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Sometimes you're inspired and greatness flows through your fingers. Today is not one of those days. Mind you even with my “Oracleness” at less than 100 percent I still feel like I've been able to lay out the matchups pretty well for Thursday, May 22nd. Hopefully you will agree. I think it's the inevitable hangover after watching Godzilla smash up the world last night.

DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
 
Charlie Blackmon has been a star this season, we all know it. He's also getting a chance to hit in Colorado (his home OPS is nearly 1.200) against the returning from injury Tim Hudson. Toss in a 5-for-8 spell in the matchup and Blackmon is a good bet to have success.

If Coco Crisp is healthy enough to be in the lineup he should be starting for you. He's hit two homers in 15 at-bats against Alex Cobb and he's also hit .467 with five steals. That's utter domination folks.

Mark Ellis, what do you know, crushes Wade Miley. That's an apt term too, “crushes.” You could use that term merely if you looked at his .435 batting average. When you note that his SLG is 1.000 – that's a base per at-bat folks – it's excitement time. Ellis has four bombs in 23 at-bats.

David Ortiz is one of many Red Sox who turn into bash brother's when Mark Buehrle is on the bump. Ortiz has hit .329 with four homers and 14 RBIs over 76 at-bats. Will Middlebrooks has hit .444 in 18 at-bats. A.J. Pierzynski is also over .400 at .409 in 22 at-bats. Dustin Pedroia is at .389 in his 36 at-bats.

Lyle Overbay has 11 hits, including a homer and five doubles, in 25 at-bats against Aaron Harang. That's good for a .440 batting average.

And if you want to throw a dart on a dirt cheap guy... Darwin Barney, who can't hit, has hit Eric Stults in his career to the tune of a .500 line with a homer in 10 at-bats.

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day

Three Athletics get to face Alex Cobb in his first start back from injury but considering that they each have 10 at-bats and have produced a total of one single it's pretty fair to posit that they aren't exactly looking forward to the matchup. That trio is Yoenis Cespedes, Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick. Cespedes has the hit. Three other A's have one hit against Cobb in Josh Jaso (7 ABs), Josh Donaldson (8 ABs) and Eric Sogard (9 ABs).

Ryan Braun has three homers in 32 at-bats against lucky as all get out Aaron Harang. Unfortunately for Braun he's also struck out eight times and produced a mere .219 batting average and .306 OBP. Still, that's way better than Jonathan Lucroy who is hitless in 10 at-bats.

Curtis Granderson has hit .179 with 10 strikeouts in 39 at-bats against Zack Greinke. Not that you would play Bobby Abreu anyway, but since I'm being thorough Abreu has a .226 average and .294 OBP over 33 plate appearances.

Brett Lawrie hasn't found much success against Jon Lester. He's gone deep twice in 28 at-bats which is nice, but he's also hit .214 with a .290 OBP in 30 plate appearances. Edwin Encarnacion has done much the same with two homers and six RBIs in 39 at-bats against Lester. He's only hit .205 with a .279 OBP though. Finally, Jose Bautista has four homer and eight RBIs in 57 at-bats but he's failed to reach the Mendoza Line (.193) with a .284 OBP. It seems like it's homer or bust for this trio. Let's not forget Adam Lind before we move on. He has 12 strikeouts in 29 at-bats while hitting .103. Not good, but then again, it's better than the 1-for-19 spot Jose Reyes is saddled with.

Pablo Sandoval has hit .306 with a homer in 36 at-bats against Jorge De La Rosa. However he's hit under .170 against lefties this season as he just can't seem to get his righty swing on-track.

Giancarlo Stanton has been stupendous this season. He's likely to be awful Thursday. Not only has he hit a mere .229 against Cole Hamels but he's produced 16 strikeouts in just 35 at-bats. Wow that's bad.

Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez look nothing like their all-star selves when they face Tim Hudson. Tulo is terrible with a .235 batting average and .572 OPS in 18 plate appearances, but CarGo is awful with marks that are even worse in his 16 plate appearances (.143 and .464).

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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

Jarred Cosart has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 5-straight starts. He faces the Mariners in Seattle, and they just haven’t hit well there with a hideous .630 home OPS, the third worst mark in baseball. Cosart is a low upside play, but the matchup looks promising.  

Aaron Harang is like the gal you call at midnight on Saturday night. You don't really want to pull the trigger, but you feel kinda backed into the lonely corner. Same thing with Harang. I don't want to suggest starting him, but let's face facts. He shutout the Brewers over 6.2 innings on April 2nd and he's allowed two or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts this season.

Is this a yeti? You might know it better as the Abominable Snowman.

Jon Lester has a 2.67 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 73 Ks in 60.2 innings this season. He's been dominant. As I noted above he's also had astounding success against the current Jays roster over the years. The Jays have 302 at-bats against him and the slash line looks like a backup middle infielder for a last place team (.195/.253/.334). Lester is lined up for continued success Thursday.

Lance Lynn faces the D'backs, a team that he's had success against with a strikeout per inning, a 2.37 Era and 1.26 WHIP in five outings. Lynn has also allowed as many as four earned runs just once in seven starts.

Eric Stults pitches at home where he has a 3.74 ERA this season in four outings. He's also coming off back-to-back quality starts including his last outing in which he allowed only one earned run in a start in Colorado. Stults has walked one batter in his last three outings and three in his last six outings as he's simply not beating himself. The Twins are also in the bottom quarter of all big league clubs against lefty pitching according to OPS.

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Henderson Alvarez continues to be a maddening own. He's allowed 17 hits and three walks over his last two starts (10 innings) while he's allowed 10 runs (nine earned). That bring him to a total of three of his last four outings with at least four earned runs allowed. He's also sporting a 1.43 WHIP this season and has just one outing with more than five Ks. He also faces a Phillies squad that his posted a 1.77 WHIP off him in two starts. He's been really good at home this year – 2.33 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in four starts – but you just cannot trust him given the inconsistency.

Mark Buehrle faces the Red Sox in Fenway Thursday. The current Sox roster has hit .315 with a .852 OPS and 11 homers in 337 career at-bats versus the lefty. MB also got blasted for 12 hits, three walks and seven runs (six earned) in a matchup with the Sox back on April 25th. Do yourself a favor and don't call on the lefty in this one.  

Maybe it's smart to avoid being nice.

Jonathon Niese faces the Dodgers and Zack Greinke Thursday. With how well Greinke has pitched, and how poor the Mets offense is, betting on a “W” from Niese seems extremely risky. Niese also lasted just four innings in his last outing and has given up 16 hits and three walks over his last 10 innings.

David Phelps is having a difficult time keeping the walks in check having issues 10 over his last 17.1 innings. That has left him with a terrible 1.79 K/BB ratio on the year. He's set to face the White Sox on the road, and Phelps hasn't liked working away from home this year with a 5.09 ERA and 1.58 WHIP away from Yankee Stadium.

Hopefully I don't have to say it, but don't start Edinson Volquez against the Nationals. He's lost four of his last five starts and over his last four outings he's allowed 20 runs in 20.2 innings.


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