American League Division Series

Red Sox vs Indians Game 1

Boston’s David Ortiz makes his last playoff run and starts it against a team managed by Terry Francona, who helped guide Ortiz and the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Francona must find a way to work around Ortiz with a pitching staff at less-than full strength when the Cleveland Indians host Boston in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday (Enter Contests).

About the Red Sox

The Red Sox had a chance to earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs but closed with five losses in the last six games to drop into third place and make it necessary to travel to Cleveland for Game 1. “Big Papi” went 3-for-20 with one extra-base hit in those six games while being showered with tributes, but the bigger issue for Boston was closer Craig Kimbrel suffering the loss in two of those games and issuing six walks in two total innings over his three appearances. Ortiz (38 home runs, 127 RBIs), Mookie Betts (31, 113) and Hanley Ramirez (30, 111) became the first trio in franchise history to reach 30 homers and 100 RBIs in the same season. The Red Sox took the season series 4-2, winning two of three in Cleveland.

Rick Porcello emerged as an AL Cy Young candidate in the second half and went 8-1 over his final 11 starts, yielding three or fewer earned runs in each of those outings. The New Jersey native had a string of 11 straight starts completing at least seven innings come to an end in his last two starts as he surrendered a total of six runs and 16 hits in 12 1/3 innings against Tampa Bay and Toronto. Porcello earned a home win over Cleveland on May 22 and is 10-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 22 career starts against the Indians.

About the Indians

The Indians’ pitching issues have more to do with health as Carlos Carrasco (fractured finger) will miss the playoffs, Danny Salazar (forearm) is limited to the bullpen and Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber (quad) starts Game 2 on 10 days’ rest. Shortstop Francisco Lindor batted .233 after Sept. 1 and was 6-for-23 against Boston this season.

Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26) will get the start. He might have slotted fourth in a fully healthy Cleveland rotation. The right-hander struggled down the stretch with a 7.20 ERA in his last five starts. The lone quality start in that bunch came Saturday, when the UCLA product held Kansas City to three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out nine in six innings. Bauer faced Boston twice this season and allowed a total of six runs with 10 hits in six innings of work.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report

All 30 MLB teams will be in action for a second straight. You know what that means! The big fantasy score is in your grasp.  Better pick early, as there is three games scheduled early. Among them is a matchup between the Angels and White Sox. Chicago sends ace Chris Sale to the mound, while L.A. counter with Garrett Richards. Sale could be the first pitcher this season to reach win number four. Later in the evening, Detroit battle the World Series Champ Royals in their hometown. Jordan Zimmerman will have the start for the Tigers, and will attempt to keep his shutout streak going. The righty has yet to allow a run in his 13 innings of play this season.  He will face off against  Ian Kennedy, who also is having an solid start this fantasy baseball season. Things will come to a clash later tonight when D-Backs Zack Greinke and Giants Madison Bumgarner will throw down in what looks like a continued  rivalry from Greinke’s days as a Los Angeles Dodger. Here is the top 20 players Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report.

Fantasy baseball Upon the pitching matchup programed today, there is one in particular that looks like a potential mismatch. Cleveland’s Danny Salazar has been rock solid giving up a single run and striking out 16 in his two starts. He’s matched up versus Mariners young-blooded pitcher Taijuan Walker, who has been pretty decent as of now. It will be interesting to see if  Salazar can hold Seattle’s big bat at bay, despite the fact that the Emerald City team scored 77% of their runs on the road, which they will be at Wednesday. That’s triple more of what they made at home, in which they rank last in the league. On the batting front,  Bryce Harper has not missed a beat since his MVP season, last year. He knocked one out of the park on Tuesday to bring his total to 7 since opening day. His hot streak his not something to not take lightly.


Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball Value Picks

Luck of the draw on Pitchers

This weekends fantasy MLB action was defined by some unexpected results from the mound. The pitcher position is the most consistent position in MLB Daily Fantasy since high priced pitchers typically hit their value and low priced pitchers often leave you in the hole (although obviously there are outliers). This weekend however showed much different results as the performance of pitchers appears to be completely independent of their set salary.

The Blue Chips

Let’s start with the high priced pitchers who did what they were supposed to do, brought value to your fantasy lineup as a reward for spending such a premium. On Saturday, Jake Arrieta continued to bring pitching dominance to the Cubs young roster. He pitched 8 innings with 7 strikeouts, allowing no runs and only 4 hits. He may have continued into the 9th for the complete game shutout but he had already thrown 116 pitches up to that point. His Bullpen however was able to finish the job for a 2-0 win over the DBacks. Arrieta finished the day with 52.5 fantasy points under Fanpicks scoring.

On Sunday, Dallas Keuchel scored 57.5 fantasy points in 8 innings as well, but he did it in a much different fashion. He allowed the Twins 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs but he also pitched 12 strikeouts. The Astros won 8-5 giving Keuchel the win bonus.

The Chokers

Almost more important to look at is the high valued pitchers that choked this weekend. If you spend $10000+ on a pitcher and they come up short, you can all but guarantee your lineup is in trouble. The worst pitcher pick of the weekend was Danny Salazar of the Cleveland Indians. In Saturday’s game against Detroit, he was pulled after only 3.2 innings after he allowed 8 hits and 6 earned runs. He ended the day with -4.5 fantasy points and doomed your chances of cashing in in any MLB Daily Fantasy Tournament.

Another pitcher who failed to hit his value was Chris Archer of the Rays. What was interesting here is that he was able to shut the Yankees out for 5 innings allowing only one hit, but when things went bad for him, they went bad. With two on base in the 5th, Brian Mccann hit one out of the park. The very next pitch, ARod hit a homer for himself putting the Yankees ahead 4-3. Archer ended the day with 20.5 fantasy points (far below his value) and the Rays lost 4-6.

Value Picks

The key to winning MLB Daily Fantasy Contests however is picking low priced pitchers who end up having big results. These are the value picks and there were a couple great ones this weekend. Ervin Santana of the Twins actually had the highest fantasy total of any pitcher of the weekend and he was only priced a meer $5000 on most daily fantasy sites. He totaled 60.5 fantasy points in the Twins win over Houston accumulating 11 strikeouts over 8 innings and allowing 6 hits and 1 run.

Also with a big performance this weekend was Wade Miley of the Red Sox. He pitched a complete game against the Phillies allowing 5 hits and 2 runs, but pitching 8 strikeouts. If you haven’t noticed yet, strikeouts are huge in creating fantasy value. The hitters did their job as well and the Red Sox won 9-2 over the Phillies. He totaled 52.5 points, the same as Jake Arrieta, but he came at about half of the salary.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Draft News September 2nd 2015

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced his starting quarterback for week 1 and it is Kirk Cousins. The future for Robert Griffin III is in doubt as he is owed 16 ½ million dollars next season and may be cut to avoid paying that high salary. Should Griffin III get traded it is doubtful he will be in a starting role. Fantasy owners were burned last year by selecting Cousins on their rosters. He saw action in six games in 2014 and threw 10 touchdowns but had 9 interceptions. Washington was 2-4 in games Cousins played in 2014. There was a stretch where the Redskins lost four straight with Kirk Cousins under center.

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan named his starter as well for week one and its Tyrod Taylor. He beats out Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel and Matt Simms. Taylor has bounced around the league for five years. He spent most of his years in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens. In mop up roles in 14 regular season games Taylor has hit on 54% of his passes with no touchdowns and two picks. His starting wide receivers are Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin. Taylor’s mobility gave him an edge over the competition as he may be asked to make plays with his legs if Harvin and Watkins can’t get open.

Jacksonville Jaguars suffered some bad news as their tight end Julius Thomas is considering surgery on his finger. The Pro Bowler could miss up to four weeks of the regular season. He was acquired by Jacksonville as a free agent during the offseason from the Denver Broncos. Thomas put up some good numbers with Peyton Manning throwing him the football. His production would be lower with Blake Bortles passing to him.

The Cleveland Indians have gotten hot and are still in contention for an AL Wildcard spot in the stretch run. The win streak is now six straight and the team is four games back of the Texas Rangers for the final AL Wildcard spot with just 32 games remaining to be played. The pitching has been good for the Indians as the staff has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of their past eight games. Starter Danny Salazar has been outstanding. In the victory at the Blue Jays on Monday the Indians right hander allowed two earned runs and struck out ten batters in seven innings. Salazar has allowed six of his past seven opponent’s two earned runs or less. His strikeout numbers are phenomenal with 172 in 151 1/3rd innings.

The Baltimore Orioles are a team on the skids losers of 10 of their past 11 games after a 6-3 home defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays. The team has fallen well behind in the race for the AL Wildcard at 63-68 to date. Baltimore is having trouble scoring runs and many of the Orioles every day hitters are battling slumps. Making matters worse is that many hitters in the Baltimore lineup have not hit Rays pitching this year.

The LA Angels are now a game under .500 at 65-66 after a loss at Oakland on Monday. They sit 3 ½ games back of the Texas Rangers for the final AL Wildcard spot. The Angels pitching staff has been tagged for 8 runs or greater over their past three games. The team is 2-5 on this road trip. Mike Trout is happy to see the month of August come to an end as the center fielder is trapped in a .227 hitting slump with only one home run.

In a marathon game at Dodger Stadium LA was able to win Game 1 of this key series 5-4. They were able to rally from a 3-1 deficit as Adrian Gonzalez had a two run home run to tie the game at 3-3. He got the game winning hit in the 14th for LA for a three RBI night. Both teams went deep into their bullpens as San Francisco used nine pitchers on Monday and for LA seven pitchers took the mound. Great pitching matchup on Tuesday as Zach Greinke faces off with Giants left hander Madison Bumgarner.


Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Posted in NFL