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Monday through Friday each week The Oracle will give his thoughts on the best and worst matchups of the day.
You would also be wise to bookmark the following two sources to check daily after you read this wondrous piece (I'm so afraid of giving myself props).
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DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Random shot in the dark. Matt Dominguez hits very well when pitches are up in the zone (see his Slugging Hot Zone map from 2013). Does that mean he will mash if one of R.A. Dickey's knucklers floats up there?
I wasn't a fan of Jason Kipnis. I'm now a fan of Jason Kipnis. I'm also a fan of Kipnis against John Danks who he has five hits leading to a homer and six RBIs over 13 at-bats. Kipnis also hit .308 with a .850 OPS against lefties last year.
Ryan Raburn has hit three bombs, driven in eight runs and batted .314 with a 1.099 OPS over 35 at-bats when John Danks is on the bump. Raburn just mashes lefties like... no there won't be a Hulk reference here, though since I mentioned the Hulk I obviously did mention the Hulk. #Conundrumfail
Brian Roberts isn't someone that anyone has cared about, really cared about, in what, four years? Still, you should care Thursday. He get's to face Clay Buchholz who didn't look sharp last time out, and Roberts also hit .400 with three homers in 25 at-bats and the greasy-haired one (seriously is there any reason his hair is that greasy other than to have something to doctor the baseball with?).
Giancarlo Stanton isn't impressed with Stephen Strasburg. Sure he has seven Ks in 21 at-bats and that ain't good, but how about two homers, four doubles and a .381/.435/.857 slash line – that change your thoughts?
If you look at Nick Swisher's Hot Zone map from 2013 you will notice that anytime a lefty threw a ball up in the zone that Swisher hammered it (no Thor reference. Dang it, I did it again.). It's therefore not overly surprising to see that Swisher has hit .333 with two homers against John Danks in 18 at-bats.
If he's healthy and in the lineup, Chase Utley should be in your lineup. He faces Marco Estrada who he's 3-for-5 against with three homers. He's also been hot when in the lineup this season. Utley has also crushed righties for most of his career with a HOF slash line of .297/.374/.512.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Let's be ballsy. Let's sit Paul Goldschmidt Thursday. I can't say I would actually bench the slugger given his start to the season, but the matchup isn't favorable on paper as he has hit .235 with no homers in 17 at-bats against Ryan Vogelsong. Hell, can you really bench Goldy versus a struggling Vogelsong? Maybe not in this matchup even with the numbers suggesting you should.
Sometimes things just don't make sense. Like how in the world have I not been cast to be in The Avengers II film? I mean, are you seeing these muscle Joss Wheden? Another thing that makes no sense – how is Andrew McCutchen hitting only .111 with five punchouts in 18 at-bats against Travis Wood? I can understand a 1-for-15 from Pedro Alvarez better, but that's not great either. What about Starling Marte? He has a homer in 14 at-bats but he's also hitting only .143 in the matchup.
Jean Segura hasn't exactly been an offensive force on the young season. He's also hit a mere .262 with four homers against lefties in his career. Probably not going to improve on those numbers while facing Cliff Lee.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Gerrit Cole versus the Cubs sure sounds like a matchup to exploit. The Cubs have one of the lowest scoring offenses in the game thus far and Cole is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA an 9.00 K/9 mark versus the Cubs.
R.A. Dickey hasn't had tremendous success at the Rogers Centre in his career with a 4.84 ERA and 1.32 WHIP over 145 innings. He's also had one shutout effort and was bombed for six runs over five innings in the other this season. Do you trust him against an Astros offense that is far from imposing? I don't completely, but the Astros just can't hit.
Jenrry Mejia faces a team with names like Upton, Upton, Uggla, Heyward, Gattis in it. Sounds imposing but to this point the whole Braves club seems to be operating in a bizzaro world where they think that bad is good (Bizarro Superman anyone?). For his career Mejia owns an insanely high 61.1 percent ground ball rate, and over his last 33.1 innings he's struck out 35 batters leading to a 3.88 K/BB rate.
I always hesitate when the name Travis Wood comes up, but that doesn't mean he should be ignored Thursday. In his career versus the Pirates he owns a 3.35 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 48.1 innings. Current Pirates' batters are “hitting” .192 off him with a mere two homers in 130 at-bats. Wood also was pretty darn solid last season at home with a 3.39 ERA and .226 BAA.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Clay Buchholz. I've only said about 87 times that he's not the pitcher most think he is (and his hair is greasy if you hadn't heard). We'll see if you believe me or not Thursday. In his first outing he allowed 13 hits, two homers and six runs in 4.1 innings, and yes, it looked as bad as those numbers suggest. He faces the Yankees in New York, and last season he killed it in two starts allowing one run in 12 innings there. Who cares? I know I don't.
John Danks. In 18 starts versus Cleveland he is 4-9 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.38 WHIP while allowing 19 homers. I know data from five years ago means nothing, but there is a lot of data here that suggests that Danks is a spotty play at best Thursday.
David Hale. We see a Braves hurler and we're almost conditioned to think that success will follow. Maybe it will with Hale. However, let's be honest with ourselves about the 26 year old. He tossed five shutout innings in his first start but was pulled after just 73 pitches. That's not a high level of confidence from the coach. Last season at Triple-A he had a 6.04 K/9 mark an a 2.14 K/BB ratio. That's not good. He does keep the ball in the yard generating grounders, but this just isn't an elite arm. He takes on the Mets Thursday.
Michael Pineda. I know he's throwing hard and looking good, but he is the great unknown. What does he have to offer at this point? How deep can he go in games? How many innings will he last this season? We'll answer all those questions in time. For now, he's got a tough matchup with the always patient Red Sox. Maybe I'm just a negative Nancy, but one start in 2+ years doesn't signal to me that Pineda is back.
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 and Ted Schuster will help you to set your daily lineups.