Saturday’s Primetime Games

MLB September 17, 2016

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Marlins (73-74) vs Phillies (66-82)

The Philadelphia Phillies have long since been removed from any playoffs discussion, and they are doing their best to make sure the Miami Marlins are not involved in that conversation as well. After posting a 13-inning triumph in the series opener, the Phillies will look to deal another blow to visiting Miami’s slim playoff aspirations. Guaranteed by manager Pete Mackanin to start each contest of the three-game stand, former National League MVP Ryan Howard belted a solo homer on Friday. This could be the beginning of his swan song in the City of Brotherly Love.

While the Phillies are playing out the string, the Marlins have fallen nine of 17 decisions to their NL East rival and reside five games behind the New York Mets for the second wild card. Giancarlo Stanton walked twice and scored once in his return to the starting lineup. He has struggled hard though when facing off against Saturday starter Jeremy Hellickson, going 1-for-15 with five strikeouts. Marcell Ozuna has collected back-to-back multi-hit performances overall and is 18-for-57 versus the Phillies this season.

Rays (63-84) vs Orioles (81-66)

After watching an eighth-inning comeback bid fall short in the series opener of their four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles finished the job one day later to maintain their grip on a potential postseason berth. The Orioles hope to avoid the need for yet another rally and try to extend their season-long domination of the Rays.

Baltimore surrendered three first-inning runs and seven over the first four innings in Thursday’s 7-6 setback to Tampa Bay, creating just enough of a gap that eighth-inning RBIs from J.J. Hardy and Michael Bourn couldn’t complete the rally. Baltimore fell behind by four runs early Friday as well before eighth-inning RBIs from Hardy and Bourn capped a five-run resurgence and proved to be the difference this time around. This allowed the club to improve to 12-5 against the Rays. The win also allowed the Orioles to stay two games behind division-leading Boston and hold one of the two AL wild-card spots. Tampa Bay saw its three-game winning streak end as a result and stumble to 8-10 since Aug. 29, when it began a 26-game stretch in which it will not play a contest outside of the division.

Twins (55-93) vs Mets (78-69)

While the two teams they are fighting with for the two wild-cards in the National League are playing one another, the New York Mets are strengthening their lineup with a number of injured players set to return. Slugging first baseman Lucas Duda, sidelined for nearly four months, is expected to rejoin the team on Saturday.

New York cruised to a 3-0 victory in the series opener to improve to 9-3 over its last 12 games and remain one game behind San Francisco for the top wild-card spot as well as two games ahead of St. Louis for the final wild-card. Along with Duda, who was out because of a stress fracture in his back, Juan Lagares is back after undergoing thumb surgery and Wilmer Flores should return soon after receiving a cortisone injection in his sore right wrist. Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera clubbed back-to-back home runs on Friday. Cabrera provided a brief anxious moments when he exited the game in the eighth inning with what turned out to be a leg cramp. Brian Dozier had one of Minnesota’s three singles Friday to prolong his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games.

White Sox (72-75) vs Royals (74-73)

A disastrous homestand has likely buried any chances for the Kansas City Royals to hope of postseason birth. The defending World Series champions have been gouged for 50 runs during that ugly skid. The Royals have dropped to seventh place in the quest for the two wild cards spots and another loss will plunge them back to the .500 mark.

Kansas City’s normally reliable bullpen was unable to maintain a late two-run lead in Friday’s 7-4 loss, giving up five runs over the final two innings. Carlos Sanchez, who delivered a walk-off single for the White Sox on Thursday, smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning Friday. This was his first blast since Sept. 21, 2015. Jose Abreu is now batting .300 after gathering multiple hits in 12 of his last 18 contests.

Posted in MLB

Friday’s Primetime Games

MLB September 16, 2016

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Rays vs Orioles

The Tampa Bay Rays are making quite an impact on the American League East race from last place and look to cause some more damage when they visit the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays have won four of their last five contests, all against teams in the chase for the division crown. Chris Archer goes to the mound Friday trying to avoid a club-record 19th loss for the Rays and attempting to keep the major league’s best home run-hitting team in check for the second straight night. The Orioles, who occupy one of the two AL wild-card spots, trail Boston by two games in the East after stranding a runner at third in the ninth inning and going without a blast on Thursday. Veteran Ubaldo Jimenez goes for Baltimore on Friday after winning each of his last two starts, including a complete-game gem at Tampa Bay almost two weeks ago.

Marlins vs Phillies

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton could make his return to the starting lineup, as the Miami Marlins look to keep their flickering postseason hopes alive versus the Philadelphia Phillies. Stanton has received limited duty since being activated off the disabled list on Sept. 6, following a near-month absence due to a Grade 3 left groin strain. Miami flexed its offensive muscle by recording seven runs in each contest of its three-game series with Atlanta, improving to 5-2 in its last seven to reside four games out in the second wild-card spot with 16 to play. Marcell Ozuna is 16-for-52 versus the Phillies this season and is batting .318 against them in his career. Philadelphia suffered its fifth loss in seven outings in embarrassing fashion, permitting five homers in Thursday’s 15-2 rout by Keystone State-rival Pittsburgh. All-Star Odubel Herrera is 5-for-9 with two doubles in his last three games overall, but just 4-for-17 with five strikeouts against Friday starter Tom Koehler.

Yankees vs Red Sox

The Boston looks to ride the momentum of just its third walk-off win of the season as it plays the second contest of a four-game series versus visiting New York. Veteran David Ortiz launched a solo shot for his 537th career homer on Thursday, passing Yankees icon Mickey Mantle for 17th place on the all-time list. The sixth win in nine outings for the Red Sox pushed their lead in the division to two games over second-place Baltimore and five over New York, which has answered a seven-game winning streak with four losses in five contests. New Yorks’s Starlin Castro collected four hits in the series opener and is 11-for-17 during his four-game hitting streak. The 26-year-old Dominican is 29-for-84 with nine RBIs and 11 runs scored in 22 career encounters with Boston.

Tigers vs Indians

The Detroit Tigers have a last-gasp chance to make a run at the American League Central Division title. They are coming off a four-game split against the AL-worst Minnesota Twins to remain six games behind the Indians and in a six-team cluster fighting for the two wild cards. Detroit will send rookie Michael Fulmer to the mound in the series opener after its starting pitching combined for only 9 1/3 innings in the last three games against the Twins. Cleveland squandered an opportunity of its own to pull away from the Tigers, but dropped three of four at the Chicago White Sox. The Indians have the luxury of turning to ace Corey Kluber, who has won both starts against Detroit this season in dominant fashion.

Twins vs Mets

Locked in a three-team battle with San Francisco and St. Louis for the two wild cards in the National League, the New York Mets couldn’t ask for a more favorable schedule entering their final 16 games. The Mets kick off a 10-game homestand against the Minnesota Twins, owners of the worst record in the majors. New York could use a boost from outfielder Jay Bruce, who is batting .192 in 36 games since he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. Winners of eight of their last 11, the Mets send 43-year-old Bartolo Colon to the mound Friday in search of his 14th victory. Minnesota is coming off a four-game split at Detroit but has lost 21 of its last 27 games overall.

Pirates vs Reds

Andrew McCutchen has powered his way out of a pronounced slump with three homers in his last two contests. The 2013 National League MVP looks to keep the Pirates’ faint hopes for a fourth straight postseason berth alive against the Cincinnati Reds. McCutchen was mired in a 2-for-22 slump before belting a homer on Wednesday and two more to highlight a three-hit performance in Pittsburgh’s 15-2 triumph over Keystone State-rival Philadelphia. The Pirates’ fourth victory in 17 outings moved the team within 5 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot with 17 to play. Cincinnati is long removed from contemplating its postseason chances, although it has won five of six overall. Veteran Brandon Phillips recorded back-to-back three-hit performances to conclude the last series against the Pirates and is 12-for-24 in his career versus Friday starter Ryan Vogelsong.

Nationals vs Braves

The Washington Nationals continue to close in on the National League East title, and their dominance of the Atlanta Braves is a big reason why. The Nationals won 14 of the 16 meetings with the Braves this season, and start the weekend with a 10-game lead over the New York Mets and a magic number of seven to clinch the division crown. Washington appears to be peaking at the right time, winning eight of its past 10. Rookie infielder/outfielder Trea Turner hit .364 during the Nationals’ 10-game homestand and has at least one hit in 43 of 53 games since the All-Star break. Atlanta, which trails the Nationals by 31 games, has allowed 31 runs in its last four games and has held opponents to fewer than five just once in its past nine contests. First baseman Freddie Freeman brings a career-best 20-game hitting streak into the series, hitting .333 in that span with four homers and 17 RBIs.

Posted in MLB

Daily Baseball Fantasy League Primetime Top Picks

June 23rd 2016

Thursday’s nine game limited MLB schedule is always a challenge. It’s even more of a challenge when you have to cut that amount in half for Primetime only games. Got to find those deeper league players, and we’ve got your list right here. As usual, FanPicks baseball fantasy league primetime MLB contest (click to play) starts at 7PM EST time with 5 games on tap for player draft. Check out the who’s been hot over the past 10 games.

Top Pitchers

Top Pitchers

Jon Lester has earned wins in five straight starts. Last time out, he allowed a season-high 11 baserunners, but gave up only three runs in six innings to earn a win against the Pirates.

Zack Greinke has been on a roll winning each of his last seven starts with a 1.90 ERA over that stretch. In June, he is 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. Greinke threw eight innings and allowed one run against the Phils his last time out.

Christian Friedrich has allowed one earned run in 19 road innings this year.

Top Hitters

Top Hitters

Wil Myers leads the Majors with nine home runs this month and is hitting .360/.419/.827. On the season, he’s hitting .290 with a team-high 16 dingers, while playing an elite defensive first base, as well.

Asdrubal Cabrera reached base three times and scored twice in Wednesday matchup against the Royals.

Marcell Ozuna ranks first among all National League outfielders in batting average (.321), home runs (15) and RBIs (43).

Zack Cozart is batting .284/.325/.513 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs in 62 games this season. He leads Cincinnati in hitting and with 18 doubles. He is also on pace for 25 homers, which would smash his career of 15.

Opposing pitchers have, indeed, paid a price against Matt Kemp this month. He’s hitting .370/.398/.519 in June, which includes a two-hit night in Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to the Orioles.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball MLB Top Picks

May 27th 2016

It’s another day of fantasy baseball MLB at FanPicks (click to play) and we’ve got you covered with the top picks for today’s contests. The Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies start it off at 2:20 PM ET with the follow-up matchup between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals begins at 7:05 PM ET. Here is the top 20 players today.

Player Pos Team Opp Last Game FP Two Game FP Avg Four Game FP Avg Ten Game FP Avg
Adam Lind 1B SEA MIN 66 23 19.8 13.3
Cole Hamels P TEX PIT 58 37.3 41.2 32.8
Matt Shoemaker P LAA HOU 56.5 26.7 12.6 14.6
Joe Kelly P BOS @TOR 46.5 26.3 14.3 19.7
Max Scherzer P WAS STL 46.5 59.2 48.2 38.9
George Springer OF HOU @LAA 41.5 21.7 13.2 11.6
Aaron Sanchez P TOR BOS 39.5 30.2 31.1 27.6
Williams Perez P ATL MIA 37 25.7 17.9 18.4
Felix Hernandez P SEA MIN 37 34.3 28 27.1
Rafael Ortega OF LAA HOU 36 11.8 7.5 9.9
Kris Bryant 3B CHI PHI 35.5 17.3 15.8 14
Masahiro Tanaka P NYY @TB 34 21.3 26.4 23.2
Peter Bourjos OF PHI @CHI 33.5 11 8.2 5.9
Matt Cain P SF @COL 33.5 32.7 19.4 14.3
Eduardo Nunez SS MIN @SEA 33 11.7 13.6 10
Adeiny Hechavarria SS MIA @ATL 32.5 14.5 9.8 8.7
Nelson Cruz OF SEA MIN 32.5 15.3 13.8 14.4
Miguel Gonzalez P CWS @KC 32.5 19.3 14.5 8.7
Dustin Garneau C COL SF 32.5 11.7 8.7 7.8

Fantasy Baseball MLB Notables

  • Nationals Daniel Murphy is expected to be back in the lineup for Washington after getting the day off Thursday. The second baseman has carried a hot bat, hitting .394, but has struggled in the field with five errors in the month of May.
  • Friday is likely the final day St. Louis will be without third baseman Matt Carpenter, who is on paternity leave following the birth of his daughter Wednesday morning. The Cardinals have used Ruben Tejada and callup Greg Garcia at the hot corner in Carpenter’s absence.
  • Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is expected to make his return for Friday night’s game. Tulowitzki missed the previous two games because of tightness in his right quad that he sustained while stealing second during Toronto’s 6-0 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday.
  • Dodgers uber prospect Julio Urias will be making his Major League debut. Just 19 years old, the left-hander, who is rated Los Angeles’ top prospect, is being called up to start the Dodgers’ first of three games against the defending National League champion Mets at Citi Field.
  • The Mets are optimistic that infielder Wilmer Flores can come off the disabled list in time for Friday’s game. Flores, who has been sidelined since May 12 with a strained left hamstring that he hurt at Dodger Stadium, should slot in as the Mets’ everyday first baseman with Lucas Duda on the disabled list.
  • Miami Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna extended his on-base streak to 33 consecutive games with a single in the first inning on Thursday against the Rays.
  • Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is hitting .414 (12-for-29) with three home runs and 14 RBIs against the Giants this season. He hasn’t hit for a better average or driven in more runs against any other team.
Posted in MLB