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The MLB Fives for April 17

The MLB Fives_03Elite Starters

**Due to weather concerns, there are no rankings of Twins, Angels, Rangers, Cubs, Mets, or Rockies**

1. Clayton Kershaw LHP LAD vs SD- I think this is rather obvious. The Dodgers have very little chance of not winning this game. Kershaw is the best lefty in the Majors. The Padres bats aren’t very good even though Chase Headley makes his return tonight. The Friars have hit .220 versus lefties this year, and Kershaw is only giving up a .118 AVG over his first two starts at home. He may be too expensive to actually use in your lineups, but he is head-and-shoulders better than any other starting option today.

2. Ross Detwiler LHP WAS @ MIA- Wow, who would have thought Dan Haren would get absolutely creamed by these hapless Marlins? I missed on Haren yesterday, but don’t be fooled this Marlins team is still historically bad. They have no HRs and a .220 AVG versus LHP over the early portion of 2013. They have an overall OPS of .549 versus all MLB pitching this year. The list of failings can go on. Detwiler looked awesome in his last start against Atlanta. He didn’t have any problems with one of the better right-handed lineups in the game. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble again today with the Marlins. Detwiler has the skills to beat any MLB team, and I don’t even think he’ll need all those skills to dominate today.

3. Shelby Miller RHP STL @ PIT- Miller was absolutely picture perfect in his last outing versus MIL. The Pirates are not hitting right now and are only hitting .212 versus righties. Now they don’t strike out a ton, but they are in the bottom three of all baseball in OPS (.602). So the Pirates are making contact, just not hard contact. I don’t see that changing today versus Shelby Miller who only gave up one hit his last start.

4. Max Scherzer RHP DET @ SEA- Seattle is only hitting .233 vs RHP. Scherzer can rack up the strikeouts in boat loads, and there’s plenty of Mariners out there for him to strikeout.

5. Matt Moore LHP TB @ BAL- This one makes me nervous, but anybody that owns Moore understands he comes with nervousness every time he plays. I like that he has pitched really well through the first two games which is an encouraging build on his decent second half of 2012. The Orioles can be great on any given day, but I only fear Wieters and Adam Jones from the right side of the plate on this team. Chris Davis should give Moore a couple of strikeouts, and then it all boils down to Moore’s ability to control his nasty stuff. I like the matchup but don’t love it.

Elite Hitters

1. Bryce Harper OF WAS @ MIA- Bryce is due about now to hit another home run or at least have another statsheet-filling game. He already has two bombs off of Nolasco in his short career, and I have a feeling the Nats will be out to erase the memories of last night’s showing.

2. Evan Longoria 3B TB @ BAL- Finally the Rays bats have somewhat awakened. Longoria went yard last night. He gets to face a pitcher in Chris Tillman that he has tons of success against, hitting .500 with 3 HRs over 12 ABs. Hopefully Longo’s price has diminished. If so he should be a pretty high upside play tonight.

3. Alex Rios OF CHW @ TOR- Rios is hitting .352 with 4 HRs already this year. He hasn’t even gotten to face much left-handed pitching, only 5 at bats. I like to use players that are streaking, and Rios is riding a 10 game hit streak featuring those 4 HRs. I think Happ will make a mistake at some point against Rios, and the way Rios is locked in, I think he’ll place that mistake in the seats. Rios also has 3 SBs, and anybody has potential to steal off of Arencibia.

4. Ryan Braun OF MIL vs SF- Believe it or not Braun is hitting RHP much better this year than lefties (.320 AVG vs .200). Vogelsong is giving up a .385 AVG to RHB. Do the math. X + Y = multi-hit game for Braun.

5. Matt Adams 1B STL @ PIT- I would start Adams against a train, in the rain, on a boat, or against a goat. I would start Matt Adams everywhere.  Guess what? He is starting today against A.J. Burnett. Burnett can give up the long ball. Adams is hitting .611 with 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in 18 at bats. He is also cheap most places because of his sporadic playing time. Don’t over think this one.

Top 5 Teams to Stack

1. Phillies vs RHP Mike Leake- The Phils hitters are hitting .355 with a 1.039 OPS over their careers against Leake. Ben Revere, Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard all have potential good matchups versus Leake. Leake can give up HRs, and Cincy’s ballpark is built to oblige him.

2. Reds vs LHP John Lannan- Really this could be a high-scoring game. I thought last night’s game had that same potential, and both teams put up goose eggs. That’s the risk with stacking. Focusing solely on this pitching matchup there’s no reason to think the Reds improving right-handed hitters, Joey Votto, Choo, and Jay Bruce can’t give Lannan some serious problems.  I like the cheaper Reds in this one: Frazier, Cozart, and Mesoraco if he starts.

3. Dodgers vs RHP Tyson Ross- Ross is a pretty dangerous pitcher, but you can bet he’ll only pitch 4-5 innings and give up 3 or more runs. Expect to see Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to continue their hot streaks. You can even hope for Kemp to snap out of whatever he is dealing with. If the Dodgers drive Ross from the game I only worry about their effectiveness against Padre long-reliever Andrew Cashner who is far more talented than any other Padre pitcher.

4. Chicago White Sox @ LHP JA Happ- The White Sox have some powerful right-handed hitters that are all hitting well right now. Look at Konerko, Rios, Flowers, and Viciedo. All those guys could present problems for Happ.

5. Washington @ RHP Rickey Nolasco- Simple matchup of splits. The Nationals have some solid lefty hitters and righty pitching well overall. Focus on Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos, and possibly a very cheap Danny Espinosa.

About Ben Pritchett

Member of the FSWA. Top 4 2012 Most Accurate Fantasy Baseball Expert. Top 3 Finisher in the 2012 DSFC football championship. Written for The Hardball Times and Daily Joust.

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