Yadier Molina – Can I make it any more clear? The Cardinals are getting hot at the right time, and should routinely be rostered in daily fantasy baseball games. Molina, who is batting 48 points over his career average, has 6 hits (4 for extra bases) in 13 career at bats against Homer Bailey. Molina’s.462 batting average leads a St. Louis team that is batting .328 against the Reds young starter, making base runners a commonality today. The Cardinals catcher always puts the ball in play against Bailey (0 strikeouts), giving him plenty of RBI potential. Bailey has given up at least 8 hits and 4 earned runs in 4 of his last 5 starts, and I like the Cardinals to continue that trend.
Danny Espinosa – This is a low risk high reward option in daily fantasy baseball, as he has had more success against Cliff Lee than any other National hitter. He has 7 hits in 13 career at bats (.538 batting average) against the struggling Phillies stud with an obscene 1.308 slugging percentage. Three of the second basemen’s hits have left the ball park, the only Washington player to take Lee deep. His 5 RBI match the total by the rest of the Nationals roster, giving him the highest ceiling for production tonight. He’s not a sexy name, but with the big bats (Zimmerman and Harper) protecting him, Espinosa will see his share of hittable pitches.
Adam Dunn – He crushed 2 homers in the series opener, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see another long drive from Dunn tonight. He squares off against Kevin Millwood, a pitcher whom he has dominated whenever given the chance. His .409 batting average is nearly double his season batting average, and that’s not even the most impressive of his career statistics against the Mariners righty. Dunn holds a 1.227 slugging percentage against Millwood, with two thirds of his hits leaving the ballpark. The absolute worst case scenario would be a handful of walks for Dunn, and with the ChiSox batting .351 as a team against Millwood, that will likely result in runs. Whenever Dunn’s elite power comes with a solid batting average, I’m taking my chances on him in any and all fantasy baseball formats.
Players to avoid:
Mark Teixeira – From the department of “things that simply make no sense”, Teixeira is hitless in 13 career at bats against the ever inconsistent Ubaldo Jimenez. He has struck out 6 times (compared to only 2 walks), meaning he is very unlikely to take advantage when runners get on base ahead of him. Base runners figure to be at a premium, as Jimenez’s ERA is 3.39 at home (nearly 4 runs lower than his road ERA) and opponents are batting only .239 against Jimenez in Cleveland. In every home start over the last two months, the Indians starter has had nothing but quality starts at home. Ubaldo Jimenez may not be an elite pitcher, but his success against the Yankees ailing slugger cannot be denied, and Teixeira should be avoided in all daily fantasy baseball formats.
Dan Uggla – The Braves are the wild card leaders, but they run into a buzz saw in Tim Lincecum, who is quietly rounding into form. Uggla is 0-10 with 6 strikeouts against The Freak, and I see no reason why those numbers will change tonight. Lincecum is working on his best month by far (his 3.57 ERA in August is at least 1.49 runs lower than every other month this season) and has been much better at home than on the road (his home ERA is 3.07 runs lower than his road ERA). I’ll take 5 solid years from Lincecum over his shaky start to this season, putting Uggla between a rock and a hard place tonight.