Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are looking to continue their playoff push, and should have no issue scoring enough runs against the Marlins tonight. They draw Ricky Nolasco (8-11 4.95 ERA), a pitcher whom the current Dodgers are batting .327 against. Andre Ethier leads the way with 6 hits in 10 at bats, and due to his spot in the order, that makes pitching to Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp that much more difficult. The only player to potentially avoid in daily fantasy baseball leagues is Shane Victorino (.171 batting average vs Nolasco), but the change of scenery has me optimistic that he can break out of that funk.
Matt Diaz and Reed Johnson – OK, so these aren’t two names that are typically on your fantasy radar, but the numbers are impossible to ignore. The duo is batting .515 against Johan Santana in 68 career at bats (I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw off the ground) … They have more RBI than strikeouts and both have a slugging percentage of at least .839. I’m not saying that these two are better hitters than Johan is a pitcher, but how can you not like their chances tonight, as Santana returns from a DL stint?
Players to avoid:
Carlos Gonzalez – The Rockies center fielder has put together another outstanding season, but he is powerless against the stud that is Matt Cain. CarGo has only 4 hits in 27 career at bats against the Giants righty, with all of those hits being singles. If this game was played at Coors, I’d at least consider overlooking these stats, but with this game being played in San Francisco, where Cain holds a 2.22 and has only surrendered 6 homers in 81 innings, there is no way I’m spending what it takes to roster Gonzalez in daily fantasy baseball games.
Carlos Beltran – A resurgent season will be put on hold for a day, as Beltran faces Cliff Lee tonight. While his 2-6 record may not reflect solid pitching, Lee has been better than the statistics reveal, and with a track record of success against Beltran, there is enough evidence indicating a struggle for the Cardinals slugger tonight. Lee has held him to a .133 batting average with more strikeouts than hits, and with Matt Holliday (.125 batting average against Lee) struggling as well, protection figures to be hard to come by. The Phillies starter has been victimized by the long ball lately (7 HR’s surrendered in his last 22 innings pitched), but he has never had problems with that against St. Louis, as Rafael Furcal is the only player to have taken him deep.
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau – The M&M boys are better hitters than their 2012 numbers indicate, but I can’t ignore their lack of success against the Rays David Price. They have combined for just 3 hits in 20 at bats (.150 batting average) against the lefty and have struck out 6 times. It is hard to justify starting any player opposing Price, especially when their .150 batting average is above the team average. Minnesota doesn’t exactly bred fantasy baseball greatness, and tonight the only greatness from this game will be the power pitching of Price.