(Obviously YMMV re. the cooler nights if you’re not in eastern Canada, comme moi.) It is the last Saturday of baseball in August. I repeat, the last Saturday in August. I don’t know how the hell that happened, but my gathering melancholy at the thought that regular-season baseball is drawing to a close is definitely assuaged by the sweet pitching match-ups on the slate today, beginning with Clayton Kershaw facing the San Diego Padres. And oh yeah, the Cards and Rockies have @Col next to their names on the schedule. Tonight’s gonna be a good night for pitching AND hitting for your FantasyDraft team: I can feel it in my tired old bones <pours a sherry, clutches shawl>.
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Programming notes: FantasyDraft has 2 slates on offer today: “Turbo,” which comprises the 4:00 p.m. EST and 6:00 p.m. EST games, and “Main,” which is all the 7 p.m. and later games. The first game of the Yankees at Orioles double-header does not count on FantasyDraft today; nor does the Reds at Cubs game. Be particularly careful if you’re targeting Yankees or Orioles: as always, check yer lineups, kids! Lastly, I’ll be focusing mainly on the, well, main slate, but try to give you some options for the early slate. Really-for-serious-lastly now, if you’re looking for analysis on the Players’ Weekend nicknames, they got you over at MLB Cut 4.
Stacks of stacks: Cards and Rockies hitters, natch, because Coors. I also love the Braves today (particularly Freddie Freeman; see below): the team that happens to be 4th best in MLB versus LHP happens to be taking on a lefty: Wei-Yin Chen.
Justin Verlander, SP: $25,500 – JV is my slightly-nail-biting pick of the day, because he’s the most expensive pitcher on the slate and he’s given up a fair few home runs lately, which is worrying. However, Streamonator loves this start, ranking him 3rd on the day, and it should be pretty safe: the Angels are still on a losing streak. And even with Trout back, he’s never seen Verlander well: Trout’s 2 for 29 against him. Note also that Verlander has an ERA of precisely 0.00 in Angel Stadium this year, in 15 innings. I’d give him a look. Pair him with Robbie Ray ($15,100; Streamonator also loves his start, putting him 4th overall today) or Anibal Sanchez ($16,300, for his match-up with Miami). That goes for Kershaw and Kluber below, too.
Clayton Kershaw, SP: $23,100 – You want a whole blurb on Kersh? You want more than the fact that he’s taking on 26th-place San Diego, that the active hitters on the team have a collective OPS of .447 against him (Eric Hosmer notwithstanding; see below), and that he has a 2.77 ERA at home this season? Well, I got nothing. What’s more, in a pleasant surprise, he is NOT the most expensive pitcher on the menu today!
Corey Kluber, SP: $21,300 – The pitching today is expensive, but it’s all about the match-ups. In this I include Sir Kershaw, and also Sir Corey of Kluber. He hasn’t been as sharp as previous years, granted, but he’s still on track for 20 wins and I’m pretty sure he’s going to get one today against the second-last-place Kansas City Royals.
Andrew Suarez, SP ($13,100) – This is kind of a Streamonator call; it ranks Andy 5th today versus the Rangers. Yeah, he’s been a bit of a disaster, his last 2 starts. But he makes for a cheap play in the Turbo slate and he has a favorable park to pitch him. Pair him with Zack Wheeler ($20,300 — not a hugely favorable match-up with the Nationals, but he’s been so sharp lately).
Paul Goldschmidt, IF: $10,600 – Hoo boy, dat price. I know. But here’s the deal: of late, Au Schizz has rubbed off some of the early-season tarnish. I like Goldy today for the start at home and the lefty-righty match-up (.313 this season versus LHP) with Wade LeBlanc.
Jesus Aguilar, IF: $9,700 – He’s not exactly walking on water yet, but he’s had a bit of a miraculous turnaround in August after a crappy July. And El Causa has a good match-up today versus Jameson Taillon: Aguilar’s hit 2 HRs off him in 11 at-bats. Plus, this is at Miller Park, where he’s hitting a decent .273 on the season.
Freddie Freeman, IF: $9,100 – I write these posts every 2 weeks. If I were a betting woman (oh wait, I am) and were not too lazy (oh wait, I am) to look back through my posts this season, I’d bet I’ve featured him in every post. I always seem to get lucky with him squaring up against lefty pitching on my post days. May I remind you that he’s hitting LHP to the tune of .325 this season. (Mind you, he’s not so shabby versus RHP, either: .316.) This Saturday, he takes on our old friend Wei-Yin Chen and his 5.20 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Chen hasn’t been so bad in Marlins Park (2.05 ERA on the season) but the Braves aren’t so bad ANYwhere.
Jose Reyes, IF: $7,500 – I know. I’m as shocked as you are to be recommending La Melaza for the Turbo slate. But hear me out. Look at the price. Look at his 1.189 OPS vs Gio Gio Gadget Gonzalez. Look at the nice little week he’s having. And who else is going to start him? I think he makes for an intriguing play that may just give you an edge. Less cheap, but likely a solid option to pair him up with in IF: how about Kendrys Morales ($9,200), with his 5 HRs this week. He’s a switch hitter but does better versus RHP (.285 AVG).
Eugenio Suarez, IF: Bonus content – This game doesn’t count on FantasyDraft today, but I pre-wrote you an enthusiastic blurb before I knew that, because the Suavest one would be one of my top picks versus lefty Jose Quintana today. His numbers are bonkers generally, but his splits are startling: .274 versus .365 against righties and lefties, respectively. Play ‘im (elsewhere) if you got ‘im.
Michael Brantley, OF: $9,900 – I don’t know why I always forget about poor Michael Brantley, a.k.a. Junior. He is so consistently good: .318 over the last 7 days, .301 with a .357 OBP on the season. He’s facing the Royals’ Heath Fillmeyer today; Fillmeyer’s a righty, which plays right into lefty (OK, now I’m getting myself completely directionally twisted) Brantley’s hands: he’s hitting .320 against RHP this year.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF: $9,700 – Hittertron reckons Cargo is your best OF pick in Coors today, closely followed by David Dahl (“Baby Dahl”! Heehee! Yes, I would pay $9,100 for that). They both make for good lefty-righty match-ups versus St. Louis’ John Gant. You will, of course, pay big monies. But then there’s Matt Holliday ($8,000), whom Hittertron loves in Coors today, and he’s actually not too badly priced – wonder if his return took FantasyDraft by surprise, too.
Hernan Perez, OF: $7,700 – If Pepper makes it into the lineup today – he’s mostly been pinch-hitting since Moistasskiss and Schoop joined the Brewers — check him out for this price and the decent history versus Jameson Taillon: 1.257 OPS in 18 at-bats.
Eric Hosmer, OF: $6,400 – What? Recommending Kershaw as my star pitcher of the day and then recommending a hitter against him? I know, I know. But Papo’s been making contact lately and he has a good history against Clayton Kershaw: a 1.182 OPS in 11 at-bats. And he’s dirt cheap!
Mookie Betts, OF: $10,200 – Things are definitely tougher over on the Turbo slate, let me tell you. Hitting is meh or expensive. Mookie’s a good, well, bet, even though he definitely errs to the expensive side: this is a great lefty-righty match-up for him (he’s hitting LHP for a swoon-worthy .365 this season). Pair him up with the intriguing Roman Quinn of the Phillies, if he starts ($8,200). Rome just keeps stealing. Or, and again only if he starts, you could try the Jays’ newbie, Billy McKinney ($6,500) — he, on the other hand, just keeps homering, and this should be another good lefty-righty match-up for him.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Doing Lines In Vegas
For the Royals versus Cleveland, it’s more like Corey Klub-ber, with a money line of -326 in Cleveland’s direction. I’m a bit disappointed that Kershaw gets a mere -260 nod. Harrumph. In too-close-to-call news, the Mets may or may not take it from Washington, at with the line at -108. Ditto the Phillies versus Jays, at -111. Although if Lourdes Gurriel Jr can keep swinging the way he went down, and we see the old non-blistery Aaron Sanchez on the mound, the Phillies may have a game on their hands. And hopefully not a blister.