For those who like teeny tiny contests, there are three games to be played this afternoon. Since you're only working with six pitchers and six lineups, let's focus all of our attention on the late contest.
There is an entire game filled with the potential for an unspeakable mashing and bashing. The Cleveland Indians send T.J. House to the mound against Chicago White Sox righty Hector Noesi. House is coming off his first major league start in which he pitched six innings, allowed five runs, two home runs, struck out one, and walked two. He's a left-handed pitcher, so you'll want to target right-handed Sox hitters. Meanwhile, the very left-handed Indians lineup should enjoy facing Noesi. He's a fly ball oriented pitcher with mediocre peripherals. Lest you forget, U.S. Cellular Field increases right-handed home run power by 28 percent, while lefties see a 14 percent spike in home runs.
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Carlos Gonzalez - COL: CarGo the Greater is actually weaving his worst season since he was a rookie in 2008. The only notable difference in his performance this season is a sharp reduction in his line drive rate. These things tend to work themselves out in short order. Once he's hitting more line drives, the missing doubles will follow. He's still hitting home runs, and his fly balls have an average distance of 287 feet. He'll face Roberto Hernandez, who's known to generate a lot of ground balls and home runs. BEWARE: As of this writing, there is a 50 percent chance of rain in Philadelphia.
Michael Brantley - CLE: Right behind CarGo on the fly ball distance list is Brantley. The internet is well stocked with people predicting regression. Ok, fair enough. The bigger question is to where he will regress. Most assume he'll go back to the old Brantley. Some (including the present scribe) note his Carlos Gomez-like body type and impressive swing leverage. He'll hit more ground balls than most would like from a middle of the order bat, but he has all the tools to post a batting average over .300 with enough power to pop 20 home runs. Against Noesi, he's an easy play.
Brian Dozier - MIN: Although he's hit for less power in May, Dozier has improved at the plate. He's an exciting diamond in the rough with his mix of power, speed, and contact ability. The best part is his matchup against lefty Joe Saunders. He's one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball, and Dozier will leadoff with the platoon advantage. What's not to like?
Juan Francisco - TOR: With another home run yesterday, Francisco remains impressively potent in the Blue Jays lineup. A Francisco start comes with a fairly high probability for a home run and a near certainty for a strikeout. He's been working for DFS owners, and there's little reason to dodge a start against Tampa's Chris Archer. Well there is one reason, he typically bats sixth for the Jays. Sometimes you have to decide between top of the order hitters and multi-home run threats.
Adrian Gonzalez - LAD: He's on the fringe between bulk and top shelf pricing. Homer Bailey has struggled with home runs this season, which makes Gonzalez an interesting play. The game is to be played at Chavez Ravine, so he won't benefit from Cincinnati's great park factors. Dodgers Stadium is fairly neutral to left-handed bats, so Gonzalez is a perfectly reasonable play.
Dayan Viciedo - CWS: The White Sox cleanup hitter is an easy pick against House at The Cell. This is a place for plentiful power and an opposing pitcher likely to allow a deep fly or two. Over 386 career plate appearances against lefties, Viciedo has a healthy .319/.360/.543 triple slash.
Matt Joyce - TAM: Joyce is reliable. He barrels up the baseball, bats in the middle of a decent lineup, and has enough power to make you very happy when the day is said and done. Tomorrow he'll visit the Rogers Centre and mediocre starter Liam Hendriks. He's been quiet in recent weeks, which has reduced his price substantially. Lucky us.
Paul Konerko - CWS: He's in the bargain basement, but there's upside for so much more. He was a great hitter as recently as 2012, and it's well within reason to see him break off a hot streak starting with tomorrow's game against House. Then again, he's a 38-year-old first baseman coming off a truly miserable season. For pennies, it might be worth it to see if he can pop one more big fly.
Mitch Moreland - TEX: With the Texas lineup a bit of a shambles, the Rangers tried out Moreland in the three hole the last couple days. If they give it another go, he'll be a steal at his price. Kyle Gibson is one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball. Moreland is pretty decent against right-handed pitchers as a whole. Not great, but decent. Against a guy like Gibson, you can probably expect better than decent. The downside is the tall right field wall at Target Field. He's not likely to launch any over that mini-monster.
Clayton Kershaw - LAD: Today will mark Kershaw's third start since returning from the disabled list. The first was a clunker, which illustrates why you should be wary of pitchers returning from the disabled list. The second was kind of a gem. He struck out nine and only allowed two hits over six innings to the Phillies (who soon thereafter were no hit by Josh Beckett), but he also walked three. His command and control will determine his fate today. The Cincinnati offense is fearsome by reputation, but they're rather soft in actuality. If you need proof, look no further than their runs scored total - it's the second lowest in baseball. Their only great hitter is a lefty (Jay Bruce), Billy Hamilton makes outs at a prodigious rate, while Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco aren't likely to carry the offense forever.
C.J. Wilson - LAA: He's quite a bit pricier than the usual mid-tier pick, but he's deserving of a write up against a pitiful Mariners offense. Dallas Keuchel recently manhandled the Seattle attack and Wilson has the skill to repeat the feat. Over his career, he's been particularly tough on his fellow lefties, with a .195/.279/.276 triple slash. Comparatively, righties have hit a more robust .248/.334/.380. The Mariners will send about four to six lefties to the plate. Justin Smoak is a switch hitter who really can't bat from the right side, and the other righties aren't anything to fear.
Chase Anderson - ARI: If you want somebody in the bargain bin, the name to try is Chase Anderson. Through two starts, his results have been lackluster. However, he features a strong three pitch repertoire, generates plenty of whiffs, and performed well in the dreaded PCL. He's opposed by the most pitiful offense in baseball, although the Padres are on pace to climb out of the basement soon.