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Stephen Strasburg should be on your bench and Norichika Aoki should be in your lineup. So is the world of batter versus pitcher matchups. Ray Flowers points out some other nuggets as you get ready to set your baseball lineup for August 14th.
* 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.
Adrian Gonzalez has eight hits in 20 at-bats against Aaron Harang. Three of those hits are big flies and he's driven in six runners. Matt Kemp also lights up Harang with a .368 batting average, two homers and six RBIs in 19 at-bats.
Shark Week has become an abomination.
Victor Martinez has gone deep once with seven RBIs against Francisco Liriano. He's also lit up the slash line over 29 plate appearances with a .481/.517/.815 series of marks. Makes Miguel Cabrera and his .310/.44/.621 line with two homers and eight RBIs over 29 at-bats seem a bit tame, doesn't it?
Mike Napoli has a robust .414 batting average to go along with two homers and seven RBIs in 29 at-bats. Dustin Pedroia has also had success with a .400 batting average over 20 at-bats. The pitcher those numbers have been posted against is Scott Feldman.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Coco Crisp has only three hits in 21 at-bats when he squares off against James Shields. Not a single RBI either. Jed Lowrie is batting .188 over 16 at-bats and Brandon Moss is 2-for-11. Also might add that John Jaso and Derek Morris are both 0-for-5 in the matchup.
How hungry are you? The super banana is coming!
Gerald Laird won't be playing against Roberto Hernandez. He has one hit in 14 at-bats. B.J. Upton also struggles with a .211 batting average over 19 at-bats. He has managed to run wild for five steals when on base.
Adam LaRoche has two homers against Dillon Gee in 25 at-bats but he's also batting .200 with a .286 OBP. Ian Desmond makes no bone about it. He stinks against Gee with a .200 batting average and 10 strikeouts over 35 at-bats (he has three big flies). Then there are two other infielders who struggle. Danny Espinosa has one hit in 13 at-bats while Anthony Rendon has hit .118 without a single walk in 17 trips to the plate.
Evan Longoria has two hits an a .182 batting average against Yu Darvish. Yunel Escobar has two hits an a .154 batting average. Ben Zobrist has two hits an a .200 batting average. Matt Joyce has one hit an a .111 batting average.
Bookmark the following four sources to check daily after you read this piece.
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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Chase Anderson, to the surprise of many including this scribe, continues to get it done for the D'backs. He pitches in Miami against the Marlins, and in five road starts this season he owns a 2.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He's also thrown 5-straight quality starts and has allowed a total of three runs in his last three outings – all which have come on solo homers. The Marlins are just 17th in OPS against righties and they rank just 15th in homers off righties even though they have the NL's best home run hitter in Giancarlo Stanton.
Mike Fiers pitches in Wrigley against the Cubs. The Cubbies are hitting a feeble .231 against righties with the third worst OPS against righties in the game. Fiers is coming off an eight inning, one run outing against the Dodgers, this after he dominated in the minors to the tune of a 2.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 7.59 K/BB ratio over 17 starts at Triple-A.
Aaron Harang allowed nine hits and four runs over six innings when he took on the Dodgers on July 29th. It was the only time in his last nine outings that he didn't post a quality start. Gotta say, I'm severely shocked at his success this season. He's lowered his ERA to 3.31, has won his last four decisions and he owns a 3.14 ERA at home where he faces the Dodgers.
Roberto Hernandez faces the Braves Thursday. Don't know if anyone noticed, but each of the five times he's taken the hill he's posted a quality start. He's also lowered his ERA from 4.48 to 3.83 in that time. Moreover, he's walked one batter in his last three outings, allowed one homer in his last eight, and the last time he faced the Braves, though he allowed four runs, only two were earned in his seven innings of work.
Francisco Liriano is locked in, and when that happens batters need to be put on warning – it's going to be a long day at the ball yard. Liriano has allowed a total of six runs over his last five outings. He's allowed only one homer in that time. He's walked a total of four batters in his last four games. He has a 2.96 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in nine road starts this season. He faces the Tigers in Detroit.
James Shields has turned things around after a long run of ineffectiveness. Over his last four starts he's allowed four earned runs, and one of those outings was against the Athletics who he held to two runs over eight innings. He faces the A's Thursday at home and he's pitched 10 games in Kansas City with a 3.12 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Scott Feldman faces the Red Sox in Fenway. Scott went my hometown junior college which I also attended (College of San Mateo), so I have a soft spot for him. He also has allowed a total of five runs his last three outings. So why the thumbs down? The last time he face Boston on July 11th he allowed 11 hits and seven runs in 5.1 innings. In 40.2 innings against the Sox in his career his ERA is 6.64 and his WHIP 1.75. In nine road starts this year his ERA is passable at 3.75 but that 1.52 WHIP is scary time.
Dillon Gee has a 3.38 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in eight home start this season. However, he also has a 4.84 ERA and 1.24 WHIP at night and lost his first start this season to the Nationals (4 ER in 6.2 IP). He's walked three batters in each of his last three starts as well, and the total of six homers allowed in five outings is a bit nerve racking. He faces the Nationals who are 14th in OPS against righties.
Edwin Jackson versus the Brewers at home. He has a 5.51 ERA and 1.59 WHIP at home. Over his last 10 starts he's never recorded more than 18 outs while going 2-5. He's allowed six homers in his last six starts. Only twice in his last nine starts has he recorded even six strikeouts. Yucktastic.
Stephen Strasburg has been really average this season in many respects. One part of his game that hasn't been average is his work on the road where he's been h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e. After giving up seven runs in his last start in Atlanta, Strasburg now owns a 5.25 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 12 road starts. Oh yeah, he's also 1-8 on the road. Even though he faces the Mets it should also be noted that the last time he faced them he allowed four runs in six innings.
Eric Stults has pitched better of late but he still owns a 5-13 record and 4.76 ERA on the year. His ERA on the road is 5.37 and his WHIP 1.47, and he moves to St. Louis to face a Cardinals club that is 10th in OPS against lefty hurlers.
Make sure you tune in to the Drive at 7 PM EDT, Monday through Friday on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius210, XM87), to hear Ray Flowers pontificate about the world of sports.