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As we close in on the holiday you're getting ready to pack the cooler and kids up to drive to the family get together. Fireworks, fun, some Frisbee, BBQ and drinking are likely on the list of festivities. Before you check out for the weekend let Ray Flowers help you to set your lineups for Thursday July 3rd.
* NOTE: Players are listed in alphabetical order for the sake of making them easily sortable/findable. The matchups are also generated based on Batter vs. Pitcher data. Just because a player is not listed does not mean that he is a bad or good play. The players listed below are mentioned merely because of the BVP data for the matchup.
DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day
Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki are both 7-for-19 against Phil Hughes. That's good for a .368 batting average. Ellsbury also has four walks (.478 OBP) and three steals while Ichiro has knocked in four runners and stolen two bases.
Josh Hamilton faces lefty Brett Oberholtzer. He's hit .421 against lefties this year. Grant Green is right on his heels with a .417 average. Collin Cowgill also gets it done against southpaws with a .333 mark and three big flies in 81 at-bats.
Casey McGehee has produced a homer, five RBIs, a .364 average and 1.189 OPS against Kyle Kendrick over 13 plate appearances. Garrett Jones has done his thing as well with a .357 average an a homer in 14 at-bats.
Who wants to help to find extraterrestrial life?
Scott Van Slyke gets to face the suckey Franklin Morales (that's a highly scientific designation of course). SVS likes hitting off lefties as he's bashed them for six homers an a .291 average over just 55 at-bats.
Drew Stubbs gets along nicely when Zack Greinke is on the bump. In 21 at-bats he's hit .429. Oddly, in the 12 at-bats when he hasn't produced a hit he's struck out nine times. Hit or moss as they say.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Allen Craig is losing playing time, and he's never hit well against Madison Bumgarner going 3-for-16. That's still better than three other Cardinals against MadBum: Yadier Molina (2-for-12), Matt Holliday (2-for-14) and Mark Ellis (2-for-20).
J.D. Martinez has obliterated pitchers this season at a rate no one expected. Thursday he faces Erik Bedard, and that could be an issue given that he's hit all of .140 against lefties this season. Even Miguel Cabrera isn't a lock to have a big day. Miggy has hit just .231 with three homers in 78 at-bats against lefties.
Justin Morneau does not enjoy facing Zack Greinke. He certainly hasn't figured out the righty from the Dodgers. In 41 at-bats, a good sample size mind you, JM has hit .171 with a .429 OPS. That's just outright ugly. Michael Cuddyer has one less at-bat and has been more effective, but it's nothing to get overly excited about. Cuddyer has hit .250 with a .652 OPS over his 42 plate appearances.
Four Rays aren't likely to have much success against Max Scherzer if history is any guide. Here is the less than fearsome foursome: Evan Longoria (2-for-12), Desmond Jennings (1-for-12), Matt Joyce (2-for-15) and Ben Zobrist (2-for-15). That's 7-for-54, good for a .130 batting average.
Ginacarlo Stanton is hitting everyone, besides Kyle Kendrick. In 23 at-bats he's hit .130 with eight strikeouts in 23 at-bats.
For my thoughts on second half performance be sure to check out my UPDATED PLAYER RANKINGS.
Bookmark the following three sources to check daily after you read this piece.
Fantasy Alarm Lineups
MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Carlos Martinez has a great arm. He's also catching the Giants in a tough stretch where they are beat up and not producing. The Giants, the past two weeks, have a pathetic slash line of .226/.278/.332. As a team they've only hit three homers and stolen two bags. The game will be played at AT&T in San Francisco.
Max Scherzer has rebounded an allowed just three runs in his last two starts while striking out 21 over 13 innings. Yeah, that's good. He's got a 2.87 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over six starts against the Rays.
“Controversial US scientist creates deadly new flu strain for pandemic research.” Great, just what we need.
Masahiro Tanaka may not be human. In 16 big league starts he's gone 11-3 with a 2.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 127 KS in 115.2 innings. He pitches in Minnesota against the Twins.
Vance Worley has made three starts and allowed four runs. Thursday he faces the D'backs in Pittsburgh. The last two weeks the Diamondbacks haven't hit much of anything. Not only do they have a mere two homers, but they have batted .234 with a .293 OBP and .602 OPS. Personally I don't trust Worley, even if the recent trends say you should.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Erik Bedard has allowed three or fewer earned runs in five of his last six outings. The Tigers are a potent offense, they are 6th in OPS against lefties, and Bedard has failed to last six innings in eight of his last 10 starts.
Nathan Eovaldi had a 3.05 ERA on June 12th. In four starts since then he's allowed 16 runs to push his ERA up to 3.71. In those four starts he, and remember he throws 95 mph, has a total of 10 strikeouts. Oh, he's also allowed 33 hits in 24 innings. Starting him against the Phillies = risky.
Sonny Gray faces the powerful Blue Jays in Oakland. The park should help Gray a bit, but the Jays are an offense not to be trifled with. No club has more homers against righties this year, and the Jays also lead the AL in SLG against righties and OPS against righties. Gray is also coming off a poor effort (5 ER in 5 IP) and over his last four outings his ERA has gone from 2.45 to 3.20.
Seriously, I love this. A bit creepy though..
Phil Hughes is slumping. I told you it was coming. He's still not walking anyone – don’t know how he has 10 walks in 16 outings this season – but he's been bombed for 10 runs over his last two starts and he's allowed 27 hits over his last 21.2 innings. He held the Yankees to two runs over eight innings back on June 1st, but with the regression monster starting to eat into his efforts it would be wise to take a cautious approach given that he also has a 4.75 ERA over eight home starts.
Brett Oberholtzer has allowed just two walks and two runs his last two starts. At the same time he faced an Angels club that not only has a pushed him to a 5.25 ERA and 1.33 WHIP over two starts, but the Angels are also a pretty successful club when it comes to hitting lefties as they lead the AL in OPS against portsiders and are tied with the Orioles for the most homers in baseball against lefties.
Matt Shoemaker is no top of the rotation arm. He looked like one prior to getting blasted to the tune of eight runs over four innings in his last outing. All of a sudden his ERA is 4.50 and his WHIP is 1.30. Hard to think that those numbers will come down significantly. Plays the odds and avoid him against the Astros.
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.