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Monday is a day everyone hates. You don't want to get out of bed. The coffee maker doesn't work right. The shower didn't warm up quickly enough. The gardener woke you up while mowing the lawn at an absurdly early hour. So you turn to baseball to soothe the pain. Unfortunately there's only a handful of games to review on this Monday as a whole bunch of teams are traveling.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Erick Aybar has five hits in 12 at-bats against Dallas Keuchel. Howie Kendrick has four hits in 10 at-bats and he's batting .294 over 51 at-bats against lefties this season. Albert Pujols is hitting only .276 against lefties – it's even worse against righties (.267) – but he does have four homers an only six strikeouts in 55 at-bats.
Michael Brantley has an .858 OPS against lefties with a rather impressive three homers and nine RBIs over the course of a mere 49 at-bats. He faces lefty Drew Smyly who has has four hits in seven at-bats against.
Ian Desmond has seven hits in 20 at-bats versus Mike Leake. He's also had two hits an a run scored in three of his last four games and he's homered in back-to-back games. Jayson Werth likes to see Mr. Leake as well with a .412 average, one homer, and .476 OBP over 20 plate appearances.
Paul Konerko figures to see a good deal of playing the next two weeks with Jose Abreu on the DL with an ankle issue. Konerko has long battered Jason Vargas with seven hits in 16 at-bats (including a homer). Alexei Ramirez has been even better hitting .444 with two homers and four RBIs in 18 at-bats. Finally, don't forget about Gordon Beckham who is 5-for-13 with a homer. Beckham also has 12 hits in his last 10 games.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Alex Avila has two hits in 15 at-bats against Corey Kluber. He's also batting a mere .206 with 25 Ks in 63 at-bats this year against righties. Austin Jackson also figures to struggle as he's hitting .182 versus Kluber (11 ABs) and he has just two hits in his last six games.
If suspended, sick, bad backed Carlos Gomez plays Monday leave him on your bench. He's five Ks in 12 career at-bats against Mike Minor and is batting only .233 against lefties this year. Ryan Braun is also unsuccessful in the matchup with no hits, and three strikeouts, in seven at-bats.
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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Corey Kluber has a tough matchup with the Tigers, but he pitches at home where he has a 2.43 ERA and 1.01 WHIP this season. He also owns a 3.31 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 147 Ks in 144 innings over 26 career starts at Progressive Field.
Mike Leake has gone at least seven innings in 5-straight starts. He's allowed a total of five runs over his last three starts. He's walked eight men over his last seven outings. He's kept the ball in the yard in his last three outings. He faces the Nationals in Washington Monday.
Drew Smyly has, under the radar, been a really effective hurler. Through 33.1 innings he has a 2.70 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 30 Ks. He's also been great in three appearances on the road this season with a 0.56 ERA and 0.75 WIHP over 16 innings. He pitches in Cleveland Monday.
Stephen Strasburg has 70 Ks in 54.1 innings. Why is no one talking about that? He's also allowed a total of seven earned runs over his last give outings. He's sporting a 2.30 ERA at home and faces a Reds team that won't have Joey Votto.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Scott Carroll has lost his last three starts. He's given up 22 hits and 12 runs in his last two outings. You're a masochist if you start him versus the Royals.
Garrett Richards against the Astros. Admittedly this is a gutsy and potentially stupid call, but hey, I've never been shy about making a fool out of myself. Richards has thrown 5-straight quality starts up on the board, and he's allowed one homer all season. Can he continue to avoid the long ball? Still, his shortest outing of the year came against the Astros in his first start of the season and he walked five in five innings. He's also struggled in two home starts this year with a 5.54 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Jason Vargas has 14 Ks and one walk over his last two outings, both victories for the Royals. He faces the White Sox in Kansas City where he has a 4.09 ERA this season and the White Sox have the third most homers in baseball this season versus lefties. OK, I'm stretching. I cannot possibly list every pitcher in the plus column today.
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.