And how did you spend your All-Star Break? Rocking and crying in a corner, like I did? Thankfully, baseball is back and my twitching has even just about subsided. Today, for our first over-the-halfway-hump Saturday on FanDuel, there’s a ton of good pitching (discussed below), but my focus turns to one game in particular: the sweet intra-state match-up as Madison Bumgarner (at a not-so-sweet $11,000) squares up against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.
This is, of course, Mad Bum’s return from the DL after leaving his dirt bike shoulder-first (ouch). I know, normally I too would be leery of starting a returning pitcher immediately, but this is Mad Bum. This start’s in Petco; it’s not quite the pitcher’s mecca it used to be, but still pitcher friendly. The Padres can’t hit lefties, to the tune of a .214 average. And in his last rehab start, Bumgarner struck out 8. So I’m paying up for him and finding ways to fill up my lineup around him as cheaply (and probably badly!) as possible. Mostly by picking on Derek Holland, to be honest: Mariners hitters offer a definite stack possibility today.
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Here’s the lineup I’m entering into FanDuel for Saturday 15 July (GPP all-day, 4:05 p.m. [late start alert!]):
Madison Bumgarner, SP: $11,000
Mike Zunino, C: $2,400
Albert Pujols, 1B: $2,900
Josh Harrison, 2B: $2,800
Kyle Seager, 3B: $2,600
Jordy Mercer, SS: $2,800
Nelson Cruz, OF: $4,300
Melky Cabrera, OF: $3,200
Carlos Beltran, OF: $3,000
Joe Musgrove, SP: $6,800 – This is your hella risky, hella cheap play of the day, but he still intrigues me; I might have started him if I weren’t riding the Mad Bum’s rush, so to speak. Apparently he intrigues the Stream-o-Nator, too, which ranks him 6th. Yes, he’s been shaky — trust me, I’m looking at the 4 earned runs in his last start (at Atlanta), which was supposed to be his come-back start, but Other People’s Articles (TM) tell me he looked great for the first 5 innings and then unraveled. I have hopes for this start, however: he has the formidable Houston Astros lineup behind him (Houston is projected to beat Minnesota -192), and he’s at home, facing the Twins, in the most pitcher-friendly park in the majors. But if this is too risky for you, I would understand completely. I’d look to such luminaries as Max Scherzer ($12,100), Corey Kluber ($11,500) and Chris Sale ($11,600) — all top dollah, but any one of them would probably do you right. (The only one I might be wary of is Sale at home versus the Yankees.) Jameson Taillon versus St. Louis at $8,600 seems like a good value play — maybe even Alex Wood, at $9,900: he’s been amazing, but has a tougher match-up versus Miami; Stream-o-Nator still puts him at a robust 8th place ($SON 9.9) out of pitchers today, though.
Buster Posey, C: $3,000 – Listen, Buster, I would love to pay up for you — I really would. Your 9 for 25 history versus Jhoulys Chacin cannot be denied. There are a couple of possible downsides: he was hot in June but has cooled off to .154 in July and today’s match-up is happening in Petco, never the best place for hitters. However, out of necessity, I need to go for…
Mike Zunino, C: $2,400 – This is your salary-dump catcher o’ the day! He’s been pretty horrible so far in July, I’ll admit, but if he starts, I could see giving him a go versus Derek Holland (Stream-o-Nator’s second-last-ranked pitcher today!), mostly for the lefty-righty split.
Kendrys Morales, 1B: $3,200 – Ya, it’s the dreaded small sample size, but I’d still take a flyer on his 4 for 10 history versus Michael Fulmer. This switch-hitter (double the fun! That’s why there are 2 “Kendrys”, of course) prefers righties. Historically, he’s hit well in Detroit — a nice, even .333 with 6 HRs. He’s been disappointing the last few weeks, though; hence the price. Speaking of price, there are a few won’t-break-the-bank 1Bs today: Edwin Encarnacion, $3,700; Cody Bellinger $3,600; Justin Smoak, $3,100.
Albert Pujols, 1B: $2,900 – …And then you have the 1B I can afford, because I’m so stubbornly paying up for pitching! Hittertron’s 10th-ranked 1B could make for a cheap value play for his (teeny sample size) of 6 for 9, plus 1 HR, history versus Alex Cobb; Stream-o-Nator is wary of Cobb’s start versus the Angels (SON$ -10.2). Or Adam Lind (even cheaper: $2,500!), for the lefty-righty match-up versus Luis Castillo.
Robinson Cano, 2B: $3,400 – The Swiss Family Robinson [Sidebar: why was it never “The Swiss Robinson Family”?] has a BVP of 16 for 48 with 2 HRs versus Derek Holland. Robinson has had a bit of a sucky July (hitting a mere .176), but overall he’s at a very respectable .275 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs (all way above average, if you take a look at our breakdown of Dr. Easy and my post on “what makes a good player this season” numbers). Here’s hoping he comes out of the All-Star break swinging. Hittertron’s on board with this; it ranks him 6th of all 2Bs today.
Dee Gordon, 2B: $3,300 – This is an interesting one. It’s a bit of a gamble. But you’re all gamblers — that’s why you’re here (“it’s only a gambling problem if you’re losing”!). So, Dee Gordon is 5 for 14 versus Alex Wood. I realize that’s a small sample size, but couple that with his .368 average and .415 OBP for July thus far, and his .308 at home, and things get a little more interesting. However (you knew there was going to be a “however” as soon as I said “bit of a gamble”, didn’t you, Clever Clogs!), the Dodgers are leading the entire damn league. And then there’s Alex Wood. About once a month, he coughs up more than 1 run — he’s about due now. Will it be to Dee Gordon? Possibly not. But possibly yes.
Josh Harrison, 2B: $2,800 – So yes, Lance Lynn has settled down lately, but the last time he faced Pittsburgh, he earned 7 runs. I own him in a roto league, so I don’t wish for that again, but I am willing to trot out Josh Harrison and his 10 for 26, 3-HR history against him. And hey, maybe poor Josh will get hit by a pitch again! Obviously I don’t want him to get hurt, but HBPs count for FanDuel … Cust Kayin’.
Chase Headley, 3B: $2,600 – Historically, Chase Headley is a pleasant (but surprising, somehow) 6 for 17 versus Chris Sale. It’s got to be a lefty-righty match-up thing, but Headley doesn’t have particularly striking platoon splits against lefties generally, so perhaps he just enjoys a good sale? Anyway, over his career, he’s hit .286 at Fenway, too. He could make for a cheap and interesting play today at 3B, if you need to save money elsewhere because you’ve blown all your money on pitching, like I have.
Kyle Seager, 3B: $2,600 – It’s another “Let’s pick on Derek Holland!” entry, and hot damn, this is cheap. Kyle’s eager to face Holland again, with their 13 for 46 BVP numbers and Derek’s 5.01 ERA. Also, Derek might still be sad after saying farewell to Jose Quintana. It IS hard to say goodbye, boys. Both this suggestion and Headley above are super-cheapies, so if you can afford to pay up a little, look to Hittertron’s top 3Bs for the day: in ranking order, Manny Machado ($3,300), Kris Bryant ($3,700) and Danny Valencia ($3,200).
Carlos Correa, SS: $4,200 – I wish I could afford Hittertron’s 4th-ranked shortstop today (behind Manny Machado versus Jake Arrieta, Jonathan Villar [$3,100] versus Aaron Nola, and Jean Segura [$3,700] versus Derek Holland). He’s facing Ervin Santana, Stream-o-Nator’s 3rd-lowest-ranked pitcher for today; for what it’s worth, he’s gone 5 for 7 against him in the past — I know, that sample size is more like “a good day” than a BVP; he was just so hot to end the first half and seems to have got right back to it in the second, with a hit, a RBI, a run and a walk on Friday night.
Jordy Mercer, SS: $2,800 – Here’s your cheap shortstop option (or shortstoption, for the lazy/busy among us). He had a good game right before the All-Star break, going 2 for 4 with 3 runs versus Jon Lester, but otherwise has been ticking along at a pretty average rate. But! I’m throwing him out there for his 8 for 23 BVP, with 1 HR, versus Lance Lynn — and this price.
Nelson Cruz, OF: $4,300 – I’m gritting my teeth and shelling out for Hittertron’s top-ranked OF today, for his traditionally significant lefty-righty splits and 6 for 23 history, with 3 home runs, versus poor old Derek Holland. He’s having another stunning season generally, hitting .292 with 17 HRs and an OBP of .372, and keeping it strong through July so far: .375 with 3 homers.
Melky Cabrera, OF: $3,200 – So Felix Hernandez is all over the place. Three runs apiece in each of his 2 starts; 5 in the next versus Kansas City; 0 when he faced Oakland. Which Felix are we going to see when he travels to Chicago tonight to face the White Sox? I’m hoping for the one who’s given up 8 hits in 25 at-bats to Melky Cabrera. Melky, hitting .333 in July so far, digs playing at home: he’s hitting .301 there so far this year with 6 of his 10 home runs (.292 lifetime).
Carlos Beltran, OF: $3,000 – Look, he was ice cold right before the break, but he is 6 for 15 versus Ervin Santana. This would be a cheap-ish, fingers-crossed, infill play. Mallex Smith could also be worth a look — also $3,000, he’s Hittertron’s 8th-ranked OF today.
Christian Yelich, OF: $3,200 and Marcell Ozuna, OF: $3,900 – I’m grouping these two Miamians (is that a word? Perhaps “Marlins” would have sufficed) together because, like the Dee Gordon mention, they’re a little risky as Wood has been so good (that’s what she said). But Yelich does have a 9 for 26 history against him; Ozuna is 6 for 20. And both have been hot lately: they’re both hitting an identical .333 this month (.333 is the magic number for today’s post, it seems!). Plus, these prices ain’t bad at all.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
There’s some cloud around but — I think for the third week in a row! — no rain in the forecast! Praised be!
Doing Lines In Vegas
Cleveland, and Corey Kluber, are expected to go for the As’ jugular (with Paul Blackburn pitching), at -192. As mentioned earlier, Vegas thinks the Astros have GOT THIS over the Twins, at -191. But it’s too close to call in the Orioles-Cubs game — well, the slightest lean in the Cubs’ favor, at -101.