I've been answering questions all day Friday. Jeff Mans and I held the weekly Live Chat (Fridays at 2 PM EDT). I wrote an article about daily fantasy baseball and our partnership with DraftKings. Now I'm pounding the keys looking for the best daily matchups for Saturday and Sunday at the end of Week 13 of the MLB season.
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.
Mark Ellis is playing with the shoulder issues that Kolten Wong is dealing with. In 22 at-bats against Zack Greinke, Ellis has hit .318 with four RBIs. He's also stolen a bag. John Jay is at .375 in 16 at-bats. Matt Holliday is batting .300 with two homers in 20 at-bats.
Martin Prado is batting .375 with a homer and five RBIs over 24 at-bats.
Alex Rios sees a batting machine when Phil Hughes is on the hill. In 27 at-bats he's hit .481 with a homer and five RBIs. Also stolen two bases for good measure. Carlos Pena is recently signed by the Rangers, but he's had success against Hughes as well batting .333 with three homers in 15 at-bats.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Shin-Soo Choo has had a disappointing season thus far, and he's long had woes when trying to hit Phil Hughes. He has one single and one walk over 12 plate appearances. Elvis Andrus also blows chunks with two hits in 16 at-bats.
Paul Goldschmidt is having a great season. He's also a hitting a mere .211 over 19 career at-bats against Eric Stults. Aaron Hill is batting .214 over 14 at-bats. Cody Ross is .176 over 17 at-bats and Gerardo Parra is batting .136 over 22 at-bats.
Desmond Jennings is one of a few Rays who don't exactly beat up on Wei-Yin Chen. In 23 at-bats the supposed offensive force has hit .174 with no runs batted in. Sean Rodriguez has a homer but he's also batting .118 over 17 at-bats. Even Longoria is batting .235 with one RBI in his 17 at-bats.
Kendrys Morales has been mostly a bore for the Twins since he returned to action. Yu Darvish should continue those moderate efforts of Morales given that Kendrys has hit .136 with nine Ks in 22 at-bats.
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Phil Hughes, and I'm still not buying it, continues to roll. He has one walk in four outings. He's struck out 32 batters in 34 innings in June. He's got a 1.03 WHIP for the month. He's the owner of a 2.09 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over seven outings against the Rangers (38.2 innings). Guess you trust him for now.
Jonathon Niese has a 2.78 ERA and in 15 starts he's yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game. He held the Pirates to two runs over 5.2 innings back on May 27th and he's also pitched very well on the road this season (2.92 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.40 K/BB).
Chris Sale starts in Toronto. Duh. He has a 0.86 WHIP over 11 starts.
Alex Gordon is 1-for-9 against Hector Santiago. Mike Moustakas is 0-for-9. Billy Butler is 1-for-7. Salvador Perez is 1-for-2. Alcides Escobar is 2-for-9. Given all of that, and the overall line of the Royals against Santiago (.188/.296/.261 over 69 ABs) it's hard not to give the struggling hurler some consideration Saturday.
Yordano Ventura faces the Angels at home Saturday. The Angels are middle of the pack in Ks versus righties, and they are top third in OPS. Ventura though has last seven innings his last three outings. He's also walked just four batters in that time. He's been beaten for a big fly just once in five outings. He's also tossed a quality start in 4-straight.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Erik Bedard has a 6.30 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over seven starts against the Orioles. He's made five starts on the road this year and has a 1.57 WHIP and .297 BAA. His last three outings he's failed to average even five innings and four times in his last six outings he's failed to last five frames. Can't get a win doing that.
Yu Darvish has a 2.12 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in seven home starts. He faces the Twins in Texas. Sounds like a good matchup to exploit. However, Darvish has lost his last two outings while allowing 12 runs (only eight have been earned so some haven't noticed how off he's been). He's also walked nine batters over the 11 innings. You fully confident that his neck is OK?
Gio Gonzalez faces the Cubs who are batting .265 with a .747 OPS, the 8th best mark in baseball against lefties. The game takes place in Chicago and in six road starts this year Gio has a mere 4.54 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Wrapped around his injury he's also failed to record 16 outs in three of his last four outings.
Ervin Santana has lost three straight decisions. He's allowed 21 hits and six walks over 18.1 innings. The result is a 1.47 WHIP. He's also allowed 12 runs. The result is a 5.89 ERA. He's allowed three homers in the three outings. He's also allowed 15 homers in eight starts on the road. He faces the Phillies in Philly.
Marcus Stroman has an elevated 4.25 ERA but that number has come down in 5-straight starts. Four of those five starts have been “quality” and he's allowed a mere six walks in that time. The White Sox are 9th in baseball in OPS against righties, and his upside is limited in the win column given that he's set to face Chris Sale.