The weekend approaches, as does my trip to the Playboy Mansion. It's still a week away. I'll share more when we get closer to the event, but let's just say Ray Flowers and the grotto... it might be on. Here is a look at matchups for Friday, August 15th to help you set the old fantasy baseball lineups.
* 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
Elvis Andrus has hit a strong .333 over 24 at-bats against Garrett Richards. He's driven in three runs as well, but it's the five stolen bases that really excite. Leonys Martin has done him one better with six thefts despite the fact that he's only reached base seven times against Richards (his OBP is superb at .467).
Talk about a town that is going to the Dogs.
Alcides Escobar has 11 at-bats against the returning from injury Ricky Nolasco. Alcides has six hits in that time leading to a .545 average. Josh Willingham is batting .400 with four RBIs in 10 at-bats. Omar Infante is hitting .353 with four RBIs in 17 at-bats.
DJ LeMahieu faces Johnny Cueto in Colorado. DJL has five hits in eight at-bats in the matchup. He's also hit .321 at home this season.
Jonathan Lucroy has only six at-bats against Zack Greinke. Tiny sample size. Why list him them? Well he does have five hits. Lyle Overbay has a .346/.370/.731 slash line over 27 plate appearances as he's gone deep three times with eight RBIs. Gerardo Parra has also hit .333 over 24 at-bats.
Buster Posey doesn't seem to realize that Cole Hamels is a star on the bump. In 15 plate appearances Posey has hit four doubles, a homer and posted an OPS of 1.671. Gregor Blanco has a .353 mark over 17 at-bats. Angel Pagan has hit .278, big whoop, but he's hit a homer, drive in five and stolen five bags over 38 plate appearances.
DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day
Adrian Beltre has a .227/.292/.364 slash line over 24 plate appearances. Alex Rios has hit .278 with a steal but he also has one RBI and his OPS is just .596. Shin-Soo Choo is batting .200 with a 50 percent strikeout rate in 10 at-bats.
Going out on a bender... and I don't mean Howard Bender.
Michael Morse has been struggling and he's long had issues hitting Cole Hamels. In 22 at-bats he's batting .227 but it's the 11 strikeouts that really speaks to the depths he's fallen to. Pablo Sandoval has two homers, but he's also hit .241 with a .267 OBP over 30 plate appearances.
Ben Zobrist has three hits in 16 at-bats when facing Brandon McCarthy. He has taken him deep once. So has Desmond Jennings, but he's not 100 percent physically and that homer is his only hit in 11 at-bats in the matchup. Matt Joyce also has one hit in nine at-bats, James Loney one in six. Then there is Evan Longoria who has hit .167 with no RBIs in 12 at-bats.
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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target
Madison Bumgarner faces the Phillies at home. Surprisingly, he's just 4-6 at home this year. Worse yet, his ratios are ghastly with a 5.60 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. He did shut out the Phillies back on July 23rd though, and two of his last three outings have been shutouts. Given that the Phillies are 22nd in OPS against lefties, MadBum gets a slight nod.
Johnny Cueto in Colorado sounds really bad. However, this Rockies club is without Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. There's also Cueto's performance. Over his last 10 outings he's allowed three runs just once and he's allowed five runs over his last four outings, all ending with at least seven innings pitched and a “W.”
Danny Duffy has a 2.19 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 13 outings on the road this season. The last time he faced the Twins, July 30th, he limited them to one run over 5.2 innings. Watch the walks though. Duffy issued six free passes in that outing.
Cole Hamels is a must start, is he not? Not only are the Giants just 23rd in OPS against lefties, but it's Cole Hamels. In 11 road starts this season he has a 1.55 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and he's allowed a total of four runs, three earned, over his last five starts.
Lance Lynn has dropped his ERA to 2.97 as he's allowed a total of 10 earned runs over his last seven outings. He face a Padres team that he held to two runs (one earned) back on July 29th. He's also 7-3 at home with a 2.60 ERA and 1.22 WHIP this season.
Jimmy Nelson takes on the Dodgers for the second straight time (this game is in L.A.). Last time out he tossed a 4th straight quality start as he held the Dodgers to two runs over six innings. Particularly heartening for the youngster is the fact that he's walked two or fewer batters in each of the five starts he's made since he was recalled. He's not beating himself.
Garrett Richards has a 1.91 ERA and 0.91 WHIP on the road this season. The last time he faced the Rangers he tossed seven shutout innings (July 11th). He's also allowed one earned run over his last two outings.
Zack Wheeler faces the Cubs. The Cubs are 3rd from the bottom in baseball in OPS against righties. Over his last eight outings Wheeler has allowed more than two runs just one time – he gave up three runs in his last outing. Over those eight outings he's picked up a quality start each time. The game is in New York.
MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid
Jason Hammel faces the Braves in Atlanta. He's allowed just one run over his last two outings after permitting 17 in the previous three starts. However, he's still walked six and struck out only seven in those solid two outings, and in 13 road starts this season he owns a 4.29 ERA. He's also got just one win in his six outings with the Athletics.
Ricky Nolasco against the Royals in Minnesota. Just look at the numbers he brings into his first start since going down with an elbow issue – 5.90 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 5-7 record.
Could cancer be cured by been, scorpion and snake venom?
Tyson Ross is a totally difference pitcher on the road. He goes to St. Louis with a 3.48 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 12 road starts. While he did hold the Cardinals to one run over six innings on July 29th, he did walk five batters in the outing.
Marcus Stroman rebounded from his worst outing in a month to allow two runs in a complete game against the Tigers. Still, he has just five strikeouts in his last two outings and his 4.78 ERA and 1.52 WHIP is seven outings on the road don't exactly inspire confidence. The White Sox are also 9th in OPS against righties this season.