'Joe Mauer' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’ve partnered with DraftDay.com to give all my wonderful followers, that’s you, the chance to play the game on a daily basis. I’ll be giving you some insight into the mind of The Oracle as I will give you some of my best plays for the day – even if I’m willing to admit that daily games are a bit of a crap shoot given the difficulty in predicting how a handful of at-bats will work out. With that, here are some of the better plays for Thursday.

To join a daily league remember to visit DraftDay.com by clicking on the link to their site.

One other source for those of you on Twitter. @MLBDailyLineups – lists all the lineups in one spot so you can make sure you don't have someone in your lineup that is sitting on the bench that day.

CATCHERS 1. Joe Mauer 2. Carlos Ruiz

Mauer is always a good play, period. When he sees John Lackey on the hill he becomes an elite play. Mauer is 10-for-23 (.435) with a couple of big flies against the righty.

Ruiz hasn't exactly started out on fire since he returned from his PED suspension, and he faces Patrick Corbin who has been nails this season. Still, Ruiz has always had success against lefties (.801 career OPS) and he's also shown a nice power stroke against lefties with 16 homers and 76 RBIs over 573 at-bats.

FIRST BASE 1. James Loney 2. Brandon Belt

It's time to give Loney some props for what has been a phenomenal start to his 2013 season. Not only is he batting .417 the past week but he's hitting .385 on the season (who's talking about that?). He's only 2-for-9 against R.A. Dickey but the knuckleballer has allowed 14 runs over his last 19 innings while losing 3-straight games.

Belt has been in and out of the lineup, and he's not exactly been impressive when on the field. So why suggest starting him Thursday? He faces Julio Teheran who has allowed batters to hit .333 off him this season pushing his career mark in 54.1 innings up to .301.

SECOND BASE 1. Dan Uggla 2. Daniel Murphy

Uggla is warming up at the dish (6-game hitting streak including three homers) and he faces Ryan Vogelsong who hasn't exactly been impressive this season (for more on Vogelsong see Mound Mayhem).

Murphy faces lefty Jeff Locke. Murphy likes to face lefties. He's batting .327 against them this year, he hit .283 against them last year, and for his career he's hit .281 with eight homers and 63 RBIs over the course of 427 at-bats.

THIRD BASE 1. Martin Prado 2. Miguel Tejada

Prado has been up and down this season (he's hitting a mere .227 on the year though he does have 19 runs scored in 33 games). He hasn't exactly hammered Cole Hamels but he has produced 15 hits while striking out only five times in 55 at-bats.

Two veterans square off when Tejada faces Freddy Garcia. In 58 previous at-bats Tejada has hit .310 with 13 RBIs. He's also hit well this season with seven hits in 19 at-bats (.368).

SHORTSTOP 1. Maicer Izturis 2. Stephen Drew

Izturis has three hits in seven at-bats against Mr. Price of the Rays. Izturis has also hit well the past week with a .286 mark over his last 21 at-bats.

Drew is finally locked in at the dish, and it's been a while since we could say that (he's hit .381 with a homer and five RBIs the past week). He's had some moderate success against Mr. Correia with a .250 average, one homer and six RBIs, but I just feel good about the matchup. Sue me.

OUTFIELD 1. Shane Victorino 2. Jose Bautista

Normally Kevin Correia gets beaten up by a lot of folks. He's been impressive this season with a 2.83 ERA and 1.14 WHIP for the Twins but look for Victorino to have some success given that he's 6-for-14, a .429 average, with a homer and six RBIs.

Bautista hasn't looked “right” for a large portion of the 2013 season, but that doesn't mean you should avoid him in what seems like a really tough matchup on paper. Bautista has hit .355 with four homers and seven RBIs in 31 at-bats against David Price who hasn't looked like himself for much of 2013 either.

STARTING PITCHERS 1. Jeremy Guthrie 2. David Price 3. Jason Vargas 4. Doug Fister

Guthrie faces his old team, the Orioles, and he's dominated the players currently on the roster holding them to a .167 average and .460 OPS over 48 at-bats. With a 2.40 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season he seems like the proverbial must-start.

Look past the 6.25 ERA and 1.48 WHIP of Price this season and you will note that there is still a lot going on there that is positive. Remove Mr. Bautista from current Jays players and you will find that Price has allowed just two homers in 152 at-bats to the rest of the club and that the rest of the unit is hitting just .230 against him as he has gone 12-2 with a 2.29 ERA against the Jays.

Vargas has held current Astros batters to two hits in 27 at-bats. He also tossed a nine inning shutout in his last outing and has dropped his ERA on the year down to 3.72.

And finally for those looking at early games, Fister is 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.13 WHIP this season. He faces the Nationals on the road, and batters have hit just .234 against him on the road this season.

To join a daily league remember to visit DraftDay.com by clicking on the link to their site.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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