Category Impact: Fun in Texas, Cincinnati and the South Side of Chicago
Todd highlights some under the radar weekend strong plays
Runs and RBI
The Arizona Diamondbacks are visiting the Chicago White Sox for a weekend of interleague tilts and the scoreboard operator should be busy. Anyone from either team are excellent candidates to pump up our runs and RBI but so long as Gordon Beckham is hitting on top of the Pale Hose order, he’s going to score.
Do the Rockies ever play in a pitcher’s park? Even when they go on the road they are in a great hitter’s environment as they follow up their visit to Arlington with a stint in Cincinnati and the Great American Ball Park. Here too runs should be plentiful with Chris Heisey and under the radar option to cross the dish as he’s seeing regular time with Jay Bruce out.
The Red Sox head to Texas for a set with the Rangers and should be able to put up some crooked numbers. As a bit of a harbinger, with a couple of southpaws scheduled to face Boston on Saturday and Sunday, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks could benefit and drive in some teammates.
The team is not scoring a ton, but any leadoff hitter is worth tracking so keep an eye on Ryan Kalish with the Cubs. He’s got 20/20 skills if he can just stay healthy. Well, OK, let’s call it 15/15.
May as well get right to it and highlight Napoli and Middlebrooks as candidates to get off the power schnide and knock some out of Arlington.
Teammates Juan Francisco and Adam Lind should continue to take solid hacks in the Rogers Centre as the Angels visit north of the border. Brett Lawrie is due back this weekend which many may suspect means the end of Francisco but don’t be shocked if Lawrie plays some at the keystone which makes Francisco a nice source of cheap power going forward. If he’s dropped in your league, it’s worth a flyer.
Speaking of the Angels, C.J. Cron is looking for his first Major League and will find the Rogers Centre friendlier than Angels Stadium and will look to take advantage.
So far on the still young season, Dayan Viciedo has yet to display the power expected. It’s only a matter of time before he gets the big fly stroke going and with the Diamondbacks in town, it could be sooner than later.
The aforementioned Kalish and Heisey can run a bit and may provide a few bags.
The team to look at this weekend is Texas, especially if Leonys Martin hits second versus righties. The recently promoted Rougned Odor may look to make a mark and run on the Red Sox, who historically don’t do a great job of steal prevention.
If Ender Inciarte can get on base the Diamondbacks would surely let him run (43 bags at Double-A last season with 7 at Triple-A previous to being promoted on April 30).
Wins and Strikeouts
Corey Kluber, Cleveland @ Tampa Bay – The secret is out but just in case, Kluber is a highly skilled pitcher that occasionally get hit. The Rays’ offense isn’t daunting and the Trop is a pitcher’s best friend.
Zach McAllister, Cleveland @ Tampa Bay – Though not as polished as Kluber, McAllister should also be able to take advantage of a good match-up.
Dillon Gee, N.Y. Mets vs. Philadelphia – As always, a great home play
Jonathon Niese, N.Y. Mets vs. Philadelphia – See Gee, Dillon
Alex Wood, Atlanta vs. Chi. Cubs – Could be his last start for a bit as a move to the bullpen is possible so look for Wood to make the decision difficult.
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay vs. Cleveland – Safe at home, needs to prove he can handle the road.
Robbie Erlin, San Diego vs. Miami – Better stuff than Stults but he too oughta think about giving #27 a free pass…or four.