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It's July 4th. You should be out having a good time with your family. Some of us though, the lucky few, still have some work to do. After all we want you to enjoy your day, and part of that enjoyment comes from the world of sports. Let Ray Flowers help you to set your baseball lineups for Independence Day.
* 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
Nelson Cruz has killed lefties this season and he's murdered Jon Lester throughout his career. In 24 at-bats Lester has given up a .458-3-5 line to Cruz who is also holding a 1.519 OPS. Adam Jones, Nelson's partner in crime against lefties, has bashed Lester to a .321 average and .406 OBP over 64 plate appearances. Is that a win though when Jones doesn't have one homer?
Buster Posey has eight hits in 18 at-bats (.444 with two homers). As impressive as that effort is against Eric Stults, Pablo Sandoval has been even more impressive with a .480 batting average over 25 at-bats. He's also driven in four runs. Joaquin Arias has a homer and is batting .381 over 21 at-bats. Then there is Hunter Pence, the Giants new leadoff man. Pence has hit .300 with three homers and nine RBIs in 30 at-bats.
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DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Chris Davis is an utter failure against Jon Lester. That's what I'm calling a 3-for-27 effort with nine strikeouts. Delmon Young has also been dreadful in the matchup hitting .176 with eight Ks an no homers over 34 at-bats.
Matt Dominguez has two hits in 16 at-bats against C.J. Wilson. Jason Castro is half as bad. He has one hit in eight at-bats. Jose Altuve, yes even Mr. .400, has struggled in the matchup. He's hit .222 with no steals over 18 at-bats.
Todd Frazier has yet to figure out Kyle Lohse. He's made 12 trips to the dish and has collected only one single. Brandon Phillips has 37 at-bats against Kyle and he's hit .243 with a .572 OPS. Far from impressive has the Reds' second sacker been. Oh Ryan Ludwick. Let's hope you aren't active after tossing out a 4-for-31 spell (.083).
Aaron Hill, who I wrote about in the most recent version of the Oracle Report has really struggled when Ervin Santana has been on the bump. He's got a homer does Hill, but he's also the owner of a .194/.219/.290 slash line over 32 plate appearances.
Troy Tulowitzki is the best hitter in the history of baseball when playing at Coors. So why is he on the downer list? In 52 at-bats Tulo has hit .231 with a .678 OPS against Clayton Kershaw. Troy has gone deep twice, but with the way Kershaw has been pitching he might be able to overcome the Coors effect. Drew Stubbs is batting .143 with nine strikeouts over 21 at-bats. Wilin Rosario has a homer against Kershaw but he's also got nine Ks in 20 at-bats.
Will Venable has hit .2223 with 13 Ks in 45 at-bats against Matt Cain. Cameron Maybin has hit .250 with a .650 OPS over 20 plate appearances. He doesn't have a steal. Then there is Mr. Automatic Out. That would be Seth Smith who has three hits in 32 at-bats (.094). Mr. Auto Out #2 is Carlos Quentin. He has two hits in 20 at-bats.
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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Josh Collmenter has allowed two runs over his last three outings but he's facing the Braves on the road, and he doesn't usually have success away from home this year (4.26 ERA, 1.47 WHIP). Still, the Braves do struggle though against righties, they are 4th from the bottom in OPS against them, and their overall home OPS is 22nd.
Clayton Kershaw in Colorado. Start him. Nothing can stop this man right now. Not even a lack of air pressure. He's won his last six games while lowering his ERA from 3.57 to 2.04. The guy has also allowed two runs over his last five starts. Oh, and his last six games have also resulted in 61 strikeouts and four walks.
Jonathon Niese twirls the rawhide at home against the Rangers. He's still looking for his first outing this season with more than three earned runs allowed, and in seven home starts he's sporting a 2.62 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He's also got nearly identical numbers in 11 night starts on the year (2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP).
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Ervin Santana has righted the ship his last two outings. He hasn't allowed a homer, has walked only two batters and has struck out 14 over 12.2 innings. He faces a D'backs squad that he held to one unearned run over seven innings back on June 7th. The last two weeks the Diamondbacks have also been cold with only two homers an a .232 batting average.
Alfredo Simon has allowed one run in three of his last four starts, and he's allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of 10 outings. He's also failed to record more than five Ks in any of his last eight outings, but why quibble with success? Back on May 4th he held the Brewers to three runs over seven innings and though his ERA is a bit elevated at 3.55 at home he's also sporting a 1.08 WHIP in six home outings.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Roenis Elias faces a White Sox club that is the 5th worst in baseball in OPS against lefties. About all they do against lefties is hit the occasional homer. Elias will take on the Sox in Chicago having allowed five homers in his last five games and twice in his last four outings he's allowed at least five earned runs. Given the lack of Ks of late, 17 over his last four outings, and the two bad outings, he's a blahtastic option. I love that word.
Nathan Eovaldi has really seen his efforts even out. Over his last four outings his ERA has gone from 3.05 to 3.71, and over those four games he's struck out 10 batters – total. Three of those four games he's permitted at least five earned runs and he's allowed 33 hits in 24 innings. He faces the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Dallas Keuchel faces the Angels in Anaheim Friday. It may not be a good matchup. DK has allowed nine runs (eight earned) over his last two outings (both loses). He's walked eight batters his last two games. He's sporting a 5.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over six outings against the Angels in his career as well.
Eric Stults pitches in San Diego against the Giants. That's one plus. A second is that he's allowed a total of seven runs his last three starts. So ends the positive. Stults has lost his last eight decisions. He has a 5.27 ERA and 1.46 WHIP at home this year. The last time he faced the Giants he allowed five runs and recorded eight outs pushing his career numbers against them to 5.31 and 1.45. Nothing to see here.
C.J. Wilson has allowed 10 runs over his last two outings, and over his last four trips to the bump his ERA has gone from 3.32 to 3.90. He's also walked four batters in two of his last three outings and the four homers allowed in four games is very uncharacteristic of him. He faces an Astros team that is 8th in baseball in OPS against lefties.
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.