MLB 2017 Season Preview

American League Central

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

Chicago White Sox

The Sox won’t contend in 2017, but at least there is a plan. Fans are eager for the prospects acquired in the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades to arrive in the Majors. Not to mentioned that the expectation of even more trades as management sells the future. The Sox ranked 11th in the American League in runs scored last season. Their struggles will intensify as more veterans should be traded at season end. After years of patching holes, the rebuild is underway.

Cleveland Indians

The only thing missing from the Indians’ quest for success is fan support. For the last two years, the organization has remodeled Progressive Field, removing seats, changing concourses and making it more consumer friendly. On the field, they’ve produced four straight winning seasons. But the Indians, who once had a streak of 455 straight sellouts, have continually finished near the bottom of MLB attendance. Will that change following their inspired run to Game 7 of the World Series last year?

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers lost to the Indians by eight games in the AL Central in 2016. It’s difficult to envision where they expect to make up those eight games, given their lack of impact additions. Perhaps the Tigers saw the White Sox and Royals shift into rebuild mode and decided to go for it one last time with this core. But it still seems more likely that the Tigers, as currently constructed, will take a big step backward than a big one forward. By July, an out-of-contention Tigers team could look vastly different than the one of April.

Kansas City Royals

There’s a looming fire sale if Kansas City falls from contention with changes to the collective bargaining agreement that restrict compensation for players lost in free agency. Don’t expect general manager Dayton Moore to be as aggressive as 2015 at the trade deadline with a depleted farm system. Health and player development will be keys to squeezing out a playoff push from a roster that’s has already demonstrated its championship mettle.

The Royals will be dedicating this season to the memory of beloved teammate Yordano Ventura. The 25-year-old enigmatic fireballer has been killed in a car crash on January 22 in his home country of the Dominican Republic.

Minnesota Twins

Saddled with the majors’ second-most losses over the past six seasons, the Twins are finally joining the game’s analytics revolution while maintaining a strong emphasis on traditional scouting.  Their payroll figured to remain right around $100 million as they continued to break in young talent and sought new methods of procuring future weapons. The honeymoon for the new front-office duo (Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine) figures to last for at least a couple of years while the Twins find their footing once more in a difficult division.

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

Saturday’s Primetime Games

MLB September 17, 2016

Join our FanPicks MLB September 17, 2016 Primetime Games right here.

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

MLB Primetime Games

September 14, 2016

Join our FanPicks MLB Primetime Games right here.

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 18 MLB Rundown

Thursday Evening Matchups

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

Astros vs Orioles

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

Dodgers vs Phillies

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

White Sox vs Indians

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

Marlins vs Reds

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

Nationals vs Braves

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

Twins vs Royals

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

Mariners vs Angels

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

Padres vs Diamondbacks

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

Mets vs Giants

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

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 MLB Preview

Tuesday Late Matchups

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

Angels vs Cubs

The Cubs’ John Lackey and Angels’ Jered Weaver (Tuesday’s starters) were Los Angeles teammates during Weaver’s first four major league seasons (2006-09), with Lackey serving as his mentor. Lackey received a no-decision in his third straight quality start after yielding three runs and seven hits while striking out eight in seven innings of the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Miami last Wednesday.

Braves vs Brewers

Center fielder Matt Kemp is endearing himself to his new team with some spirited play of late. Kemp had an RBI single in the fourth inning and scored the go-ahead run in the 12th of Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Brewers. The veteran is 5-for-13 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs scored in his last three games and 7-for-14 with a homer and five RBIs in his career versus Tuesday starter Wily Peralta. He isn’t the only one swinging a hot bat, as teammates Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar are carrying respective 19- and 13-game hitting streaks into Tuesday’s tilt. Veteran Ryan Braun is doing fine in his own right with hits in 15 of 18 games since the All-Star break for the Brewers, who have dropped four of their last five contests.

Astros vs Twins

Houston’s Jose Altuve received his first day off this season in the series opener against Minnesota. The second baseman leads the major leagues with a .356 batting average. He’s played in 202 consecutive games before Monday’s rest. It was the the longest current playing streak in baseball. Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario collected three hits in the opener to improve to 14-for-28 during his seven-game hitting streak.

Reds vs Cardinals

Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the opener after being removed from Saturday’s contest and sitting out on Sunday due to an injured oblique. Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton stole two bases on Monday and is tied for most in the majors with 45.  He’s 17-for-19 against St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, which is the most steals by anyone against the respected receiver.

White Sox vs Royals

White Sox left-hander Chris Sale will make his fifth attempt for his 15th win. He’ll oppose right-hander Edinson Volquez, who’s been rocked for the second straight outing at Tampa Bay last Wednesday.

Orioles vs Athletics

All-Star third baseman Manny Machado has four homers and nine RBIs over the past two games. The recent display has increased Machado’s round-tripper count to 26, nine shy of his career high set last season. Oakland left fielder Khris Davis has matched his career best of 27 homers but has just one blast and one RBI over the last nine games.

Tigers vs Mariners

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera notched one of the five singles Monday, giving him at least one hit in seven of his last eight contests. Teammate Ian Kinsler improved to 12-for-27 during a hitting streak that reached seven games. Trailing Cleveland by 2 1/2 games for first place in the AL Central, Detroit are sending Daniel Norris to the mound against Seattle’s Wade LeBlanc in a battle of left-handers.

Phillies vs Dodgers

In a season when the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed a total of 26 players on the disabled list, rookie shortstop Corey Seager has emerged as their most reliable and dangerous offensive threat. The 22-year-old belted two homers in Monday’s series-opening 9-4 win and is batting .326 with nine doubles, four home runs, and 13 RBI over his last 20 games. Seager has taken a commanding lead in the National League rookie of the year race with 21 home runs while serving an invaluable role atop the batting order for Los Angeles.

Philadelphia has struggled over the last two months, but may have found their right fielder of the future in Aaron Altherr. The German born player missed the season’s first 103 games with a wrist injury, but has provided surprising pop from the second spot in the order. Altherr is expected to receive regular playing time even after Peter Bourjos returns from the 15-day disabled list to join a crowded outfield later this week.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball MLB August 5 Preview

Friday Late Matchups

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

Blue Jays vs Royals

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

Braves vs Cardinals

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

Marlins vs Rockies

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

Brewers vs Diamondbacks

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

Cubs vs Athletics

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

Red Sox vs Dodgers

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

Angels vs Mariners

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

Phillies vs Padres

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

 

Posted in MLB