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There are some rather obvious lineup calls for Friday. There are also plenty of players who may or may not have such an obvious pass to success or failure. Ray Flowers will take you through the matchups in this piece and try to instill faith in your for the good matchups and to warn you away from the plays that could be disastrous.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Prince Fielder faces a struggling starter Friday in Felipe Paulino. In 13 previous plate appearances Fielder is hitting .500 with a .692 OBP as he's gone deep twice versus Felipe. Fielder has also murdered righties with a .294/.407/.559 slash line in his career.
Neil Walker is bashing home runs like his hero is Dan Uggla. He's also got a significant track record of success against Kyle Lohse that includes a homer, a .370 batting average, eight RBIs and seven walks leading to a .370/.500/.667 slash line.
Justin Upton is terrorizing hurlers yet again in the month of April. Friday's victim, I mean opponent, will be Jonathon Niese. So far Upton has got the best of that battle hitting .533 in 15 at-bats. Maybe Jason Heyward will get going too. He's hit .375 with two homers and eight RBIs over 24 at-bats.
DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Jay Bruce has 22 at-bats against Jeff Samardzija. He doesn't have a single homer. Joey Votto has 25 at-bats without a homer and Brandon Phillips has gone 29 without a big fly. The trio is also batting .273, .240 and .207 off the hard throwing righty. Might as well toss in Zack Cozart too. His OPS this season against righties is under .250.
Oh Derek Jeter. You might be my hero with the ladies – I mean seriously have you seen the list of ladies that he's shared pajama time with – but Jeter just shouldn't be active Friday. Erik Bedard is junk, but the lefty has pretty owned Jeter when the two hook up as he's held Jeter to a .188 batting average with 10 Ks in 32 at-bats.
Adam Jones is another veteran/fantasy star who has a tough matchup Friday. Jones faces John Lackey and in the previous 45 battles Jones has struck out 13 times while batting .222 with a .234 OBP. Teammate Matt Wieters is even worse. The big catcher has hit .188 without a single walk across 32 plate appearances against the Red Sox veteran righty.
Ian Kinsler faces a struggling Jered Weaver. Will it matter? History suggests that Weaver will still have the upper hand as their 82 at-bat matchup has resulted in a .232/.284/.402 slash line for Kinsler.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Gio Gonzalez hasn't been all roses this season, but he faces the Cardinals Friday, and that's been a good thing if you're a lefty hurler. The Cardinals are last in baseball with a .503 OPS versus port siders.
Sonny Gray faces the Astros. Do I really need to say more? Fine, I will. He has an a 1.21 WHIP this season while also possessing a 2.28 ERA for his career (0.95 this season). He's also made two appearances against the Astros with a 1.13 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 16 Ks in 16 innings... and it's the Astros.
Martin Perez is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA this season, and in two starts at home he's allowed two runs. For his career the youngster has pitched pretty well in Texas with a 3.54 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Don't love him, not enough Ks, but the matchup ain't bad Friday. He faces the White Sox in Texas.
Jeff Samardzija pretty well handles the top bats for the Reds (you read about that above). He's also allowed just three runs in three starts while posting a 3.00 K/BB ratio. All of that is enough for me to overlook the fact that he simply hasn't fared well against the Reds in his career (4.92 ERA, 1.39 WHIP over 56.2 innings).
Chris Tillman has a 3.67 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 12 starts versus the Red Sox in his career. He faced them on Opening Day this year an allowed one run, on a solo homer, over five innings. He owns a 0.84 ERA and 0.84 WHIP for the season. Plug and play.
Jason Vargas has a 1.64 ERA and 0.86 WHIP on the young season to catch you attention. That effort includes a seven inning, two run affair against the Twins back on April 13th. The Twins have been awful this season against lefties hitting .212 with a .643 OPS.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
History says that you want nothing to do with Hiroki Kuroda versus the Rays. In five outings he's posted a 7.63 ERA, 1.53 WHIP an a .293 BAA, and the last time he faced them he allowed five runs in 5.2 innings.
Felipe Paulino has allowed four homers in three starts this season. He goes to Texas to face a Rangers clubs that can bash a long ball or two. Paulino has also allowed seven walks in his last two starts and he just isn't sharp right now (that's what you say when a guy has a 7.98 ERA and 2.11 WHIP).
Justin Masterson has a 2.79 ERA and 1.14 WHIP versus the Blue Jays in his career (51.2 innings). However, he's been an unmitigated disaster his last two outings. The numbers are ugly: 12 runs (10 earned), 14 hits and eight walks in 8.1 innings. Can't start that.
Chris Young has thrown eight shutout innings this season for the Mariners. That will change Friday. He faces a Marlins club that that leads the NL with a .781 OPS against right-handed pitching on the young season.
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.