MLB Post-Season Team-by-Team Outlook

After six months and a calendar of 162 games, we are ready for the major baseball series. FanPicks will cover all the daily fantasy baseball post-season games. What are you waiting for? Reserve your spot for the upcoming wild cards matchups between the Twins and the Yankees, and the Rockies versus the D-Backs on the National side. It’s starting Tuesday Night. Here’s an outlook of every team who made it in.

Minnesota Twins

The surprise team of the year. They are young, dynamic, dashing and barely have enough output from their starting pitchers to qualify in the playoffs. They are the potential cinderella’s of the post-season story.

New York Yankees

A dangerous formation. Undoubtedly the most formidable big bats staff in the playoffs. The catch is that they have to take the lead in the first five innings. Aaron Judge will need the support of his teammates. Jacoby Ellsbury had a good end of the season, which is reassuring.

Boston Red Sox

For the first time in their history, the Red Sox have won the title of their section two years in a row. They did it without much power, which is far removed from their usual identity. The pitchers held the fort throughout the season, but the relief proved less effective after Joe Kelly’s injury.

Cleveland Indians

They are even more formidable than last year as they pushed the world series in seven games in the absence of starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. This year, they are healthy and Trevor Bauer is among the elite. The Indians have a depth that few teams can boast, both on the mound and on the attack.

Houston Astros

The Astros have a devastating attack made up of young people who are hungry for a championship ring. Carlos Correa is finally back a 100 percent healthy. Getting Justin Verlander in the rotation was the missing piece they needed.

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado pitching staff is largely underestimated, led by a gang of young starters (German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela).

Arizona Diamondbacks

Among the teams drafted, the D-Backs are maybe the one that has the best chance of going all the way. JD Martinez came in to support Paul Goldschmidt after his acquisition of the Detroit Tigers. And Zach Greinke is no longer alone. Robby Ray and Patrick Corbin, the latter with a good second half of the season, give depth to the mound.

Washington Nationals

A strong team on paper, but with a lot of question marks. Is Bryce Harper ready? What about Max Scherzer? The lack of control of Gio Gonzalez on the big occasion is not very reassuring, especially against the Chicago Cubs, whose attack has been the best of the National League since the break.

Chicago Cubs

The World Series champions are back in series. Quietly entering in the playoff picture, they have been consistent since early July with an attack that produced as expected. They have several challenges on the mound though. Another trip to the world series is not out of the question.

Los Angeles Dodgers

How can a team that plays for, 800 for more than a month can have a sequence of 1-15 thereafter? The Dodgers are an enigma and even with a season-end of 8-2, doubts remain. Who will support Kershaw? Seager, Bellinger and Turner can not do it alone.

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Posted in MLB

MLB 2017 Season Preview

American League East

FanPicks examines the American League East division for the upcoming Major League Baseball season. Get started with fantasy baseball right now!

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles always appear at a disadvantage in a division filled with big spenders. They also don’t have the prospects to swing major deals. They know who they are, and they somehow make it work. There’s no reason to believe they won’t contend in 2017, but the rotation could stand in their way. It’s filled with question marks.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are all-in on 2017. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has blown up the farm system to obtain All-Stars pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale, and he won’t hesitate to move more young talent if the Red Sox develop an obvious need before the trade deadline. Everyone from Dombrowski to manager John Farrell to ace David Price, as well as young stars Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts will be feeling the heat as the Red Sox attempt to win it all for the fourth time since 2004. Anything short of a World Series berth will feel like a disappointment.

New York Yankees

If catcher Gary Sanchez is the real deal, pitcher Luis Severino returns to form, prospects Aaron Judge and Greg Bird provide some power, and the rotation has enough depth, the Yankees could be a playoff contender with a bright future. If not, the growing pains could be ugly and again leave the Yankees sitting home in October.

Tampa Bay Rays

This is a crossroads season. Can the shuffled management team exhume the cash-strapped franchise’s record of innovation and success, or was that a proprietary product of the predecessing Andrew Friedman/Joe Maddon dream team all along? To approach its potential this season, the team must unearth two more offensive hammers. It’s an unlikely scenario even if any of the arm-for-bat trade opportunities it was seeking deep into the winter reaches fruition. For the Rays, it all start with their starting pitching. Unfortunately, it may also end there.

Toronto Blue Jays

The gap between the Blue Jays and Boston appears to only have widened. The Blue Jays will once again be heavily reliant on their pitching staff, and they’ll have precious little margin for error on that front. And the new-look offense bears watching (Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce), as the Blue Jays can no longer count on being able to bludgeon opponents into submission. Still, they are too talented to count out, and another playoff berth is a realistic possibility.

Posted in MLB

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

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.

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

MLB Primetime Games

September 14, 2016

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Pirates vs Phillies

The Pirates will need to provide a little more offense to help their rookie pitcher Steven Brault against the Phillies. The youngster got only five runs from his teammates in his first five big league starts. He drew solid outings in his past three games and looks to continue his stretch on the road. Along with Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl, Brault is the third rookie currently in Pittsburgh rotations.

Orioles vs Red Sox

 The two best hitting teams will put their best pitchers on the mound in this one. Baltimore will go with Kevin Gausman, who’s received at least five run support in three of his last five start. American League Cy Young contender Rick Porcello will be Boston’s weapon of choice for the matchup. He’s been even more rewarded than his counterpart, getting at least 10 runs support in four of his last five outing.

Marlins vs Braves

Things are not looking good for the Brave today. They will need to contend with one of the hottest pitcher in MLB right now, Jose Fernandez. His most recent performance was phenomenal, as he struck out 14 against the National League West leading Los Angeles Dodgers. it was his third 14 strikeout performance this season. Fernandez has a 3.65 ERA in four career starts at Turner Field. He gave up a career-high 9 runs in his last start at the Ted.

Brewers vs Reds

A sweep of the Brewers could be on the horizon for the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Despite top basestealer Billy Hamilton missing from that matchup for the Reds, second best speedster, Milwaukee’s Jonathan Villar, will be there. Villar has 54 steals this season and is 4 behind Hamilton. The Brewers shortstop is also shredding it with power this season. He posted his 16th home run on Tuesday.

Twins vs Tigers

The Tigers have the opportunity to gain ground in the American League Central and Wild Card Standing, as they continue their series versus the worst team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins. Detroit failed to win against them on Tuesday. It will now be on Anibal Sanchez to bring them to a victory. The hurler is in need of a good outing if he want to stay in the rotation when Jordan Zimmerman comes back from injury.

Athletics vs Royals

This will be the first time that A’s left-hander Sean Manaea will start against the organization that drafted him back in 2013. The Royals, on the other hand, will try to focus and get back into the post-season race. The fell the first two game of the series against Oakland and can’t afford to lose a third. They are trailing the Baltimore Orioles by five games in the American League Wild Card race.

Posted in MLB

August 28 MLB Rundown

Royals vs Red Sox

FanPicks has your August 28 MLB Royals versus Red Sox Sunday Preview. Begin drafting right here!

The Red Sox are hoping Eduardo Rodriguez will pick up right where he left off, as Boston remains behind the leading Blue Jays in a tight American League East race.

The left-hander was scratched from his last start due to tightness in his left hamstring. After a successful bullpen session, Rodriguez reported that he felt good. The southpaw exited his last outing against the Orioles after four no-hit innings. Rodriguez has posted a 2.52 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

The defending champion Royals will counter with their 2015 World Series Game 3 pitcher: Yordano Ventura. After a rocky July, when he went 0-4 with a 4.55 ERA, the right-hander turned the page in August, posting a 2.03 ERA in five outings this month. Ventura’s rise has coincided with the rest of his team streaking up the standings, and he is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in his last four starts.

Red Sox Player News

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia recorded hits in 11 straight at-bats – one shy of tying the major-league record – before grounding into a double play in the eighth inning on Saturday. First baseman Travis Shaw is the only current Red Sox player to homer against Ventura. Catcher Sandy Leon is 1-for-17 in his last four games, dropping his batting average from .383 to .349.

Outfielder Mookie Betts is hitting .324/.366/.559 with 21 home runs and 73 RBI against right-handed pitching this season, and owns a 1.117 OPS over the last 14 days.

DH David Ortiz is hitting .322/.419/.682 with 26 home runs and 76 RBI against right-handed pitching this season, and owns a 1.097 OPS over the last seven days

Royals Player News

Outfielder Lorenzo Cain is hitless against Rodriguez in his career, going 0-for-6.

 

Posted in MLB

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 11 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Thursday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your august 11 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Yankees vs Red Sox

Alex Rodriguez will make his final appearance at Fenway Park and has a chance to lead the New York Yankees to a series win this Thursday. Rodriguez, who is set to play his final game for the Yankees at home on Friday before being released, got into Wednesday’s win as a pinch hitter and is expected to play a bigger role in the finale. He flied out in his lone plate appearance on Wednesday but New York managed to even the series at one win apiece by picking on the Red Sox bullpen for five runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth en route to a 9-4 triumph.

The Red Sox need to win every game at this point to keep pace in the American League East and AL wild card races and may be without All-Star slugger David Ortiz. The veteran designated hitter had to be helped off the field after fouling a ball off his right leg in the ninth inning on Wednesday and was sent for x-rays.

Angels vs Indians

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 14 games in impressive fashion, collecting two singles and a double for his third straight multi-hit performance in Wednesday’s 7-4 setback at Washington. The 23-year-old Dominican is batting .391 with runners in scoring position but is hitting just .188 (6-for-32) in 10 career encounters with the Angels. Los Angeles saw its offense limited to just one run for a third consecutive contest and sustained its season high-tying sixth straight loss with Wednesday’s 3-1 setback against the red-hot Chicago Cubs. Mike Trout is 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts in his last three games, and his 1-for-11 performance versus Thursday starter Corey Kluber doesn’t inspire much confidence, either.

Astros vs Twins

The Astros made a bold personnel decision by designating Carlos Gomez for assignment and hope the transaction can be looked back on as a courageous factor in their wild-card push. Houston, who trail Boston, Detroit and Seattle in the battle for the American League’s second wild card, decided they no longer could live with the sub-par performances of Gomez. The two-time All-Star center fielder made two key defensive miscues on Monday in his final start for Houston and batted a disappointing .210 with five homers and 100 strikeouts this season. Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games and Brian Dozier is on a tear with six homers and 13 RBIs during the stretch.

Cardinals vs Cubs

Chicago’s pitching staff has been dominant of late, allowing two or fewer runs in 10 of the last 13 games as the Cubs have gone 12-1 over that stretch. Left-hander Jon Lester looks to continue that trend as he takes on hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Martinez. Lester is 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 home starts, while Martinez has excelled on the road, going 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in nine outings.

White Sox vs Royals

Left-hander Danny Duffy routinely has brought smiles to the faces of his teammates, and for good reason, considering that the Kansas City Royals have emerged victorious in each of his last eight trips to the mound. The 27-year-old looks to win his third straight start and improve to 7-0 in his last nine outings on Thursday.

Royals Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert had an RBI double in Wednesday’s 3-2 win in 14 innings and is 10-for-27 during his six-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old Nicaraguan is 15-for-46 in 12 career encounters versus the White Sox and 1-for-3 against Thursday starter Miguel Gonzalez. The right-hander has had his troubles, however, with Jarrod Dyson, who tripled to lead off the 13th inning on Wednesday and is a blistering 8-for-10 in his career versus the hurler.  Chicago’s J.B. Shuck continued his strong series by highlighting his second two-hit performance with a solo homer to improve to 19-for-52 in his career versus Kansas City.

Posted in MLB

August 10 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Wednesday Evening Matchups

FanPicks has your august 10 fantasy baseball preview to get ready for today’s MLB contest. Get the info you need and play right here!

Padres vs Pirates

Out of the starting lineup for three games due to a sore shoulder, Gregory Polanco provide a jolt in his return for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Polanco’s three-run homer was the decisive blow in Tuesday’s 6-4 triumph for Pittsburgh against San Diego. Penciled in at the cleanup spot for the first time in his career, Polanco continued his breakout campaign with his 16th homer to keep the Pirates 2 1/2 games behind Miami for the second wild card in the National League. Andrew McCutchen showed signs of breaking out of his funk by reaching base four times, including a season-high three via the walk.

Padres rookie Jabari Blash went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday and is 7-for-24 since his recall from the minors after batting .120 during his first stint with the team earlier in the season. San Diego sents Edwin Jackson to the mound to oppose Ryan Vogelsong in a matchup of veteran right-handers.

Rays vs Blue Jays

J.A. Happ has provided quite the return on the Toronto Blue Jays’ investment this season. Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal in the offseason, Happ puts his string of a career-high nine straight victorious decisions on the line Wednesday versus the Rays. The 33-year-old’s 15 wins this season have comfortably surpassed his previous best total in 2009, although none have come at the expense of Tampa Bay. Happ settled for a pair of no-decisions versus the Rays in April before getting shredded for a career high-tying eight runs on seven hits in a 13-2 shellacking on May 16. Evan Longoria, who is batting .385 in his career against Happ, collected three hits and as many RBIs in Tuesday’s 9-2 victory over Toronto. The 30-year-old is 6-for-15 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored in his last four games.

Yankees vs Red Sox

The Yankees are trying to balance moving the youth onto the roster while gracefully shuffling the veterans out the door, and Alex Rodriguez did not get into the game on Tuesday. The 14-time All-Star, who is set to be released by New York after Friday’s game, is expected to at least play on Thursday and could get an at-bat or two on Wednesday.

Reds vs Cardinals

Billy Hamilton is running wild on the basepaths and looks to increase his major league-leading steals total. The speedy Reds center fielder has stolen nine bases over his last three contests, including five in the first two games of this series, to increase his season total to 48. Hamilton, who is 6-for-11 with four walks and six runs scored during his three-game spree, is an astounding 20-for-22 stealing against Cardinals star Yadier Molina, who is considered one of the top throwing catchers in the game. Hamilton reached base four times and scored three runs to fuel Tuesday’s 7-4 win, which occurred one day after St. Louis staged a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to post a 5-4 victory. Molina went 2-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday to improve to 7-for-14 over his last four games and has reached base in each of his last 22 contests.

Rockies vs Rangers

Prince Fielder, in his third season with the Rangers, is walking away from the game after undergoing neck surgery on July 29. It is the second surgical procedure on his neck in a 26-month span. The Rockies were without right fielder Carlos Gonzalez for the past two games. He’ll likely be held out once again on Wednesday.

Angels vs Cubs

Jason Hammel will be activated from the bereavement list to make the start and looks to improve upon his 6-1 record and 2.24 ERA at home. He has won four straight starts to set a career-high for wins after tossing six shutout innings against Miami on Aug. 2. The 33-year-old has allowed four runs and 16 hits in 24 innings during the winning streak and hasn’t given up more than two runs in a start since July 1. Hammel is 1-3 with a 6.59 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Angels, with the last meeting in 2013.

Astros vs Twins

Dallas Keuchel tossed his first shutout of the season in his last turn and looks to post a second consecutive strong outing. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner gave up just three hits in a 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers while recording his fourth career shutout. Keuchel has experienced a bumpy campaign and was rocked for seven runs in five innings by Detroit in his previous turn. Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 in Tuesday’s 7-5 victory over the Twins after being rested Monday to end his consecutive games streak to 202. Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games behind the red-hot Brian Dozier, whose solo shot and two RBIs on Tuesday gave him six homers and 13 RBIs during the stretch.

Braves vs Brewers

Braves Erick Aybar carries a 14-game hitting streak. He has provided a breath of fresh air for his cellar-dwelling club. Aybar collected two singles in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory for Atlanta, which has won four in a row and six of seven overall. The 32-year-old Dominican traditionally has struggled versus the Brewers, going 8-for-36 in nine career encounters and 0-for-3 versus Wednesday starter Chase Anderson. Ryan Braun went deep on Tuesday for the fourth time in seven outings, during which he has recorded 11 RBIs.

White Sox vs Royals

Jose Quintana has won nine games in each of the last three seasons and will look to reach double-digit victories for the first time against the Royals. He lost six consecutive starts while receiving a total of eight runs of support earlier this season, but he is 4-0 since July 3 thanks to some increased offensive support. Losers of 12 of its last 17 overall, Kansas City sends Ian Kennedy to the mound to face Quintana.

Orioles vs Athletics

Baltimore had just three hits in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss with the run coming on a homer by center fielder Adam Jones, who has five hits in the series and is 11-for-22 during a five-game hitting streak. Orioles All-Star right fielder Mark Trumbo, who is tied for the major-league lead with 31 homers, is just 7-for-57 with one blast over his past 15 contests.

Tigers vs Mariners

Two former American League Cy Young Award winners will square off in Seattle. Detroit sends 2011 winner Justin Verlander, who also was the AL MVP that season, to the mound against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who captured the Cy Young the previous year. Verlander has won each of his last five decisions and recorded at least nine strikeouts in four of his last five outings overall, while Hernandez is 2-0 in four turns since returning from a calf injury that landed him on the disabled list.

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.

Posted in MLB