expect him to be even more owned than last night.
Evan Longoria – I still really like Chris Sale tonight and will likely be picking him for cash games, but if you aren’t picking Sale, then I would look into Longoria. I know that Chris Sale shuts down righties with a line of .224 AVG/.258 OBP/.361 SLG with 12 HR in 438 AB’s, but he does give up some power to righties and hasn’t been quite as good as of late. Then there is Longoria who went for 3-5 last night against Quintana and now has a line against lefties this year of .329 AVG/.418 OBP/.476 SLG with 3 HR in 82 AB’s and a line on the road of .247 AVG/.310 OBP/.374 SLG with 4 HR in 190 AB’s. As I said yesterday, he is having a down year, but he has always hit lefties well and even though it’s Chris Sale, he still could be worth the flyer at a low price point. I don’t recommend a ton of the Rays guys, but if Sale fails tonight, you can bet Longoria will be a main reason why.
Nelson Cruz – Another guy that I loved yesterday and I absolutely knew that he would hit a HR. Now we don’t have enough information on Jonathon Gray to determine an automatic HR like yesterday, but I really like his chances once again today. Cruz has a line against right handed pitchers of .301 AVG/.361 OBP/.547 SLG with 22 HR in 316 AB’s and has a line on the road of .330 AVG/.378 OBP/.718 SLG with 23 HR in 209 AB’s. There isn’t much else to say other than if you can afford Cruz, you have to pick him as he mashes outside of Safeco and is playing in the best hitters park there is. He is tough to pick for cash games as he is one of the most expensive position players, but for GPP’s there is simply no doubt that you have to put him in there tonight.
Yasiel Puig – The man who is always under some form of scrutiny it seems, but he has far too good of a matchup against Jerome Williams to be missing out on. Now Puig only has a line against righties of .241 AVG/.306 OBP/.392 SLG with 4 HR in 166 AB’s and has a line on the road of .232 AVG/.325 OBP/.354 SLG with 3 HR in 99 AB’s. In his career, Puig has a line against righties of .309 AVG/.383 OBP/.516 SLG with 27 HR in 709 AB’s, and a line on the road of .296 AVG/.382 OBP/.496 SLG with 18 HR in 496 AB’s. He is having a down year, there is no doubt about that, but his career numbers show he is capable of much more. Then there is Williams who is giving up a line to righties of .346 AVG/.369 OBP/.607 SLG with 15 HR in 211 AB’s which is not good at all. I could see anybody picking anyone in the Dodgers lineup tonight, and Puig is one of the cheaper ones who actually has the better of the matchup.
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