Quick! Before Rudy completely makes my column obsolete with great new tools like the Hitter Planner, let’s get in another Lineup Maximizer. Sometimes there are players I want to highlight as pickups, but don’t have a game on Thursday, so they don’t fit the criteria for this article. Nate Freiman, the A’s regular at first when facing a lefty, is one such player. Over the past week, he’s been in Single-A Beloit because of arcane rules regarding MiLB playoffs and the September roster expansion. Despite that, Freiman is back with the big league club and will continue hitting the ball hard and being tall. Before the demotion, Freiman was 5 for his last 14, with three homers and five RBI. Alas, Freiman doesn’t play on Thursday so I can’t recommend him for the next stretch of games in when the A’s face three lefties in their next five. What a damn shame.
Anyhoo! Here’s who I can recommend for Thursdays games:
Thursday Game Stats
16 of 30 teams playing
First Game: Red Sox @ Yankees – 7:05 PM
# 185 Rene Rivera (R) – SDP – C – vs Ari (Nuno-L) – 9:10 PM – 0% owned
Rivera, increasingly looking like the primary catcher for the Padres, is a good player with some good matchups ahead. Over the past week he’s seen an increase playing time (at Yasmani Grandal’s expense) and gone 9 for his last 19, with a homer. Plus, on Tuesday night he went 0-0 with four walks! (But no runs of course because Padres). This weekend he travels to smokey Colorado, where he’ll face off against three lefties in a row. Can someone say guaranteed playing time!? I can smell the production already, and it’s not just because he’s a 215 pound catcher in steamy catcher’s pads.
#11 Logan Morrison (L) – Sea – 1B – @Tex (Baker-R) – 8:05 PM – 12% owned
No homo but I really like LoMo… in the non-sexual way of course. Otherwise it wouldn’t be no homo. Any-schmo, Hitter-Tron really likes Morrison too, rating him as high as eleventh! I haven’t been ranked that high since I finished second-to-last in my Boy Scout Pack’s annual Pinewood Derby. There were only 12 of us left by third grade.
#50 Allen Craig (R) – Bos – 1B/OF – @NYY (Capuano-L) –7:05PM – 67% owned
Craig is owned in 67 percent of leagues, but I’d guess he’s less owned in more competitive leagues. That’s because Craig hasn’t done much of anything since being dumped on the Red Sox, batting just .125/.243/.281 in his new, paler environs. Hold on. What’s that? My Grandpa says he can hit better than that. He’s 82 and doesn’t listen to the television at a volume below his age. For Thursday, at least Craig’s got a cakewalk of a matchup against the soft-tossing Capuano in the Bronx. When one can stream, one can dream.
#44 Brad Miller (L) – Sea – SS – @Tex (Baker-R) – 8:05 PM – 8% owned
I don’t know if the good people of Razzball know much about Miller. [Static cut in] *garbled words* [Static out] Oh, I see. The horror! Grey ranked Miller as the 11th shortstop this preseason. Sure, that move hasn’t paid off pretty much all year. It has in the past week though, during which Miller went 4-for-9 with a home run. Against a righty Baker on Thursday, expect Miller and his hot bat to draw the start. At least no one did anything horrible like rank Jean “Pousseau” Segura third.
#116 Zelous Wheeler (R) – NYY – 3B/OF – vs Bos (Workman-R) –7:05PM – 0% owned
Sure, maybe I’m a little distracted by the name, but the Yankees are banged up. Prado’s out with a hamstring. Gardner’s getting ejected. So, Wheeler’s bat has a good bet of sneaking into Joe Girardi’s lineup, so long as he doesn’t get his braces tightened that day. The opposition on the mound will be Brandon Workman, who gives up around 4-5 runs in most starts. Since getting the occasional at-bat about a month ago, Zelous has held his own batting .244 with two homers in 45 attempts. He ain’t lighting the world on fire, but then again, no one’s asking him to.