MLB Wild Card Games

Twins vs Yankees Preview

The New York Yankees have traditionally dominated the Minnesota Twins in the postseason and hope to continue that trend when the teams meet Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET on ESPN) in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium. Want to be part of this wild card game, go to FanPicks and enter this contest!!!

New York defeated Minnesota in the AL Division Series in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010, claiming 12 of 14 contests in that span.  This encounter will be the first taste of October for the Yankees’ “Baby Bombers,” putting MVP candidate Aaron Judge – who led the AL in homers (52) and walks (127) – on a big stage in the Bronx that has played host to many legends.

The Twins authored one of the great turnarounds in baseball history by going from 59 victories in 2016 to 85 this year, but must overcome the pressure of past postseason failures, having lost 12 straight playoff games and 19 of their last 21 dating to the 2002 ALCS. Ervin Santana, who is 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six career starts at Yankee Stadium, gets the start for Minnesota opposite New York ace Luis Severino.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

Twins RH Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98)

Minnesota Twins

Santana tied Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, the AL Cy Young Award favorite, for most shutouts (three) and complete games (five) in the AL in an All-Star campaign in which he posted the second-lowest ERA of his 13-year-career. The 34-year-old finished the regular season with three straight road starts, including a tough loss at Yankee Stadium on September 18 in which he allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Judge went deep in that one against Santana, who owns a 5.66 ERA in 20 career starts versus New York — his highest mark against an AL team.

New York Yankees

Severino finished his breakout regular season by going 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five September starts, during which he allowed 15 hits and struck out 38 in 30 dominant innings. The one outliner in that stretch was a three-inning, three-run outing against Minnesota on September 20, when the 23-year-old was pulled following a 46-pitch third inning. That was the only career meeting with the Twins for Severino, who was 8-5 with a 3.71 ERA at home this year.

Rockies vs Diamondbacks Preview

Two teams make their long-awaited return to the postseason when the Colorado Rockies visit the Arizona Diamondbacks for a battle of National League West rivals in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET on TBS). If you want to make your mark during mlb post-season action, enter this wild card game contest featured at FanPicks.com.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and had an 11-8 record this year against the Rockies, who make their first postseason appearance since 2009. Arizona went 52-29 at Chase Field this year and boast a powerful middle of the lineup as J.D. Martinez launched 29 homers in 62 games after being acquired from Detroit while Paul Goldschmidt knocked in 120 runs, but the first baseman finished the regular season by going 0-for-17.

Colorado had to battle its way into the playoffs, edging Milwaukee by one game for the final spot, but led the NL in runs (824) while featuring the NL batting champ Charlie Blackmon (.331), the major league runner up in RBIs Nolan Arenado (130) and a red-hot Carlos Gonzalez, who was 9-for-15 in his last four games with five extra-base hits. Arizona’s starting pitcher Zack Greinke has given up five home runs in 42 at-bats to Gonzalez in his career but is 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA at home in 2017, while the Rockies will go with fellow hard-throwing righty Jon Gray, who finished the season with four straight wins – one of them against the Diamondbacks.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

Rockies RH Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20)

Colorado Rockies

Gray became a key part of the rotation after the All-Star break while going 8-4 with a 3.65 ERA over 15 starts, and allowed seven runs across 30 innings in his last five outings. The 25-year-old Oklahoma native also struck out 10 to win at Arizona on June 30 and is 2-2 with a 4.75 ERA lifetime versus the Diamondbacks. Martinez is 2-for-6 with a pair of homers and David Peralta 6-for-13 with a triple against Gray, who has 112 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings in 2017.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Greinke reached 17 victories for the third time in four seasons, but struggled in his last home start against Miami on September 22 when he permitted eight runs over four innings. The 33-year-old Orlando native, who ended the regular season by limiting Kansas City to two runs over four innings Friday, is 9-5 lifetime against Colorado after going 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five outings this season. Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story have homered four times apiece against Greinke.

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MLB 2017 Season Preview

National League West

FanPicks examines the National League West division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get ready for fantasy baseball.

Arizona DiamondBacks

The D-backs have the core of a strong offense with do-it-all Paul Goldschmidt, power bats in Jake Lamb and Yasmany Tomas and speed/power guy A.J. Pollock, whose absence had a lot to do with the team’s unexpected struggles a year ago. For the D-backs to have any kind of chance in the stacked NL West, however, their young starters behind Zack Greinke will need to take another step forward, and signed free-agent Fernando Rodney must thrive as the closer.

Colorado Rockies

Being in contention is realistic if the young rotation continues to improve and the bullpen, unlike last year, becomes an asset. And the bullpen should be better with the addition of Mike Dunn and the return of Jairo Diaz as well as young pitching prospects like Jeff Hoffman, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, who could be moved temporarily to the bullpen to fortify that area.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Going into the offseason, the Dodgers’ goal was simple — keep as much of the roster intact as possible. They went 3-for-3 in the most important parts of that process, re-signing Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill. Given the likelihood of better health this year, another year of maturity for the young players like Corey Seager and the fruits of a loaded farm system, the Dodgers appear to be the most obvious threat to the Chicago Cubs’ reign over the National League.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants remain one of the league’s most stable and successful franchises. They should receive plenty of quality innings from their rotation along with clean defensive games from a dynamic infield — a great recipe for getting leads, winning series and marching back to October.

San Diego Padres

Petco Park is a great place for fans to enjoy craft beer and good food. Sadly, good baseball doesn’t appear to be on the menu anytime soon as the Padres trot out a young team. Yes, it’ll be great for fans who like to see top prospects. Manager Andy Green suggested late last year that everyone “embrace the process.” That’s not exactly what most fans want to hear after watching too much losing ball over the decades. There will be far more growing pains than big moments.

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MLB September 23, 2016 Primetime Preview

Diamondbacks (64-88) vs Orioles (82-71)

The Arizona Diamondbacks may have the Baltimore Orioles’ number during their rare interleague contests (Enter Contest), but right-hander Yovani Gallardo routinely has gotten the better of the desert dwellers throughout his career. Gallardo looks to improve upon his 7-2 mark and 2.32 ERA in 12 career starts when he takes the mound at Camden Yards.

Nationals (89-63) vs Pirates (76-76)

The Washington Nationals have an opportunity to shower themselves in champagne as soon as Friday. They can win their third National League East title in five years. Washington’s magic number resides at two.

Yankees (79-73) vs Blue Jays (83-69)

The Toronto Blue Jays’ pursuit of a wild-card spot in the American League heats up on their final homestand of the season, beginning Friday against the New York Yankees. The Yankees are three games out of the second AL wild card and four behind the Blue Jays, who stands atop the wild card. They are one game ahead of Detroit and 1 1/2 clear of the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox (89-64) vs Rays (65-87)

The Boston Red Sox have won eight straight games against American League East opponents for the first time in 26 years and can extend the streak to nine when they face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox pushed their lead in the AL East to 5 ½ games and reduced their magic number to five to clinch the division after sweeping four each from the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

White Sox (72-80) vs Indians (89-63)

The Cleveland Indians would prefer to clinch their first American League Central title since 2007 at home and have a good chance to do it this weekend against the struggling Chicago White Sox. The Indians have won five of six to trim their magic number to four and own a seven-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central as they prepare to host the White Sox.

Royals (77-76) vs Tigers (82-70)

The Detroit Tigers may be a bit tired after their sweep of a doubleheader in Minnesota on Thursday but should be ready for their final homestand of the season against the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers took over sole possession of the second wild card in the American League. They moved one-half game ahead of Baltimore with 10 games remaining to the season.

Braves (62-91) vs Marlins (76-77)

One of baseball’s hottest teams has spent 2016 buried in the National League East basement, but the Atlanta Braves are providing plenty of optimism. They are bringing a six-game winning streak into Friday’s game at Miami. Matt Kemp slugged two homers in Thursday’s series-opening 6-3 victory and Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 26 games. Atlanta has won 14 of their past 22 games and are hitting .281 since the start of August.

Phillies (69-84) vs Mets (81-72)

The New York Mets’ pitching carousel took another unfortunate turn. Starter Steven Matz experienced soreness following a 20-pitch bullpen session. His scheduled Friday start is pushed back due to a left shoulder impingement. The Mets instead will turn to rookie Gabriel Ynoa as they attempt to strengthen their tenuous hold on the first wild card in the National League versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Monday’s Late Night Games

Giants (79-70) vs Dodgers (84-65)

Los Angeles are sending ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Monday night. They open a three-game series against the visiting San Francisco Giants (Enter Contests), who are fighting for a spot in the postseason with 13 games to play. The Dodgers are leading their division rival Giants by five games in the National League West, while the Giants pursue the Mets in the National League  wild card race. They are one game back of New York and just a game ahead of St. Louis.

Diamondbacks (63-86) vs Padres (62-87)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are visiting  the San Diego Padres. This will be the first of six games between the last two teams in the National League West. They are both looking to avoid a last-place finish before the regular-season comes to an end. The Diamondbacks have won five of their previous seven contests. Thanks in part of their surging offense. They have a one-game lead for fourth place over the Padres, who were swept in three games by the Colorado Rockies.

Blue Jays (81-68) vs Mariners (79-70)

The Seattle Mariners are focusing in making up ground in the American League wild-card race when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at home.  They open a three-game series against their northern opponents. The Mariners avoided the series-sweep against Houston thanks to a 7-3 victory on Sunday. They have won nine of 11 to close within two games of the slumping Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot.

Astros (78-71) vs Athletics (66-83)

After coming up short of a three-game sweep in Seattle, the Houston Astros look to recharge and continue their quest toward a wild-card spot in the American League. They start the second half of their six-game road trip Monday with the series-opener against the Oakland Athletics. Houston lost 7-3 to the Mariners on Sunday, but remain three games back of Toronto for the second wild card. A chance for them to close down the gap is a likely scenario, as they play their next seven contests against AL West bottom-feeders Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels before another confrontation with Seattle at home.

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August 18 MLB Rundown

Thursday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your August 18 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Astros vs Orioles

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who reached 1,000 hits against the Cardinals on Tuesday, has had a lot of success against Baltimore, just not recently. In Houston’s three-game sweep of the O’s earlier this season, Altuve went 1-for-13.

Dodgers vs Phillies

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has hit safely in eight straight games, going 15-for-36. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez is 18-for-40 with 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored during a 10-game hitting streak.

White Sox vs Indians

Cleveland’s first baseman Carlos Santana has a career batting average of .364 (4-for-11) off Rodon. Santana is the only Cleveland batter with double-digit career at-bats vs. the southpaw hitting over .200.

Marlins vs Reds

Veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips returned to the Reds lineup on Wednesday after missing the previous two contests due to injury and delivered the key hit with a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh.

Nationals vs Braves

Nats outfielder Jayson Werth has reached base in 45 consecutive games. He has a chance to tie the franchise record if he reaches base on Thursday.

Twins vs Royals

Twins rookie right-hander Tyler Duffey goes for his second win over the Royals in six days.

Mariners vs Angels

Fourteen game winning pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has dominated the Angels’ two biggest threats in large sample sizes. Mike Trout is hitting just .214 (9-for-42) and Albert Pujols only .133 (3-for-45) vs. Iwakuma.

Padres vs Diamondbacks

Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas isn’t having any issues at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with two homers and a career-best six RBIs in Wednesday’s 13-5 victory over the New York Mets. Tomas has slugged 12 homers in his past 19 games and has seven multi-homer games while belting 25 this season.

Mets vs Giants

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner has been superb against the Mets in his career by going 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in five career outings. Mets counter-attacks with their ace Jacob deGrom, who is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in three career starts against the Giants. Pitching duel to be expected.

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August 17 MLB Preview

Wednesday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your August 17 MLB preview to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Red Sox vs Orioles

Red Sox ace David Price face off against heralded O’s rookie Dylan Bundy. Outfielder Mookie Betts has been a real thorn for Baltimore’s pitching, as he has hit seven homers in five games at Camden Yards this season.

Dodgers vs Phillies

Jake Thompson’s progression from Phillies prospect to Major League starter continues. He will have to watch out for Los Angeles Howie Kendrick though. The veteran outfielder  is 14-for-25 with two homers, eight RBIs and six runs scored during his six-game hitting streak.

White Sox vs Indians

Indians first baseman Mike Napoli extended his hitting streak to 16 games Tuesday, the longest active streak in the Majors. 

Marlins vs Reds

In his third start back from Tommy John surgery, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey looked like his pre-surgery self with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings. He needed 31 pitches to get out of a jam in the fifth but had enough in the tank to fan the side in the sixth. On Wednesday, Reds fans will get reacquainted with Homer Bailey, and he with the mound at Great American Ball Park. It will be the Cincinnati right-hander’s first time pitching at home since August 7th 2014.

Twins vs Braves

The wait is over for Braves fans, as top prospect Dansby Swanson is set to make his Major League debut at shortstop Wednesday against the Twins. The move is in line with Erick Aybar Tuesday trade to the Tigers.

Brewers vs Cubs

For all the deserved hype surrounding their star-studded lineup, the Chicago Cubs have leaned on their starting pitching during a red-hot start to the second half. After two more strong pitching performances powered the Cubs to a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, left-hander Jon Lester looks to help Chicago make it three straight.

Athletics vs Rangers

Yu Darvish and rookie left-hander Sean Manaea will go at it again for the series finale between the Rangers and A’s. The two matched up in Arlington on July 27, a game in which Manaea had a career-high nine strikeouts.

Mets vs Diamondbacks

Jonathon Niese has been waiting for the opportunity to prove he deserves a spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. Niese, who was acquired from the Pirates for right-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo at the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Aug. 1, will make his first start since the trade in the spot previously occupied by recently optioned Logan Verrett. The D-backs counter with Zack Godley.

Mariners vs Angels

Seattle’s Cody Martin steps up into the rotation as fill-in for the injured James Paxton. It will be Martin’s first satrt with the Mariners. He’ll face the Angels and Tyler Skaggs, who allowed seven runs in his last start.

Posted in MLB

August 9 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Tuesday Primetime Matchups

FanPicks has your august 9 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Padres vs Pirates

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, benched for three games last week, is 3-for-21 over his last six contests. To make matters worse, right fielder Gregory Polanco has not started in each of the past three games due to a sore left shoulder. Padres left fielder Alex Dickerson homered Sunday to extend his hitting streak to five games.

Indians vs Nationals

Max Scherzer will toe the slab for the Nats, and he’s undefeated in his last five appearances. Scherzer (12-6, 2.87 ERA) allowed three runs on four hits, striking out 11 in eight innings in an 8-3 win at Arizona his last time out. He absolutely owns the Indians, with a record of 4-0, 3.46 ERA in his last eight starts against them.

Rays vs Blue Jays

Devon Travis is doing his best to carve out a full-time role as the Toronto Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter. The 25-year-old looks to follow up a career-best four-hit performance in the opener and give manager John Gibbons added incentive to keep him atop the lineup. Travis, who is 12-for-22 with three homers and seven RBIs during his five-game hitting streak, drove in a run in Monday’s 7-5 triumph and has four homers and eight RBIs in his 12 games as the club’s leadoff hitter. Brad Miller, who recorded a two-run double on Monday for the Rays, is 10-for-25 with three homers and nine RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak.

Yankees vs Red Sox

The modern chapter of the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees kicked into high gear in the offseason between 2003 and 2004, when Alex Rodriguez was at the center of the controversy. Rodriguez, who ended up with New York that winter, will begin his final series in Boston Tuesday. Rodriguez has 696 career home runs but is suffering through the worst season of his career at age 41 and has no place in the Yankees future after the team elected to go younger at the trade deadline and start inserting the youth into the major league roster.

Giants vs Marlins

Brandon Crawford did his best to give ailing manager Bruce Bochy quite the get-well gift by recording Major League Baseball’s first seven-hit performance in 41 years in the series opener. With Bochy  expected to exit the hospital and return to his post in the dugout, Crawford will look to continue the hit parade on Tuesday. He collected a triple, a double and five singles, with his last base hit plating Brandon Belt in the 14th inning for an 8-7 victory. The 29-year-old recorded only six hits in his previous 11 games for the Giants. Miami’s Christian Yelich fell a triple shy of the cycle on Monday but improved to 17-for-40 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in his last nine games.

Diamondbacks vs Mets

Zack Greinke’s return from an oblique injury that forced him to miss more than a month should help Arizona’s struggling staff, and the former Cy Young Award winner declared himself ready to go after a rehab start at Triple-A Reno last Wednesday. Greinke surrendered three or fewer runs in six straight starts, including an abbreviated two-inning stint on June 28 before being placed on the disabled list. He is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

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Fantasy Baseball MLB August 5 Preview

Friday Late Matchups

FanPicks has your MLB august 5 preview to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Blue Jays vs Royals

The Toronto Blue Jays have won three games in a row and eight of 11 to pull within a single percentage point of the number one spot in the American League East. The surging Blue Jays look to continue their torrid stretch, opening a three-game series versus the reeling Kansas City Royals.

Braves vs Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are getting healthy but are looking for a push in their battle for a National League wild-card spot against the Atlanta Braves. Leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter is expected to participate in the opener after missing 29 games with a strained right oblique. They’ve already had backup earlier this week, when infielders Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss came off the disabled list.

Marlins vs Rockies

The Miami Marlins have had a day off to recover from a catastrophic defeat and will try to turn things around against Colorado Rockies. The Marlins kicked off their six-game road trip with three straight losses to the Chicago Cubs, none as bad as Wednesday’s 5-4 defeat.

Brewers vs Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks want to end a disappointing run of pitching performances. They’ll host the Milwaukee Brewers for the next few day’s in three-game series set. The bottom-place Diamondbacks have given up 46 runs during a four-game losing streak. Their opponents, on the other hand, recorded nine tallies per contest over the last seven.

Cubs vs Athletics

Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell once dreamed of playing at Oakland Coliseum. Dream will become a reality for him when his squad begin a three-game interleague series against the Oakland Athletics. A former A’s prospect, Russell has blossomed into a key player for the major league-best Cubs. Chicago has now four straight victory and won seven of their last eight.

Red Sox vs Dodgers

The Boston Red Sox are set on closing out a 11-game West Coast trek with a winning record. They will be begin a three-game series against the host Los Angeles Dodgers. Boston is 4-4 on the trip. Versatile Brock Holt delivered the tiebreaking RBI single in the 11th inning of Thursday for a 3-2 victory over Seattle, which split even the four-game series.

Angels vs Mariners

The Seattle Mariners are seeking to make up ground in the American League wild-card race. They are entering a stretch in which seven of their following 13 games are against the soaring Los Angeles Angels. Seattle is just 2-4 versus the Angels this season and Los Angeles is a 12-7 since the All-Star break.

Phillies vs Padres

Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson was a prime candidate to be moved prior to Monday’s trade deadline, but the veteran right-hander will be staying around after-all. He’ll take the ball in Friday’s three-game series opener against the Padres in San Diego. Hellickson stretched his unbeaten streak to three starts (2-0) despite giving up three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-5 victory in Atlanta on Saturday.

 

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