There are plenty of afternoon games on MLB today, meaning there is opportunity for early and late leagues at FanDuel for daily fantasy baseball.
As has been documented here and elsewhere, Cliff Lee has not been especially kind to bettors this year. But his fantasy numbers have been good despite only one win for a 5 point bonus. He has averaged 10.3 points at Fan Duel. Wednesday afternoon, Lee is available for $7800 despite striking out 12 Dodgers last time he faced them. Matt Kemp did not play in that game, but he is 1 for 10 against Lee, with 5 Ks among those 9 outs. Of course, one could argue that James McDonald has better average results, and is backed by a Pirates offense playing at altitude rather than the Phils offense facing Kershaw. And McDonald is the same price. All true. Call me a masochist, but I like Lee here.
I also like Blue Jays C J.P. Arencibia. He went 3 for 3 against Hiroki Kuroda earlier this year in his only time seeing him. 2B Kelly Johnson is 5 for 14 versus Kuroda. Both players are available for $3300.
The Pirates are hot and all their guys have gotten expensive. Meanwhile, St Louis faces a minor league pitcher today. The Brewers had to scratch Greinke today, so in comes Tyler Thornburg, with all of 7 1/3 major league innings in which he gave up 6 earned runs. Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Rafael Furcal can all be found for $3600 and under to help fill out a roster.
The Orioles strikeout often. Their K rate of 21.6% is fifth worst in the major leagues. Tuesday night a relief pitcher for the Twins looked somewhat attractive to me as a dark horse because he was facing the O’s, but a high WHIP and walk rate kept me away. Sure enough, Samuel Deduno issued 5 walks in 4 1/3 inning, leading to 3 ER in that short stretch. But even then, with that much control issues that he walked 5 men, the Orioles still managed to strike out 5 times.
So what will a legitimate starter like P Francisco Liriano do tonight? I think the 15K he had last time out against Oakland (right behind Baltimore in K% at 21.4) was an outlier, but I think a reasonably good night is in order for $7700 at FanDuel.
In that same game, Tommy Hunter will pitch for the Orioles. He did a decent job against the Twins earlier in the year, but the Twins have been feasting on Os pitching the last two days. OF Denard Span is 5 for 8 in those two games, and is available for $3500.
I actually like Joe Mauer because of similar good numbers the last two days and previously when facing Hunter. But he is $3800, while C Jose Lobaton of Tampa is $2700. You need some bargains sometimes, and a couple of weeks ago Lobaton went 2 for 2 against Justin Masterson, who he will face again today if he gets the start. Check those lineups as it gets closer to 7:00.
Jordan Zimmerman is part of the reason the Nats are in first place. But Mets 2B Daniel Murphy is 6 for 14 vs. Zimmerman, with 2 XBH. Murphy will draw $3500 tonight.
The marlins have disappointed this year, and in particular 3B Hanley Ramirez has been an underperformer. His .249 average is far below his .301 career mark. But when hitting Jeff Smardzija he is 5 for 9, including 2 for 3 this year. He was 2 for 4 last night. Ramirez costs $3500 tonight.
In that same game, Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is hitting .359 so far, and an eye popping .436 versus right handers. I think Josh Johnson has turned his season around, but I’m taking a chance with Rizzo for $3400.
Speaking of splits, switch hitter and all-star OF Melky Cabrera is hitting .353 this year, and .429 agaisnt lefties. LHP Mike Minor will toss for the Braves against the Giants tonight, and while he does not have significant batting average splits, right handed hitters do hit for a lot more power against him. Cabrera is availablefor $3800 tonight.
One last split play – SS Mike Aviles of the Red Sox. His slash line this year is .263/.287/.416, but when facing lefties that jumps to .316/.353/.526. Tonight, he faces LHP Pedro Hernandez, one of the pitching prospects the White Sox received for Carlos Quentin.