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.
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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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.