Who has the best and worst matchups for the weekend? Ray Flowers gives it a pass through noting which matchups are advantageous and which ones will end up like the fat kid at a school dance – disappointing, lonely and painful.
Note: This article is being written on Friday. Make sure you check the injury reports and lineups for the weekend before blindly setting your lineup based simply on this piece.
Hot hitters the last two weeks.
Seth Smith - .447-4-11-8-1
Lonnie Chisenhall - .444-2-5-5
A.J. Pollock - .409-2-6-6-5
Eduardo Escobar - .382-0-4-1
Brandon Moss - .362-5-15-11
Garrett Jones - .357-1-8-10
Junior Lake - .357-2-9-5-1
Jason Heyward - .333-1-3-6-3
Yan Gomes - .333-2-6-10
J.J. Hardy - .333-0-3-7
Cold hitters the last two weeks.
Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .116 with no homers or RBIs.
Jonathan Villar is batting .150 with a .171 OBP.
Anthony Rendon has two RBIs while batting .152.
Dee Gordon is batting .174 with two RBIs. At least he has four steals.
Austin Jackson is batting .178 with a .502 OPS.
Mike Napoli is batting .194 with no homers and two RBIs.
Matt Carpenter is batting .212 with no homers and three runs scored.
Anthony Rizzo is batting .220 with one homer.
Nolan Arenado is batting .233 with two RBIs.
Albert Pujols is batting .222 with a .250 OBP.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Marlon Byrd has made a career out of tormenting Dan Haren. Byrd is batting .500 with two homers, four doubles, and five RBIs over 24 at-bats. That's some kind of hitting.
Freddie Freeman has only eight at-bats against Juan Nicasio but he's made the righty look pathetic with a .625 average and seven RBIs. Did I mention that he also has a double, triple and three homers in those eight at-bats? That's a remarkable level of success. Jason Heyward, mentioned above, is boring in comparison “just” going 5-for-9 in the matchup.
Howie Kendrick is even more impressive against James Shields than Byrd is against Haren. I know, that's saying something. Kendrick has hit .565 in 23 at-bats with four doubles, a triple an a homer. He's also drive in nine runs.
Pablo Sandoval has nine hits in 18 at-bats against Ricky Nolasco. Murders him. Four of those hits were doubles, three have been homers, and he's posted the following slash line: .500/.550/1.222. Yeah, I think you want the Panda in your lineup Saturday. Hunter Pence has also had success hitting .313 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 32 at-bats. Here's the rest of the Giants who mash Nolasco: Gregor Blanco (.421 in 19 ABs), Buster Posey (.400 in 20 ABs) and Angel Pagan (.308 in 26 ABs).
Mark Teixeira crushes John Danks to the tune of a 1.532 OPS over 13 plate appearances. He's batting .583 with a homer and five RBIs. He's also stolen a base for the cherry on top. Jacoby Ellsbury, noted for his dramatic struggles of late, has also hit Danks well with six hits in 11 at-bats. He doesn't have a steal. Derek Jeter has hit .353 off Danks (17 ABs) while Brian Roberts is at .333 with a homer and five RBIs in 27 at-bats.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
David DeJesus has struck out in a third of his 24 at-bats against Jake Peavy, and though he's driven in five runs he's batting .167 with a .259 OBP. Yunel Escobar has one hit in 12 at-bats while Evan Longoria is batting .222 with nary a walks in 18 at-bats.
David Ortiz seems to hit everyone, but he doesn't have much success against the lefty from Florida – David Price. In 37 at-bats Big Papi hasn't gone deep, is batting .259, and has a mere .286 OBP. Ortiz isn't the only Sox batter who struggles as Mike Napoli has one one homer in 27 at-bats while, get this, striking out a shocking total of 15 times. Even Dustin Pedroia struggles with a .267 batting average in 45 at-bats.
Alex Rios doesn't hit Rick Porcello. Well he does infrequently, he has three homers and seven RBIs, but he's also batting .211 with a .211 OBP over 38 at-bats. Elvis Andrus is worse with one hit in 12 at-bats.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Dan Haren has had quite the bounce back season. His ERA is 3.18, he's gone 5-2 and his K/BB ratio is better than 4:1. He has working on a run of five quality starts in six outings, though it should be noted that he's allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last four starts so he's not exactly on fire. Back on April 24th he held the Phillies to three runs (one earned) over six innings.
Mike Minor is at home against the Rockies. I'd be focusing more on the fact that he's looked locked in his last two starts, both 6.2 inning victories, during which time he's allowed two run while striking out 11 than on the opponent.
David Price is all about the Ks an avoiding walks at the moment even though I keep getting questions about what is wrong with him? My response is usually something akin to – nothing. Price has held the current Red Sox roster to a .223 batter average, .281 OBP and .348 SLG. Given that he's also got 77 Ks and just six walks in 10 starts this year, I'm buying Saturday. At some point as well he's got to stop giving up homers (11 so far).
Ryan Vogelsong has been nails in May for the Giants. In four starts he's the proud owner of a 2.05 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and has 22 Ks in 26.1 innings. He's also starting at home where in five starts this year he has a 2.61 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 3.86 K/BB ratio. He takes on the Twins in the Saturday evening contest.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Tony Cingrani has allowed seven runs and four homers, four, over his last two starts (just 10 innings). He's also walked five guys in that time, and over his last three starts he's allowed 19 hits in 16 innings. He still misses up in the zone at times, and he's yet to be able to harness his stuff consistently. Given that he's made only one ineffective start since returning from the DL it's probably wise to pass on him in his start against the Cards.
Gerrit Cole takes on the Nationals in Pittsburgh, a spot where he's posted a 3.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in four outings this year. Still, he's failed to complete six innings in two of his last four starts, has allowed three homers in his last four outings, and for the month of May his ratios certainly don't impress (4.74 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). He's also got a terrible line this season in night games (4.40 ERA, 1.53 WHIP over five starts.).
You saw what the Giants do to Ricky Nolasco above, didn't you? Nolasco has been battered, battered, by the Giants allowing the following slash line in nearly 190 plate appearances: .320/.372/.523.
I'm sorry, but this just isn't right. Ouch.
Wily Peralta has a 2.18 ERA on the year ans has been great given his draft day cost. He's also lost his last two decisions, and over his last three starts (18 innings) he's allowed 25 hits, two homers and only struck out 12. Given that the game takes place in Miami where the Marlins have the second best team OPS at home in baseball, Peralta is a dicey start.
Travis Wood has won his last two outings, but he's also allowed 14 runs over his last 17 innings during which times he's walked 11 batters. Petco is a great place to pitch, but Wood has just been too inconsistent to trust. Oh, he also has an 8.02 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in four away starts this season.