From The Fantasy Oracle

Daily Trends: Weekend Edition, Wk.5

Who have some of the best and worst numbers in the matchups this weekend? Ray Flowers has some answers.

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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.

NOTE: THE 2014 PLAYER RANKINGS ARE UPDATED. LOOK FOR MONTHLY UPDATES ON THE FIRST OF EACH MONTH. CLICK HERE FOR THE MAY 1ST RANKINGS OF NEARLY 500 PLAYERS.

DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day

Jay Bruce is batting .359 with two bombs and nine RBIs off often homer prone Yovani Gallardo (39 at-bats). Ryan Ludwick has hit .346-3-10 in just 26 at-bats. Brandon Phillips has really been struggling this season, but maybe Gallardo will offer him the tonic he needs being that he's hit .314 with a couple of homers in 51 career matchups. My goodness, even Zack Cozart has hit a bit (.292-1-4 in 24 at-bats).

Billy Butler has five hits in six career at-bats against Drew Smyly. He's also working on a six game hitting streak for those of you that haven't taken notice.

Miguel Cabrera versus Bruce Chen is a bloodbath that would make Godzilla proud. Hes hit .410 with a .531 OBP and .897 SLG as he's gone deep five times with 11 RBIs in 39 at-bats. Austin Jackson has also hit .325 in the matchup and seven of his 13 hits have gone for extra bases.

Alejandro De Aza has 10 hits in 30 at-bats against Justin Masterson.

Brian Dozier is batting only .236 at home but he's hit five homers, stolen four bases and scored 15 times in 14 home games. He takes on Wei-Yin Chen in Minnesota.

Reed Johnson hits lefties, and Paul Maholm is no exception. In 15 at-bats Reed has rapped out eight base knocks. Jeff Baker has blown chunks this season but he too hits Maholm well (8-for-20). Christian Yelich is batting .308 at home and he's scored 14 runs in 15 games.

Adam LaRoche is hitting .312 with a .907 OPS. He faces A.J. Burnett who has has hit .348 with a 1.010 OPS against over 26 plate appearances.

Aramis Ramirez faces the scalding hot Johnny Cueto. Is that hotness of Cueto enough to dissuade you from starting Aramis Ramirez who has hit .333 with four homers and 10 RBIS over 39 at-bats?

Gaby Sanchez is actually hitting pretty well with a .275/.327/.588 line this season. The Pirates face R.A. Dickey and Sanchez has eight his against him in 21 at-bats (.381). He's also gone deep with seven RBIs.

Troy Tulowitzki is batting .556 with four homers at home. He faces Jenrry Mejia in Colorado. Charlie Blackmon is only hitting .460 with 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored at home. Oh, he also has five homers.

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day

Brandon Belt faces Julio Teheran, and you can read about the dominance of the Braves' arm below. Belt also has, and this is pretty shocking, one hit in his last five starts.

Alex Gordon has as measly hit in 12 at-bats against Drew Smyly. He's also struck out seven times.

Paul Konerko should be on the bench. He has a .231 averaged against Justin Masterson over 39 at-bats. Still, that's way better than blow chunks Alexei Ramirez who has hit .176 over 51 at-bats. Man is that bad. But wait, the coup de grace... Dayan Viciedo is 0-for-14.  

What is wrong with this guy?

Andrew McCutchen hasn't had much success against R.A. Dickey's knuckleball as he's got just two hits while striking out seven times in 15 at-bats.

Justin Upton is hitting bombs, and he gets to face Ryan Vogelsong Saturday, far from an impressive hurler. Still, when I see eight punchouts in 16 at-bats that makes me a bit nervous.

The following men are hitting under .105 the last two weeks. That's hard to do: Ryan Raburn, Brad Miller, L.J. Hoes, Cody Ross, Yonder Alonso. Elvis Andrus isn't much better at .119, nor is Grady Sizemore (.129), Jeff Gyorko (.135) or Abraham Almonte (.154).

MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

Hisashi Iwakuma makes his first start. A bit risky to be going with him in his first outing of course, but boy do the Astros stink. Especially against righties. They have a K-rate over 25 percent, and their OBP is .277. Not their average, their OBP.

Brandon McCarthy isn't a strikeout pitcher, but he did have 12 punchouts last time out. He's also allowed six earned runs his last three outings and pitches in that pitcher's haven that is Petco Park. He has lost his last five outings, so this is far from a 100 percent lock type of call.

Tanner Roark has tossed 15.2 scoreless innings his last two outings with 13 strikeouts and three walks. He's also tossed 3-straight quality starts. The Phillies haven't hit righties very well this season with a .643 OPS that is the 7th worst mark in baseball.

Masahiro Tanaka hasn't lost in five starts. He has tossed a quality start each time out. He's got a whopping 46 strikeouts with only six walks. The only negative is the five bombs he's allowed. All in all don't know how you can sit him against the Rays.

Julio Teheran isn't throwing as hard as we're used to, and 26 Ks in 43 innings is a pathetic mark for a guy who was over 8.2 K/9 last season (currently 5.44). But the results have been there. He's tossed six consecutive quality starts and he's actually been even better than that as he's allowed two or fewer earned runs each time out (including just one run in his last three outings). Good luck Giants.

Michael Wacha rebounded about his April 23rd oddness with a quality start his last time out. He's picked up 19 Ks over his last 10.1 innings. Wow. Back on April 13th he picked up a “W” against the Cubs with a three run outing over 6.1 innings (8 Ks, 1 BB).

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Francisco Liriano only threw two innings last time out cause of the weather, so he should have plenty of bullets to fire against the Blue Jays. Problem for him though is that in his previous four outings he picked up three loses and allowed four earned runs in three of the outings. Not exactly sharp has he been to this point.

Justin Masterson has allowed five earned runs in three of his last five outings. His ERA is 4.84. His WHIP is 1.50. Oh yeah, his velocity is also sitting at 88.9 mph, well off his career 91.7 mark. He's not a safe play against the often robust White Sox offense.

Tommy Milone has 11 strikeouts in four starts. His ERA is 4.56. In his lone start against the Red Sox he allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 innings. The game is in Boston. What else do you need to know?

Jake Odorizzi at Yankee Stadium just sounds ominous, doesn't it? In his three road starts this year he's  sporting an 8.79 ERA and 2.02 WHIP. Yeah, pass.

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Fantasy Alarm Lineups

Batter Versus Pitcher

Daily Projections – For every single day of the season.

SUNDAY

I don’t know how you would trust Daric Barton in your lineup, but he's got a .333 average an a homer off John Lackey (27 ABs).

Everth Cabrera has hit .571 with four steals off Wade Miley (14 ABs).

Starlin Castro has hit .370 off Lance Lynn. He's hit .300 against righties this year and .346 at home.
 
Ian Kinsler doesn't light up Jason Vargas but a .298/.353/.532 line over 47 at-bats is still pretty impressive.

Evan Longoria hits CC Sabathia as well as any man ever has. In their 68 battles Longoria has blistered the ball to the tune of a .411/.522/.857 line that includes six homers and 13 RBIs. Sean Rodriguez has also had a ton of success batting .311 with three homers and seven RBIs over 45 at-bats.

Nick Markakis is often overlooked. Still, he's solid as he's batting .306 on the young season with a hit in 9-straight games. He's also hit .319 with two homers in 47 at-bats against sucky Phil Hughes.

Jhonny Peralta is blasting homers off everyone in the early going, and he's long blasted balls off Jason Hammel. In 15 at-bats the Cardinals batter has hit .467 with two homers and eight RBIs.

Salvador Perez has blasted Justin Verlander hard. Check out the line he's put up in 24 at-bats: .458-1-10. He's got seven extra base hits in those at-bats. He'll have to take a backseat to Billy Butler though. In 71 at-bats the slow a foot batter has hit .437 with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Yeah, probably a good idea.

Alfonso Soriano has hit .438 with a homer against Erik Bedard (16 at-bats).

Justin Upton sees the pill very well when it's chucked by Madison Bumgarner as he's hit .450 with a homer in 20 at-bats.

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day

Coco Crisp won't be buying chocolates and/or flowers for John Lackey any time soon (I got flowers for my B-day from a lady. How about that?). In 33 at-bats Crisp has just five hits leading to a .152 batting average.

Ian Desmond is no bueno against Cole Hamels with 10 Ks an a .184 average in 38 at-bats. Danny Espinosa is worse (.167 in 18 ABs). Not to be outdone, Jayson Werth is the worstest (.136 in 22 ABs). I may have made that last word up.  

Alex Gordon is batting .206 with 24 strikeouts in 68 at-bats against Justin Verlander. Bench him. That's my sage advice. You'll also want to leave Alcides Escobar on the pine. He's hitting .190 over 42 at-bats. Hell, bench my favorite whipping boy Mike Moustakas who is the owner of a .167 average in 36 at-bats.

Desmond Jennings is a dynamic talent that has a hard time getting off the ground against CC Sabathia. Take a look at the .200 average, one RBI and 11 Ks in 40 at-bats. Look at his teammate Ben Zobrist for  another fella who struggles. In 76 at-bats Zobrist has hit .224 with one homer and 22 strikeouts. But Jose Molina takes the cake with his 1-for-22 effort.

Don't know why, but Adam Jones can't hit Phil Hughes (.585 OPS in 41 ABs). Neither can Matt Wieters (.577 OPS in 33 Abs) or J.J. Hardy (.571 OPS in 21 ABs) for that matter.

Derek Jeter, for some unknown reason, simply cannot hit Erik Bedard. Not only has he struck out 10 times in 34 at-bats but he's also hit a meager .206.

Do you think Howie Kendrick thinks he's due against Yu Darvish after going 0-for-16 with seven punchouts? Chris Iannetta has two hits in 14 at-bats but he's also whiffed eight times.

Brandon Phillips has just two RBIs while batting .229 in 35 at-bats against Kyle Lohse. Ryan Ludwick has two RBIs too but he's batting .143 in 28 at-bats.

Dan Uggla is a disaster against many, and Madison Bumgarner isn't about to upset that applecart. Uggla is 1-for-18 with eight Ks.

MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

Madison Bumgarner has a .310 BAA. That mark was .203 last year. Which guy do you think he is? Even this year with his horrific 1.72 WHIP he's punched out 37 batters in 33.2 innings this season, and in three road starts that ERA site at 1.96. Risky given the output thus far, but likely worth it.

Corey Kluber has had lots of success against the White Sox (3.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP over 34.2 innings). He's also pitched very well at home this season (2.91 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 7.33 K/BB ratio). He also held the Sox to two runs over 7.1 innings back on April 13th in Chicago, a much tougher place to pitch than Cleveland.

Kyle Lohse has taken the hill six times this season and the result has been three or fewer earned runs each time. He's also allowed only one homer in his last five outings while he's walked just four in his last four games. Furthermore, he's also squaring off against a Reds team that he has traditionally dominated (2.89 ERA, 1.17 WHIP over 15 starts).

Collin McHugh has allowed one run in two starts this season while striking out 19 and walking three. I know, right? His first start was against the same team he takes on Sunday, the Mariners, and in that outing he punched out 12 batters without issuing a walk. He's not the next Mike Scott for the Astros, but everything is tilting his way at the moment.

We've all been there before.

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Erik Bedard allowed four runs in 3.2 painful innings against the Yankees on April 18th. He's also walked 10 batters in 14.2 innings this season including eight in his last two starts. Move on. There's nothing to see here.

Phil Hughes... my Zack Cozart of pitchers. Hughes faces an Orioles club that is leading the AL with a .278 batting average against righties (their SLG of .410 is 8th in baseball). Hughes is known for the fly ball, and though he has allowed only three homers in five outings you have to be a bit concerned, don’t you? I'm also nervous about the fact that he's gone a mere 5.0 innings in three of his starts and has a 5.14 ERA and 1.39 WHIP on the year. He's just not that good folks.

It's all about the V's...

Jason Vargas worked 5-straight quality start to begin the season for the Royals. Unfortunately it came crashing down in his last outing as he allowed 10 hits and five runs in 6.1 innings. He did hold the Tigers to one run in his first start, but all good things must come to an end, and truthfully, Vargas isn't that good.

Justin Verlander has allowed a .278 average to the current Royals' lineup. He's also been struggling this season. See Panic About Power?

Edinson Volquez faces a Blue Jays club that has a .751 OPS against righties and that's the 7th best mark in the game. The Jays have also slugged the third most homers this season versus righties. Given that Edinson allowed six runs in his last outing, that he hasn't struck out five batters in an outing this season, and that in three career games against the Jays he had an 8.16 ERA and 1.88 WHIP. I'll pass.


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.

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