Friday is the best day. The lure of the weekend is close, the intoxicating aroma of beauty, booze and trouble. Ah, ain't it great? For those of you that will be able to hold it together Friday night, here are some juicy bits of info for the weekend matchups in baseball on Saturday and Sunday.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
The suddenly hot Adrian Beltre should stay that way against Jon Lester if history is a guide. In 25 at-bats he's gone deep, posted four ribbies, and hit .360.
My disdain for Zack Cozart is well chronicled. I'll give him some props here. In seven at-bats against Jordan Lyles he has five hits (including a homer), and six RBIs. Of course, Lyles is currently rocking it for the Rockies. Joey Votto also hasn't been impressed with six hits, including a homer, in nine at-bats.
Andre Ethier must see a beach ball when Matt Cain is on the bump. In 70 at-bats he has 30 hits. That's a .429 batting average. The only surprise might be that he has only one homer. Adrian Gonzalez gets into the act too hitting .292 with four homers and 13 RBIs over 72 at-bats.
Matt Holliday hasn't exactly been himself this season but it doesn't seem like Edinson Volquez will be able to hold him down. In 24 at-bats Holliday has hit .375 with two homers and five RBIs. Teammate Mark Ellis has been dreadful with the bat, but perhaps Volquez is the tonic he needs. Ellis is hitting .318 with a homer in 22 at-bats.
Ryan Howard obliterates Dillon Gee. I mean, you have to feel bad for Gee. At least a little bit. Check out what has happened in the 15 at-bats: .467 average, six homers and 14 RBIs. His OPS in the 15 at-bats is 2.133. Sick. Makes poor Jimmy Rollins and his .474 average in 19 at-bats seem trivial.
Alfonso Soriano has mashed many a pitcher through the years, and Kyle Lohse falls into the class of those that are torched (.357-4-12 in 56 ABs). As fantastic as Soriano is against Lohse it's insane to think that his effort pales, seriously, in comparison to the efforts of Carlos Beltran. Beltran has 25 hits in 51 at-bats (.490). He's rocked four homers and socked six doubles. He's also walked 11 times leading to a .571 OBP. That's as impressive a batting line as you will ever see against a hurler. Ever. Make Mark Teixeira and his .375-1-4 line in 24 at-bats look insignificant.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
J.P. Arencibia is so bad. In 44 at-bats against Jon Lester he has 18 Ks and is batting .182. Elvis Andrus is batting .240 (25 ABs), Shin-Soo Choo .077 (with six Ks in 13 at-bats) and Alex Rios is at .250 (nine Ks in 40 at-bats).
Trevor Plouffe has seen his batting average drop about .387 points the past two weeks (slight exaggeration). He's only 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts against Max Scherzer. There's the bench Mr. Plouffe. Brian Dozier is even worse with six strikeouts and no hits in eight at-bats against the flame thrower.
The every reliable Nick Swisher hasn't been one bit reliable this year unless the goal is to be reliably awful. Facing Erik Bedard doesn't seem likely to help reverse that trend. Swisher is batting .200 with eight Ks in 20 at-bats. David Murphy is also hitting a poor .231 in 13 at-bats.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Erik Bedard, yes the lefty starting pitcher of the Rays, has been solid in his last two outings allowing just two runs over 11.1 innings. He also faces an Indians club that is hitting all of .213 against lefties this season with a .618 OPS.
The Padres can't hit. Nathan Eovaldi can pitch. Only once this season has he not posted a “quality” start, and back on April 6th Nathan allowed three runs over seven innings against these same Padres (he's got a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in three starts against the Friars in his career).
Sonny Gray has a 1.91 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through seven starts. He's yet to allow more than three runs in an outing. In his young career he's made 10 starts at home with a 2.19 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The Nationals come to town Saturday.
Jon Lester threw eight shutout innings with 15 Ks in his last outing. He's also posted a 2.83 ERA and 0.94 WHIP on the road while walking three batters in four outings. That's enough to suggest him even pitching on the road in Texas.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Jordan Lyles can't keep this up. He has 24 Ks in 44.2 innings, and frankly, he's just not skilled enough to be a 2.62 ERA, 1.05 WHIP kinda guy. He's actually been worse on the road this season (3.91 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and he goes to Cincinnati Saturday.
Zach McAllister has a lot of juice behind him after his 6.2 innings shutout effort last time he took the bump. However, he also allowed nine runs over 9.1 innings in the two outings before that, and he's not been very good on the road this season in four outings (5.59 ERA, 1.55 WHIP). He faces the Rays in Tampa.
Martin Perez has been beaten for 13 runs in his last two outings (9.2 innings). He allowed 11 base runners and four runs in 6.1 innings to the Red Sox back on April 8th. Doesn't sound like a good play, does he?
Alfredo Simon has been stupendous as a fill-in starter for the Reds. He's made six starts with at least six innings pitched leading to a 1.99 ERA. He faces the Rockies Saturday. Though the game is in Cincy it should be noted that the Rockies have a .302 batting average against righties this season. Their TEAM is batting .302. They also lead the NL in homers (36) and the majors in OPS (.849) against righties.
Edinson Volquez take a seat. Dude has 21 Ks in seven starts, has produced only one win, and has allowed four homers and 12 runs over his last two starts. The Cardinals should find success against the righty.