Summer is almost out of here, so we are trying to drink the rest of the Daiquiries and Margaritas we have left from the machine – we have a lot left and so little time, scha-mon! It reminds us that baseball still has the unwritten rules in place for awhile longer, like what we saw Tuesday night, when the Astros were killing the Yankees – if anyone thought you would ever say that the last few decades – we need to talk. Anywhoo, it got crazy, and I have no idea why these rules exist, except to give grown men a reason to act like morons – makes them feel tougher when they are getting their a$$e$ handed to them, I guess. Tonight it looks like a fireworks show in Toronto, so let’s open another case of tequila and rum, pour it into the frozen machine and enjoy!
Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas
Max Scherzer vs. Miami Marlins(-240) – The poor Marlins. They struggle to hit as it is, now tonight they have to face Max Scherzer? That’s just unfair. Scherzer has been fantastic this season, as expected, checking in with a 2.79 ERA with a WHIP of 0.93 and a K/9 of 10.5. It’s been said time and time again if you read this article on the regular, but the Marlins are one of the worst offensive teams in the second half of the season. They come in with an overall wOBA of .293 in the second half of the season, ranked 27th during that time span. Their power is basically non existent, with an ISO of .109, which is dead last in the league. Truly, I don’t think anyone really has much to worry about here when it comes to this start. The only factor that causes some trouble is the fact that the Marlins don’t strike out much. They own the second to last strikeout percentage in the league during the second half, at 17%. Only the Royals have a lower strikeout percentage during that time. This could be a brutal night for the Marlins, as Scherzer not only is the favorite for Vegas, but one of the guys I like tonight as well. He’s going to be expensiveeeeee tonight at 12,500 so keep that in mind.
Francisco Liriano vs. Colorado Rockies(-220)- It’s funny because when you think of the Rockies, you think of an explosive lineup that can crush almost anyone, right? If you don’t well, maybe it’s just me. Regardless, I think the Rockies are at least thought of as a good offense, which they should be. It seems strange that once we start pulling numbers, their wOBA in the second half only sits in 13th, at .322. You’d expect it to be higher, wouldn’t you? They’ve been striking out quite often during that time frame as well, coming in at 21.8% with their power rating at .182, which is fantastic, good for 6th in the league. When it comes to lefties however, the Rockies really run into trouble. Believe it or not, the Rockies owns the 28th worst wOBA against lefties on the season, at .289. Even more surprising, is that their power is basically gone when facing a leftie, as they own the second to worst ISO in that respect at .107. I know what you’re thinking now, how about the strikeouts? Great question young chap, they strike out the 4th most in the league, with a 23.4%. Liriano has been great this season, of course with some bumps in the road. However, with his 9.6 K/9, I fully expect him to be able to mow down the Rockies tonight and rack up some strikeouts. With this game taking place in Pittsburgh and not Colorado, you have to like your chances with this one. Liriano is “cheap” tonight at 10,000. That is super enticing.
R.A. Dickey vs. Detroit Tigers (-220) – The first thing that popped into my head when I saw how much of a favorite Dickey was tonight, it’s because he’s matched up against Matt Boyd and his horrible stats. I still think that’s a huge part of if, however, it might also have to do with the fact that the Tigers are a sinking ship. So let’s just roll it all into a ball and figure this out. First and foremost, it should be full expected that the best offensive team in the second half of the season, is going to absolutely crush Boyd tonight. Can we all agree on that? Perfect. Second, the Tigers truly have been a sinking ship. Checking in with a wOBA ranked 16th in the league during the second half at .320, it’s baffling to think what happened to this Tigers team. Their ISO rating is still good, at .169, good for 9th in the league. The strikeouts aren’t that shabby either, only striking out 20.9% of the time. So, it comes down to, is this a good spot for Dickey? I think he certainly has a good chance to outduel (sarcasm, guys) Boyd here tonight, so it’s very possible to get the win, I just don’t think I trust Dickey to have a good game – see his value# below. He doesn’t strike out many guys, owning a 5.3 K/9 on the season, so you’re really hoping for some clean innings from Dickey. No offense, but I don’t see that happening to often with a knuckleball pitcher. He might be able to sneak in a good start tonight, but even with the numbers not backing up a good offensive showing from the Tigers in the second half, they’re too talented of a team to be down for so long. It also doesn’t help that this game is……
Top Overall Game per O/U
Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays(Rogers Centre) – 9.5 Over/Under –…the top projected overall scoring game of the night. Anytime we have a game in this category, I often stay as far away as possible from these matchups. Vegas thinks this game is going to produce a lot of offense, that’s not exactly odds I want for my starting pitcher. We briefly touched upon both pitchers and the Tigers offense, so let’s focus on the Blue Jays offense. As I mentioned, the Blue Jays have the top wOBA in the second half of the season by a decent stretch. Coming into tonight, it sits at .343, which is seven points higher than the Mariners are, at .336 (uhhh, when did they start hitting?!) It should also come as no surprise that their power also ranks at the top of the league, at .195. Tonight, when they face Matt Boyd, it’s against someone who hasREALLY struggled since being in the majors. His splits are downright ugly, with a .362 wOBA against righties and an atrocious .522 wOBA against lefties. Not exactly anything that makes you feel like he’s going to do well here, right? For as good as the Tigers “should” be right now, the Blue Jays ARE that good and should put up a crooked number by the time this game is over. Target suggestions for tonight? The guys with Toronto on their jersey.
Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup
- Left handed batters
- Erasmo Ramirez TAM (LwOBA .238)
- Andrew Heaney LAA (LwOBA .241)
- Sonny Gray OAK (LwOBA .235)
- Right handed batters
- Max Scherzer WAS (RwOBA .218)
- Matt Harvey NYM (RwOBA .237)
- Sonny Gray OAK (RwOBA .250)
Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup
- Left handed batters
- Ian Kennedy SDP (LwOBA .347)
- Williams Perez ATL (LwOBA .375)
- Right handed batters
- Matt Boyd DET (RwOBA .362)
- John Danks CWS (RwOBA .366)
All Pitcher Stats
Hottest Hitters – last 7 days
- Trayce Thompson CWS – DiRT Canon Value – 122.96
- Mike Moustakas KC – DiRT Canon Value – 111.38
- Francisco Lindor – DiRT Canon Value – 97.78
- Nick Swisher ATL – DiRT Canon Value – 93.96
- Michael Cuddyer NYM – DiRT Canon Value – 93.88
- Rusney Castillo BOS – DiRT Canon Value – 92.72
Other notables: Travis d’Arnaud NYM is 9-23 with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI and 6 runs scored. Evan Gattis HOU 8-22 with 4 HR’s, 7 RBI and 6 runs scored.
Best BvP matchup Tonight
Austin Jackson vs John Danks- Every once in awhile, we get a real good sample size of a batter and pitcher, and it shows how well that particular batter has done against said pitcher. Well tonight, we have Austin Jackson against John Danks. The fact that Danks has someone that hits well against him is SHOCKING to me. Jackson is 23-52 with six extra base hits, three of them being home runs, and a 1.164 OPS.
Dexter Fowler vs. Clayton Kershaw- If you asked me, “name a hitter that has hit Kershaw quite well in their career” my first answer would HAVE to be Dexter Fowler. It’s SOOOO obvious, right? Maybe not. But regardless, Fowler is 17-40 with three extra base hits and a 1.002 OPS.Sure, Fowler has singled Kershaw to death, but anyone with good numbers against Kershaw can certainly give you a slight edge.
Ian Kinsler vs. RA Dickey- Small sample size compared to the other two, but nonetheless, Kinsler has seen his success against Dickey. Kinsler is 6-16 against Dickey with two extra base hits, and a 1.194 OPS.
REJOICE – it appears to be all clear
Top 4 by Position – in no particular order
A Pitcher To Consider
Francisco Liriano ($10,000)- Truly, we have a LOT of good pitching options tonight. This could be a number of different pitchers tonight, and all would be worthy of a roster spot. Kazmir vs. Minnesota, Jungmann vs. Cincinnati, Tanaka vs. Atlanta, Gray vs. Arizona, Kershaw vs. Cubs, but he’s too expensive. You get the idea though. Overall, value wise and matchup wise, I love Liriano tonight. As I mentioned earlier, the Rockies are BRUTAL against left handed pitching this year. If you need a refresher, just scroll up, I did all the research for you, so don’t roll your eyes. At the price point of 10K tonight, it makes Liriano all the more enticing. He hasn’t been as sharp as he was in the first half of the season, as he’s scored 20, 10.4 and 15.5 in his last three starts, which would most likely explain the drop in salary. Honestly, that’s fantastic. Again, you have a TON of options to pick tonight and I’ll be super curious to see what pair of pitchers end up taking down tournaments tonight. I just think Liriano deserves the extra long look.
Josh Donaldson ($5700) – I know, I know. Give me a night you WOULDN’T want to roster Donaldson. So yes, it’s an obvious choice. But at least let me give you some numbers as to why Donaldson is a must in my eyes tonight. First off, he’s got Matt Boyd. I mean, I could end this section right here and you’d understand. But I’m not that kind of guy, I’ll give you some more. Boyd is a leftie, Donaldson loves lefties. This season, Donaldson owns a .464 wOBA against them with an insane .361 ISO. In other words, Donaldson destroys left handed pitching. Again, I get it, he’s an obvious choice, but I think it’s crazy not to include him in your lineup tonight.
Pedro Alvarez ($3200) – The problem with Alverez is that he’s not starting like he used to. For someone who was always a lock in the lineup, Alverez isn’t seeing the starts he’s used to. Regardless, when he’s in the lineup, he’s always a threat to go deep. If he does indeed start, he faces Jonathan Gray, who’s averaging about 1.5 home runs per nine innings. Alverez has some good power against RHP, with a .224 ISO and wOBA of .324. They aren’t slam dunk numbers, but at the same time, you’re not paying much for him to begin with.
The Rest by Position
– player capsules via Steve Buchanan