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Monday through Friday each week The Oracle will give his thoughts on the best and worst matchups of the day.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Billy Butler will get two hits. That is the lock of the day. 'But Ray, he's facing Justin Verlander. Are you off your medication?' Maybe the most amazing number you will ever see is this: .441. That's the batting average of Butler against Verlander as he's racked up 30 hits in 68 at-bats. For his career Justin Verlander has allowed batters to hit .235.
Miguel Cabrera is literally sleeping on a mattress filled with $10,000 bills and he wipes his backside with hundreds (I know his maid). He also unleashes ungodly fury on James Shields hitting .425 with a couple of bombs in 40 at-bats. Torii Hunter gets no fancy prose, but he too hits Shields well (.326 in 46 ABs).
Nelson Cruz blasts away with guns a blazing versus Jon Lester. He's hit .455 with a 1.409 OPS in 22 at-bats.
John Jay likely won't be in the starting lineup, but if he is take note – the guy has 10 hits including three homers in 21 at-bats vs. Johnny Cueto.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Alex Gordon has 14 hits in 66 at-bats against Justin Verlander. That's a .212 average. He's also struck out 36 percent of the time with 24 punchouts. Gordon's teammate, Mike Moustakas is batting .182 in 33 at-bats against V. Take that spring training numbers.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Madison Bumgarner has held the Diamondbacks current batters to a .215 average and he's posted a 3.80 K/BB ratio in the matchup as well. He had a 3.12 ERA on the road last year going 9-5, and the game is in Arizona.
R.A. Dickey could pitch a two hitter or allow 12 hits in three innings. So is life with a knuckle ball. However, history suggests he will have success against the Rays as he's held the current lineup to a .164/.229/.291 slash line over 165 at-bats.
Jose Fernandez faces the Rockies. He held the current roster to a .167 batting average with 14 strikeouts and not a single walk. He also posted a 1.19 ERA at home where his Monday start takes place. Sick.
Dillon Gee faces the Nationals, and on paper that don't sound so good. Check out the numbers though. He's faced the current Nats roster for a total of 197 at-bats and allowed only 45 hits leading to a .228/.300/.401 slash line. I like the sound of that.
Don't know if you would think it without looking at the numbers, but the Red Sox have hit .181 with a .509 OPS against Chris Tillman in 138 at-bats.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Justin Masterson has a pathetic 1.46 K/BB ratio against Athletics' hitters. He's also allowed a homer ever 18.9 at-bats leading to a .450 SLG.
Brandon McCarthy went 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA this spring. I'm not buying. Giants aren't a juggernaut by any means, but I just don't trust Brandon. No statistical reason for it.
Ricky Nolasco isn't very good. He will faces the White Sox in Chicago, and that's a place where many a batted ball reaches the seats. He's kept his HR/9 under 0.90 the past three years, a strong number, but trying to impress his new team in his first start might lead to a bit of adrenaline, causing his pitches to flatten out due to a bit more velocity? OK, that was some speculation right there.
Come to think of it... those were three pretty lame writeups, weren't they?
Make sure you tune in to the Fantasy Alarm's Daily Game Show at 6 PM EDT, Monday through Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius210, XM87) as Jeff Mans will help you to set your daily lineups.