Sabres at Rangers

The New York Rangers continued their dominance of the Buffalo Sabres with an overtime victory in the NHL’s 10th Winter Classic at Citi Field earlier this month. Although technically the road team in that encounter, the Rangers look to post their 12th win in their last 15 meetings with the Sabres on Thursday when they face off at Madison Square Garden.

J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal 2:43 into overtime to send New York to a 3-2 win over Buffalo on Jan. 1 and tallied in Tuesday’s 5-1 rout of Philadelphia. Michael Grabner also scored in the first meeting with the Sabres and has tallied in back-to-back contests to raise his total to a team-best 20 goals for the Rangers, who boast a 14-4-1 in their last 19 at home. Buffalo is returning from its NHL-mandated five-day break and bids to post wins in back-to-back outings on the heels of last Thursday’s 3-1 triumph over Columbus. “It was great that we won that game before the break because you could see the energy in our practice,” coach Phil Housley said on Wednesday. “(The team had) really good life out there. I think the guys are feeling good about themselves. I think the coaches are feeling good about themselves.”

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MSG (New York)

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ABOUT THE SABRES (11-24-9): Kyle Okposo entered the break on a high with five points (one goal, four assists) in his previous two games and also set up two goals in the first meeting with New York. “I really want to get back at a level that I know I’m capable of, being an elite player,” the 29-year-old Okposo said. “… You come to work and you want to be at your best, you want to prove to yourself and prove to everybody that you still have it, you’re a good player.” Fellow forward Jack Eichel, who leads the team in goals (18), assists (23) and points (41), has three goals and three assists during his three-game point streak.

ABOUT THE RANGERS (23-17-5): Defenseman Marc Staal will sit out versus Buffalo with a hip flexor injury sustained against the Flyers, coach Alain Vigneault said following Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t expect it to be long,” said Vigneault, who also noted that Steve Kampfer will rejoin the lineup versus the Sabres. Forward Kevin Hayes, who is deemed day-to-day as he deals with a contusion, worked out off the ice on Wednesday and is “coming along,” Vigneault said.

OVERTIME

1. New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, who became the first NHL goaltender to post 20 or more wins in each of his first 13 seasons, has yielded one goal or fewer in five of his last 10 contests versus Buffalo (7-2-0).

2. Sabres D Rasmus Ristolainen scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with the Rangers and sits one assist shy of 100 for his career.

3. New York LW Rick Nash, who tallied twice versus Philadelphia, has 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in his last 13 games versus Buffalo.

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Posted in NHL

Flyers at Rangers

The New York Rangers have stumbled out of their NHL-mandated five-day break with losses against a pair of Metropolitan Division foes. New York bids to regain its footing versus another in the opener of a two-game homestand on Tuesday night when it faces the Philadelphia Flyers for the first time this season.

The Rangers saw their overall losing skid extend to three games and fell to 3-5-2 in their last 10 contests after being outscored 12-4 over the weekend in setbacks to the Islanders and Pittsburgh. “I think the past month, the level is just not high enough. (You) almost get tired of yourself sitting here, trying to find the right thing to say,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who routinely has flustered the Flyers to the tune of posting a 34-14-4 career mark with four shutouts and a .919 save percentage. Philadelphia has found its offense by recording 21 goals and converting 7 of 14 power-play opportunities during its four-game winning streak. “When you look at the Metro now, it’s so stacked up you cannot afford to lose a game,” forward Jakub Voracek (NHL-best 45 assists) told Philly.com.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVAS, NBCS Philadelphia, MSG (New York)

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ABOUT THE FLYERS (20-15-8): Snubbed for inclusion to the upcoming NHL All-Star Game, Sean Couturier perhaps is taking out his frustrations by notching multi-point performances in each contest during Philadelphia’s winning streak. The 25-year-old top-line center extended his career-high goal total to 25 by tallying twice in each of his last three games while also adding an assist to conclude a three-point effort in Saturday’s 5-3 win over New Jersey. Captain Claude Giroux, who was named to the All-Star Game, also is riding a four-game point streak and has 26 points (three goals, 23 assists) in his last 16 contests overall while Voracek has 23 points (one goal, 22 assists) in his past 17.

ABOUT THE RANGERS (22-17-5): Michael Grabner recorded his team-leading 19th goal and the 150th of his career after converting on a breakaway in the first period of Sunday’s 5-2 setback in Pittsburgh. The 30-year-old Austrian looks to continue his scoring surge versus Philadelphia, against which he has three goals and an assist in his last five encounters. Fellow forward Mats Zuccarello (team-leading 24 assists, 32 points) also fared well versus the Flyers by setting up four goals in last season’s series and has three assists in his five games this month.

OVERTIME

1. New York has won 12 of its last 14 home games versus Philadelphia.

2. Flyers G Brian Elliott has yielded at least three goals in six straight outings

3. Philadelphia D Shayne Gostisbehere returned to practice on Monday after missing Friday and Saturday with an illness.

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Posted in NHL

Primetime hockey

NHL Rundown

Here is the NHL rundown. All of Tuesday Fantasy Hockey matchups to get you ready for your cash drafts. Play at FanPicks now!

Ottawa Senators (39-24-6) vs Boston Bruins (38-28-4)

The Ottawa Senators lost a chance to take control of the Atlantic Division race over the weekend. They have gone four games without a victory (0-2-2), including overtime and regulation losses in a home-and-home series with first-place Montreal, and lead Boston by four points for second place in the Atlantic. The Bruins will be trying to avoid a three-game slide when they return home from 2-2-0 road trip that ended with a 4-2 setback at Toronto on Monday that reduced their lead over the Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic to one point.

Pittsburgh Penguins (45-17-6) vs Buffalo Sabres (30-31-6)

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope recent history repeats itself Tuesday as they attempt to clinch a playoff spot with a road win over the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in three years. A victory, which would be its third straight, also could put Pittsburgh in the lead for the Presidents’ Trophy. Buffalo is aiming for its third consecutive victory of their own.

New York Rangers (45-24) vs New Jersey Devils (26-33-10)

The New York Rangers have lost touch with the top teams in the Metropolitan Division but maintain a firm grip on the top wild card. They continued their road prowess with a 3-2 win at Minnesota on Saturday but sits six points behind third-place Columbus in the Metropolitan. New Jersey has been unable to prevail in any venue over the past month, dropping 12 of its last 13 games (1-10-2) to plunge into the basement of the Eastern Conference.

Calgary Flames (41-27-2) vs Washington Capitals (46-17-3)

Offseason acquisition Brian Elliott didn’t turn many heads with his play to begin the season, but the veteran goaltender certainly has the league’s attention now. With 11 consecutive victories under his belt, Elliott will look to eclipse Mike Vernon’s franchise-record win streak on Tuesday as the red-hot Calgary Flames vie for their 13th triumph in 14 outings. Washington punched its playoff ticket for the ninth time in 10 seasons with Saturday’s 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay.

Detroit Red Wings (28-32-11) vs Montreal Canadiens (41-23-6)

Montreal owns a four-point advantage for first place in the Atlantic Division over the Senators, after posting a 4-3 shootout win in Ottawa on Saturday and a 4-1 home triumph over them a day later. The Red Wings have gone 3-6-1 this month, practically assuring their 25-year playoff streak will come to an end in what is their final season at Joe Louis Arena.

Arizona Coyotes (26-37-7) vs Tampa Bay Lightning (34-28-6)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have hit a bump in the road during their quest for a playoff spot. The Lightning earned points in 15 of 17 games (12-2-3) before allowing a total of 10 goals in back-to-back losses to Toronto and Washington, which have dropped them four points behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.  The Coyotes officially were eliminated from playoff contention with Monday’s 3-1 loss at Nashville but have earned points in five of their last seven games (3-2-2).

Carolina Hurricanes (30-27-8) vs Florida Panthers (31-29-5)

The Hurricanes and Panthers are tied with 73 points and trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by eight points for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Posted in NHL

MLB 2017 Season Preview

American League West

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

Houston Astros

A rebound seems plausible. The team finished five games out of the Wild Card, but they didn’t have highly touted prospect Alex Bregman, Cuban import Yuli Gurriel, gold glover Josh Reddick, all-star catcher Brian McCann, or a settled bullpen when they began the 2016 season. The Rangers were a record-setting 36–11 in one-run games, an indicator more of luck than skill, so some regression is to be expected, and the Mariners have become one of the league’s oldest teams. Given Houston’s depth on the field and in the bullpen, a modestly better performance by the rotation could propel the Astros back to October baseball.

Los Angeles Angels

From 2002 through 2014, the Angels won at least 90 games seven times, won six division titles, reached the ALCS three times and won the franchise’s only World Series championship in 2002. This is a much different era. Though GM Billy Eppler defiantly says the Angels “intend to contend” in 2017, the road to fourth place is paved with good intentions.

Oakland Athletics

The A’s play in an antiquated stadium. They don’t draw well. They trade their top players instead of paying them top dollar, making it tough for fans to be faithful. Of course, the sentiment would improve if the A’s got off to a quick start, re-energized their fan base and even took steps toward constructing a baseball-only facility in Oakland. Miracles do happen.

Seattle Mariners

It seems unlikely that heavy hitters Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager can improve much on the stellar production of last year. But GM Jerry Dipoto has been very aggressive in building up the roster depth around his star trio, which should allow the Mariners to be competitive in a very tough American League West. It will come down to how their new-look starting rotation performs.

Texas Rangers

A third-straight AL West title is within reach. The Rangers have two aces in the rotation in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, a top-flight bullpen and offensive firepower. That combination will help them stay in contention in the AL West, but the rest of the rotation needs to carry its weight. Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre must stay healthy, newcomer Mike Napoli needs to keep slugging, and DH must be productive to make a push for a three-peat.

Posted in MLB

NHL Rundown

Thursday Fantasy Hockey Preview

The NHL rundown examines Thursday Fantasy Hockey matchups (Enter contest) to get you ready for your cash drafts.

Canadiens vs Flyers

The Montreal Canadiens’ top line of captain Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov and Phillip Danault are showing signs of coming together as a group while the Philadelphia Flyers quickly came apart at the seams in their first game back from the NHL All-Star break. Pacioretty, who leads the team with 24 goals, recorded his second hat trick of the season and sixth of his career during the Habs last game.

Senators vs Lightning

The Ottawa Senators hope to rebound from an uncharacteristically sloppy performance. They’ll battle their Atlantic Division rivals Tampa Bay Lightning. The Sens saw their six-game point streak come to an end with a 6-5 loss at Florida on Tuesday despite 41 shots on goal in the first contest after the All-Star break.

Rangers vs Sabres

The All-Star Game gave NHL teams a chance to get recharged but the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres each appeared to extend their respective breaks by about two hours too long. Both the Rangers and Sabres will look to avoid getting off to disastrous starts when the clubs square off for the third time this season.

Oilers vs Predators

The Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators cruised into the All-Star break before stumbling out of the blocks in their first trip to the ice. The Western Conference upstarts look to regain their footing at the other’s expense.

Jets vs Stars

The Dallas Stars look to exact revenge for their worst loss of the season but more importantly pick up two key points in the Western Conference standings. Dallas lost 8-2 their last meeting against the Jets on November 8. Both teams have 52 points and are four points behind third-place Nashville in the Central Division. They are also among six teams bunched together fighting for the two wild card positions.

Blackhawks vs Coyotes

The Chicago Blackhawks aren’t getting much bang for their buck from their vaunted second line, with Artem Anisimov struggling to find the words in much the same manner as he’s struggled to find the net in the last 11 games. Anisimov, Artem Panarin and reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane look to rediscover their scoring touch as the Blackhawks bid to snap a three-game skid on versus the Arizona Coyotes.

Maple Leafs vs Blues

Less than nine months after advancing to the Western Conference finals last season, the St. Louis Blues pulled a shocker by dismissing veteran coach Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday. Mike Yeo, designated the coach-in-waiting for 2017-18, had his timetable pushed up and will be behind the bench for their confrontation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sharks vs Canucks

While Patrick Marleau continues his quest for career goal No. 500, the Pacific-leading San Jose Sharks are aiming to remain successful on the road . Marleau has closed in on the milestone by netting six tallies over his last four contests and is one shy of tying Lanny McDonald and becoming the 45th player in NHL history to reach the plateau.

Posted in NHL

NHL Rundown

Wednesday Fantasy Hockey Previews

FanPicks.com has an NHL rundown to get you ready for live fantasy hockey contests.

Maple Leafs vs Red Wings

The Toronto Maple Leafs went through some early-season struggles away from home but have righted the ship, going nearly two months without a regulation loss on the road. The Red Wings are coming off their third consecutive overtime loss. It was a 4-3 setback in Boston on Tuesday in which they allowed a 3-2 lead to disappear in the third period. The Original Six rivals had their first meeting of the season in the Centennial Classic at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium on January 1st. Rookie Auston Matthews scored his second of the game at 3:40 of overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 5-4 victory after they squandered a three-goal advantage over the final 6:06 of the third session.

Flyers vs Rangers

The New York Rangers would be sitting in a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division, but the margin of error is much smaller in the highly competitive Metropolitan. They are coming off their first home victory of 2017 The Red, White and Blue could extend their winning streak to four games against Philadelphia Flyers.

Canucks vs Avalanche

The Vancouver Canucks are one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, thanks to an impressive record at home. However, they are tied with Arizona for the fewest road wins (five) in the NHL. The Canucks have won both matchups against Colorado this season, including a 3-2 shootout win at Denver on November 26.

Oilers vs Ducks

The Edmonton Oilers are making a spirited run for first place in the Pacific Division and get a chance to make up ground with back-to-back matchups against the two teams ahead of them. Riding a six-game point streak (5-0-1), the surging Oilers are taking on the Anaheim Ducks. Ducks goalie John Gibson is 4-0-1 with a 1.19 goals-against average against Edmonton.

Posted in NHL

NHL Daily Fantasy Sports Rundown

FanPicks has all of the hockey matchup ready for live NHL daily fantasy sports on Friday. Here’s a look at all the games happening today.

Maple Leafs vs Rangers

The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs are both coming off a bye week, although each team had decidedly different results in their previous game. The Rangers will be hoping that the layoff did not stem the momentum from a spectacular comeback at Columbus.

Blackhawks vs Capitals

The Washington Capitals snapped the Chicago Blackhawks’ seven-game winning streak in their first encounter and look to put an end to their four-game run at the Verizon Center. Washington is on quite the streak of its own, having won a season-high seven in a row to join Chicago in residing within one point of Columbus for the NHL’s best record.

Islanders vs Panthers

New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano is struggling to locate his offense on the heels of his team’s mandated five-day break in the schedule. After mustering just three goals since flipping the calendar, the Islanders look to avert a season sweep by the Florida Panthers in a home-and-home set starting at BB&T Center.

Sabres vs Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the NHL’s best home teams over the last two months and aim to continue their dominance at PNC Arena. Carolina won its final five home contests in November and proceeded to go 5-0-1 in its own building in December before beginning this month with a 3-1 loss to visiting New Jersey.

Blue Jackets vs Lightning

The Columbus Blue Jackets have hit a bump in the road since their historic 16-game winning streak. They’ll look to turn things around. John Tortorella’s team fell to 1-3-0 since the run after Tuesday’s 5-3 loss at Carolina but will try for a three-game sweep against the desperate Lightning, who will retire the No. 26 of Martin St. Louis in a ceremony before the contest.

Devils vs Flames

The Calgary Flames appear to have found the right formula for winning at home. Calgary fell to 8-10-0 at Scotiabank Saddledome with a loss to Anaheim on December 29 but has posted four consecutive victories in its own building, including a 3-2 triumph over San Jose on Wednesday.

Jets vs Coyotes

Fresh off a much-needed five-day break, the Arizona Coyotes go for their first regulation victory in one month. The Coyotes halted a nine-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday, a win that also snapped a five-game skid at home.

Time for you to make your daily pick at FanPicks.com

Posted in NHL

August 24 MLB Rundown

Wednesday Primetime Matchups

FanPicks has your August 24 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Orioles vs Nationals

 BALvsWAS

The O’s will face tough Nationals righty Tanner Roark, whose 2.87 ERA ranks seventh in the National League. Roark allowed three runs in five innings against the Orioles when he started against them last September.

Angels vs Blue Jays

 LAAvsTOR

Matt Shoemaker will look to win back-to-backstarts for the first time since mid-July when he gets the ball against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Toronto will counter with Marco Estrada.

Red Sox vs Rays

BOSvsTB

If any team is going to have a chance to beat Boston’s Rick Porcello this season, they’re going to have to do so when the right-hander is on the road. Porcello is 12-0 with a 2.96 ERA at Fenway Park and 5-3 with a 3.49 ERA on the road. A win on Wednesday would make Porcello the Majors’ first 18-game winner this season.

Royals vs Miami

 KCvsMIA

Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez hopes a return to South Beach will be just what doctor ordered in a bid to cure what has become his worst stretch of the season. Fernandez looks to snap a four-game winless run.

Rangers vs Reds

 TEXvsCIN

In Yu Darvish’s four years in the Majors, the Reds have seen the Rangers starter just once during the regular season, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some history. Darvish’s lone start came in 2013. He struck out eight over 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-2 Rangers win. But earlier that year, during Spring Training, Darvish acquainted himself with the Reds, specifically first baseman Joey Votto. In the first inning of that game on March 23, Darvish threw Votto a looping eephus pitch, and Votto got all of it, driving it deep into the right-field stands. As Votto rounded the bases, Darvish laughed, and then after Votto touched home, he turned toward the stands behind home plate and put his finger over his lips, shushing the crowd. The Reds first baseman is 9-for-16 with 11 RBIs over the last five games. Darvish and Votto are going to face once again at the Great American Ballpark.

Posted in MLB

August 23 MLB Rundown

Tuesday Primetime Matchups

FanPicks has your August 23 MLB rundown to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Astros vs Pirates
HOUvsPIT

Right-hander Ivan Nova will make his fourth start for the Pirates since being acquired in a trade from the Yankees. He will face rookie righty Joe Musgrove and the Astros at PNC Park. Cuban slugger Yulieski Gurriel is expected to make his first start in the field for Houston after sitting out Monday’s game.

Nationals vs Orioles
WASvsBAL

Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez will have a new challenge when he faces the Orioles at Camden Yards. Lopez has dominated in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier this month, allowing two earned runs in 14 innings while striking out 13.

Angels vs Blue Jays
LAAvsTOR

The Blue Jays and Angels will meet for the first time this season when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey takes the mound vs. lefty Tyler Skaggs at Rogers Centre. Dickey hit a rough patch in July, but he has since bounced back with a total of six earned runs over his last three starts.

Red Sox vs Rays
BOSvsTB

The Rays are among the hottest teams and will have a chance to continue their winning ways against the Red Sox with their ace on the mound at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer is in the midst of his best month and has lowered his ERA in each of his past six starts.

Royals vs Marlins
KCvsMIA

Right-hander Yordano Ventura will face Miami for the first time in his career. He’s pitched in four straight Royals wins, and hasn’t yielded more than three runs in an outing since July 3. Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is three hits shy of passing Wade Boggs (3,010) for 27th on the all-time hit list.

Rangers vs Reds
TEXvsCIN

Rangers lefty Derek Holland will come off the disabled list and start for the first time since June 20th. He will faces the Reds at The Great American Ball Park. Holland will be going up against one of the hottest pitchers in the National League, right-hander Dan Straily. Straily has won his past five decisions, and he is 5-0 with a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.

Posted in MLB

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 8 MLB Preview

Monday Late Matchups

FanPicks has your august 8 MLB preview to get ready for today’s fantasy baseball contests. Get the info you need and play right here!

Rangers vs Rockies

Rangers scheduled starter Cole Hamels fell to 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break following Wednesday’s loss at Baltimore in which he permitted three runs on four hits and four walks over seven innings. The rough road outing was a rare one for the 2008 World Series MVP, who still holds a sparkling 8-2 record and 1.90 ERA in 12 turns away from Rangers Ballpark. Hamels split his two starts versus the Rockies last season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and is 4-4 lifetime with a 3.21 ERA against them.

Orioles vs Athletics

O’s third baseman Manny Machado became the second player in history to homer in each of the first three innings when Baltimore dominated the rubber match with a 10-2 win at the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Machado drove in a career-high seven runs in the win and finished up the weekend 7-for-15 with nine RBIs and five runs scored to lead the Orioles offense.

Tigers vs Mariners

Seattle’s second baseman Robinson Cano sat out the Sunday’s contest to rest and gear up for stellar Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer, who opposes Hisashi Iwakuma in the series opener.

Phillies vs Dodgers

The Philadelphia Phillies face an old friend for the first time when they begin a three-game road series against Chase Utley and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 37-year-old Utley was the heart and soul of the Phillies for more than 12 seasons after making his major league debut in 2003, helping the franchise capture its second World Series title — and first in 28 years — in 2008 before being traded to Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 2015. The six-time All-Star and second baseman on Sports Illustrated’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s has batted .250 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs in 93 games this season for the Dodgers.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball August 5 Preview

Friday Primetime Matchups

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

Indians vs Yankees

The Cleveland Indians used the long ball to avoid a sweep. They are swinging the power bats at the perfect time as they begin a three-game series against the host New York Yankees. Yankee Stadium possess the highest home run rate of any American League park. It will be hard-pressed to contain the Indians, who have hit 15 shots over their previous seven games.

Giants vs Nationals

Riding some momentum after wrapping up a road trip with a dominating sweep at Arizona, the Washington Nationals will receive the San Francisco Giants in the opener of an eight-game homestand. Washington gathered 32 runs in a three-game set against the Diamondbacks to finish 6-3 on the nine-game trek.

Reds vs Pirates

Struggling Andrew McCutchen is expected to return to the lineup when the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates open a three-game stand against Cincinnati Reds. McCutchen was benched for the whole three-game series versus the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates lost two of three and have fallen back to .500 on the season.

Mets vs Tigers

The red hot Detroit Tigers continue their pursuit of the top spot in the American League Central when they host the New York Mets. Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, who was unbeaten in six starts last month, will takes on Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard.

Twins vs Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins have been competing much better than their current lot in the standings would indicate. The cellar dwellers in the American League East and Central divisions, respectively, look to continue their rock solid play of late at the other’s expense.

Orioles vs White Sox

Chicago White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez likely won’t need extra motivation heading into the opener of a three-game series versus the Baltimore Orioles. After spending his first four seasons with the Orioles, the 32-year-old Gonzalez was let go by the club in late March. He posted a 1-4 mark with a bloated 9.78 ERA back in spring training with Baltimore.

Rangers vs Astros

The Texas Rangers will try to extend their dominance of in-state rival Houston. Texas is 9-1 versus Houston this season. They have won seven of the eight match-ups decided by fewer than three runs.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball August 4 Preview

Thursday Primetime Matchups

FanPicks has your fantasy baseball august 4 preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the information you need and enter right here!

Athletics vs Angels

Yonder Alonso is heating up for the Athletics, going 2-for-4 in each of his last three games and notching at least one hit in five of his last six. Los Angeles improved to 4-2 on its seven-game homestand and used the long ball to do it, belting three home runs — including a walk-off, two-run blast by Albert Pujols in the ninth inning. The veteran slugger finished with three RBI and went 3-for-5, giving him four multi-hit performances in the past six games. Jefry Marte homered for the second straight day to extend his hitting streak to six games and has knocked in a run in four consecutive contests.

Mets vs Yankees

Nathan Eovaldi, the American League’s hardest-throwing starter with a 97.1-mph average fastball, will start for the Yankees against the Mets’ Bartolo Colon, the National League’s second-softest thrower with an 87.8 mph average fastball. For Eovaldi (9-7, 4.78 ERA), the fastball is his primary pitch but not his only weapon, as he also mixes in a cutter and a slider, both of which move approximately as fast as Colon’s fastball. But for Colon (9-6, 3.58 ERA), the heater is truly the alpha and the omega. The veteran right-hander throws his fastball on 89 percent of his pitches.

Orioles vs Rangers

The Baltimore Orioles will look to complete a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers in a battle of first-place teams on Thursday. The Orioles won the opener 5-1 with the help of four solo homers and a masterful performance by starter Dylan Bundy. Kevin Gausman then outdueled Texas ace Cole Hamels, leading the Orioles to a 3-2 victory the following night. Wade Miley (7-8, 4.98 ERA), acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Aug. 1, will make his Orioles debut and try to keep the momentum going in the series finale.

Pirates vs Braves

Don’t expect to see Andrew McCutchen on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates make the final appearance at Turner Field. He won’t be playing. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle, looking for anything that might get the center fielder’s bat in gear, decided to bench him for the three-game series against the Braves.

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