It is said that the cheese stands alone. So to do the Braves and Cubs with today's only afternoon affair. The remaining 14 games are part of the main contest. However, there is some bad news - the Twins v. Rockies contest is threatened by a 50 percent chance for storms.
Today is much better for stacking. Pitching was a mess yesterday, but today offers the usual variety of choices. With Coors Field an unsafe pick, the top stacking options come down to Nick Tepesch and Hector Noesi. While the Angels offense may outperform the Indians, I also think Cleveland offers better value. Let's review the salient facts. Noesi is a fly ball pitcher. He allows a typical home run rate (about 10 percent of fly balls). The Indians best hitters are left-handed (or switch-hitters). Progressive Field allows 10 percent more home runs to left-handed hitters than a neutral park. Noesi has slowly improved throughout the season, but the matchup still favors some Clevelander long balls.
Kole Calhoun - LAA: It's too late to take advantage of Calhoun on the cheap. The Angels leadoff hitter is explosive with the ability to post some big games. You won't catch many days like the four hit, four RBI performance he turned in yesterday, but he always has the potential to put up those huge numbers. Today he'll face Tepesch.
Troy Tulowitzki - COL: Tulo has made me a nice chunk of cash this season. If the Rockies game looks like it will be played, then his matchup against lefty Kris Johnson has to look mighty tasty. Tulowitzki seems to be politely asking for a trade without coming out and demanding it. I'd rather see him stay in Colorado.
Devin Mesoraco - CIN: With most of the Reds regulars on the skids, Mesoraco will probably bat third or cleanup. His power is welcome from the catcher spot, and he'll have the platoon advantage against Jeff Locke. Cincinnati should be a great place for power tonight with favorable weather and park factors.
Wilin Rosario - COL: Like with Tulowitzki, if this game happens then you have to like the potential for power from Rosario. He's disappointed with the bat this season, but the raw skill set of a power hitting backstop is still there. He just needs a little more BABIP luck.
Mark Teixeira - NYY: I was very down on Tex entering the season, but I have to give him his due. Despite lingering injuries and new ailments, he's managed to recapture his mojo from the 2010 through 2012 years. The Yankees lineup isn't what it used to be, which takes some value away from him. He'll face Miguel Gonzalez at Camden Yards. Weather, opposing pitcher, and ballpark favor a home run.
Josh Hamilton - LAA: We've identified that Tepesch is exploitable. So too is Hamilton - by opposing pitchers. Hamilton has an issue with hitting any quality breaking ball, so much so that he's seen the fewest fastballs of any hitter in the PITCHf/x era (h/t Jeff Sullivan). If he can find a fastball or two over the plate, he could post a big day.
Trevor Plouffe - MIN: Again, if there is a game in Denver, then Plouffe is a great value pick. He hits lefties well, and it's hard to pass up any good, cheap hitter at Coors Field. His career split against southpaws is .268/.337/.471.
Oscar Taveras - STL: We discussed Taveras' high upside yesterday. He's drawing more starts as the Cardinals two-hole, which only furthers the discrepancy between his low-low cost and expected value.
Corey Hart - SEA: It's not that Hart has a good matchup today - he doesn't. Nor does he have the platoon advantage - he'll face Jeff Samardzija. The reason you'll want to consider Hart is due to his price. One major site has him tied for the cheapest outfielder in baseball. That's a pittance to pay for the Mariners cleanup hitter, even if the matchup is disadvantageous. If you only need one cheap outfielder, then Taveras is your guy.
Corey Kluber - CLE: On the other side of the Noesi matchup is Kluber. You have to like his odds to draw a win today. He was quietly good last season. This year he's been loudly excellent. He's a command and control guy who's managed to buff his strikeout rate to over a batter per inning. He's a good bet for seven innings, seven strikeouts, a couple runs, and a win. That's usually close to the top performance most nights.
Henderson Alvarez - MIA: Of the mid-tier options, Alvarez is the most predictably reliable. He throws deep into ballgames, but he doesn't dominate while doing so. The Mets offense is a bit light, which is a point in Alvarez's favor. Alvarez probably isn't the best pick for a GPP due to his high floor, low ceiling profile.
Jeff Locke - PIT: Locke doesn't record many strikeouts, but he does generate enough swinging strikes that he could get lucky on a given day. He's been pretty good this season thanks to a tiny walk rate. It's not clear he can maintain the stinginess. So long as he does, he should continue to last deep into ballgames. He's averaged seven innings per start, which would rank among the best in the league were he to qualify. As we've discussed in past episodes, innings pitched is a leading indicator for wins. A start against the decimated Reds offense doesn't hurt. What does hurt are the home run friendly atmospheric conditions at already homer friendly Great American Ballpark.