Five Notes for Today’s Games
**I didn’t use Braves/Blue Jays and Rockies/Astros due to start times.**
1. Starting Pitchers- It seems like all the pitchers with elite matchups are going to be facing weather. If the weather lets up through the day, I love Chris Sale LHP CHW vs CHC. Matt Harvey RHP NYM vs NYY at home is always a solid play, but he will be facing a 50+ percent chance of rain all night. My favorite weather-worry free pitcher of the night is Jeremy Hellickson RHP TB vs MIA. I will warn you that my next suggestion makes my stomach churn a bit, and since there isn’t much to choose from today, we may have to deal with it. I think Edinson Volquez RHP SD @ SEA could have a good game vs Seattle. I’ve watched Volquez pitch the last three or so outings. Even though the results haven’t been pretty, the strikeouts have been going up and most of the damage has been done in the 4th inning and beyond. His changeup has looked fantastic. It may be a stretch, but Volquez could be worth a play especially in a 3 pitcher format. As for cheap pitchers, you need to roster Kevin Gausman RHP BAL vs WAS tonight. The flame-throwing rookie will face little competition now that Bryce Harper is on the shelf with the exception of Adam LaRoche 1B WAS. Tyler Lyons LHP STL @ KC is also an interesting play. He was stellar during his debut against SD.Â
2. Stud Hitters- Joe Mauer C MIN, Josh Donaldson C/3B OAK (hitting .397 vs LHP with a 1.220 OPS), Prince Fielder 1B DET (see the Due Factor), Chris Davis 1B/OF BAL (.374 w/11 HRs vs RHP), Billy Butler 1B KC, Howie Kendrick 2B LAA (.350 vs LHP and 3 HRs in 40 ABs), Kelly Johnson 2B TB, Manny Machado 3B BAL (he’s legit, .360 vs RHP, and still priced reasonably most places), Evan Longoria 3B TB (only 4,100 on DK), Jed Lowrie 3B/SS OAK, Jean Segura SS MIL, Ryan Braun OF MIL, Adam Jones OF BAL, Mike Trout OF LAA, Yoenis Cespedes OF OAK, Carlos Gomez OF MIL (.350 vs LHP), and Andrew McCutchen OF PIT. Note: Alex Gordon OF KC is hitting .420 vs LHP which is a huge reverse split. His price is depressed on Draftstreet and might be a smart play going against a rookie LHP.Â
3. Value Hitters- Salvador Perez C KC (2,600 on FD, facing a rookie LHP), Yasmani Grandal C SD (if he’s available anywhere), Nate Freiman 1B OAK, Justin Smoak 1B SEA, Alexi Amarista 2B SD (does well vs RHP), Chase Headley 3B SD (only 3,200 on FD), Miguel Tejada SS/3B KC (hits LHP very well .333 AVG and 1.010 OPS),Â Don Kelly 3B/OF DET, Matt Joyce OF TB, Denard Span OF WAS (8 game hitting streak), and Scott Van Slyke 1B/OF.Â
4. Stack ‘em Up- Orioles @ RHP Nathan Karns (rookie),Brewers vs LHP Scott Diamond,Â Athletics vs LHP Michael Kickham (rookie), and as always Tigers versus everybody.
5. The Due Factor- Well, I am now 0-5 in my HR predictions lately. Kemp’s unluckiness has spread to my predictions ever since I called his second HR of the season. Well, I am going to take a softball HR “due” call today. Prince Fielder 1B DET hasn’t hit a HR in his last 16 games. Before this drought, Prince hadn’t gone longer than six games without hitting one out. Jeanmar Gomez RHP PIT is nowhere near as good of a pitcher as he has fared so far this year. His peripherals agree with me (.215 BABIP and 4.96 FIP). Gomez is DUE for a bad game, and Fielder is DUE for a home run. It’s a match made in heaven for a slump-buster.