Note: This article is being written on Friday. Make sure you check the injury reports and lineups for the weekend before blindly setting your lineup based simply on this piece.
You would also be wise to bookmark the following two sources to check daily after you read this piece.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Brett Gardner has had a nice run of success against John Lackey hitting .355 with a .412 OBP in 31 at-bats. Oddly, he's only swiped one base with Lackey on the bump.
Curtis Granderson takes on fly ball and homer prone Jered Weaver. The matchup has been a huge boon to Curtis over the year as he's hit .370 with a .926 OPS off the righty with five homers in 27 at-bats.
Jason Kubel has hit .391 with a homer against James Shields. He and teammate Brian Dozier are both likely to generate some offense. Dozier is at .375 with a homer against Shields. If you want to stretch to a lesser named player... Eduardo Nunez has hit .389 with two bombs against Shields.
If Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup for the Rockies he's in your fantasy lineup. He's hit .328 with a 1.046 OPS over 58 at-bats against Matt Cain. Tulo has aldo taken Cain deep four times and Cain dealt with long ball issues in his last start (and really, since the start of last year).
Rickie Weeks has had success against Edison Volquez with two bombs and a .368 batting average over 19 at bats. That average is just slightly better than the .357 mark that Ryan Braun has over 28 at-bats.
Alex Wood is a lefty. Anthony Rendon is nearly a .300 hitter against lefties in his young career. Anthony Rendon currently has a batting average that would make Ty Cob jealous. He's also 5-for-7 versus Wood.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Don't even consider starting Pedro Alvarez Saturday (you would literally be better off starting Travis Snider). In 20 plate appearances against Yovani Gallardo the Pirates' third baseman has one hit and has struck out nine times. Frightful.
Adam Dunn has hit .263 against Justin Masterson. How is that a negative you ask? It's a pretty hollow .263, which is something you never associate with Dunn. The big bopper has only one homer in 38 at-bats and he's driven in in a mere three runs while striking out eight times. Teammate Alexi Ramirez is off to a good start this season but don't be fooled in this matchup. He's a hideous option Saturday as he's got eight hits in 49 at-bats against Masterson (.163/.212/.245). As bad as that is Dayan Viciedo is as bad as it can get. Literally. Viciedo has six strikeouts and not a single hit in 14 at-bats vs. Justin.
Given how amazingly talented Carlos Gonzalez is it strains credulity to think that he's hitting .098 with 16 Ks in 41 at-bats versus Matt Cain. Never thought putrid and CarGo would go in the same sentence.
Colby Rasmus is limping out of the gate causing all the offseason hype to wane. He's not likely to get going Saturday when he takes on Bud Norris who has has four hits and six Ks against in 22 at-bats (.182 average).
Carlos Ruiz has hit .364 in 11 at-bats against Nathan Eovaldi. However, Nathan is hot to start the year and he's also held righties to a .130 average to start the year with nine strikeouts and not a single walk. Sit Ruiz.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Sonny Gray held the Mariners to one earned runs (three scored) over six innings in his last start. He now goes to Seattle to work against the Mariners again. Over 14 career starts he owns a 2.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and has 77 punchouts in 76 innings.
Zack Greinke has made two starts. He's allowed two runs in each outing. He has uncharacteristically allowed three homers in the two outings, and that's a wee concern heading to a game in Arizona. Still, Greinke has 13 Ks and just two walks in his 11 innings, and the last time he faced the D'backs he allowed two runs in six innings.
Justin Verlander against anyone is a solid matchup. Transport him to San Diego and he's a great option. The active roster has 16 at-bats against him if my math is right – they don't even know what to expect from the righty from Detroit. It could be a blood bath for the Padres.
Alex Wood. He may not be able to get Mr. Rendon out, but he's having a lot of success otherwise against the Nationals. Last time out he allowed two runs without issuing a walk over seven innings (April 6th). That effort ran his three start numbers against the Braves to a 1.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 8.00 K/BB ratio.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Jarred Cosart has made 12 starts and has a 2.28 ERA. Amazing right? He's also operating on about as much borrowed time as anyone could be. He simply doesn't deserve that ERA number, not even close, not with a 5.1 K/9 mark and, literally, one more strikeout (40) than walk (39) in his career. Take a look at his last outing against the Angels as a warning (5 ER, 4 BBs).
Nathan Eovaldi has been great with 14 strikeouts, no walks and a 1.00 WHIP through two starts. So why is he on the no fly list? To this point lefties are batting .346 with a .893 OPS against him. The last three seasons he's allowed lefties to bat .288 with a .366 OBP. He's just not great against portsiders. The Phillies can run out there Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown.
Erasmo Ramirez has allowed one homer and held current Athletics to a .216 batting average. However, he's the owner of a 4.43 ERA for his career at home and through two starts this season he hasn't exactly been sharp allowing a 1.45 WHIP and two bombs in two starts (one of those starts was against the A's and led to five earned runs in just four innings).
James Shields is one of my absolute favorites. Not so much on Saturday. The last time he faced the Twins it was one run over 7.1 innings, but for the majority of his career he's not gotten it done againts the Twinkies. Sure he's 7-3 but he's got a 4.20 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and barely a 2:1 K/BB ratio. There's also this. Here are his numbers against current Twins: .306/.370/.476 in 170 at-bats.