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Thursday August 21st, the matchup, there in here. There's also an interesting situation to point out. The vast majority of hurlers for the day profile as good starting options. Be that because of the matchup or recent returns, the majority of hurlers Thursday have at least some reason to recommend them for a starting spot in your lineup.

DISH DIAMONDS – The Best Hitting Matchups of the Day

Starlin Castro has hit .417 over 24 at-bats against Madison Bumgarner

Carl Crawford has six hits in 10 at-bats when Tyson Ross is on the hill. He's also been on fire the past two weeks. 

Scott Hairston has hit three doubles and a homer in 13 at-bats when Wade Miley was on the hill. He's batting .385 with eight RBIs in the matchup. 

Baseball has its own fashion sense.

Torii Hunter has six hits in 14 at-bats against Alex Cobb. That's a .400 average. 

Joe Mauer has returned from injury, and he's finally looking like Joe Mauer. He's got five hits in 13 at-bats against Corey Kluber. One of the hits was a big fly. Trevor Plouffe has been even better. He has six hits in 14 at-bats including two homers and four RBIs. 

Hunter Pence has a .333-1-4 line over 18 at-bats against Travis Wood

DISH DISASTERS – Worst Hitting Matchups of the Day 

Brian Dozier is slumping and he's dropped to 1-for-11 against Corey Kluber. Chris Parmalee has one hit in nine at-bats. 

A.J. Ellis has six strikeouts in nine at-bats when Tyson Ross is on the hill. He is also 1-for-9 overall. 

I just don't get it. Do you?

Buster Posey has two hits in 12 at-bats including four strikeouts over 12 at-bats against Travis Wood. Odd I know. 

Anthony Rizzo has one hit in eight at-bats when Madison Bumgarner is on the mound. He's also struck out four times.

Mark Trumbo has struck out in half of his 12 at-bats when he faces the struggling Gio Gonzalez. He's batting .250 with no RBIs.

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MOUND MAVENS – Starting Pitchers to Target

Lots of good pitching will be on display Thursday...

Madison Bumgarner faces the Cubs in Chicago. The Cubs hit lefties with a .750 OPS, the 6th best mark in baseball, but it's MadBum they are facing and he's no average lefty. In 14 road starts this season he has a 1.72 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. The last time he faced the Cubs he threw eight shutout innings. In four of his last six starts overall he's also allowed one or no runs for the Giants.  

Alex Cobb is pretty much a must start at hits point. He will take on the Tigers at home where he has a 3.16 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over nine starts. The last time he faced off with the team from Motown he tossed 7.1 scoreless innings. The last time he took the hill he tossed 7.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees. Over his last five starts he's allowed a total of four runs. Yeah, he's locked in. 

Phil Hughes the last three games: two walks, 22 strikeouts, three runs allowed and three wins. He faces the Indians at home Thursday. Matchup isn't likely to be a cakewalk though as the Indians are third in baseball in OPS against righties. 

Corey Kluber has won his last six decisions. He's lowered his ERA from 2.99 to 2.41 in that time as he's allowed nine runs in eight outings. Pitch him against the Indians in Minnesota (he has a 2.37 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 13 road starts).

Wade Miley has lost it of late, at least a little bit. His season was ruined when he was left in to absorb 10 runs on August 5th (great coaching). In the two starts he's made since he's allowed four earned runs as he's righted the ship. He's actually a sneaky play Thursday. Not only has he pitched better of late, but he's got a 2.59 ERA in four starts against the Nationals and he has a 2.86 ERA in 13 road starts this season. 

Tyson Ross has allowed as many as three runs just once in his last 10 starts. The last time he faced the Dodgers he allowed one run over seven innings. His numbers certainly show him to be a much better pitcher at home, but Ross still has a 3.56 ERA and 70 Ks in 78.1 innings on the road. 

Matt Shoemaker pitches in Fenway Thursday. The last time he faced the Red Sox he tossed three scoreless innings and picked up a win (that was just days ago on August 9th). He's won four of his last five starts overall. He's allowed zero, two, two and two earned runs in his last four starts. Matt has walked, get this, three batters in his last seven outings while striking out 33 batters. He's also 10-4 with a 1.12 WHIP in 82.2 innings under the lights at night. 

Travis Wood stinks. Not hearing from folks that I was 100 percent right on him when I said his hot start was a mirage. He's not the worst start in the world Thursday though. He's posted a 3.41 ERA against the Giants in five career starts. He allowed one run, that was unearned, the last time he faced the Giants. He's posted a 3.72 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in home starts this season. 

MOUND MESSES – Starting Pitchers to Avoid

Rubby De La Rosa faces the Angels at home. In two starts against the Angels he's allowed three big flies on his way to a 4.15 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. He also permitted six runs over four innings in his last outing and each of his last three trips to the bump he's allowed at least three walks. 

Gio Gonzalez has failed to earn 16 outs in three of his last four starts. He's also allowed 27 hits and nine walks over his last 19.1 innings. That's a WHIP of 1.86. Not ERA but WHIP. Over his last four starts he's also seen his ERA climb from 3.56 to 4.06. He's just a mess right now. He's also got a 4.67 ERA in 10 home starts this season. He faces the D'backs. 

David Price returns “home” to face the Rays in Tampa. Price has posted a 3.18 Era and 0.97 WHIP over three starts with the Tigers going 1-0. No way to know how he will perform in his first trip back, but probably pretty well even though the Rays will have quite an extensive “book” on what to expect with him. On a lark, I would pass just in case he struggles. 

Julio Teheran has a 6-7 record with a 4.27 ERA on the road this season. He's allowed four homers in his last four starts and eight in his last eight. He's lost three of his last four decisions. He pitches in Cincy. 


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