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I'm feeling a bit frisky today. Got some links to share, some thoughts to share, some players to bash. Pretty much everything you've come to expect from the Oracle in my daily look at pitcher versus batter matchups.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Ryan Braun is back and he's got a matchup that's looking pretty tasty. Wandy Rodriguez is slated to make his return Thursday and in 49 career at-bats Braun is batting .367 with four homers, eight doubles and 11 RBIs against him. The result is a 1.222 OPS. Jonathan Lucroy figures to get into the act too since he's at .333-1-5 in 21 at-bats. Lyle Overbay is also hitting .444 (18 ABs) while Rickie Weeks is at .298 with two homers and nine RBIs over 47 at-bats.
Starlin Castro has shown a better power stroke than expected this season. He'll face off against Lance Lynn Thursday, an it's not like Lynn has been sharp all year long. Castro has 10 hits in 30 at-bats in the matchup (.333).
Garrett Jones has a .316 average and two homers in 19 at-bats against Matt Cain. He always seems to hit righties well. Even with his struggles this year his slash line against righties is still solid (.274/.336/.491).
Andrew McCutchen has hit .326 with three homers and five steals in just 45 plate appearances against Yovani Gallardo.
Yadier Molina demolishes Jeff Samardzija. The only surprise is that Molina hasn't gone deep. Molina has 10 hits in 20 career at-bats. Jon Jay is slightly worse, but there's no shame in that. Jay has eight hits in 18 at-bats (.444).
David Ortiz is suddenly hot. He's also tormented Phil Hughes over the years with two homers, seven RBIs an a .409 batting average (22 at-bats). Dustin Pedroia has a sub par .283 batting average and .333 OBP, but he's also gone deep three times with nine RBIs in 28 at-bats.
Obviously the police were needed.
It's only five at-bats, but when those five at-bats all end up in hits, and those hits lead to six RBIs, you gotta take note. Those numbers belong to Pablo Sandoval against Nate Eovaldi.
Kurt Suzuki is 6-for-12 against Clay Buchholz. That plays. He's also hitting .300 this year. Raise your hand if you thought that would happen. Don't lie. Put your hand down. Joe Mauer is hitting .385 in 13 at-bats.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Pedro Alvarez has even less of a clue than normal when facing Yovani Gallardo. He's in possession of a .083 average that includes 10 punchouts in 24 at-bats. If Starling Mate plays (back) he should be on your bench too, not just because of the injury but because of the eight Ks and .188 average over 16 at-bats.
I wish I worked for the state of New Jersey. If I did, I would have been part of the crew that did this.
Nate Schierholtz hasn't done much this season. He's also 1-for-14 against Lance Lynn. Anthony Rizzo is better at .227 with a homer but that's not exactly a heartwarming level of production from the first base slugger.
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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Matt Cain versus the Marlins. Cain has always had success against the Marlins – 3.07 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 13 starts – and round a trip to the DL Cain has also allowed two or fewer earned runs in three of his last four outings this season. The Marlins also aren't hitting away from home, at all (.211/.278/.339).
Johnny Cueto has made eight starts, and all eight outings have been at least seven innings and two or fewer runs allowed. The Padres are his next victim.
If your Welsh you might be in trouble.
Danny Salazar. Go big or go home I say (sometimes). He's walked a total of five batters in his last three starts and has 44 Ks in 36.3 innings this season. He's also allowed only one homer his last three starts after a fast start giving up big flies. More of a gut call than anything as he'll face the Blue Jays (he did hod them to two hits and one run in a start against them last year for what it's worth).
Jeff Samardzija doesn't have a win despite eight starts of three earned runs or less (J.G. Preston of SABR believes that Jeff's 1.45 ERA through eight starts is the lowest ever for a winless hurler). Come on Cubs, score some damn runs. JS held the Cardinals to one run in seven innings back on April 11th, and he owns a 1.40 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in four starts on the road this season.
Tyler Skaggs has allowed two or fewer earned runs in three of his last four outings. He's also walked a total of four batters his last three starts. He faces the Rays who haven't hit that well against lefties (.245/.318/.388).
Yordano Ventura pitches at home against the Orioles. Back on April 25th he held the Orioles scoreless for eight innings, and he's allowed a total of six run over his last four starts. Two of his last three starts he's had three and four Ks, but overall this has been a fantastic start to 2014.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Clay Buchholz faces the Twins. Seems like a solid matchup on paper. Still, CB was bombed in his last outings – six runs and 12 base runners over 4.1 innings – and he's just not on his game right now, at all. Way too inconsistent to trust, here are his game by game earned run marks this season: 6, 2, 2, 6, 3, 1 and 6.
Yovani Gallardo has gone six innings or less in five of his last six games. He's lost his last two outings as he's allowed 14 hits and eight runs in 11.2 innings. He's still not striking anyone out either with just 33 in 49.1 games. He takes on the Pirates at home.
J.A. Happ is terrible. Don't know why the Blue Jays are bothering. He allowed eight base runners and four runs in his last outing while recording only seven outs. Even with the Indians being awful against lefties (.209/.282/.321), I can't support Happ.
Phil Hughes faces the Red Sox, a club that can put a hurting on any hurler. Current Sox batters are hitting .311 with nine homers an a .945 OPS in 119 at-bats against the righty. And I just don't like Hughes. Never have. He's pitching pretty well right now, but I'm not trusting him, are you?
Lance Lynn doesn't have a win in his last four starts (two loses), and he's failed to strike out even six batters in his last three outings and four of five. He had success against the Cubs on May 4th (2 ER in six innings), but he just hasn't looked sharp of late.
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