Robbie Ross of the Texas Rangers is desperately trying to hold onto his rotation spot following a dismal 0-3, 8.10 ERA stretch. There’s a good chance the young southpaw will continue to struggle against a Boston lineup that feasts on left-handed pitching.
To be more specific about Ross’ recent collapse, teams have averaged 6+ runs against him in the last four starts. The only thing potentially saving Ross from another “blowup” outing is his ability to induce groundball outs. However, that hasn’t stopped opposing teams from putting pitches in play lately, yielding a 1.85 WHIP in his past four games.
Ross’ primary susceptibility comes against right-handed batters, shown by a .374 wOBA clip vs RHB this season. For that reason, a Boston stack is very much in play, led by Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Xander Bogaerts. A lot of these names were mentioned in yesterday’s Daily Forecast, as the Red Sox roughed-up Texas left-hander Martin Perez. Ross is a substantial downgrade from the pitching of Perez. Consequently, I like the Boston bats even more today.
Freddie Freeman – ATL: Freeman has an elite matchup this afternoon, given opposing starter Edwin Jackson’s deficiency against left-handed bats (.345 wOBA) in the past three years. Freeman has cooled off a bit following a blazing hot start to the season, but today is a perfect opportunity to “buy low” on the Braves first baseman.
Robinson Cano – SEA: As much as I like Freddie Freeman’s matchup, I like Cano’s even more. The Mariners will take on Jeremey Guthrie, who owns a .366 wOBA rating and 1.50 HR/9IP clip against left-handed batters in the past three years. Cross-referencing the splits by accounting for Cano’s .402 wOBA (vs RHB) points to a borderline top play in this matchup. The Seattle lineup is full of lefties and switch hitters that should give Guthrie fits and also add a layer of run/RBI potential for Cano.
Mike Napoli – BOS: As I mentioned in the introduction, the Boston bats represent some of the best targets today, led by Napoli batting cleanup. Nap hits lefties at a .379 wOBA clip, but more importantly, the entire Boston team hits left-handers extremely well, setting up Napoli with some great RBI potential in this spot.
Miguel Montero – ARI: Hector Noesi of the White Sox is one of the weaker pitchers in action today. He is giving up a .367 wOBA rating to left-handed batters in the past three seasons, which ranks second worst amongst probable hurlers. Insert Montero, who stands in as Arizona’s most viable lefty bat in a cleanup role for the Diamondbacks. He’s my favorite option at Catcher today.
Dustin Pedroia – BOS: Out of all the Boston hitters, Pedroia is actually the best against left-handed pitching, hitting southpaws at a .402 wOBA clip over the past three seasons. There is some debate whether selecting him or Robinson Cano at 2B, as they both are in terrific situations. In salary cap leagues, I would let price dictate my selection. Either that, or I would be looking for some exposure to both if I were to join multiple contests.
Shane Victorino – BOS: Sticking with the Boston theme, Victorino will look to keep the momentum going following his 3-4 and 4 RBI performance last night. As I mentioned in the introduction, today’s matchup against Robbie Ross actually sets up better than yesterday, so it’s reasonable to assume that Victorino and company can light up the scoreboard once again.
Matt Joyce – TB: Joyce has cooled off a bit after a fantastic start, but today sets up as a great opportunity for him to turn it around. Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin owns a .352 wOBA split vs lefties (bottom five amongst probable SP’s), and Joyce is the perfect platoon specialist to take advantage.
Scooter Gennett – MIL: Any time Gennett goes up against a mediocre righty, daily fantasy enthusiasts should take notice. The matchup against David Phelps of the Yankees certainly qualifies, so look for Scooter to build upon his team-high .377 wOBA rating vs RHP.
Chris Johnson – ATL: Johnson was ice cold to begin the season, but he is starting to show some signs of life by going 8-15 in his last four games. The righty/righty matchup against Edwin Jackson doesn’t jump off the page as a “must play” draw, but Johnson is a reliable third base pick if you are looking to save some salary cap space ($2,200 on FanDuel).
Clayton Kershaw – LAD: Kershaw is the best pitcher in all of baseball, and you need to consider him for daily leagues every time he takes the mound. After perusing the other pitching options, I’m even more inclined to select Kershaw and his enormous price tag ($10,200 on FanDuel) due to the lack of viable mid-range/second-tier options today. He looked good in his first start back from injury, pitching 7 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts. It should be business as usual for Kershaw against a familiar divisional foe in the San Francisco Giants.
Chris Tillman – BAL: As I just mentioned in the Kershaw write-up, there aren’t a whole lot of mid-range pitching options jumping off the screen at me. Chris Tillman is certainly a viable pick though, as the Orioles are strong favorites against a humble Houston Astros’ offense. Tillman has displayed glimpses of strikeout upside throughout the season, and today marks a great opportunity to put that on full display against a HOU team that owns the second highest strikeout percentage this year.