This makes me a little sad, but I think it has to be done today; Justin Verlander is my pitcher to target. He’s had a few games where we think to ourselves, is the old Verlander in there? Is he rounding back into form? The answer unfortunately continues to be no. In his last seven games he has pitched 43.2 innings, allowed 61 hits, 38 runs, seven home runs and 20 walks to 26 strikeouts. Right-handed hitters are killing him with a .337 average, .536 SLG%, .924 OPS and a .402 wOBA this season. Lefties are having a tougher time of it, but still his xFIP (which compensates for home run rate) is an awful 5.01 to lefties. So really I’m not too bullish on any Cleveland player having a really tough time against him. They have hit right-handed pitchers fifth best with a .335 wOBA and they have the sixth best overall wOBA at home. Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and company have all been hitting well lately and should be worth considering today.
Nelson Cruz – BAL – Cruz hasn’t been his locked in self of late, but he hasn’t completely fallen into the dumpster fire. He hit a home run a couple days ago and now gets the lefty Vidal Nuno who has given up 10 homers at home in just 33 innings and ten homers to righties this season. Cruz is hitting lefties for a .414 average and 1.238 OPS this year and his price has been depressed a bit of late. He’s set up for a nice game.
Corey Dickerson – COL – Dickerson has a .391 wOBA against righties and a .437 wOBA at home. Wily Peralta has been good enough this season, but lefties are hitting him for a .298 average and his only trip to the mound at Coors lasted 3.2 innings and you can imagine what happened. After last night’s huge game by Dickerson and scoring output by both teams, this looks like another one of those run production juggernauts of a series in Colorado.
Edwin Encarnacion – TOR – E.E. is heating up again and Cincinnati is a good place to do that. He’s hit three home runs in his last two games and has 10 hits in his last six games. Mike Leake has been bad of late giving up six homers in June whereas he gave up none in May.
J.D. Martinez – DET – Martinez is on a roll to say the least. He’s now hit in ten straight and has hit a home run in three straight. He gets a pretty nice matchup with Trevor Bauer who gets hit harder by righties while Martinez is hitting .397 against righties.
Joey Votto – CIN – Votto hasn’t gone hitless in a game since returning from the DL. It’s been nine games now. He’s always hit lefties and righties similarly, but has shown a bit more power against lefties this season with five homers in just 50 at bats. He faces J.A. Happ who has been inconsistent at best this season with a 4.05 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Votto is always great at home and his price hasn’t caught back up to his ability.
Aramis Ramirez – MIL – Christian Friedrich will be promoted to pitch for the demoted Juan Nicasio today. Friedrich hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 2012 and during his stint in the minors this season he has a 7+ ERA. Ramirez has 15 hits in his last nine games including a couple home runs and his price is much nicer than most of his battery mates who I like, but might not be able to afford.
Colby Rasmus – TOR – Rasmus is back from the DL and has five hits in his first 12 at bats. Mike Leake on the other hand has been horrible recently giving up 14 runs in his last 15 innings. He’s also allowing a .306 average to lefties this season.
Michael Bourn – CLE – Bourn is hitting .291 against righties and .296 at home. He’s 10-for-24 off Verlander in his career and will be leading off in what should be a good offensive day for Cleveland.
Brandon Phillips – CIN – Phillips has hit Happ well in the past, going 6-for-12 with three homers and six RBIs against him and gets him at home where he is hitting over .300 this season.
Jean Segura – MIL – Is he going to hit two homers again? I hope so! But probably not. The good news is he gets to face Friedrich and could be in the mix of another high scoring game.
Cole Hamels – PHI – Hamels hasn’t allowed a run in 23+ innings while the Cardinals have totaled four runs over their last three games. They also aren’t hitting lefties well, with just a .291 wOBA against them this season.
Josh Beckett – LAD – Beckett gets the Padres in spacious Petco. The Padres average the worst runs per game in the league with 3, the worst batting average at .214 (second worst is .232), the worst OBP, the worst SLG% and so on and so on. Beckett should be a solid pick today for his price.
Julio Teheran – ATL – The Nationals are hitting a poor .303 wOBA against righties this season and Teheran has been cutting down lefties for a .176 average. That should limit his tough matchups in this one.