With the holiday week nearly behind us, it's time to refocus on the field. As we begin the fourth week of the regular season Ray Flowers digs back into the matchups for Monday and tries to pinpoint some spots that you can take advantage of as well as trying to steer you away from a handful of matchups that might lead to you wishing that it was Saturday night so you could drown your sorrows in hooch (come to think of it, you can still do that Monday night... can't you? Hell, you could do it Monday afternoon if you wanted, though I would stay away from drinking before lunch, no matter what day it is).
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Alberto Callaspo is hitting .321 on the year. He has a hit in 6-straight games and he's also produced six RBIs in that time. Yu Darvish hasn't been as big an impediment as one would think either as Alberto's hit .389 in the matchup (7-for-18).
Lonnie Chisenhall has 12 hits in 28 at-bats. That includes five doubles. He faces Jeremy Guthrie who he's gone 5-10 for against with a homer. Jason Kipnis has had similar success with six hit in 11 at-bats (including a homer) in the matchup. Nick Swisher has sucked wind. Will history change that? Swisher has mashed Guthrie with a .350/.426/.675 line with two homers in 40 at-bats.
I don't know much, but I know when a guy has 11 hits in 22 at-bats against a hurler that he's a good bet to have success. Cliff Lee cannot get Adrian Gonzalez out. In an odd twist it should be noted that Lee has also allowed a massive total of 40 hits in 27 innings this season.
Torii Hunter has hit .326 with three homers and nine RBIs versus John Danks in 37 at-bats. Austin Jackson is even better with a .378-3-6 line in 37 at-bats. Want more? Check out the damage that Ian Kinsler has wrought: .387-4-5 in 31 at-bats.
Luis Valbuena has had lots o' success against the struggling Bronson Arroyo. He has two homers, shocking I know, and six hits in 13 at-bats. All of the hits are of the extra base variety (four doubles).
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Marlon Byrd is hitting .254 on the season and he has just three hits in five games while going 9-straight without a big fly. He has five hits in 23 at-bats against Paul Maholm in his career leading to a .217 average and .541 OPS.
Oh Adam Dunn. You should be sitting Monday. Anibal Sanchez has not only held Dunn to a .603 OPS in 33 plate appearances but Dunn has has also whiffed 14 times in 30 at-bats. Get ready to feel the ventilation from the swing.
Matt Kemp might find Monday a good day to watch a game. Can't feel good about playing him if you look at the career numbers against Cliff Lee (1-for-15). Andre Ethier hasn't found any success either with four strikeouts and no hits in eight at-bats.
Andrew McCutchen does not like hitting off Mike Leake. He's got a surprising 10 Ks in 43 at-bats and he's also hitting .233 with a .685 OPS. Pedro Alvarez is hitting .226 with no homers in 31 at-bats in the matchup.
Troy Tulowitzki, it can be argued, is one of the five best hitters in the NL right now. However, he's had zero success against Ryan Vogelsong as he's gone 0-for-10. That enough of a reason to bench him in a game that is being played in Coors Field. Honestly, I just thought it was interesting and wanted to point it out. I wouldn't bench Tulo.
You would also be wise to bookmark the following three sources to check daily after you read this wondrous piece (I'm so afraid of giving myself props).
Fantasy Alarm Lineups
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Zach McAllister has allowed only two batters while striking out 11 in his last two outings as he's held the opposition to one run. He faces the Royals at home as he will look to extend his April success (2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP in eight starts – his best month of the season).
Andrew Cashner has allowed three hits in 30 at-bats to current Brewers. He's also allowed a total of four runs in four starts this season leading to a 1.27 ERA. Nothing at all suggests you should do anything other than start him Monday.
Felix Hernandez... oh hell, he faces the Astros.
Cliff Lee has a 4.00 ERA. I prefer to focus on the 9.33 ERA, 14.00 K/BB ratio and the insanely high .432 BABIP that will, literally, come own .130 points. There's also the fact that he has a 1.70 ERA and 0.83 WHIP over seven starts against the Dodgers.
Wily Peralta has allowed a homer in each of his three starts this season, but he's also allowed a total of four runs. He gets to face the Padres in Milwaukee, and right now the Pads are batting .233 with a .284 OBP and .356 SLG.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Tom Koehler has a 1.89 ERA through three starts. He's also struck out only 10 batters while walking eight in 19 innings. The Braves are the matchup and they've hit 17 homers against righties, the third best mark in the game.
Tanner Roark faces and Angels club that has hit 29 homers this season, the most in baseball. Through three starts Roark is allowing a 51 percent fly ball ratio. That's not a good combination.
Ryan Vogelsong faces a Rockies team that leads baseball with a .297 batting average. The team is nearly hitting .300. The game is also in Colorado. There's also the fact that in two of his three starts this season Vogelsong has looked awful. Moreover, he's just 4-6 with a 5.69 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over his last 20 starts. Avoid the Giants' righty.
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.