Even though the big news of the last 24 hours is the health of Jose Fernandez, much like the hand on a clock, time marches on giving no deference to what is occurring around it. Here are some of the better options on the hill and at the dish, as well as those that you might want to avoid, in the Tuesday matchup file.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Holy cow Melky Cabrera. Fifteen hits in 27 at-bats is just sick. That's what he's done to Justin Masterson over the years. He's gotta be active Tuesday. Jose Bautista is hitting .316 in the matchup, and though he also has eight Ks in 19 at-bats he's hit two bombs while posting an uber-impressive .480 OBP.
Miguel Cabrera will continue his assault on hurlers Tuesday as he's 14-for-41 against Ubaldo Jimenez (.341-1-8). Victor Martinez also lights up Ubaldo with three homers, nine RBIs an a .333 batting average over 21 at-bats. Torii Hunter might also get into the act with a .389 average over 18 at-bats.
Justin Morneau has been locked in virtually all year for the Rockies. He gets to take on his old nemesis James Shields Tuesday. More often than not Justin has won the proceeding battles on his way to a .341-4-10 line in 41 at-bats.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Edwin Encarnacion can't see the ball off Justin Masterson. Five strikeouts in 17 at-bats is a high rate for him, and just two hits an one RBI are well off the pace. Dioner Navarro has one hit in 12 at-bats, Colby Rasmus has two in 13 at-bats as well.
Raul Ibanez isn't going to do anything against Cliff Lee (he's not doing anything against anyone). He's hitting .250 with no homers and only two RBIs in 36 at-bats against the lefty. None of that is a shock. Might be a bit surprising to see that Howie Kendrick is only hitting .182 against Lee (22 ABs) while Erick Aybar is down at .111 in 18 at-bats.
Andrew McCutchen has two homers against Marco Estrada but his .250 average and nary a walk in 28 at-bats don't portend ample success. Other Pirates who could struggle against the Brewers' righty: Starling Marte (.200 in 15 at-bats), Pedro Alvarez (.167 with one HR in 18 at-bats) and Travis Snider (1-for-10).
Nick Swisher should continue to struggle Tuesday as he's got just two hits in 15 at-bats in his career against knuckler R.A. Dickey. Nyjer Morgan's alternative personality, the one who can't play baseball, must come to the bat when he faces Dickey as he's produced only one hit in 14 at-bats.
Justin Upton is batting .316 against Ryan Vogelsong. Does this mean I've put him on the wrong list? No. Upton isn't 100 percent physically but more than that it's the 10 Ks in 19 at-bats that make me nervous given that Vogelsong is no strikeout pitcher.
Shane Victorino is lost at sea without a paddle against Ricky Nolasco (seems odd to type that line, I have to admit). In 40 at-bats he's struck out nine times, only driven in one run, and his .150 with a .190 OBP.
Josh Beckett doesn't have a win through six starts but he's pitched well with 34 Ks in 35.1 innings, a 2.80 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. In four home starts this year he has a 2.66 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over 23.2 innings. The Marlins are in L.A. and they are batting .212, the second worst mark in baseball, with a .620 OPS on the road (also the second worst mark in the game).
Mike Leake against the Padres is a nice matchup. Leake has allowed just four walks in his last three starts, has a 2.90 K/BB ratio for the year, and has lasted at least 6.2 innings in every start he has made this season. He's a quality start machine (six of eight outings).
James Shields can still be trusted, even against the Rockies. In his eight starts this season he's allowed more than three earned runs only one time and in six of the outings he's allowed two or fewer earned runs.
Drew Smyly has a 2.96 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. You just may not have noticed because of his lack of use in the early going. He held the Orioles scoreless in his first outing this season, a three inning effort, and profiles as an interesting option for Tuesday given that the Orioles haven't hit lefties this year – at all (.228/.295/.366).
Ryan Vogelsong was hideous at the start of the year, but that seems like eons ago now. In his last three outings Ryan has allowed a total of two runs as he's struck out 15 in 20.1 innings. He also pitches at home where he has a 2.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over three outings. He takes on the Braves who are batting .229 with a .288 OBP on the road this season.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Never start (only half kidding): Franklin Morales (at Royals)
Andrew Cashner has a 5.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in three road starts. He's also failed to record more than 18 outs in 4-straight games including his shortest outing of the season in his last appearance (4 IP). Cashner has also failed to record more than five Ks in 5-straight outings. He pitches in Cincinnati.
I like Mike Minor. I don't like him Tuesday. He faces a hot Ryan Vogelsong in San Francisco, but through two starts he's got a 6.97 ERA, 1.94 WHIP and has allowed 18 hits in 10.1 innings. He's certainly not found his sea legs yet.
Ricky Nolasco has allowed three runs in each of his last two outings, but he's also allowed a total of 17 runs his last four as his ERA has risen from 5.50 to 5.64. Just can't trust him against Boston who has a nasty habit of waiting pitchers out when they are struggling.
Zack Wheeler faces the Yankees on the road. That's never a good thing. Wheeler is also the unlucky owner of a 5.06 ERA and 1.55 WHIP on the road over four starts. He's also failed to last more than 6.1 innings in any start this year. Oh, and he pitches for the Mets. What else do you need to know?
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